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A publication under the project "Monitoring and reporting under CEDAW in the Balkan countries"

X Albania X Bosnia and Herzegovina X Bulgaria X Croatia X Macedonia X Montenegro X Serbia

Ñîôèÿ, 2002


The producing of the reports and this publication were made possible thanks to the financial support of the Programme FRESTA of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation would like to express its gratitude to all our colleagues who dedicated all their efforts and enthusiasm to the completion of the project: Diana Culi, Valentina Leskaj, Jivica Abadjic, Nuna Zvizdic, Milica Peric, Nevena Stefanova, Tijana Vukojicic, Marija Brajdic, Jasmina Zdravcevic, Mirjana Najcevska, Kaca Djurickovic, Maja Raicevic, Tamara Durutovic, Biljana Brankovic, Marija Lukic, Olja Delic and Mirjana Djelmas. Special thanks to Nell Rasmussen, Heidi Anderesen and Dace Kavasa for their guidance and commitment.

The project was initiated and supported by the Danish Centre for Human Rights

Regional coordinators - Genoveva Tisheva and Irina Moulechkova from the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation.




The present publication is part of the project "Monitoring and reporting under CEDAW in the Balkan countries" and is the result of a joint NGO reporting process under CEDAW from the SEE region. This first attempt is non conditioned and non provoked by the producing and presenting of the respective governmental reports. It makes it a unique effort initiated and largely supported by the DanishCcentre for Human Rights.. Due to the serious political upheavals and deep economic restructuring to free market economy, as well as to the wars and conflict situations endured, the region has been very often marginalized during the last 12 years. The aim of the report is to make the effort and the influence on the CEDAW Committee more concerted, but also to give more visibility to the region and to women from the region. The report covers the implementation of the Convention in countries with large diversity, different status in respect of CEDAW - some of them ratified CEDAW in the early 80 ies, others - much later in the 90-ies, or took over as independent states. The compilation includes for the first time the experience of presenting an independent NGO report from the Republic of Montenegro. The fact that many Balkan countries are to report in late 2002 and 2003, others have reports overdue, will mobilise both governmental and non-governmental initiatives in the near future. It will encourage alternative reporting by NGOs in the region, which is good practice in Croatia and Bulgaria. The strategic position of the region made out of SEE the arena of global interests which led to the establishment of several international intergovernmental organisations concerned with the development of SEE. Due to the need to tackle the problems of military and ethnic conflicts and the hardships of the political and economic transition, the governments of the region overlooked the impact of these processes on the rights of their citizens, and, more specifically, on women, which affected the implementation of CEDAW. The present report is a good opportunity to remind the states about their commitments and to call for full respect of the women's rights. Because, whatever the outcome of the work of oganisations such as the Stability Pact is, the main direction of development for each country in the region is further respect of the international instruments and the acceding to the EU principles and policies by achieving stable economic development and respect of human rights standards. In this process, the full participation and contribution of women of this region in shaping the decisions at all levels is crucial. July 2002 Genoveva Tisheva Irina Moulechkova

The Committee notes that countries undergoing transition have a unique political opportunity to improve the situation of women as an integral part of the successful transition to democracy and a free market economy. They can thereby avoid the entrenchment of structural discrimination and the need for further fundamental changes in the future.

Concluding observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Bulgaria. 14/05/98. A/53/38, paras.208-261. (Concluding Observations/Comments



Regional NGO Monitoring Report on the Implementation of CEDAW

Table of contents

by Genoveva Tisheva and Irina Moulechkova

regional coordinators

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Regional report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Albania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Bosnia and Herzegovina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Bulgaria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Croatia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Macedonia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174 Montenegro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 Serbia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234

A. General overview of the situation of women in the region and the implementation of CEDAW

Besides the fact that all the countries have acceded to CEDAW and made it an integral part of their national legislation, there are other elements of the international context which make the common denominator between them and constitute an important reference point. All the countries have ratified the main international HR treaties and the core ILO conventions. There are countries which have ratified the most recent instruments, as Croatia (Optional protocol to CEDAW) and Bulgaria and Yougoslavia (UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons). The Beijing Conference and BPFA entailed everywhere the establishment of women' s NGOs and fostered a more focused approach to the most vital gender issues. The Beijing and Beijing plus 5 process mobilised the governments for further compliance with the standards of HR and women' s rights, even if they did not result in the adoption of national Action Plans in all the countries / e. g. Bulgaria, Macedonia/. All countries are members of the Stability Pact for SEE since 1999 /Yougoslavia joined a year later/, but this new international organisation did not meet the high expectations and is on the way to confirm the trend that no instrument imposed from outside SEE can work in SEE. The democratic changes have brought about the opening of the economies of the region for foreign investments. But this has rather opened the countries for the intervention of the Bretton woods institutions and their structural adjustment policies. The restrictive taxation and social policies, deemed necessary, have not shaped the best environment for the implementation of the HR treaties, CEDAW included.



Two countries under review can take the advantage to refer to the EU standards for gender equality in order to improve the status of women Bulgaria which started negotiations in March 2000 and Croatia which recently got the status of an associated country. In the context of the issues presented in the Introduction, a brief overview of the situation in every country of the region under survey in this Report will make it easier to understand the issues of importance to the region.

exerted continuous pressure on the government for the implementation of CEDAW; NGOs dealing with women's rights have been recognized by the government and contribute to the work of the Committee for Equal Opportunities, participating in the elaboration of a new governmental strategy on poverty eradication. These are very positive trends which have followed the ratification of CEDAW by the Albanian Parliament in December 1993.

is an interesting example of a country which acceded to CEDAW only very recently, on June 11, 1994. Since then the country has been trying successfully to catch up. The transition to democracy in Albania has turned out to be longer and more difficult than expected. It has required more persistent work to build the democratic institutions; the economic reforms undertaken to restructure the collapsed economy have proven successful, but have not yet improved people's life. The country remains one of the poorest in Europe (Albanian GDP has been 1.100 $ per capita by 2000). These trends, complemented by the existing gender patriarchal stereotypes that are reinforced by the media, have resulted in the progressive exclusion of women from the economic benefits, the labour market and the decision-making process. The social status and, namely the status of women in the family and with regard to education and health, is still unsatisfactory. Violence against women, and especially domestic violence and trafficking in women, represent a serious problem in Albania. Despite the progress and the state involvement in issues like TIW and women's reproductive rights, the implementation of the legislation adopted is still poor. The state has not undertaken active positive measures to promote women's rights with respect to the elimination of prejudices, decision-making, access to education and employment. Nevertheless, some important positive trends are observed: 1) despite the limited conceptual framework of Human Rights in Albania, the new Constitution of 1998 stipulates expressly that women enjoy the same equal political, social, economic and cultural rights as men; 2) the institutional mechanism for the advancement of women, established in 1992, has been transformed into a governmental Committee for Equal Opportunities in 2001; in addition, there is a Parliamentary subCommittee on Women and Youth; 3) a Constitutional provision guarantees the equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value and the Labour Code provides measures against sexual harassment. Furthermore, the expending women's movement in Albania, especially after the Beijing conference, has made gender issues more visible and


Macedonia has also acceded to CEDAW relatively recently, by way of succession on February 18, 1994. This multi-ethnic state (more than 1/3 of its citizens are Albanians) is still subject to ethnic tensions and is looking for stability and full recognition in the region. Since 1991, the situation in the Republic of Macedonia has been characterised by promoting the principles of the parliamentary democracy, multi-party system, the rule of law and human rights. From the economic point of view it meant market economy, privatisation, denationalisation and demonopolisation. The economic hardships of the system's transformation have had the effect of making the general position of the citizens, and especially that of women, worse both in the work environment and in the broader social context. Under these conditions of poverty and economic hardships for the population, it has been quite normal for the meaning of family and living together to be reinforced. With that, the concept of the woman as the "pillar" of the family has ressurected. The Constitutional framework of gender equality fully corresponds to the notion of formal equality inherited from the socialist past, with special protection of women as mothers. The economic transition, the process of education and the traditional views of the social role of women pose serious problems with the implementation of art.5 of CEDAW. It makes women in Macedonia more vulnerable to domestic violence, because in addition to that, the phenomenon is not regulated by the legislation and no protection is available at court. Despite the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee from 2000 focused mainly on the gap between the existing legislation and its implementation, there are important areas where there are no legislative measures for ensuring non-discrimination. The government of Macedonia has not implemented its obligation under art.6, as there are no specific provisions on the crime of trafficking in women. Women face discrimination concerning the access to employment, and especially, to middle and high level managerial positions (art.11); the same is valid for their access to political and decision-making positions (art.7). The government has not taken any kind of affirmative action to ensure gender equality.



However, positive trends are observed as a result of the Beijing + 5 process and the ratification of CEDAW. 1) In 2000, a Department for the promotion of gender equality has been created within the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. The trend is for that Department to be re-organized into a high level national machinery (placed directly under the Government) that should secure the overcoming of the traditional underrepresentation of women in public life and eliminate the possibilities for discrimination against women. 2) Since 2000, the institution of the Ombudsperson has been existing in the Republic of Macedonia and a woman was appointed Deputy Ombudsperson; 3) In 2000, the first women lobby group was formed and started to exert pressure for achieving equality in public life; many women's groups have emerged and they are now acting for promoting both gender equality and ethnic tolerance.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a successful example of a country which has emerged from war and started building the basis of a new democracy, with gender equality as integral part. The country acceded to CEDAW on October 1, 1993. Four transformation processes are taking place in BiH: transition from war to peace, privatisation, creation of a sustainable market economy, affirming the rule of law with due respect for human rights and gender equality. The general Framework Peace Agreement for BiH requires authorities at all levels to promote real gender equality Despite the assistance of and support from the international community, it is extremely difficult, in the context of political and ethnic division, to reach a political agreement, to adopt an unified legislation, economic and social policy. In this atmosphere, the first steps of synchronisation the international (universal and European) standards are being made in BiH. The economic and social hardships, the widespread unemployment, corruption, criminality, hidden gray economy, trafficking in human beings and drugs, have caused full economic dependency and marginalisation of women. Women in BiH suffered particularly from rape as an instrument of warfare. Although they played an active and constructive role during the war, in the post-war period they have had and still have uneven access to resources, social realization and political power. Despite the new democratic legislation that is in compliance with the universal human rights standards, the implementation of CEDAW still leaves a lot to desire, especially in the field of traditional stereotypes and domestic violence (art. 5), as well as in the field of access to employment, equal pay for equal work and social rights (art. 11).


Although BiH faces very serious problems related to trafficking in women, still there is no pertinent legislation in the field. There are serious gaps in the implementation of the existing legislation. Meanwhile, there are clear positive trends after the Concluding observations of the CEDAW Committee (1994) - and, namely, women have become more "visible at both the governmental and non-governmental levels" (one of the recommendations of the Committee). 1) There is an understanding that ensuring gender equality is an indicator of the achieved level of democratisation. A Commission for Gender Equality was established at the state level. The Government of the Federation of BiH has established the Parliamentary Commission and a Gender Centre as institutions; in Republika Srpska, a Parliamentary Commission has been set up, while the establishment of the Office for Gender Equality is under way; the establishment of the Commissions for Gender Equality in all cantonal assemblies is in progress. 2) Affirmative action in the field of political participation is applied in BiH and has already brought some positive changes. 3) New laws against discrimination were adopted -the Code of the Press, the Law on Protection of National Minorities; the Law on Gender Equality is in the process of adoption. Pressure by women' s groups is an important factor for all these achievements.

Yugoslavia (with former federal units of Serbia and Montenegro)

acceded to CEDAW on 12 April 2001 after a period of political isolation and further to the changes in the political regime after September 2000, when Yougoslavia was recognised as a sovereign state by the international community.Women have been more affected by all manifestations of the "legacy" of the past - devastated economy, increased corruption, high incidence of crime, widespread poverty, erosion of ethical standards. In the conditions of a drastic drop of the GDP per capita from USD 2941 in 1989 to USD 975 in 1999 and one of the highest corruption rates, women make almost 60% of the unemployed and their life expectancy has sharply decreased. It is therefore difficult for the new government to control the situation also exacerbated by the war situation, let alone ensure the compliance with the standards of CEDAW. As a matter of fact, most of the issues of concern to the Committee, expressed in its Concluding observations of 1994, are confirmed by the national report. Currently in Serbia domestic violence and sexual violence have increased after the war and in parallel to the deterioration of the economic situation. Effective legal mechanisms for protection against violence are


still missing, traditional stereotypes prevail in the police response. There are no effective legal provisions and mechanisms for curbing the alerting trends in trafficking in women, despite its huge proportion. The serious backlash in the political participation of women after the communist times has continued during the whole period of transition. Contrary to the expectations, the new government has maintained the male monopoly on the new power structures, as no real affirmative action has been applied by the government or the political parties. There have been no measures of that kind or special programmes adopted to facilitate the access of women to employment, or curb women's unemployment. No active measures have been provided for protecting women from discrimination, especially in the private and the informal sectors, and from sexual discrimination. There are some positive trends in the compliance with CEDAW as well: 1) The 1998 Law on Marriage and Family Relations contains provisions that confer equal status on married and unmarried couples with regard to property rights and children; this is a clear breakthrough in the traditional stereotypes. 2) New labour legislation has been passed and a new model law against violence against women and children has been proposed.. Changes in the Criminal code have been passed and domestic violence is recognised as a criminal offence. 3) A strong women's movement in Serbia exists that will hopefully foster the establishment of a gender equality machinery. This picture is complemented by the data from Montenegro, where there are specific problems: the concept of women returning to the family, serving for reproduction and family care, thus reproducing their own inequality; the limited representation of women in Parliament, despite their active role in society; the sexist reactions of the media to the legitimate struggle of women for political participation and to their promotion. On the other hand the following positive trends can be identified in relation to the issues at stake: 1) emerging cooperation between NGOs, the police, the judiciary and international agencies in combating violence against women, and namely, trafficking in women; 2) elaboration of a National Gender Action Plan and setting-up of a Women' s Network involving NGOs, political parties, trade unions; 3) the pressure of women's NGOs on political parties for the adoption of quotas for women in politics. After gaining independence in 1991, the processes of transition in

Croatia from a state-controlled to a market economy have been further

complicated by the war situation in which the country was involved. Due partly to the process of transition, partly to the war and partly to the policies of the right-wing conservative and nationalist ruling party, the status of women has deteriorated gravely over the last twelve years. Since 1991 leading politicians have started to explicitly encourage traditional patriarchal patterns of behaviour. This has deteriorated the situation of women in the economic, social and political spheres. Croatia acceded to the CEDAW on October 9, 1992 and this contributed to the adoption of antidiscrimination measures. Furthermore, Croatia is the only country under review, that ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in March, 2001. The signing in 2001 of the Agreement on Stabilization and Accession of Croatia to the European Union is an additional incentive to adopt and strengthen gender equality standards. Non-implementation of CEDAW is apparent in the field of eliminating traditional stereotypes and domestic violence (art. 5) and trafficking in women (art. 6) where clear regulations are still missing. The government has not adopted affirmative action as regards the employment and political participation of women, as recommended by the CEDAW Committee in 1998. In addition, the government has not reviewed and found the right balance between the special social protection of women, connected with their reproductive functions, and the need to promote women in employment and public life. Besides the further development in cooperation with NGOs of the national machinery for the advancement of women- a Governmental Commission, with a Counseling Committee on issues of equality, some important achievements towards further compliance with CEDAW are: 1) a new National policy on gender equality and a Draft Law on Gender Equality are currently considered by the Commission and NGOs; 3) there are provisions in the Labour code which regulate equal pay and the ban on discrimination in the process of job-seeking and selection, the protection of pregnant women in this process included. The institutional mechanism is still weak and under-resourced, though and more decisive legislative measures have to be taken in order to ensure compliance with CEDAW. Although Bulgaria acceded to CEDAW almost 20 years ago /March 1982/ full compliance with the Convention and the recommendations of the Committee is still to be achieved. Till the end of 2001 the



country had not followed the recommendation of the CEDAW Committee from 1998. Of course, during the last 5 years the Bulgarian government and the citizens had to face the hardships of the economic restructuring and moving towards market liberalisation and, more recently - towards European Union membership. At the same time the government had to safeguard social guarantees and to enhance the respect of human rights.. The state was not successful in this balancing and. reforms have produced a disproportionate effect on vulnerable groups and, more specifically, on women in the field of privatisation, access to employment, violence against women, political participation, etc. The prevailing philosophy in favour of formal equality /v/s de facto equality/ and of the "already achieved gender equality" still constitute a serious obstacle to the implementation of CEDAW. As a result of these factors, the following gaps were once more identified: lack of adequate legislation, mechanisms and practice in the field of domestic violence- a serious gap with respect to art. 5. The traditional gender stereotypes are still tolerated and disseminated through the media and advertisements. With regard to the labour and social rights of women-one of the fields their rights are most affected, there are not yet adequate legislation and implementation mechanisms.. Despite the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, there has been no affirmative action in place either in the field of employment or in that of political participation. One of the reasons contributing to non-compliance with the CEDAW is the fact that there are no elements of a national machinery for the advancement of women. Concerning this issue Bulgaria lags behind all the other Balkan countries. Nevertheless, some achievements can be noted and they are mainly due to the beginning of the official negotiations of Bulgaria with the EU and the influence of the EU legislation. The role of women' s NGOs is also crucial for these positive trends.1/ A draft Equal Opportunities Act was elaborated through a large participatory process and was introduced in the parliament./ unfortunately, in the beginning of was rejected/ Nevertheless, some fragmental provisions against gender discrimination were introduced in the labour legislation. 2/ After the last national elections/ June 2001/, thanks to the pressure of women' s NGOs and to the policy of a new political movement, the representation of women in the parliament increased from less than 11% up to about 26%. 3/ Legislation for prevention of TIW is under elaboration. A draft law on protection against Domestic Violence, proposed by a NGO is under consideration by the majority in the parliament and legislation on TIW is in the process of elaboration.

B. Regional trends in the implementation of CEDAW

The NGOs participants in the reporting process identified several issues in the field of women's rights that need to be monitored in the region to ensure the compliance with the respective CEDAW provisions:, 6, 7 and 11.

1. Article 5 and Article 6 of CEDAW

The general assessment of the implementation of art. 5 and GR 19 in the region is not positive. All the national reports state failure on this point. And this is despite the progress observed in other fields. Whatever the achievements, gender stereotypes, family relations and domestic violence in the Balkans show stable conservative trends. The media only reinforce this tendency. There is not a single country under review where the government has taken effective legislative measures against domestic violence, both in the field of penal and civil law. In Bulgaria and Serbia, such legislation is under way. In the latter a recent positive change in the criminal law is noted. The fact that the implementation of CEDAW in this field has been left almost entirely to women' s NGOs is noteworthy. There are not adequate state services and adequate reaction by the state institutions. The roots of domestic violence lay in the gender prejudices and conservative family relations. The most severe stereotypes about gender roles are reported from Macedonia and Albania. The endured conflicts and wars in the region have created "favourable" conditions for such prejudices and for exacerbating the phenomenon of domestic violence. Positive trends which will also influence the situation of women are observed in Serbia and Croatia where the new family laws provide for the equal status of married and unmarried couples with respect to property and children. Unsufficiently effective measures have been taken in implementation of art. 6, although there is recognition of the international commitments of the states. The phenomenon of TIW is a pervasive one, irrespective of its diverse forms. It is especially valid for periods after conflicts and wars and also in areas where international peace forces are deployed. Albania, BiH, Yugoslavia were particularly affected. The mass impoverishment and deterioration of the social standards are among the root causes. Because of the magnitude of the problem, all the countries, except for Macedonia, have signed the UN Protocol for preventing, sup-



pressing and punishing trafficking in human beings, and especially of women and children. Bulgaria and Yugoslavia have ratified the protocol in 2001 and legislative measures for domestic compliance are being drafted. Positive trends are observed in rising the awareness of the police and the competent authorities. The penal laws and the penal procedure in many countries like Macedonia, Croatia and Albania still lag behind international standards.

2. Article 7 of CEDAW

The most dynamic development is observed in the field of women' s participation in political and public life. It is especially true for the last three years, yet despite the lack of real affirmative action with some rare exceptions, such as BiH. It coincides both with strengthening women' s movements in the region and with the activity of the Gender Task Force of the Stability Pact whose main focus was on women's political participation. Women' s groups started feeling more empowered and initiated campaigns, requiring a more balanced representation of women and men in politics. Women who had been almost excluded from decision-making do not bear the responsibility for the conflicts in the region. This fact and the need for political and economic reconstruction of the region have turned them into new protagonists of the post-war and post- conflict period. This chance was grasped by NGOs and political parties in Croatia and in Bulgaria where more gender-balanced parliaments are in place. The ad hoc coalition for enhanced participation of women in politics created in the occasion of the 2000 national elections in Croatia is one of the most successful examples of concerted pressure. In BiH the importance of the issue was perceived as well and a gender quota was imposed by a new Electoral law. In all the countries women' s movements, sometimes combined with party representatives and students, play a crucial role in this process. The women' s movement in Montenegro is a very good example, too. Recurring trends are the relatively high level of political activity of women in the region/ for ex. in Croatia the polls show a higher interest of women in politics/. But when it comes to concrete motivation for a political career, as well as to participation at eligible positions in the elections, women lag far behind men. Another issue is the lack of gender awareness of most of the women elected, even where success is achieved in terms of quantitative representation. The absence of a clear gender agenda and objectives is frustrating for the women' s movements. This is often aggravated by the pro- natal

declarations and policy intentions. of those women, expressing their conservative views on the gender roles in the family and in society. Therefore, gender awareness and education of the representatives of the parliament and, more broadly speaking, of the institutions is desperately needed. Related to the participation of women in public life and to the implementation of art. 11 of CEDAW, is the progressive elaboration of Equal Opportunities acts in the countries of the region. In Bulgaria such an act was considered by the parliament, in Croatia and BiH such laws are in preparation. It is again becoming a "fashion" throughout the region. This will inevitably influence in a positive way the further implementation of CEDAW, even though the adoption of the laws is a long process, full of uncertainty, and even if the direct effects may be expected 1-2 years after the adoption of the respective law. Nevertheless, this manifests the will of the governments to comply with the international standards.

3. Article 11 of CEDAW

This issue is basic for the empowerment of women in the region and deserves a more detailed review. One could trace a common characteristic in all countries in which the implementation of CEDAW provisions in the field of employment is monitored, i.e. women are more vulnerable in the labour market during the transition period. The transition to a market economy is marked by economic instability, a high unemployment rate and insufficient financing for the restructuring of the public and private sectors. Some of the causes for this situation are common to all the countries. The collapse of ex-Yugoslavia has affected all the Balkan countries, especially the former republics of the Federation that had wars with Serbia. The wars brought about economic crises to the newly independent states and have had long-term negative effects on their economic development. The economic sanctions imposed on Serbia affected the economic situation in Bulgaria and Albania as well. The refugee waves aggravated the situation. The privatization in the region has not succeeded to restructure the economy in the Balkan countries as expected. The data and analyses in the national reports, show clearly that in all countries high unemployment rates exist, which is the result of a failure to quickly restructure the economy and the financing system and to introduce a sustainable free market economy. De jure, the right to work, the right to equal employment opportunities, the right to equal remuneration of men and women for the same



work, the right to free choice of profession and employment, the right to vocational training and retraining without any discrimination based on sex are guaranteed by all Constitutions. The same rights are regulated by the labour legislation of each country. More specific is the regulation in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the complicated state structure has resulted in 13 Constitutions. The Constitution of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina incorporates the main International instruments on human rights, including CEDAW. There is no Labour Act at state level. Two Labour Acts exist in the two entities - the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Republika Srpska (RS). The Labour Act of FBiH explicitly forbids discrimination in labour relations on many grounds, including sex. The Labour Act of RS contains no general non-discrimination clause. All national reports, except the one for Macedonia, state that de facto discrimination of women as a labour force exists. In the Macedonian report it is noted that "... there is no discrimination against women with regard to the salaries they receive", although further on the authors acknowledge that "... the basic problem of women in the work process (as well as generally in the sphere of public life) is the inaccessibility of the higher level functions". All the reports state that there is a division between "female" and "male" jobs and usually "female" and "male" professions and occupations differ in terms of remuneration. The so-called "female" jobs usually involve lower payment in comparison with the "male" ones. Gender based pay gaps are reported by all the countries and moreover, with the tendency to extend over the last few years. The main reason for the wage gap is the fact that women are hired for under-paid jobs, they often work below their level of qualification and have less chance to be promoted to middle or high level position and/or to achieve additional vocational training or retraining. For example, in 1977 the average wage of women in Serbia was 11% lower than the average wage of men; in September 1998 women's average pay was 86,5% of men's average pay for the same month and according to another survey conducted among randomly selected households in 1998 female employees earned 20% less than their male counterparts. Moreover, in 1997 the average pay of women in the hidden economy in Serbia was 28% lower than the average pay of men. In Croatia women's retirement amounts are 20% lower than men's which proves beyond doubt that women have worked for lower wages. The same could be seen from the table showing the net pay - gender relation in the Macedonian report.

In all national reports the tendency towards highly educated female labour force could be traced. On the other hand, the education and qualification of women cannot prevent their discrimination on the labour market in the transitional period in all the countries under review. Explicit discriminatory hiring practices are revealed in the reports of Bulgaria (sex, age, marital status, good looks), Albania (certain jobs only for men, age), Croatia (sex, age, marital status, temporary employment even when the period of such employment has become illegal), Serbia (specific discriminatory practices in the private sector and the hidden economy - unreported/unregistered, engaged as unpaid "helpers" in family businesses, engaged on temporary basis or on under paid jobs), Montenegro (age, good looks). Some of the reports suggest that women are the first to be laid off in the case of restructuring economic sectors and enterprises. In Montenegro the so-called phenomenon of "forced leaves" flourishes which affects mostly women. Increasing unemployment is a common feature of the transitional economies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro. A stable trend of prevailing female unemployment could not be denied. The reasons for that, although beneath surface, are gender based. In the situation of general impoverishment of the whole population traditional stereotypes of the role of women as being mothers and keepers of the family and men being economic supporters and bread earners come back to life. Societies in the Balkans are patriarchal, on the whole, have always, even through the socialist times, had a negative attitude to women's emancipation as a work force. That traditional approach has been manifested through the overwhelming protection of female workers and employees during the period of pregnancy and upbringing small children. The national legislations still contain such over-protection that makes women less competitive on the labour market in the new economic situation. The long maternity leave disqualifies them additionally. Now many private actors on the free market refuse to hire women in childbearing age, being reluctant to comply with the maternity protective legislation in force. In Croatia nearly 32% of women look for a job for over two years; the vast majority of them are over 45 years old and accept work in the informal sector. In Croatia, the Employment Law passed in 1996 contains special provisions on the protection of women during the period of unemployment. An unemployed woman with 25 years of employment has the right to monetary compensation until she finds another job or meets the conditions for retirement. An unemployed woman who, at the time of ter-



mination of the employment contract, has a child younger than one year, or twins, three and more children younger than three years of age, has the right to monetary compensation and retirement insurance until the child reaches the age of one year or the children (twins, three or more children) reach the age of three years. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a phenomenon of hidden unemployment exists in the so-called category of "workers on the waiting lists". These workers virtually increase the number of employees being registered as such, but not working. On the other hand, they have no health and pension insurance and only temporarily receive symbolic compensation for "being employed". Many companies in a difficult economic position do not even pay such symbolic compensation. Bosnia and Herzegovina registered a fake decrease of unemployment in 1997 (over 20%) when persons employed with the army and police forces were registered as employees. In Albania, a decrease of women's unemployment was registered in 1999 from 52% of the total registered unemployed during the first years of transition to 45%. According to the national report of Albania, the decrease was due to the fact that women had been discouraged to look for a job because they thought they did not have a chance to be hired on the basis of their occupation and job experience. On the other hand, in the so-called informal sector women are subjected to severe exploitation with low wages and inhuman working conditions with no right to social security protection and retirement rights. No official statistics exist on the participation of women in this sector. National reports identified the participation of women in the informal sector as a problem for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (according to frequent statements of the labour inspection officials, 80% of those working in the "black" sector are women) and Serbia, while in Montenegro women in this sector suffer from discriminatory practices. Opening private business is a possibility for self-employment. But in all countries it is hard for women to start even small private business. For example, in Albania the banks that generally extend very few loans even to men, refuse, if the applicant is a woman, to grant a loan or alleviate and extend the terms and conditions of the loan. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, women face obstacles such as: lack of information or unsufficient information on sources of financing; long-term loans are not accessible to businesswomen since they are not holders of property rights to secure the loan; the process of registration of companies is long and complicated; the business environment and the legislation in force do not stimulate women to start private businesses. In Serbia, women are

under- represented in the private sector: only 2,3% of women are owners or joint owners of private enterprises, while below 10% of women are employed in the private sector. The reasons for the poor representation of Serbian women in the private sector involve unpaid work in the family, extended family responsibilities, as well as the lack of experience with managerial work and the fact that families often decide to confide a husband with a highly risky private firm. In Montenegro, small private businesses are controlled by a newly-established and very conservative rich elite that has gained its wealth through political power. The economic situation affects mostly women between 40 and 60 years of age who do not yet meet the conditions for retirement and the private sector is not interested in their participation in it. Sexual harassment at the work place is recognized as a spreading phenomenon in Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina ("...women, particularly self-supporting mothers, neglect ... sexual abuse just to preserve the job") and Montenegro ("The extent of sexual harassment is so overwhelming that it has become standard behaviour, expected and passed by without comment). According to the national reports, no country of the region under monitoring has any legislation in force regulating sexual harassment at the workplace either as a breach of labour contract, or as a criminal offence. In Bulgaria a draft-law on equal opportunities was adopted by the previous Government and presented to the National Assembly for consideration. One of the chapters specifically regulated sexual harassment at the workplace as a breach of obligations under the labour relationship. In Bulgaria, the privatization of state and municipal enterprises has also had a negative impact on the status of women as a labour force and mainly on their access to well paid jobs, managerial positions, vocational training and retraining. Their competitiveness on the free market is hampered because the private investors are not inclined to comply with the existing overprotection of women-mothers as workers and employees. Child bearing and maternity leave in all the countries are still legally regulated in an ex-socialist fashion. In all countries, the legislation provides for social benefits or social allowances in the case of maternity. In Bulgaria and Croatia child-care rights are family rights, so the father could enjoy them as well. It is forbidden to hire pregnant women and women with small children in certain sectors and for certain occupations that can be hazardous to the health of women as child bearers. In the present economic situation such overprotection is an obstacle to the elimination of the de facto discrimination against women on the labour



market. In the new realities, private investors, both domestic and foreign, are reluctant to comply with the protectionist legislation and tend to avoid hiring female workers and employees in childbearing age or with small children. To cope with this situation, special affirmative measures and policies should be adopted by the state.

4. Implementation of other CEDAW provisions - Article 12 (Reproductive health and access to health care)

In some countries the problems with family planning and reproductive health of women during the transition were reported as serious ones. For example, until 1989 abortion in Albania was illegal and that caused high maternal mortality (between 1980 and 1990, 55% of the maternal deaths were caused by or followed illegal abortions). Nowadays abortion in Albania remains one of the most applicable methods of family planning, although a Decision of the Council of Ministers introduced a broad range of measures in 1992. In Serbia, abortion was legalized in 1952. In May 1995 a new Law on Abortion Procedures in Health Institutions was adopted. Its restrictive regulations mark the beginning of a new and conservative demographic policy. Most analyses l show that abortion has been the main method of birth control for years in Serbia, regardless of women's age, marital status, educational level or occupation. In the public domain, the issue of abortion is mostly raised in the context of pro-natalist policies. Health risks related to abortion are less often mentioned. On the other hand, the programmes of many political parties in the ruling coalition involve different pro-natalistic measures, although none of them openly mentions restriction on the right to abortion. Over 90% of the abortions are performed at state clinics. The Serbian national report emphasizes that Roma women are in far more dangerous a situation because now they cannot any longer afford payment for abortion at the state or private clinics and many of them return to old "methods" that occasionally even cause the woman's death. In Montenegro abortion is still legal but there have been several attempts by the Orthodox Church to criminalise it. Although provisions on free health care services still exist in Serbia and Montenegro, the quality of services has deteriorated dramatically, due to the shortage of equipment, drugs and basic medical supply. The lack of financial resources has resulted in lowering the quality of health services. The worse quality of health services has had immediate negative effects on the protection of women's health in general and the reproductive health in

particular. Increased poverty, wars in ex-Yugoslavia, prolonged living under stressful conditions and environmental pollution, are factors that could deteriorate the health of the population and lead to an increase in the incidents of cancer in the region. Incomplete evidence obtained from primary health care facilities indicates that in Serbia the cancer of female reproductive organs is on the rise, as well as anemia among pregnant women. Many women in rural areas in Serbia who have breast cancer have avoided expensive medical treatment in order to preserve the financial resources of the family.

C. Conclusions

A considerable effort has been made, especially over the last 3 to 4 years, by the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro/, Croatia and Bulgaria for the implementation of CEDAW. Despite that, there are serious gaps in the legislation and the mechanisms for implementation as follows: the provisions of articles 5, 6, 7 and 11 have not been adequately transposed in the national legislation, there are no implementation mechanisms or the existing ones are very weak, there is no understanding and no real application of affirmative action according to art. 4. No institutional mechanisms for gender equality exist or they are at their very outset. They are in all cases under-resourced. No special human rights and gender education programmes run on the initiative of the state are available. The lack of official research and gender desaggregated statistics is evident in all the countries. These are all areas where the governments are under pressure from, but at the same time facilitated by, the agendas of women's movements in the region. There are further opportunities for radical positive changes, which will occur as a result of their joint efforts and with the support of the international community.




Page 1. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 2. General Recommendations . . . . . . . . . 29 3. Women in the Social, Economical and Political Context of the country . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 4. Fundamental Freedoms and Rights . . . 36 4.1. The problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 4.2. The Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 4.3. NGOs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 4.4. Health laws and policies . . . . . . . . . . . 39 4.5. Family Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 4.5.1. Legal rules on abortion . . . . . . . . . . 41 4.5.2. Requirements for legal abortion . . . 41 4.5.3. Problems related to women's health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 4.6. The Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 5. Trafficking in Human Beings . . . . . . . 43 5.1. The Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 5.2. The Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 6. Women's Employment . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 6.1. The Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 7. Women's Participation in Decision-Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 7.1. The Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 7.2. Positive examples . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 8. National Mechanisms for the protection of women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 8.1. Mechanisms at the governmental level . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 8.2. Mechanisms at the local level . . . . . . . 52 8.3. The problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53


- Alternative Report AFPA - Albanian Family Planning Association CEDAW - Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women EU - European Union FP - Family Planning IFAW - Independent Forum of Albanian Women IT - Information & Technology MOH - Ministry of Health NGO - Non-governmental organisations POA - Program of Action RH - Reproductive Health RR - Reproductive Rights SP - Stability Pact WTI - Working Table 1 AR


Diana Culi

(IFAW), national coordinator

Valentina Leskaj





This Shadow Report outlines the situation of women in Albania based on the Articles 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, of CEDAW. The report purports to review the existing status of women's rights in the country and to propose a list of recommendations that the Albanian Government and other relevant institutions should implement in order to fulfil their duties and boost the improvement of women's situation in Albania. The Report was prepared by a group of experts from the Albanian Family Planning Association and the Independent Forum of Albanian Women (IFAW) during the period November 2001 - January 2002. The main data included in the AR were collected from a wide range of publications, reports, or other materials from governmental and non-governmental bodies in Albania. A list of these documents can be found at the end of the report. The methodology used to prepare the report was: - Review of existing secondary data from Governmental institutions; - Review of the implementation of CEDAW in Albanian legislation and in the policies of the Albanian Government; - Review of national legislation passed by the Albanian Parliament during the last 10 years; - Comparing approach of national legislation with international standards; - Review of publications and other documents from governmental and non-governmental sources. The main topics covered by the report include fundamental freedoms and rights, trafficking in human beings, women's employment, women's participation in decision-making and the national mechanisms in place. The Albanian Parliament ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in December 1993. The transition of Albania to democracy has been longer and more difficult than expected. The country is working hard to build the democratic institutions and to improve its situation influenced not only by the internal problems but also by the lack of stability in the whole region during the last ten years. The political struggle between the political parties has made it difficult for the population to reconstruct the country. The ruined economy left by the former regime and the scarce means to rebuild it formed another barrier to the democratisation process. During the last ten years, the reforms in the macroeconomic framework have been suc-

cessful but have not yet improved the people's life. The country is still among the poorest in Europe. The political life in Albania remains troubled, because of the political struggles and the fragile governmental institutions. In this democratic process, women are the latecomers and the last to benefit from the democracy. The situation of women has been changing along several lines during the transitional period. The main fact is that the number of women participating in decision-making institutions has decreased and there is an immediate exclusion of women from the economic sphere. The composition of governmental institutions is not based on gender equality and/or the observance of this principle. The implementation of law on equality between women and men and the day-to-day running of the institutions do not imply a real participation of women in decision-making. The low level of women's employment results from the preference to men on the labour market. Motherhood is the reason for women to be less preferred and there are tendencies of age-based discrimination, due to which women older than 35 years are not easily hired. Very often, such ads appear in national newspapers. On the other hand women lack knowledge about the market economy, IT and other skills. They also have restricted access to information. The social status of women is affected by the transitional changes in the family and society during the last ten years. While, the existing legislation generally enhances women's social status, the implementation of the laws by the executive power is still poor. The Albanian Government recently prepared a new strategy on poverty eradication. For the first time the NGO sector was involved in the process of formulating and discussing the strategy. Domestic violence is perceived as a serious problem. No reliable data exist on this phenomenon. Perceived as a private matter between husband and wife, domestic violence is hidden and not addressed by governmental policies. The social status of women is strongly affected by the restricted access to information and services, migration etc. Since 1991 significant population outflows have taken place, legal and illegal, temporary and permanent. A new tendency is for women to emigrate alone without any family members. Emigration has caused considerable changes in the structure of Albanian families. The conflict situation in the region has brought the problem of the trafficking in human beings, mostly women and children. Human trafficking is a transnational problem. This phenomenon has serious social and health implications, including HIV/AIDS. During the last two years, Albania has changed from mainly a country of origin into a transiting country. However, the risks



and the negative repercussions on women and girls remain quite high. There is a political will to address the issue of trafficking. A new national strategy against the trafficking in human being has been approved by the Government providing, inter alia, for the establishment of regional centres to combat the trafficking in human beings. Since 1992 women's NGOs have been developed rapidly and they tend to transform into a women's movement, with an important role in bringing women's problems onto the political and public agenda. Another positive tendency is the provision of services to address the needs of marginalized groups such as Roma women, the minorities etc. The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe has promoted some gender-oriented initiatives, at the national and regional levels, in particular on women in politics and decision-making. However, the efficiency has proved to be low. The Albanian Constitution proclaims gender equality. The Constitution reflects some of the most significant principles of international human rights standards. However, the legal provisions on women's rights do not automatically imply genuine equality between men and women. The situation with human rights has improved not only due to the opening of the country and legal reform, but also due to the pressure of the NGO sector and other civil society groups. After the Beijing Conference, women's issues are more visible on the political agenda. The conceptual framework of human rights is limited in Albania because of the political, social and historical background. Women often lack fundamental rights to freely make decisions. An AFPA survey showed that according to 23.5 percent of the women interviewed it is the husband's right to decide in order to have or not a child. The government endorses a human rights approach to the provision of reproductive health services enables individuals and couples to make an informed choice of the number of children and the spacing of births, and promotes gender equality and women's right approach to health. Still, women have limited access to information and services related to reproductive health and their rights, in particular in the rural areas. Women's participation in politics and decision-making remains poor. Media often create stereotypes and there is victimisation of women. The newly established institutional mechanisms on gender issues are still fragile. Their capacity needs to be improved, particularly in the local government settings.


















To organise a joint awareness raising campaign for women, and to provide information, knowledge about the Albanian legislation and the position of women in society; To exert pressure for a stronger gender-equality orientation in the new legislation, e.g.: the Family Code, the Reproductive Health Law, etc; To raise the awareness and knowledge of women's rights and of the possibilities offered by the market economy; To organise public hearings on gender equality and shared responsibilities; To enhance school curricula with a cross gender perspective and avoid existing stereotypes; To promote crosscutting gender-culture programmes for young people and establish youth friendly services; To monitor the implementation of governmental obligations under the international human rights treaties; To promote debates on quotas in political parties and in parliament; To promote vocational training for women, especially young girls; To avoid age and gender-based discriminatory attitudes with respect to employment; To support women's involvement in politics and in decision-making; To promote the dialogue with political parties overwhelmingly dominated by men; To lobby and campaign not only for senior positions in Government, Parliament, and for more women MPs, but also for the local elections and the local government; To train women in leadership skills; To improve the co-ordination and co-operation among NGOs operating in this field and between them and the Government bodies; To exchange experience with advanced European countries in areas of common interest through meetings, contacts, joint projects, etc; To improve the law on domestic violence and include new provisions in the Family Code; To address the issue of trafficking in human beings based on a regional approach; To complement the Albanian legislation with new provisions in the field of services and financial support to victims of trafficking; To establish integrated services at the district level and mobile services for the rural areas; To involve men in reproductive health issues;






To amend the abortion law with respect to the waiting period, which should be shortened; Contraceptives should be covered by public health insurance schemes; To prepare a situation analysis and improve research and the information management systems; To provide media with data and information on women's issues; To support NGO-s providing social and other services to women; To ensure collaboration between the media and the NGOs.

· To organise a campaign and IEC in family planning issues · To establish youth friendly services. · To provide a situation analysis and improve the information management system.

R Trafficking in Human Beings - Recommendations

Special recommendations:

R Fundamental Freedoms and Rights

Recommendations for the media

· To organise open debates on the issues of gender equality and shared responsibilities. · To provide training courses for journalists on gender issues · To provide media with data and information on related issues

Recommendations for the NGOs

· To organise a joint campaign to raise women's awareness, information, knowledge of Albanian legislation, etc. · To exert pressure for a stronger gender equality approach in the new legislation, e.g. the Family Code, the Reproductive Health Law, etc. · To enhance the school programs with a cross-gender perspective and avoid existing stereotypes. · To promote cross cutting gender culture programs for young people.

R Problems related to women's health - recommendations

· To draft a law on witness's protection. The law would facilitate the prosecution of offenders by providing protection to women and other trafficked individuals and would lead to a large-scale detection of the network of traffickers. · To improve the law on domestic violence and include it in the new Family Code. · To complement the Albanian legislation with provisions in the field of services and financial support for the victims of trafficking. · To support NGOs in providing services to the victims of trafficking. · To better co-ordinate co-operation and interaction among the NGOs operating in this field. · To support NGO coalitions to combat the phenomenon · To ensure better interaction between NGOs and the government. · To organise continuous awareness campaigns through the media, which should be better motivated to cover and comment on NGOs activities against trafficking. · To implement a regional approach to the issues of trafficking.

Recommendations for the media

· To provide training for journalists on how to address the issue · To increase the protection of journalists

R Women's Employment

· To establish integrated services at the district level and mobile services for the rural areas. · To train the service providers about the new concepts of reproductive health and rights. · To improve the mechanisms of information dissemination. · To create an anonymous information system regarding HIV/AIDS. · To involve men in reproductive health issues. · New provisions in the abortion law concerning the waiting period, which should be shorter. · Contraceptives should be covered by public health insurance schemes. · To ensure better co-ordination between different sectors.

· To promote vocational training for women; · To create possibilities for grants, credits and loans for women; · To avoid age and gender-based discriminatory attitudes with respect to employment, including the media announcements; · Awareness and acknowledgement of women's rights and of the possibilities offered by the market economy.

Recommendations for the media

· Lobbying campaign to make the media sensitive to these issues · Collaboration between media and the NGOs

R Women Participarion in Decision-Making

· To formulate a common strategy among the elected bodies and women's NGOs, both in the short and the long term.



· To increase public awareness during the pre-election periods with regard to the next elections, starting with the local approach. · To ensure interaction with the media to achieve best results during the awareness campaign. · To promote the dialogue with political parties overwhelmingly dominated by men. · Lobbying and campaigning not just for the top levels of governance, like the parliament and the central government, but for the local elections and the local government. · To exchange experience with advanced European countries in areas of common interest through meetings, contacts, joint projects, etc. · Training for leadership skills and for the organisation of campaign, the media, etc. · To monitor the implementation of government obligations and adopted international treaties. · To promote debates on quotas in political party structures and in parliament.

R National Mechanisms for the protection of women

· To promote capacity building for national mechanisms · To improve the collaboration between the national mechanisms and NGOs at the local level · To support women in politics and in decision-making · To establish gender-oriented data.


The complex process of transition in Albania has been coupled with a multitude of difficulties, challenges and problems. The various social groups in the country experience these transitional hurdles differently and with a different intensity. The poor economic situation left by the former regime and the scarce means to rebuild it formed another barrier to the democratisation process. The reforms in the macroeconomic framework have been successful but have not yet improved the people's life. The Country is still among the poorest in Europe. Albanian GDP was 1.100 $ per capita in 2000, while the inflation rate was 4.2 in 2001. In 1999, Albania faced a humanitarian catastrophe with the arrival of the refugees from Kosovo, as they increased the population by 15 per cent

in a very short period. Statistical data on the period 1920-1928 show that there were no women in the first Albanian parliament, a sign of the extreme conservatism of the Albanian society at that time. During the period 1945-1990, the legal provisions and the social arrangements endowed women with rights equal to those of men. The provisions of the Albanian Constitution of 1946 sanctioned for the first time the women's rights to vote, to be elected, to work, to associate and organise themselves, as well as other rights of which women had been deprived earlier. That constitution introduced the principle of equal pay for equal work. In 1974, women represented 33 percent of the members of the parliament. In 1988, 1/3 of the parliamentarians was women. On the other hand, as in all former communist countries, women and men suffered the lack of human rights, and, especially Albanian women suffered from the conservatism of society and inequality in the family. The process of developing new dimensions in women's life and their role is still fluctuating and influenced by the positive and negative factors. The composition of governmental institutions is not based on gender equality and/or the observance of this principle. The formalist implementations of the law on equality between women and men and the day-to-day running of the institutions do not imply a real participation of women in decision-making. The Albanian Government prepared a new strategy on poverty eradication. For the first time the NGO sector was involved in the process of formulating and discussing the strategy. Changes in the level of economic output have been accompanied by major structural shifts and by changes in the structure of the labour force and employment. As the industrial economy had collapsed, employment fell drastically. The women who lose their job become dependent on the income of their spouses. In the rural areas, the situation is even worse because of the lack of financial resources, mechanic equipment, fertilisers etc. and the rapid processes of migration, emigration and urbanisation. Women are these who mostly bear the costs of poverty. More than 1/5 of the population lives on 1 USD per day. The economically active population constitutes 63 percent of the population over the age of 15. Almost 57 percent of the Albanian population are men. The active participation rate based on gender shows that there are big differences in the level of this indicator between men and women in all age groups. In the group of women aged 20-29, the active participation rate is 63 percent, while for men in the same age group this indicator is 83 percent.



The employment rate at the national level is 36 percent, which breaks down into 42 percent for men and 30 percent for women respectively. The Family Code approved by law N.6599 of 29 June 1982 regulates relations in the family. The drafting of a new Family Code has already started and is to be completed soon. The NGO sector is involved in the process of drafting the new Family Code in order to make their contribution. Family remains a stable institution of the Albanian society. However, the economic downturns have caused reduction of the size of families and important changes in their social framework. At the beginning of the 1980's, a rural family had 6.2 members, while in 1989 it decreased to 5.3 members. In urban areas families decreased from 4.6 members to 3.9. Today, large families can only be found in remote rural areas. The divorce rate during 1991-1997 stood at nine divorces per 100 marriages. Lately, there has been a slight increase. The relatively low divorce rate is attributed to the strong maternal obligations to children and to the inferior economic status of women. Women are forced to stay in the family, although they often suffer physical and psychological violence. Domestic violence is perceived as a serious family problem. There are no reliable data on this phenomenon. Perceived as a private matter between husband and wife, domestic violence is hidden and not addressed by governmental and public policies. The Criminal Code particularly protects women's sexual freedom and health. The Code provides that rape is punished both when the offender deflowers a woman (i.e. the victim has no previous relations with the offender) and when the offender had previous relations with the victim (when the offender is a spouse, a relative or a boyfriend). The penalty is more severe when the rape has prejudiced the health of the victim or caused suicide or death. The Criminal Code (articles 113-117) defines as a crime the practice of prostitution or any act resulting in/or favouring prostitution. Albania has a population of 3.3 million inhabitants of which 51.5 percent are females. A peculiar feature of the country consists in the annual rate of population growth. Women increased by 6.5 percent over the last eight years; men had a negative growth of -2.11 percent. The data are explained by the different life expectancy of the two sexes and by the massive emigration flows of men to neighbouring countries. Since 1960, the fertility index has been decreasing continuously. The average marital age among women is 23.6 years compared to 29,1 years among the men. The average marital age for both sexes has gone up by two years. In 1991, significant population outflows started both legal and illegal,

temporary or permanent. A new tendency is for women to emigrate alone, without any family members. Albanian emigrants in Greece are estimated to be 400.000, of which 160.000 are women. More than 150.000 people have immigrated to Italy, 30 percent of them being women. Women emigrants are more vulnerable than men are. A high number of Albanian women abroad are employed in the informal market, without contract and consequently without health and social insurance. Emigration has caused considerable changes in the structure of Albanian families and has had other social implications as well. It provokes divorce, separates families artificially and hurts the emotional side of the relationship. In the recent years, emigration has started declining for a number of reasons: improving life conditions in the country, improving political stability. The movement of population from the rural to the urban areas is a new tendency that influences women's life in two directions. First spontaneous movements from rural to urban areas have been accompanied with very limited access to social and health services, water sanitation, electricity etc. Second, a large number of service providers, doctors, midwifes, nurses, teachers migrate from the rural areas to urban areas or abroad, leaving the rural areas without services. As regards education, data show that 27 percent of women above the age of 15 have completed secondary education, while only 13 per cent study at the university. This relates to the fact that in the rural areas school attendance by girls is lower after completion of the compulsory education (8 years). Although there are no legal obstacles, parents do not wish to send girls to school because of the poor infrastructure, insecurity, and poor cultural background. According to the data, at the end of each academic year, women graduates outnumber men, although men are the majority upon admission. 1992 marked the beginning of women's NGOs, which have developed rapidly towards women's movement, with an important role in bringing women's issues onto the country's agenda. A positive tendency is the networking of NGOs, as they have a stronger voice now and address issues which have been taboos or less addressed by governmental structures, such as trafficking in human beings, family planning and SST, gender-based violence etc. The women's movement does not yet have a uniform image. It is characterised by a broad spectrum of opinions and tendencies. Their presence in the media is still weak and media themselves are not open for women's issues. On 10 June a EU initiative, the Stability Pact for South Eastern



Europe, was approved in Cologne. In the founding document, more than 40 partner countries and organisations took the responsibility to strengthen democracy, human rights and economic prosperity in South Eastern Europe. Euro-Atlantic integration was promised to all the countries in the region. At the Sarajevo summit on 30 July 1999, the Stability Pact was reaffirmed. There are three Working Tables, which operate under the Regional Table:

· Working Table 1: Democratisation and Human Rights; · Working Table II: Economic Reconstruction, Co-operation and


· Working Table III: Security Issues (with two sub-Tables: Security

and Defence, and Justice and Home Affairs). Through WT1, the Stability Pact also aims at promoting gender equality and appropriate representation of women in public life as well as enabling women to take part in the political process empowerment. The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe has promoted some gender-oriented initiatives at the national and regional levels. However some problems have been identified in relation to it. - Gender issues are part only of the first table, but they are not linked only with democracy and human rights. These issues need to be an integral part of three tables; - There is an established lack of co-ordination for gender issues between the three tables and between the three sub tables of WT1. - The Gender task force project on Women in Politics and Decision Making (part of WT1), "Women can do it", did not have any impact at the national level. After the last Albanian parliamentary elections (2001), women representation in Parliament is the lowest in the last five decades. As a result, women constitute only 5 percent of the MP's. Political parties did not accept an initiative from several women NGOs, such as the Millennium Association, proposing an agreement on quotas.


The Albanian Constitution proclaims the gender equality. The Family Code and other laws also contribute to that effect. Family rights in Albania continue to be old-styled, because the new Family Code has not been approved and the old Code of 1982 is still in effect. The provisions of this Code concentrate on a woman's position as

mother and wife. In addition, the Code holds both spouses to be equal owners of the property acquired after marriage. However, the marriage is only valid if contracted in the offices of the state authorities, i.e. the local government registrar's office. The woman should not be younger than 16, while the man should be at least 18. The law makes no distinction between the rights and obligations of both spouses with regard to the upbringing and education of children. The Albanian legislation acknowledges the mutual obligations of spouses after divorce. After the dissolution of a marriage, each of the former spouses has the right to file with the court a formal request for the division of matrimonial property. Article 6 of the Family Code states that "The husband and the wife enjoy equal rights in the family". Ownership is regulated by the disposition of the Civil Code of 1992, article 86 and 87. According to article 86, "Movable, bank deposits and everything acquired by spouses during the marriage, excluding personal belongings, are community property". Spouses are entitled to equal rights to the community property even when one of them has been engaged in housework only. The existing law presumes that the two spouses jointly hold property rights to assets, acquired during the marriage, with the exception of strictly personal belongings. This means that if the spouses have a different contribution, to the property, the division will follow the contribution made by each of them. In today's conditions, when women are generally unemployed, it is not infrequent that their work for and contribution to the family property is devalued and their share is inconsistent with the real contribution. In court proceeding, women's work in the household and on the farm is considered to be contribution to the family welfare. However, the calculation is not always fair and easy to make. The present legislation does not recognise the right of a married individual to private ownership. As long as the individual is married, his or her acquisitions (by purchase, donation, inheritance, etc.) become co-owned by himself and his/her spouse. In the case of couple's separation, when the partners lived together (but were not married), the law makes no provision for property division. The property is divided based on the general rules governing the division of co-owned property (article 207 and the following articles of the Civil Code). There are no court precedents on the division of property acquired during cohabitation periods. This is a gap in Albanian legislation. The Law on Marital Status provides that after the marriage a woman can have her own



family name or assume her husband's family name. Men enjoy the same right. Both spouses have the right to choose the common family name. Very often after the marriage, women take their husband's family name. After a marriage is dissolved, the children are placed in custody of the parent with a better educational and economic background, the one who is more responsible, affectionate and caring. In the event of demise of that parent, the child is placed under the care of the other parent, the grandparents or someone whom the Court may consider as best suited for childcare. However, children are overwhelmingly entrusted to the mother's care. The Criminal Procedure Code provides for less harsh indictment measures if the offender is a woman. According to that Code, pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers cannot be placed under arrest, unless suspected of crimes for which a minimum sentence of ten years of imprisonment is foreseen. The Albanian legislation makes no provision for children of women prostitutes. Nevertheless, based on the rules of the Constitution and those of the Family Code, it can be inferred that such children should enjoy the same rights as those born in wedlock. Article 54 of the Constitution stipulates that "Children born out of wedlock enjoy the same rights as those born by lawfully wedded people". According to the Albanian legislation, rural women are not entitled to social and health insurance, because they are considered self-employed.

4.2. The Media

· Creating stereotypes · Culture of positive discrimination · Victimisation of women · The monitoring of media during the last 6 months of 2001 revealed that in

the three main TV channels there was no guest woman in the debates on political, economic or social issues.

· In general, media do not show any particular interest in young people and

gender equality.

4.3. NGOs

NGOs play a considerable role in bringing the topical issues related to gender equality and the fight against gender discrimination onto the agenda. Besides, women NGOs, Human Rights organisations and other gender-oriented NGOs play an important role, e.g. the Albanian Human Rights Centre, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, the Children's Human Rights Centre of Albania, the Albanian Human Rights Group, the Foundation for Conflict Resolution, "Useful for Albanian Woman", the Women' Centre, Refleksione, the Independent Forum of Albanian Women, the Albanian Family Planning Association, the Women Counselling Hot Line, Millennium etc. The Governmental Committee on Equal Opportunities has contributed to promoting gender equality, in particular by introducing this perspective in local and central governmental structures.

4.1. The problem

There is a big difference between the legal framework and real life; Gender equality and shared responsibilities are far from the established standards in a democratic society; Women often have no fundamental rights to decide. A survey shows that 23.5 percent of the women are convinced that it is their husband's right to decide to have a child or not. Regarding the common responsibilities in the family, the same survey showed that the time that women dedicate to housework is 7 times more than that of the husband, while women dedicate to child education 2 times more than the husband; The school programs are not cross gender oriented and often create stereotypes; Although there is a Ministry of Culture and Youth, there is no strategy that could reflect gender equality culture. The conceptual framework of human rights is limited in Albania because of the political, social and historical background.

4.4. Health laws and policies

Albania is in the process of developing a new national health policy. The Primary Health Care Policy adopted in 1997 aims to offer accessible and affordable health care to all people. The MOH programme is based on the Cairo POA on Population and Development, and on the country situation. The legal reforms have a positive impact on women's health. Improving maternal and child health is the main priority of the Ministry of Health. The health care system has the following specific objectives: R To increase the accessibility of health care services by 2005 to 100 percent for the urban population and to 90 percent in rural areas; and R To improve the quality of health care services using standardised protocols for diagnosis and treatment for 95 percent of the patients by 2005.



The specific objectives related to the health status of the population were to reduce child morbidity, and to lower infant mortality to less than 25 per 1000 live births by 2000, and to reduce maternal mortality to 25 per 100.000 live births by the same year. Both objectives were achieved. As regulated by a 1997 Act, the reproductive health care services and the basic family planning services are provided at the primary health care level, as well as in maternity hospitals. The reproductive health care services are generally aimed to offer good quality; to improve the health status of women during their reproductive age, especially during pregnancy and delivery; to improve the health status of babies, infants and children up to the age of five; and to improve the sexual health of adolescents and adults. A reproductive health draft law is in the process of discussion and will soon be forwarded to the Parliament for approval. The involvement of NGOs, such as AFPA, in the process of drafting and discussions, before presenting the bill to Parliament, demonstrates the openness of MOH and the parliamentary committees.

4.5.1. Legal rules on abortion

In 1988, abortion became legal but only for therapeutic reasons. In 1991, however, the grounds for abortion were broadened again.

4.5.2 Requirements for legal abortion

Along with the new Criminal Code, a new law on abortion was adopted in 1995. The Law on the Interruption of Pregnancy permits abortion upon a woman's request, up to 12 weeks from the presumed date of conception. A physician, in either a public or private health institution, must perform it. Terminations of pregnancy to save the mother's live or health or because of fatal impairment can be performed anytime during a pregnancy, provided that a specially convened commission of three physicians authorises such termination. Similarly, terminations of pregnancy for social reasons (unspecified in the law) or after a sexual assault (such as rape) are permitted up to 22 weeks provided that three specialists (physician, social worker, and lawyer) authorise the procedure. The counselling of pregnant women during this period is mandatory. The physician must inform a woman requesting an abortion of the health risks involved; of the state and non-state assistance available to families, mothers, and children; of the adoption alternatives; and of the clinics and hospitals that perform abortions. After such counselling, if the woman still wishes to proceed with abortion, she must reconfirm her request in writing and wait for seven days before undergoing the procedure. If warranted, the physician may reduce the waiting period to two days. When possible, the physician is encouraged to involve the husband or parent in the decision. All women are entitled to post-abortion counselling on family planning services and contraception. Unmarried girls under the age of 16 who seek abortion must have the consent of a parent or a guardian. All physicians who perform an abortion are obliged to report it to the Institute of Statistics; the woman's identity may not be revealed. There are no comparative data on abortion before 1990, since most abortions were illegal. Comparing the data after the new legalisation came into force, there is a slight decrease in the abortion rate and, more important, the legalisation abortion lowered dramatically the maternal mortality resulting from abortion. As a result, maternal mortality has decreased from 57 per 100 000 live births to 14.7 per 100 000 live births which means three times less.

4.5. Family planning

Before the transition, modern family planning methods were outlawed, because of strong birth-promotion policy implemented by the communist regime and the socio-cultural background of the population. In 1992, a Decision of the Council of Ministers declared that family planning should be seen as a fundamental human right from which all citizens should be able to benefit of their own free will. Under the terms of this decision, the Council of Ministers approved activities in family planning, including prophylactics, the right of couples to decide on the number of their children, the spacing of births, sterility control and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections such as AIDS and syphilis, and the dissemination of information on issues relating to sexual health. Governmental Family Planning Services with the Ministry of Health were set up in the primary health care institutions and in each maternity hospital. However, the government is not the sole provider of family planning services. The Albanian Family Planning Association, an International Family Planning Federation (IPPF) affiliate, provides family planning services besides the advocacy on these issues. International agencies work in the field of reproductive health, such as UNFPA through the national program; USAID has also contributed to the training of personnel working in family planning and supplies. NGOs such as Marie Stopes International and Population Service International contribute to the same area.



4.5.3. Problems related to women's health

Maternal mortality in Albania is among the highest in Europe. In some northeastern districts motherhood is not safe and maternal mortality is 40/100 000 live births. Infant mortality is still high: 17.8/1000 live births. Abortion is not safe yet. It is mainly carried out by DC and in poor conditions. The incidence of cervical cancer is high and the services related to diagnosis are very limited. The health reform has not brought positive changes yet. Centralisation remains an obstacle to improving the access to services, in particular in rural areas. The high level of centralisation, the poor infrastructure and the high cost of services have decreased the access to services. The part of the budget dedicated to reproductive health, although increased in the last three years, remains very low. The contraception rate is as low as 11.9 per cent. These data are of 1997. Although there are no recent data, there has been an increase over the last two years. STDs including HIV/AIDS expand and no accurate data have been reported. In general, the quality of services does not match the required standards. The choices of women are limited. Contraceptives are not available in rural areas and they are not affordable for women living under the poverty line. The client's rights to quality, confidentiality and safety of service are not respected. There is no co-ordination between the health sectors, which results in time wasting and confusion for women in need of such services. Service providers are not motivated and trained. Their knowledge of reproductive health and rights issues is limited. There are disparities in the application of the abortion law:


Article 6 of the Convention is reflected in the Criminal Code approved on 27 January 1995 and amended by the law of 24.01.2001, as follows: Article 114: - Establishes as a criminal offence the favouring of prostitution, which is punished by fines or by imprisonment of up to five years. When the victim is minor or when violence was used, the period of imprisonment ranges from five to ten years. - Provides for a more severe punishment if the perpetrator has committed the same or a similar crime or if he holds a governmental position. - Point b) of this article provides that the trafficking in women for prostitution or for other material gains is punished by seven to fifteen years of imprisonment. If the offence is committed more than once or if it is coupled with abusive acts or physical or mental coercion vis-a-vis the victim to force her to act in a manner inflicting damage to her health, the punishment is imprisonment for no less than fifteen years. In the event such acts result in death, the perpetrator is sentenced to life imprisonment. - Article 30, paragraph e) classifies as a serious aggravating circumstance the commission of such acts against pregnant women. Following the fall of communism, Albania became a country of origin for women and child trafficking. Until 1997, the authorities refused to acknowledge the problem. Today the issue is high on the agenda. NGOs have been particularly active in dealing with this issue. Trafficking is mainly carried out under the cover of false marriage or employment promises. During 1998-2000, trafficking has seen a declining tendency. In the last two years, Albania has changed from a country of origin into a transit country. However, the risk remains quite high among the poor and the marginalised groups. In the South of Albania, at least 2000 married women with children have been the confirmed victims of kidnapping or trafficking for prostitution. In the case of wilful prostitution, because of their extreme poverty and bad future in Albania, the girls are unaware of what expects them on the other side of the border. They end up being exploited, trafficked and abused. As stated at the beginning of this report, human trafficking is a serious issue on the political agenda. Albania has already drafted and adopted a law on the trafficking in human beings.

· Counselling services before abortion are not effective · No Family Planning Counselling after abortion is offered · Women often have to pay more than the official cost to service providers

which is frequently not affordable for them

· Safety is not guaranteed · The waiting period required by the law delays abortions.

4.6. The Media

The media have shown little interest in health issues, including family planning. There is no information and professionalism among the journalists, in particular on reproductive health and right issues.



In addition, every act presumed to be related to human trafficking can be prosecuted under the Criminal Law and punished accordingly. Sanctions in that code may relate directly or indirectly to human trafficking. The sanctions cover the criminal offence of human trafficking, trafficking for prostitution, illegal crossing of the borders, exploitation of prostitution, the practice of prostitution, exploitation of prostitution in the more serious circumstances involving minors or people forced or/and coerced into prostitution by criminal organisations, etc. The law contains rules on the compensations of the victims. A critical gap in the law, leading to hesitation when indicting the offenders, is the protection of witnesses. The present law does not inhibit witness protection, but the limited staff and resources make it difficult to ensure adequate protection. According to the Albanian Code of Criminal Procedure, offenders condemned for crimes related to drug trafficking and prostitution, who choose to co-operate with justice, are punished with half of the sentence provided for the relevant offence. Under special circumstances, such offenders may go unpunished. Recently, under the pressure of the precipitating events, the Albanian parliament endorsed some new provisions to Law No. 7895 of 27.01.1995 "Criminal Code of the Republic of Albania". The Law contains, inter alia, rules on human trafficking and provides for more severe punishments for violent sexual and homosexual relations with adults and minors, and for kidnapping individuals. Attention should be paid to article 110/a on complicity in human trafficking for material gains, article 128/a on intentional exchange or hiding of infants, article 128/b on child trafficking, articles 114, 114/a, 115 on prostitution exploitation and the involvement of minors in prostitution dealings, articles 109, 109/a on kidnapping and taking hostages, and the articles on kidnapping minor females for prostitution. There is a political will to address the issues of human trafficking. Recently (December 2001), the Albanian Government approved the National Strategy against Trafficking in Human Beings. In 2001, Albania established a Regional Centre to combat the Trafficking in the Human Beings in Vlora.

5.2. The Media

There is no professionalism in the media when discussing the issues. The media cover mainly scoops and write less on these issues. Women are described and treated as victims, by dealing more with women and girls and less with perpetrators. There is not protection for the journalists writing about trafficking issues.


The right to employment is enshrined in the new Constitution in article 49 (1): "Everyone has the right to earn the means of living by lawful work that he has chosen or accepted himself. Everyone is free to choose his profession and place of work as well as his own system of professional qualification". This principle includes all the citizens, men and women. Article 9 of the Labour Code prohibits any discrimination in employment and occupation. Discrimination means any distinction based on sex and affecting the right of the individual to equal employment and treatment. The right to social security due to old age and incapacity provided for in article 11 paragraph a) and f) of the Convention is reflected in article 52 of the Constitution. Article 115 stipulates that an employer should provide equal pay to men and women workers, for a work of equal value. This article is in conformity with international instruments (ILO Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration, ratified by Albania in 1951). In the private sector, women's employment is limited. In the total employment in that sector, women account for 21 percent. In the non-agricultural private sector women's constitute 1/4 of the total employment, while in the agricultural sector the women's employment rate is almost equal to that of men. This is explained by the fact that many active men from the rural area have emigrated. Because of the pressure exerted by women's groups, a special provision on sexual harassment the workplace (article 37, par. 3) was included in the Labour Code. The employer is forbidden to undertake any action causing sexual harassment to the employee because of the gender. In order to ensure a preventive effect, a penalty of ten times the average salary is foreseen in a speci-

5.1 The Problem

There are no services provided by governmental structures to the victims of trafficking. The existing services, insufficient as they are, are mainly offered by from the NGOs. Prevention and integration aspects are addressed to a lesser degree.



al rule of the Labour Code. The new Criminal Code does not foresee sexual harassment as a crime. Since the approval of the Labour Code, no cases of sexual harassment have been reported, though such a phenomenon is considered rather evident in Albania. Special provisions of the Labour Code are designed to protect pregnant women workers. Article 54 (3) provides that a pregnant woman who works standing should rest for 20 minutes every three hours. Article 55 states the maximum weight to be lifted by women is up to 20 kg. According to Article 72, the employer is obliged, in addition to other hygienic requirements, to provide separate places for pregnant women. Articles 27 and 28 set out women's rights to maternity leave. According to Article 27, a woman is entitled to maternity leave provided she has been included in the social insurance scheme for the last 12 months and has been formally employed from the initial moment of pregnancy until the beginning of the maternity leave. The period of maternity leave is 365 days, including a minimum of 35 days before delivery and 42 days after the birth of the child. Employed women receive during maternity leave 80 percent of the average daily wage for the period before delivery and for the next 150 days after delivery. The remaining days will be paid 50 percent of average daily wage. Other provisions were established by the Council of Ministers in May 1996 to protect maternity rights. The decision of the Council of Ministers provides rules for safeguarding maternity and prohibits the employment of pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers in activities exposing them to dangerous agents and working conditions. Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers cannot be obliged to start work before 5 a.m. in summer and before 6 a.m. in winter. They should not be allowed to work after 8 p.m. According to Law No. 7703 of 11 May 1993, a woman can benefit from temporary disability benefit in the case of a disease or accident not related to the work she is carrying out. The disability is to be proved by a medical report, based on Regulation No. 3 of 05.10.1993. Women receive full pension at the age of 55 provided they have been insured for 35 years and when they do not perform any economic activity. Mothers having 6 or more children over 8 years are entitled to retire at the age of 50 if they have been insured for no less than 30 years. (Article 31). Employment in the public sector accounts for 21 percent of the total employment. In that sector, the women's employment rate is 43 percent. The low female participation in employment has brought changes also in the occupational structure of employment in Albania. Occupations exercised

traditionally by females no longer exist. Disparities are noticed in the employment of women at various levels of the public and local administration. More than 60 percent of those employed in the public administration are men while women are 40 percent. The management of private businesses by women is very rare. Only 18 percent of all the managers are women and almost 70 percent head small enterprises in trade and services. Unemployment is a very sensitive social and economic problem. Women in Albania are more affected by unemployment. During the first years of transition women constituted 52 percent of the total number of registered unemployed people. The decreasing number of jobless women does not imply that they are employed during the period. The Albanian Labour Market offers few possibilities for women's employment. The labour market exhibits the trend of employers' preferring to hire men rather than women. A National Living Conditions Survey shows that 60 percent of the employers declare that they prefer to employ men. One of the main gender concerns in Albania seems to be the missing link between the de jure and de facto equality regarding the access to employment, business and credit institutions, health and social services. The Albanian legislation prohibits gender discrimination and job segregation in public and private enterprises. Despite this prohibition and the high level of women's education, in a traditionally male- dominated society, employment opportunities for women are restraint. Age discrimination is one of the striking phenomena both formally and informally. The discrimination is formal since the senior officials in the policy and decision-making bodies openly express the preference for bringing in the leading position individuals up to 35 years old. These practices limit the opportunities for older women in this restrictive environment. There are no sanctions against vacancy announcements stating that the age for employment should be under 30. Informal labour is prevalent among women in Albania and no data revealing the exact numbers are available. The existence of an informal labour market exposes woman to significant risks and strips them from the right to social protection and retirement. Gender discrimination is also evident in the case of loan extensions, although this is not legal. In the banking system, which generally extends very few loans even to men, it happens that if the applicant is a woman, she is refused a loan.



Government efforts to reflect on the CEDAW obligations under paragraph c) of Article 11, stating explicitly the need for a network of child care institutions, which will enable parents to better combine their professional development with their parental duties have not been efficient. Family obligations turn into slavery for women who cannot afford to keep up their public obligations due to the lack of access to social services and overburdening household work. NGOs have played an important role in strengthening the self-consciousness of women for their position in the society and for economic independence as a key instrument for equality and equal roles in the family. A number of women's enterprises have been established where women workers can run the business as a group and decide themselves on the incomes. (Independent Forum of Albanian Woman, Useful to the Albanian Woman, SME etc.) Another contribution of NGOs is the training of women in management skills for the market economy in urban and rural areas.

Articles 45-48 of the Constitution describe the civil and political rights: - The right of every citizen to elect and be elected - The right to submit requests, complaints and objections to the public institutions The Constitution of 1998, based on CEDAW, stipulates that women enjoy the same equal political, social, economic and cultural rights with men. In a number of articles, the Albanian Constitution reflects some of the most significant provisions of human rights treaties. However, legal recognition of women's rights does not automatically imply genuine equality between men and women. Women's participation in the political and decision-making, remains limited for some reasons that are linked with the social background and with the difficulties of the transition. Political life is characterised by harsh contention over who gains power, which is particularly true in Albania, where the unprincipled struggle for power makes women stay away from participation in political life. In 1998, there was only one woman nominated by the Government as Prefect (head of several districts) in the country's 12 prefectures. There were also 2 female Mayors, 11 members of the Parliament and 3 women member of the Government. The elections of 2001 recorded yet another decline in women participation in decision-making. There are only seven women MPs are out of 140 members. One was elected the Deputy speaker of the parliament. There are no women elected as chairs of parliamentary committees. Finally, there are only two women appointed as Ministers. During the last two years, three women were appointed as Ambassadors in the Albanian diplomatic corps abroad, which can be counted as positive steps taken by the Government. Women are largely present in the Judiciary, in the health and educational sectors, but horizontally rather than vertically. Women's NGOs are very active in Albania. They provide high professional and ethical standards. In addition to the conservative mentality of the Albanian society and to the women's resistance to power, there was no coordination among women's NGOs in submitting and supporting women-candidates for the members of the newly elected parliament. This resulted in low rates of women's participation in the legislative body, and at other levels of policy and decision-making. Some of the reasons for this situation could be summarised as follows:


6.1. The Media

There are no media reactions on the high number of unemployed women. Their role has been limited in raising public awareness of women's employment or of their discrimination at work.


The Albanian Legislation reflects the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in a number of laws and regulations: Article 7 of the Albanian Constitution proclaims two important principles regarding the status of women in society. It guarantees: A. Gender equality and equity. B. Special protection of women's rights. Article 7, a) and b) is further specified in: - Article 1, item 3 of the Constitution which awards the right to vote to all citizens. - Article 18 of the Constitution stipulates that all citizens are equal before the law.

Unethical and unprincipled political strife.




The conservatism of men in political parties. Lack of support mechanisms and well-defined objectives. There are no established quotas to be filled by women and women's participation is more used as a slogan rather than being an action-oriented strategy. The voice of the civil society voice is not strong to enable it to exert sufficient pressure, to recommend and support women candidates. The women's movement failed to face the challenges, although it managed to articulate the problems and made an effort to prompt a change. The failure to establish and observe membership quotas for women was rather due to the lack of political will among parliamentarian parties. The masculine culture, still prevalent in the Albanian society, makes it difficult for women to exercise their freedom to be elected. Women's indecisiveness and hesitancy in face of pressure and difficulties generated by the overall situation in a country in transition. Lack of sufficient support from the international community. Absence of support for women to enhance their leadership capacities, negotiating abilities, inclusion in parliamentary committees and delegations, especially by involving women's NGOs in such processes. The choice of career by women and girls still tends to be gender specific. Vocational training is obstructed because of transition and changing from a centralised society to the market economy and because of the young population age, which means that it is very difficult for young women and girls entering the labour market to find training possibilities to integrate and develop their job skills. There is a big difference between the capital city and the districts with respect to vocational training possibilities.


Women candidates demonstrate that they could compete effectively. The number of winning candidates is quite satisfactory in comparison with the number of total candidates running for elections. Women politicians are entrusted with important sectors such as the Ministry for Economic Co-operation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, etc. A woman was also elected Deputy Speaker of the Parliament.






In Albania, such mechanisms are also called national mechanisms for women's development, as confirmed by this year national report to CEDAW, drafted by the Governmental Committee on Equal Opportunities.



8.1 Mechanisms at the governmental level

Under the demand and pressure of women NGOs an Office of Women and Family was established in 1992 under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. In 1998, the office was transformed into a Committee for" Women and Family". In 2001, new changes followed. By a decision of the Council of Ministers, a National Board was nominated and the Committee was named Committee on Equal Opportunities. The Committee is under the auspices of the Council of Ministers. The Committee needed a long time to overcome the bias of women themselves who wilfully admit that family is the exclusive concern of women. Even in the last governmental report on CEDAW, the Committee still used the same definition. R The Committee has the responsibility to implement governmental policies without retaining any self-initiative to influence governmental policies such as co-ordinated efforts and programs to encourage equality between men and women, propose legislation interventions or enactment of new pieces of legislation in the field, etc. The main goal of the Committee is the implementation of the Albanian Government's Platform for Women, approved by the Council of Ministers in 1999. The Parliamentary sub Committee on Women and Youth. Women Forum attached to the main political parties. Women's NGOs and groups, displaying professionalism, ethical and performance standards in their field of expertise. The Government does not have any policy on women that the



7.1. The Media

The media continuously represents a masculine culture. There is no support for women politicians or women with leadership qualities. There is a silent and a discriminatory attitude towards women. There is no cross-gender culture in the media.

7.2. Positive examples


The development of the non-governmental sector and the development of women's NGOs has contributed to new skills in the field of leadership, management, strategy formulation, policy drafting, etc.



Committee on Equal Opportunities should or could implement. The National Committee is responsible for formulating policies by using the expertise and contribution of the women's movement in general and by analysing the real situation of women countrywide. The absence of an Advisory Board representing substantially the broad base of women's NGOs, is a drawback for the existing Board, which hampers the work of the Committee.


1. Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, November 2001, Brussels / Belgium 2. National Strategy for Women, Published by the National Committee on Women and Family. 1999 Tirana. 3. V. Misja and V. Leskaj - Family Planning on Country Social and Economic Conditions, 1995, Tirana 4. Albanian Constitution, 1998 5. The Albanian Family Code 6. Criminal Code of Albania 7. Civil Code of Albania 8. Labour Code of Albania 9. National Platform of the Government for Albanian women 10. Report of the Committee on Equal Opportunities 2001 11. The Italy -Albania Counter - Trafficking Experience, IOM and Italian co-operation report 12. National strategy on poverty eradication 13. OSCE - Situation analysis of the Albanian legislation on the trafficking in human beings. 14. Human Development Report 2001, UNDP, Albania 15. INSTAT - 2001 report, women and men in Albania 16. Women of the World, Albanian Situation, AFPA 17. D. Culi, Research on women's situation in Albania, issued in 2001 18. V. Leskaj - Research on Women's Reproductive Rights in Albania, issued in 2001 19. National strategy on trafficking in human beings, 2001 20. Mariana Semini, Albanian legislation analysis on women

8.2 Mechanisms at the local level

There is no research, programmes or plans to address discrimination practices against women. There is no commitment to change either woman's representation at the level of directorates in the municipalities varies from 21 percent to 35 percent. The figures are lower in the Municipality Councils. In the educational sector where women teachers represent 80 per cent of the teaching staff, school principals are mostly men. In the rural areas, the rate of school attendance by girls declines. However, neither the Government, nor the parliamentarian commissions, or the local authorities, have prepared action plans to combat the phenomena.

8.3 The problem

There are no governmental policies with a clear gender orientation. There are no gender programs and gender-based statistics. The only exception was made this year (2000) by INSTAT, which published oriented information, in addition to statistics, containing also gender analysis. Generally, in Ministries and in governmental institutions women even with high level of professionalism are not nominated to the leading positions. The figures show that only 10% for women are in such positions in Ministries. In the case of the newly constituted Government, the nomination of a woman for the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs was followed by a number of important nominations of women in the Albanian diplomatic authorities abroad or even in high positions within the Ministry.




Page 1. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 2. General Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58


ivica Abad iæ

(Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH), national coordinator,

3. Introduction

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

4. Survey of the political and economic situation in BiH . . . . . . . . . . . 60 5. Art. 5 - domestic laws, present situation, recommendations . . . . . . 64 6. Art. 6 - domestic laws, present situation, recommendations . . . . . . 67 7. Art. 7 - domestic laws, present situation, recommendations . . . . . . 69 8. Art. 11 - domestic laws, present situation, recommendations . . . . . 72 9. Women and the media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80 10. Women - members of minority groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 11. Refugees and displaced persons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 12. Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85

Nuna Zvizdiæ

(Women to Women)

Milica Periæ





In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the issue of implementation of human rights and freedoms on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and gender has become topical and of a broad interest to the female population and the society in general in the last five years, more precisely since 1995. Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by organising themselves through the non-governmental sector and together with non-governmental organisations engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, recognise the interest of the public to women's problems. By disseminating the international conventions and documents in the field of human rights, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Beijing Declaration, and while relying on harmonising domestic legislation with world practice they try to define a strategy for the protection and promotion of women's rights in all spheres of life. Women are aware of the fact that the right to equality of all citizens throughout the territory of the state and the obligations of the state not to discriminate against its citizens on the basis of their gender, race, religion, political or any other orientation, language, property or other status, or any other determination is only the expression of the right to be different. In 2001, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the women's non-governmental organisation "Zene zenama" (Women to Women) and the association of women "Femina", studied the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the domestic legislation and compared it with the practice in the field, for the purpose of reporting to the UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women). During this one-year work and with respect of the experience, we noticed the following: 1. Since there are at least two parties, or sides, involved both in equality and in discrimination, the overall engagement to apply of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women should not be exclusively considered as a problem for women. Such an approach can get us off the right path because all those who consider the issue of equality of women as part of general equality understand that this issue is considered within one biological species - that of the human beings. Therefore, we deem that many more men should be included in the realisation of the Convention, particularly those men who, because of their job, social position or participation in governmental bodies or their own power, can significantly con-

tribute to a better attitude women - in the family, the society, among the authorities, at work. Only then shall we be able to eliminate the existing confrontations on the basis of such established equal relationships between men and women. Namely, women's fight for equality aims at an equal distribution of power and it is not only a women's right but also a universal human right. 2. The enormously increasing violence in the last ten years by men towards other men, members of the same biological species and towards other living species, nature as a whole and the planet as our only place of living, creates deep concerns and makes it necessary to concentrate all the positive human energy and power in the fight against violence. We deem that the implementation of the Convention should be put in the context of combating violence, generally. We also propose that NGOs, particularly women's NGO networks, launch public advocacy campaigns for the passing of a Law Against Violence. 3. It is necessary to propose to the Government to draft, together with the NGOs, a long-term national strategy and an Action Plan for the implementation of this Convention and the Beijing Declaration in all spheres of human life. Of course, during the work on this strategy expert groups should be set up of domestic and international experts, which should primarily observe to the highest possible extent the specificity of this country in terms of tradition, demography, national, multireligious, economic and other national aspects. The national strategy for the protection of women's rights should be fully brought in accordance with the world fight against violence. 4. In parallel with the drafting of national programmes, it is necessary to systematically create and enhance a positive climate in the political and social structures, as well as in the governmental bodies at all the levels, and to adopt and enshrine such national strategy into the appropriate legal regulations. This would be in fact the only road to change the viewpoint of the whole population and this starting creation of a positive climate would be crowned with the individual and collective freedoms ensuring equality and dignity for all people - because freedom, equality and dignity are of the same gender. This report reflects the implementation of the Convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2001. The report comprising the following parts: 1. Survey of the political and economic situation in BiH; 2. The articles of the Convention compared to the legislation of the state and its entities in the field, including proposal of measures; 3. Recommendation for the implementation of the Convention.




Removing all obstacles to and causes for the adequate presentation of the strength of BiH women in the family, public, political, economic and legal life, eliminating discrimination and inequality in making decisions. These result primarily from: · The slow movement towards a rule of law · The low degree of incorporation in the legal system the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Declaration, the Convention on Political Rights of Women, the Convention on the Status of Married Women, the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others and the Convention on Consent to Marriage concerning the minimum age for marriage and the registration of marriage relating to the obligations and responsibilities of the state to provide active assistance and to eliminate the failures so as to contribute to the protection against discrimination and gender equality. · The low level of education of women and the need to improve their awareness of their rights in respect of the state and the authorities, and their obligations towards the state. · Removing the lack of political will and all kinds of obstacles to a faster transition processes in social and economic sphere. Hence on the basis of its observations, the non-governmental sector urges and requests the governmental authorities, political parties, other non-governmental organizations, the media and all allies in the civil society to be more responsible in implementing all the conventions that could to improve women's rights and gender equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina, advocate and recommend that: · Domestic laws be synchronised so as to remove all legal inconsistencies, applicable regulations and acts be passed, the practice be improved in recognising discrimination and gender inequality, and all forms of violation of human rights, particularly of women's rights, be removed. · BiH authorities at all levels, adopt a strategy for improving the situation with women's rights and use all the available state mechanisms and instruments to achieve this, as well as the non-governmental sector, the media and other stakeholders of the civil society. · All obligations of the governmental authorities and the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina be fulfilled in respect of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, especially reporting on the achieved results in terms of legislative, judicial, administrative and other obligations, and measures adopted to implement the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Specific recommendations: · Article 5 1. The entities should agree to unify the family and criminal laws at the level of the state. 2. Passing a state programme for the prevention of all forms of violence in the family. 3. Introducing mechanisms of protection and training the employees of the police, the social services, the Judiciary and other bodies with whom victims of violence come into contact. 4. Raising the public awareness of the problem of domestic violence and especially raising awareness of women of their life without violence and of their legal rights.

· Article 6 1. Implementing the State Law Against Trafficking in Human Beings and obliging the entities to mutually co-operate for the purpose of combating the unlawful trafficking in human beings and sexual abuse, and harmonising the efforts with the international documents on fighting international crime. 2. Organising a public campaign to warn the public of the issue of trafficking and to educate the officers of the State Border Services, the police, the Judiciary, the health and social workers about the way of treatment of victims of trafficking and prostitution. 3. Joining in the international and regional network for combating the unlawful trafficking in human beings (implementation of the signed agreement on co-operation between the bodies for application of the law on combating illegal immigration and organised crime: the agreement was signed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republika Srpska, the Federation of BiH and the State Border Services of BiH. 4. Assisting and supporting the non-governmental sector in the implementation of the National Action Plan for Combating and Preventing the Unlawful Trafficking in Human Beings. · Article 7 1. Implementing consistently the rules of the Election Law and passing a Law on Associations and Foundations. 2. Making statistical data about the participation of women in the public and political life transparent and applying the Law on Access to Information. 3. NGOs should, through public work and campaigns, sensibilise the public for gender equality issues and encourage women to engage more in the political and public life of the country. 4. There should be greater co/operation between NGOs and women politicians in the country as well as co/operation at regional level / Stability Pact. · Article 11 1. The BiH Government should prepare unified labour regulations. 2. The Governments of the Federation of BiH and Republika Srpska should envisage that bylaws be passed in order to establish and ensure women's health protection. 3. The Government of BiH should ensure and establish a consistent social policy and social protection at state level. 4. Non-governmental organisations should, in their programmes, devote more attention to the education of both women and men in respect of the health of people and develop in co-operation with governmental agencies, a national strategy for the health of the population and a joint basis for social protection. · Women and the media 1. Non-governmental organisations, female politicians and informal women's' groups should try harder, through lobbying and public advocacy, to get more room for serious programmes in the media during the forthcoming period. 2. The media should, through their coverage policy, make room for the promotion of women's rights and gender equality, and present women as politicians, scientists, writers, teachers, policewomen, judges, managers, that is, as public figures. 3. The media should devote more programme space and time to monitoring the work of nongovernmental organisations, i.e. make room for broadcasts programmes that promote human rights and gender equality.




In the first year of the new millennium, modern women in Bosnia and Herzegovina got to know that their role and power in the family, public, political, economic and legal life was marginal, and that discrimination and gender inequality in decisions-making in fact, related to realisation and enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Bosnia and Herzegovina has taken over the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination and integrated it into its legal system in compliance with the Constitution of BiH (Annex I, Additional Covenant on Human Rights to be applied in BiH) and ratified it in 1993, as confirmed by the General Framework Peace Agreement for BiH. It puts the authorities at all levels to determine unambiguously and clearly the attitude of the whole society toward women. Apart from this Convention, Bosnia and Herzegovina has also ratified the following Conventions: 1. International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination, 1979, and General Recommendation No. 19 2. International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, 1996, and the Optional Protocols, 1966 and 1989 3. International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from 1968 4. Convention on the Citizenship of Married Women 5. Convention for the Prevention of Torture and other Forms of Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment 6. European Convention for the Prevention of Torture, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment or Punishment 7. Conventions Nos. 29, 87, 98, 100, 111, 122, 156 of the International Labour Organisation 8. European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms


The current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is defined by four transition phrases that are used simultaneously: 1. From war time to peace

time, 2. Privatisation of public and state owned property, 3. From being dependent on assistance to sustainable economy, 4. From the traditional ethic, moral, environmental and other norms of the 20th century toward a new democratic society, market economy, rule of law and protection of and respect for human rights and gender equality. In political and social terms, Bosnia and Herzegovina has been divided and disunited. The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina has two entities. One entity, the Federation of BiH, is divided into 10 cantons. Bosnia and Herzegovina has 13 Constitutions, and a huge number of political parties with various ideological platforms, where the affiliation with a given ethnic group is particularly highlighted. It is extremely difficult to reach political agreement on issues such as a unified state, a unified economy, the concept of education, sport. It is common to all leaders to state in their public addresses their commitment to the protection of human rights, gender equality and the rule of law, while in practice the promotion of the proclaimed aims is obstructed. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a state that has held a number of elections since 1990 (the first multi-party elections were then won by the national party); from 1992 to 1995 it was war time; the 1996 elections consolidated the national parties and further strengthened the three national components in the Legislature, the Judiciary, the police forces and the army; in 2000, the Alliance for Changes led by the Social Democratic Party ended the decade-long ruling of national parties in BiH. With the assistance and support of the international community, the first steps have been made to the synchronisation of the social, political and legal processes in the state. The utterly difficult economic and social situation in the country and the high unemployment rate have caused resulted in a full economic dependency of women and pushed them to the margins of social life. The ambience of transition brings corruption and criminal acts, nurtures the gray economy, trafficking in human beings and drugs, which all negatively affect the position of women and obstruct the equal approach to all resources. The newly elected authorities, led by the Alliance, offered a Project of economic stability for a quick recovery of the state and for combating against poverty in BiH, legislative reforms and capacity building, and accelerated the accession of BiH to the Council of Europe, its membership of the Stability Pack and its partnership relations with the international community. One of the conditions to acieve the formulated goals, apart from the Election Law, is the Law on Gender Equality in BiH. These should open real possibilities for the redistribution of power between the genders and for



the elimination of all forms of discrimination. Women are particularly interested in the attainment of these aims, since economic growth and the reduction of poverty significantly affect the position of women in the family. According to the statistical data, the biggest numbers of households earn 200 DM monthly, which is twice less than the value of the consumer's basket for a four-member family. There is an evaluation according to which 70% of the population in RS and 46% of that in the Federation of BiH do not managed to make money worth one consumer's basket, that is, they live below the poverty threshold. The difficulties that families-women's-mothers and children, face limit the activities of women. Finally, and most importantly, the present authorities do understand that the mechanisms for protection of human rights and gender equality are an indicator of the achieved level of democracy in any society. The four-year war (1992-1995) brought about great social and economic changes with dramatic consequences. In that war situation, women were the most burdened and most vulnerable group. In 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina had 4,377,000 inhabitants, of which there were 2,193,000 women. The national per capita income amounted to 2,400 US$. Public services, especially health services, education, social protection and culture had very well developed infrastructure and capacities. During the war, 258,000 BiH inhabitants were killed or disappeared; 816,000 were displaced; 1,200,000 left the country. It is estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 women were raped and up to 15,000 children killed; 25,000 to 30,000 people are registered as missing (of which about 13% are women and 3% are children) - (these are the statistics of the State Commission, "Express" journal, 4 October 2001). The direct material and economic damages were put at 50-60 billion US$, of which 20 billion US$ is deemed to be damage caused to the production facilities. Bosnia and Herzegovina is now the second poorest country in the region, industrial production has fallen by 10% compared to the pre-war level, and the per capita income has fallen to 1,000 US$. During the same period, the public services completely broke down in terms of organisation, capacity, equipment, staff and finances; the system of administration - authorities, legislation, and the Judiciary - was destructed; there was a complete interruption in education and technological development; there was a steady outflow of highly skilled personnel, which has not stopped now but has even increased.

During the war, women completely took over the responsibility and care for the survival of their families, engaged in the work of public institutions, organised and established many associations. The official leadership accepted such women's activities, but only as an indispensable and normal physical and moral support during the war. Men preserved for themselves the right to make decisions. The centuries-old tradition of multi-ethnic, inter-religious tolerance and co-existence in BiH experienced a total erosion and decay. The country went out of the war completely divided, not only by the administrative interentity border, but also by the borders of distrust, fear and hatred among people. Women were the first who noticed the danger of the newly created situation and they, together with some renowned individuals and non-governmental organisations, established the inter-ethnic dialogue and co-operation in the struggle for true peace and development of democracy, for the future of their children. The 1995 Dayton Constitution defined BiH as a complex, democratic state, a member of the United Nations composed of two entities: Republika Srpska and the Federation of BiH that continued to exist as a state on the basis of international law and the recognised border. BiH has formally and legally recognised all relevant international conventions and covenants concerning the respect for human rights and freedoms and gender equality. In addition, the BiH authorities have - formally and legally - built into most of their own regulations the recommendations and obligations stemming from these Conventions. However, no legal or other implementing mechanisms have been set up yet to enable and force the authorities to implement the obligations, they have assumed. This means that the level of awareness of gender equality is not high enough; the statistical organisations and institutions do not provide gender sensitive data; there are no studies on the issue of gender equality, especially with respect decision-making in the economic and social processes; there is no adequate media coverage of gender equality. The Ombudsmen of BiH are able create a body that will monitor the application of international and domestic instruments aimed at promoting gender equality. It is incredible that trade unions in BiH, who have the task to protect workers regardless of their gender, do not address the second-class position of female working power in their programs and actions. The trade unions, in their documents on women related policy, proclaim "equality in the right to employ-



ment, equal pay for equal work, and representation in all spheres of life". Finally, under the pressure of the international community and the nongovernmental sector in BiH, and their own orientation the newly elected authorities have undertaken the first necessary steps towards fulfilment of the obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and General Recommendation No. 19, as well as the Beijing Platform and Plan for Action. The authorities set up the Commission for Gender Equality at state level. The Government of the Federation of BiH has established a Parliamentary Commission and a Gender Centre as an institution; in Republika Srpska, a Parliamentary Commission has been set up, while the establishment of the Office for Gender Equality is under way; the establishment of the Commissions for Gender Equality in all cantonal assemblies is in progress as well. In 1994, BiH had to submit a report to the UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, but due to the war the submission of that report was postponed. The report on the fulfilment of the obligations of the state under the Beijing Declaration and Plan for Action has never been made. Many reports on human rights in BiH drafted so far do not incorporate a detailed account of the state of women's rights, therefore we are looking forward with optimism to receiving them from this new infrastructure. On the basis of those reports, the necessary laws and legal regulations will be passed, thus ensuring that these significant issues will be reflected in the relevant legislation.


· Domestic laws

The Constitution of BiH, Article 2, Paragraph 3b (covers abuse, inhumane and degrading treatment, punishment; paragraph 3e, relates to the right to fair treatment in civil and criminal proceedings and paragraph 3f, proclaims the right to private and family life. This offers protection against abuse and ensures the highest level of recognition of internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Constitution of BiH, Article 2, formulates obligation of the Federation to forbid torture and the brutal or inhumane treatment or punishment (item b), and to ensure protection of a family and children (item j) The Constitution of Republika Srpska, Part II, Article 13 protects

human dignity, bodily and mental integrity, privacy, personal and family life and empasises that they are inviolable, while Article 14, paragraph 1 refers to the prohibition of torture, brutal and degrading treatment or punishment. Article 36 is particularly devoted to family and marital relationships, and provides for a special protection of mothers and children. The Criminal Code of the Federation of BiH 1 in its Article 178, Paragraph 2, sanctions the infliction of bodily injuries to a spouse or to an unmarried partner. However, paragraph 4 of the same Article provides that this criminal act shall be prosecuted on the basis of a private complaint. The Criminal Code of RS2, Article 198... "Whoever endangers the peacefulness, physical integrity or mental health of a member of his/her family or a family community through violent, offensive or cruel behaviour, will be sentenced to fine or to at least one year of imprisonment". These criminal acts are prosecuted by ex officio. The Family Law 3 has been taken over from the legislation of former Yugoslavia and is applicable in both of the Federation of BiH. This Law regulates: in Part II, Chapter I. The entities contracting a marriage; in Article 42, the personal rights and duties of spouses - and the equality of spouses; Part III regulates the dissolution of marriage; item 2 of the same chapter, regulates divorce while Article 85 deals with the support to the children given by the parents on an equal footing. According to the Constitution of BiH, the International documents which are incorporated into our Constitution, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, it is the exclusive duty of the state to ensure the elimination of violence against women. The state is obliged to protect the victims of violence, regardless of the sphere of life in which it takes place.

· Present situation

BiH is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country where tradition and culture make influence the behaviour of both women and men and are deeply rooted into the collective consciousness. Keeping the family together, the

1 2 3

After the succession, it has been taken over from the FRY legislation, Official Gazette of RBiH 25/93 Official Gazette of RS No. 22/2000 Official Gazette SR BiH, No.:21/79; amendments to this Law were published in the Official Gazette No.:44/89



upbringing and education of children are the priority tasks on the mind of a traditionally educated woman and form part of the sphere of absolute privacy. The myth about the man having authority in the family, holding the family property, that is, men's principles as underlying concepts of each relationship between a woman and a man, are handed-over from one generation to another. Any kind of disturbed relationship within the family is being experienced as personal defeat of and disgrace on the woman, and that is why it is difficult for women to publicly speak of domestic violence and discrimination. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially after the war and due to the difficult social and economic situation, domestic violence is on the increase. So far, there have been no official data on this issue published. Nevertheless, NGOs, in their programmes and research, point the issue out and warn of the increasing problem with all forms of domestic violence. On the basis of researche conducted by the NGO "Women to Women" (April - May 2001) about violence against women, based on a sample of 160 interviewees (24% men and 76% women), the question "What is the level of violence against women in BiH?" was answered as follows: 49% - average; 44% alarmingly above average; 4% low; 3% did not know. The question: "According to you, what are the main reasons for such level of violence" had the following answers: 25% - the patriarchal system of the society (and its impact on people's minds), traditionalism; 13% - psychological problems (illness), influence of alcohol and narcotics, as well as the problem of character; 20% - the overall bad situation in the society (low standard of living, low level of democracy, badly shaped legal system); 14% - generally poor education of the society. The answers to the question: "What do you think, who uses violence?" were: 12% - educated men; 58% - uneducated men; 30% - both educated and uneducated men. The question: "Whom should you address for help and whose help is most efficient", was answered in the following way: 26% - the police, 14% centres for social work, 11% - non-governmental organisations assisting women; 13% - SOS phone line; 9% - the court, etc., while 19% did not know the answer. The question "Which laws are to be changed to improve the situation with violence, that is, to stop the violence", got the following answers: 26% - the Criminal Code; 19% - the family code; 45% - both the above codes; 7% - other. At several places in BiH SOS phone lines were opened as well as shelters to offer help and support to women - victims of violence, but they can-

not meet the needs since such cases are on the increase. The non-governmental organisations cannot solve this problem themselves, without specific governmental programs and strategic actions. Although the police forces do not have enough instruments to intervene in a situation of domestic violence, they have good co-operation with the shelter for women when an SOS phone calls them. NGOs have organised many seminars, round-tables and workshops with the intention to encourage women and make them speak publicly about all forms of violence. As a result of such actions, the initiative was addressed to the judicial and legislative bodies to change and amend the laws and to make the legal regulations consistent. According to the Family Laws in both entities, parents jointly exercise their parental rights by mutual consent regardless of the fact whether their children are born in wedlock or out of wedlock or adopted. However, it is in the tradition and culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina to entrust the responsibility for the proper education of children mainly to the women, and in the case of divorce children mainly stay with their mothers, while men, apart from having contacts with the children, are to provide material assistance of an amount determined by the court. The court case-law is that 20% of the salary is to be awarded per child, but in most cases, in view of the difficult economic situation in BiH and the unemployment, this amount is not paid

6. Article 6

· Domestic laws

The Constitution of BiH, Article 2, paragraph 1 obliges the state to respect the "highest level of internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms, while Article 3, paragraph 3b provides that "the general principles of international law are constituent part of the legal system of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entities". In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is no special law regulating the trafficking in human beings, but the Criminal Code of the Federation of BiH contains rules that can be used to combat this phenomenon, such as Articles 167 - slavery; Article 184 - kidnapping; Article 185 - harsh labour; Article 187 unlawful detention; Article 225 - rape. In the Criminal Code of the Republika Srpska, Article 188 sanctions the alluring, procuring for prostitution or selling a person for prostitution or being a pimp.



The Law on Immigration and Asylum4, Article 10, paragraph 5, regulates the entry of foreigners and the purpose of their stay and the Law on the Employment of Foreigners 5, Article 7, regulates the conditions under which work permits are to be issued, thus directly influencing the combat against trafficking in women.

· Present situation

The trafficking in human beings and the prostitution of women are on the increase in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country's geographic position (East-West) and "leaky" borders benefit both the trafficking in human beings and prostitution. This problem cannot be considered as the problem of Bosnia and Herzegovina alone, but should by analysed the context of economic profit and organized domestic and international crime. For the time being, Bosnia and Herzegovina is considered to be a transit country for trafficking in women and prostitution, but some indications show that it can become a country of origin. After the last elections the Government of BiH, that is the Ministry for European Integration established the Work Group for the issue of trafficking, which passed a National Action Plan. The Plan addresses issues such as the protection of victims, prevention, legal aspects, giving information to the public, etc. The Ministry for Human Rights has joined the Ministry for European Integration in the combat against trafficking. The Ministry for Human Rights, together with the UNHCR, drafted a project that was presented at the meeting of the Stability Pact in Vienna at the end of April. Only the non-governmental organisation "Lara" from Bijeljina gives shelter to victims of trafficking. Unfortunately, nobody can approach women in the brothels and we can say that victims receive little or no help at all. The awareness raising campaign about the most horrible crime of the XXIst century under the name: "Stop trafficking in women", initiated by this non-governmental organisation (August-September 2001), and the results obtained were a serious warning to the domestic public and the authorities of this baleful phenomenon. Namely, the registration and opening of nightclubs is on the increase, where prostitution takes place and the so-called dancers, waitresses and

4 5

nightclub hostesses offer sexual services. Clients do not think of the possible health consequences or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The number of victims of trafficking rises constantly. There is a close connection of international criminal circles with domestic groups. Some information suggest the involvement of the police, the state border service, the Judiciary is corrupted. 70% of the users of such services are local people and 30% are foreigners. According to the existing data, a number of victims of trafficking in BiH come from Moldova, Ukraine and Romania. So far, only two cases from BiH have been registered. In the recent action of the UN IPTF, 177 victims of trafficking in women were saved. Until now, 260 nightclubs have been registered in BiH that are suspected of trafficking in human beings. During the last 4 months, more than 200 police raids were performed. 329 women were admitted to two centres for women, under the auspices of IOM, of which 10% were under age (Dnevni Avaz of 27.07.2001). Until now, neither the police nor the workers of social services, prosecutors, judges, border services have had any training on the issue of trafficking,

7. Article 7

· Domestic Laws

The Constitution of BiH (Article 2), the Constitution of FBiH (part 2) and the Constitution of RS (Article 25) have fully and unambiguously established the rights of women as defined in Articles 5 and 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The Election Law of BiH 6 regulates the issue of the presence of women in its Article 4.19.

· Present situation

Out of the total population of the country, 60% are considered to be women. Nevertheless, this figure does not reflect the rate of their presence and participation in the public and political life of the country. Their presence in and influence on the public and political spheres are unsatisfactory.


Official Gazette, No. 23/99, in force as of 31.12.1999. Official Gazette of FbiH, No. 8/99, in force as of 13.03.1999.

Official Gazette of BiH, No. 23, September 2001



The new Election Law passed by the state parliament establishes the quota of participation of women in the candidate lists. Article 4.19 of the Election Law of BiH stipulates that each political party must have onewoman representative in the first three seats, two women for six seats, three women for eight seats. Actually, this was much better regulated by the Election Law that in the rules and regulations given by PEC of the OSCE7, which had organised the recent elections under the proportional electoral model of open lists at least three equally positioned women (per ten leading candidates, the third, the sixth and the ninth position on the list). We give below an illustration of the position of women in political and public life over the last ten years: - In 1990, in the first multi-party BiH Parliament, out of 240 elected deputies there were only 7 women or 2,92%; at local level, out of 6,299 seats women had 315 or 5% of the seats in municipal assemblies. - In 1996, according to the information of OSCE, in the BiH House of Representatives, one out of 42 seats was taken by a woman or 2,38%. In the House of Representatives of the Federation of BiH, out of 140 seats women had 7 seats, or 5%. Two seats, or 1,89%, women had out of 106 seats in the People's Assembly of RS. - At the local elections held in 2000, according to the official data of the OSCE Mission in BiH, a proportional electoral model based on open lists was applied; 1,6 million of citizens voted, which means a turnout of 64,4%. There were only 2 women or 7,14% out of 42 deputies elected for the BiH Parliament. It is interesting to note that in spite of the regulations 14 out of 16 political parties that have their deputies in this Parliament have no woman as a representative. The situation is somewhat better of the House of Representatives of FBiH where 24 out of 140 deputies, or 17,14%, are women; out of 83 deputies at the People's Assembly of RS, there are 14 women, or 16,86%. These data on the presence of women and their political power prompt the general conclusion that there the political and legislative powers of the country are dominated by men. When speaking of the executive power, both at the state or entity level, the situation is almost similar: in the Council of Minister, there is only one


woman Minister, out of 6 ministerial seats; Women took two ministerial seats in the Government of the Federation of BiH, and only one in RS. At the lower levels of authorities, women have only four seats - they are Presidents of municipal councils. Another illustration relating to the women's participation in authorities is important and unusual. The participation of women is more restricted in the executive than in the legislature. As for the Judiciary, at the municipal courts it is unusual that the presence of women exceeds 50%. When speaking of higher courts, the presence of women is less visible expressed. At the beginning of 1999 one woman was nominated as Deputy at the Constitutional Court of BiH and took the post only after the man - judge had resigned, and in 2001, she became the President of that same court; There is no woman in the BiH Human Rights Chamber that is composed of 14 judges (six of them are local judges). The Constitutional Court of the BiH Federation and of Republika Srpska have one female member each. This shows that the higher the level of the Judiciary, the more restricted the participation of women. Thus, there are almost no women at the levels which can influence the policy and political parties. These data are clear indicators of the real attitude of political parties towards the possibilities and demands to share "their men's" power with women. Apart from these figures that illustrate the participation of women in the authorities, it is necessary to take into account another fact: the physical (expressed in numbers) presence of women in authorities does not mean active participation in the respective authority because: a) A number of women in the legislative bodies of authorities neither have enough political experience or are they used to appearing in with some rare exceptions. b) As a party's disciplined member, a woman would almost blindly listen to the president of the deputies' faction of her party. c) In the executive bodies, women are represented inadequately and consider themselves obliged to implement exclusively the policy of their own parties that have nominated and brought them to certain position. The political reality and the overall social movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina have directly made citizens start associating into the non-governmental sector to publicly express and warn about many irregularities and

Official Gazette of BiH, No. 18, 2000



illegalities in the work of public and state institutions and officials. Women and women's organisations express their greatest interest to the work relating to education in the field of human rights, provoding of psychological assistance to female victims of war and violence, assistance to refugees and displaced persons and children. They also organised themselves in women's networks aimed at promoting private entrepreneurship and alleviate of poverty. However, the non-governmental sector is not yet a partner to the authorities. It still provides service and the building of this relationship is to be continued, primarily through the creation of an adequate legal framework at the level of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Having become aware of this problem, the OSCE Mission Department for Democratisation - together with the non-governmental sector in BiH has undertaken many activities to improve the situation through various programmes.

8. Article 11

· Domestic Laws

The Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina gives the entities the competence to deal with the issues relating to labour relations, education, social and children's protection. The Constitution of the Federation of BiH, Part III, Article 1, paragraphs c and d establishes the exclusive responsibility of the Federal Government for the economic policy and fiscal rules, since both these areas impact on employment policy. Part III, Article 2 establishes joint responsibilities of the Federal and Cantonal Governments for development of social assistance policy. Part II, Article 6 of the Constitution of the Federation of BiH stipulates that courts, administration services and other governmental bodies of FBiH should act in compliance with the international instruments mentioned in the Annex to the Constitution. The Constitution of RS, in Article 39, paragraph 3 reads that "every person can freely select his/her vocation and all job positions and duties must be accessible to all under the same conditions". Article 40 focuses on the conditions of employment and provides to mothers' special protection at work. No Labour Act exists at the level of the state.

The Labour Act of FBiH 8, Article 5, explicitly forbids discrimination in labour relations on many grounds, including gender-based discrimination. However, somesignificant characteristics of the prohibition that affect women are lacking, including age. The RS Labour Relations Act 9 does not contain exclusive rules on nondiscrimination. Besides, at Act gives preferences in employment to a certain category of population, primarily on the basis of service in the Army, which of course is discrimination against women (Article 9). Both in the Federation of BiH and in Republika Srpska, there are no rules that require equal pay to any of the genders for performing the same work. The Health Protection Act10 of the Federation of BiH, in its Article 8, lists the tasks of the Federation in the field of health protection, while Article 9 of the same Act regulates the tasks performed by the Canton. Article 16, item 10 of this Act prescribes, among the measures of health protection, the "insuring of complete (preventive and rehabilitation) health protection for women with respect to their family planning, pregnancy, child delivery and maternity, to be fulfilled at the level of the Canton. The health protection of women during pregnancy, upon and after child delivery, and other women's needs (Article 20, paragraph 2, item 2), plus the care for the health and treatment of all family members (Article 20, paragraph 2, item 2) are organised within the primary health protection. The Law on the Basis of Social Protection, the Protection of Civil Victims of War and the Protection of Families with Children 11 establishes the rights, procedures and conditions for social protection. Its norms also provide possibilities to men and women, without special differences and conditions relating to gender. The principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are incorporated in this Law, namely to protection of the child through protection of the family, providing all children with approximately the same conditions for a normal and harmonious development of their personalities, and assisting the families in fulfilling their reproduction function and in improving the quality of life. Article 19, paragraph 2 of the Law on the Basis of Social Protection, the Protection of Civil Victims of War and the Families with Children, pro8 9

Official Gazette, No. 43 of 28.10.1999 and Official Gazette of FbiH, No. 32 of 8/00 Official Gazette of RS, No. 35/97 and No. 38 of 11/00 10 Official Gazette of FBiH, No. 29/97 11 Official Gazette of FbiH, No. 36/99



vides that regulations of the Canton shall establish the amount of the benefit for social protection, the conditions and the procedures for acquiring these rights and their enjoiment. In Republika Srpska, the Law on Social Protection12 regulates the social protection. According to that law, RS determines the system, establishes the rights and beneficiaries of social protection and provides financial resources, while it is the competence of the municipality to establish municipal institutions for social protection and to co-ordinate at local level.

· Present situation

The economic status of women in BiH derives from the difficult economic situation in which BiH is now and which affects negatively the social and economic status of the population as a whole. It is important to note that there is a big difference between everyday life practice and present law regulations. The data on the rates of employment and unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina are as follows: Up to 1997, the number of employed persons in the Federation of BiH did not include the persons employed in the Army and the police forces. Neither contributions nor taxes were paid for this, not insignificant group of people (who were de facto employed and received salaries). During that period, they fully enjoyed the rights relating to health and pension insurance and to tax obligations. When this category of employed persons was finally registered in 1997, suddenly the number of employed persons jumped by almost 20%. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a specific category of employed persons, so-called "workers on waiting lists". On the one hand, this category virtually increases the number of employees (who are registered as employees, but do not work) while on the other hand they are, because of poverty and the lack of legal regulation, directly and seriously damaged as they do not have health and pension insurance, and only temporarily receive symbolic compensation for their "being employed". According to the existing legal regulations, the firms at which those people "working" i.e. "are waiting" are obliged to pay for them social and pension insurance and to pay them 60% of the average salary each month. Of course, impoverished and eco-


Official Gazette of RS, No. 5/93

nomically insolvent firms do not fulfil their obligations. Moreover, even the workers who work at those firms have not received their salaries for the last two to three years. This particularly refers to the low-accumulation firms, where the labour force is mainly composed of women, for example in the textile industry. According to the data of the World Bank and the European Commission, the official post-war unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina is between 70 and 80 percent. Until the end of 1998, the unemployment rate was reduced to 33% in the Federation of BiH and 37% in Republika Srpska. Of course, we do not have on the share of "waiting workers" in this "favourable result" and of the share of those who work but do not receive pay for their work and are registered in the category of employed persons, e.g. the police and armyofficers who "entered" the category of employed persons in that year. At the end of 2000, there were 661,595 employees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of which 84,597 were on the waiting lists. Out of this number, in Republika Srpska, there were 250,000 employees and 32,000 on the waiting lists; in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were 411,595 employees and 52,597 on the waiting lists. Out of total population able to work 60% are women. The share of women in the total number of employees in the Federation of BiH is 33,3% and in RS it is 41%. If we look at fields of activity, the largest number of women is employed in education and culture, health and social protection, trade and of course the smallest number are found in the building and mining industries. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is another category of employees, so-called employees "on the black labour market", of whom women are the largest share. There is no information on the number and there are no official statistics for this category. Looking at Article 11 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the light of these facts and such a reality, its implementation in the present domestic labour legislation relating to the labour acts, seems to be ironic. Each and every regulation in effect prohibits and condemns discrimination against women in the process of employment and fully recognises the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the European Social Charter; the Convention of the International Labour Organisations (ILO) (of which only two were ratified by BiH:) Convention No. 111 on Discrimination and Convention No. 100 on



equal pay as well as Protocol No. 7 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms The question is how to implement, in today's transitional conditions, the instruments and the rules of procedure taken over from the pre-war period, when the social system was quite different. It is difficult to implement the new acts passed after the war as they are mostly unwritten and without implementing regulations, or there are no regulations to be implemented. In everyday life, there are everyday and massive strikes organised by the workers, men and women, who do not seek an improvement in their work conditions, or the right to sick leave or to hot a meal but that up to 20 unpaid salaries be paid to them and the relevant contributions be made for their health and pension insurance. According to frequent statements of the inspection officers, work on the "black labour market" is on the rise, the consequence of that being most horrible labour relationships between employees and employers, with 80% of women involved. Better-educated women are in a worse position than those who are less educated. The participation of women with high degree, two-year college and university education of the total number of unemployed persons in BiH is more than fifty percent. Out of 410,572 unemployed persons registered with the public employment office 183,262, or 44.6%, are women. Out of 85,230 unemployed persons with high school degree 53,000, or 62%, are women; there are 4,149 unemployed persons with two-year college education, of which 2,977, or 71%, are women; there are 4,425 unemployed persons with university degree of which 2,336, or 52%, are women. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the public employment offices register less unemployment than the actual rates. The workers are discouraged to register with at office since they do not receive regularly or do not receive any assistance they should receive. In the period of economic transformation and privatisation, the opening of private businesses is one of the possibilities for employment. However, women are faced with different obstacles. They do not have enough information about sources of financing; long-term loans are not accessible to businesswomen since they do not possess of property on the basis of which they can get a loan; the process of registration of firms is long and complex; there are no specific programmes of the government for the development and start-up of private business; the business environment and the legal framework do not stimulate women to more often start private businesses. Indeed, recently there has been a positive trend in the development of

private sector, due primarily to foreign and some domestic non-governmental organisations. By providing micro-credits and favourable interest rates they stimulate the further development of already started businesses. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is no strategy or programmes for the additional vocational training of manpower. This is only organised by the Chamber of Economy at the exclusive request of some enterprises. There are various forms of discrimination against employees on ethnic or religious grounds or due to origin, relatives' connections, or gender. Now that we are witnessing the everyday firing of workers by their employers, women, particularly single mothers, neglect any form of discrimination or sexual abuse just to preserve their job.

· Education

All people, regardless of gender, have equal rights to education and this is a crucial tool for reaching equality, for development and peace. The literacy of women, as well as men, is a key factor in securing and improving health, nutrition and the education of a family and in empowering women to participate more actively in the social process of decision making. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the female population is between 57% and 60%, of the total population, i.e. the presents majority. The access of women to education, regardless of legal regulations, also depends on the efforts made by the authorities to ensure primary education through the system of schools and attention to the standard of pupils'. Similarly, there is an important factor of financial power in each family which is to purchase textbooks, clothes and footwear and bus tickets, if the school is remote. This affects education. Due to this a situation, particularly in the rural areas, parents decide less often to educate female children, so today in BiH the structure of educated women above the age of 15 is the following: without education 23.1%, incomplete primary education - 23.5%, completed primary education - 24.6%, completed high school - 24.9%, etc. The gender stereotyped textbooks obviously show female children in the roles of mothers, housewives, i.e. in occupations intended for "the fair sex" while future men are miners, engineers, constructors. This largely contributes to gender segregation in the future professional orientation. Because of that, girls today most often choose to attend teachingschools, law schools, textile schools, school of economics and school of med-



icine, while boys opt for civil engineering, machine building, mining, transport, electrical engineering, etc. Of course, at the time of sophisticated technology and telecommunication, these stereotypes must be overcome and such programmes of vocational orientation should be created for the final years of primary education, whereby the disproportion between female and male children in the selection of future occupations should be reduced.

· Social protection

The whole population of Bosnia and Herzegovina is in an extremely difficult material situation. It is a tradition in these territories that women would "bear" a higher burden in care for social status of the family, that is, a woman has to find out the ways and means of using the social rights and benefits provided by the state. Since the use of social rights depends on the economic and financial power of society, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country in which over 60% of the population live below the poverty line (the world standard of 4$ per capita for daily consumption to hardly compares to 1$ in BiH), it is clear that the enjoyment of social rights by all people, including women, comes across a member of obstacles. The non-existence of unified legal regulations and social programmes at the level of the state makes the situation even more complex. Namely, the state of BiH has transferred social protection to the entities, i.e. cantons and municipalities. Since the economic and financial situation in these local communities differs, the filling up of the budget for social protection significantly depends on the level of economic development of the local community where the women and men using this form of social protection live. Of course, the users of social protection, among whom there are refugees and displaced persons as well as retired people, are the first category of persons who feel the unequal access to social protection in the whole territory of BiH.

· Health protection

The preservation and improvement of health and the health protection of women, and of the whole population, is of vital significance for the demographic development of any country.

Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a unified health policy and a single organization of health protection. This field quite like education and social protection, has been moved the competence of the entities, and in the Federation of BiH it is further decentralized into cantons. After the war, the laws on health care allowed private medical practice. Indeed, the organisational disunity and the difficult material and financial situation result in an irrational consumption of health system funds and create room for corruption and bribery. The protection of fertile women's health, and of women generally, and the enjoyment of the right to health protection, depends on a member of special measures. The education and emancipation of women aimed at raising the level of health culture, improving the relationship between the genders, family planning - contraception, control of pregnant women and expert assistance, the regular checks aimed at an early detection of and prevention of various sexual transmitted diseases - are only some of the measures. It is difficult or almost impossible to realise these and other rights of women in BiH, primarily due to lack of money in the health protection funds, the non-existence of adequate services, particularly in the rural areas of the country, the inadequate equipment of existing health institutions, etc. A woman today, if she feels responsible for her health, would use the services of a private medical practitioner, and put aside 50 KM for a mammography check-up. If she uses health services established at the level of a municipality or a canton, the price differs depending on the available health funds and ranges from 10 KM to 100 KM (the most expensive). For the use of hospital capacities for one hospital day, the participation fee is to 20 KM. There are strikes of health workers because of the great internal debts of economic and non-economic subjects towards the Funds, i.e. the health care institutions, which is a violation of the fundamental human right - the right to receive an earned wage. Given that about 18,500 women work at health institutions in the Federation of BiH and about 10,600 women in RS, it is clear that this part of the female population, together with their male colleagues, do not have access to health protection rights. These limiting factors are obstacles for about 900,000 women in reproductive age, which is a serious warning about the future demographic development of the country. Having understood the situation in which we are living, for the first time after the war the present authorities of BiH have drafted a strategic pro-



gramme for combating poverty, and at the request of the Government of BiH, the World Bank has prepared a project titled "Diagnostic Examination of Corruption in BiH", aimed at mobilising all BiH resources for a better economic status of the citizens of this country.

· Present situation

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there are state (TVBiH, TVRS) and independent media. According to incomplete data in BiH, the number of media is as high as 400 - electronic, written, etc. There are even 60% of women employed in the media. Of the big number of employed women in this field, two women have the position of directors and two women hold the positions of editors-in-chief (Osloboenje and Dani). On the basis of private data from 1998, journalism has improved both in terms of employment and in terms of covarage of human rights. The research included 32 journalists from different media throughout BiH; Sarajevo - 8 journalists, Zenica - 4 journalists, Tuzla - 4 journalists, Mostar Zapad - 4 journalists, Jajce - 1 journalist, Biha - 6 journalists. Among them there war 6 TV journalists, 10 radio journalists, 6 journalists from daily newspapers, 4 from periodicals and 2 journalists from news agencies. The way of financing of the media is different. 21 media outlets belong to dependent media, and 11 are independent media outlets. This is a conditional division. Out of the total number of 32 journalists, 14 were women and 18 were men. The data received from this sample showed the following education structure: 11 journalists had a high school degree and 21 journalists had a two-year college education. This research was carried with the aim to identify the needs for journalist staff and for their further training; women are relatively well represented in this field. The research was conducted by a group of independent intellectuals which approved the use of these data in this Report. However, globally looking, the education structure of journalists is not appropriate. BiH media have employed many journalists without proper training and education, not capable of working as journalists. There were some journalists who started working as journalists during the war, according to analysis mentioned above out of 34.5 % of journalist only 12.5% of journalists were educated and trained for other types of jobs and started working as journalists by chance. This supports the fact that the media cannot meet requirements of informing the public of topical political and economic changes, the realisation of human rights and freedoms and, hence, of the realisation of the right to gender equality. Special obstacles to the complete coverage of information and to the positive influence of the media can be seen in the ethnic and regional views that affect negatively the overall development of life, the inaccessibility of

9.Women and the media

· Domestic Laws

Constitution of BiH, Article IV 4 a) The Parliamentary Assembly of BiH adopted the Law on Free Access to Information13 in BiH, something completely new in the legal system of BiH. The legislator proclaimed that the aim of the Law was twofold: firstly, to recognise that the information available to a public body is intended for the public well-being; and, secondly, to establish the right of every natural and legal person to have access to the information and to enable every individual to ask for change or to give comment on his/her own information that is available to or is under control of a public body. This law and its implementation is monitored by the international Commission for the Media, which has also issued, apart from the Rules on the Definition of and Obligation for Public Broadcasting, Rule 01/1999 regulating the way of formulating the definition of public radio and TV broadcasting service, their duties and obligations, the duties in respect of the production of programmes as well as other obligations, the Code on Advertising and Sponsorship for Radio and TV, adopted on 9 March 1999. In its part 4, under the item advertising, paragraph 8 on racial and sexual discrimination, item b reads: "advertisements must not discriminate against women and men in their job, education and training possibilities". The Code for the Press, article 4, Discrimination, provides that "newspapers and magazines must avoid disseminating prejudices and offensive allusions on grounds of affiliation with an ethnic group, nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability". Article 11, Protection of Children and Under Age Children reads that "journalists must not interview of the children younger than 15 years about their family, nor take photographs of such children if the parents are not present or without the permission of the parents or tutors".


Official Gazette of BiH, No. 28 of 11/00



information, the close doors of the institutions of the system and especially the existing self-censorship of journalists, caused by the financial and political situation. Generally speaking, the coverage policy of all media is such that they deal inadequately with the complex women's issues. There are articles about women only when they are the subjects of prostitution, trafficking in women or victims of domestic violence. The woman is present in the media as a beauty-setter, in fashion shows and in other ways and almost never as a famous economist, politician, writer, doctor, professor, or manager.

These non-governmental organisations co-operate closely with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The BiH authorities have undertaken the first steps to protect minorities. Namely, the Law on the Protection of National Minorities is the process of being adopted. It will create a special legal framework for the realisation of minorities' rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

11.Refugees and displaced persons

Annex VII to the Dayton Peace Agreement guarantees to all persons displaced during the war the right to return to their pre-war homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In BiH, at the end of last year, there were 617,350 refugees and about 520,000 displaced persons. About 730,000, of which 79.5% in the Federation of BiH and 20.5% in RS, were registered for return to their pre-war homes. Unfortunately, there are no records on women and children refugees and displaced persons. However, a number of international organisations and domestic non-governmental organisations, especially women's organisations, use their programmes to supporte and assist refugees and displaced persons. Most often these programmes include humanitarian and social activities, education in human rights, computerskills and rehabilitation of the housing fund. The state Ministry for Human Rights and refugees and the Ministry for Labour, Social Policy, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Federation of BiH and the Ministry for Refugees and Displaced Persons of RS deal with in the issues of return. The international organisations: OHR, UNHCR, OSCE, UNMIBH, CRPC assist and support those ministries. The problems in the process of return relate primarily to obstruction by the local authorities - the long period needed to make and implement decisions; there are no programmes of self-sustainable return in terms of economic, social, legal and even physical security. About 20,000 people, with more than 80% of them women, contacted the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH in 2000 and in the first half of 2001. Naturally, all these obstacles heavily exhaust and discourage refugees and displaced persons who fall the victims of manipulation by national political parties, which. Moreover the latter stimulate IDPs to stay at the places where they moved during the war. Thus, the return of people and their property, and the attitude towards returnees, have become key problems when speaking of human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

10.Women - members of minority groups

Article 2, paragraph 4 of the Constitution of BiH relates to women and children-members of minority groups - and proclaims to non-discrimination on any ground, such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social background connected with national minorities, property, birth or other status. It reads that all persons in BiH can enjoy the rights and freedoms foreseen by this article or by the international covenant mentioned in Annex I to this Constitution. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there has been no census after the war and there are no exact indicators about the rise of national minorities. According to the 1991 census, within the law, the following were mentioned: Albanians, Montenegrins, Czechs, Italians, Jews, Macedonians, Germans, Polish, Russians, Roma, Romanians, Slovaks, Slovenians, Turks, Ukrainians. Women and children, as well as men, from these communities, are in unenviable position in everyday life. There is almost no positive example of protection of language identity at school, in the judicial system, the police, public and private media outlets and other public services. The minorities are entirely on the margin of political, economic and public life in the country. There is no minority - member woman in the Legislature, the Executive, or in any other function in the economy. The Roma population is especially affected, with a low percentage of educated children and a low percentage of employed Roma people. Moreover, particularly Roma people are discriminated against in their communication with other majority ethnic groups. The largest minority groups are organised through their non-governmental organisations the purpose of which is to provide humanitarian aid and preserve their cultural heritage, especially the language.




1. Public awareness has been raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina that they with their strength, capability and responsibility, which they are not always aware of, women can slowly but certainly enter the spheres of public, social, economic, political and other life in the country. 2. Political leaders and the governmental authorities show their interest in equality and respect for women's rights, but in practice they are not ready to share the power with women in the decision - making process. 3. Generally speaking, the existing legal regulations are non-discriminatory. However, they are understated and not accompanyied by adequate instruments, the legislative bodies are very slow in harmonysing the laws, and space is left for all forms of gender discrimination and non-respect for universal human rights. 4. Having observed the present problem, the Ministry for Human Rights and the Ministry for European Integration of the BiH Government, drafted a Law on the Equality of Genders in BiH. It is still discussed by the public and was not adopted in 2001. There is a great interest in that Law, especially within the non-governmental sector, i.e. women's organisations, since it is a complete novelty in BiH legislation. 5. It is of importance to train and educate the police, the judicial and legislative officials, i.e. all those responsible for implementing the laws and to provide adequate instructions, manuals and implementing acts. 6. Given the great increase of violence, in the society in general, especially against women, the trafficking in human beings and use of women's prostitution and other forms of invisible discrimination, the implementation of the Convention should be considered in the context of the general struggle against violence. Non-governmental organisations, primarily those dealing with human rights, as well as women's networks, should engage as soon as possible in public campaigns for passing the Law against Violence, in line with the national combating violence, for the protection of gender equality and the enjoyment of human rights, and along with the world aspiration to eradicate violence. 7. The existing, positive climate created in BiH concerning the position and equality of women, would determine the future framework for the behaviour and policy of the governmental bodies and the future legislation, because only the combined energy of women and men and the equal distribution of power and responsibility can guarantee the freedoms, the enjoyment of human rights and dignity for all.


1. Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina, drafted on November 21, 1995 in Dayton, USA, and signed on December 14, 1995 in Paris (France) by the presidents of Croatia, FR Yugoslavia and Bosnia and Herzegovina; 2. Pavlovi O., Vukovi D., Hasovi D. - "No employment and socio-economic position for woman. The case of BiH." FES 2001 3. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH: "International documents in the field of human rights" Sarajevo, 1996 4. Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in BiH: "Analysis of the state of human rights in BiH, monitoring for the period January-June 2001" 5. "Report of NGO on women's rights in BiH". Authors: NGO-members and international legal group for human rights, Sarajevo, May, 1999 6. Employment Office of BiH 7. Federation Institute for Statistics: "Women and men in the Federation of BiH" Sarajevo 2001 8. Human Rights Chamber of BiH: "Annual report 2000", January 2001 9. Federal Ministry for Social Policy, Refugees and Displaced Persons 10. UNMIBH - HCHR: Obstacles and weakness in the fight against trafficking in human beings - working version, May 2001 11. Report on Humanitarian Development, UNDP, 1998 12. Report of the World Bank and the European Commission: Bosnia and Herzegovina 1996 - 1998 Lessons and Accomplishments: Review of the Priority Reconstruction and Recovery Program and looking Towards Sustainable Economic Development" 13. Chamber of Economy of BiH 14. Monthly statistical survey: 1/1999 and 1/2000: Republican Institute for Statistics in RS 15. Republic Institute for Employment in RS 16. OSCE Mission to BiH, July 2001: "Analysis of questionnaire for elected members of municipal councils/Municipal assemblies in BiH" 17. Organisation Zene zenama (Women to Women) 18. Human Rights - Review for constitutional and international law, year 2, no. 3, 2001 19. Private sources




Page 1. Executive summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 2. Recommendations for further compliance with CEDAW . . . . . . . . . . 90 3. Introduction and General Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 4. Article 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 4.1. Gender stereotypes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 4.2. Domestic violence against women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 5. Article 6: Trafficking in women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 6. Article 7: Discrimination of women in decision-making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 7. Article 11: Discrimination of women in the field of employment . . . . . . . . . 112 7.1. The impact of economic restructuning and privatization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 7.2. The legal and policy response . . . . . 116 7.3. Remedies the lege ferenda - the need for a gender equality act and for economic literacy . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Appendices: Draft Equal Opportunities Act . . . . . . . 124 Draft Domestic Violence Act . . . . . . . . 137


Genoveva Tisheva

(Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation)


BGRF - Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation - Gender Project Foundation - Women's Alliance for Development


Nevena Stefanova

(Rule of Law Institute), national coordinator




Till the end of 2001 Bulgaria had not followed the recommendation of the CEDAW Committee from 1998 to take the "unique" opportunity to improve the situation of women "as an integral part of the successful transition to democracy and a true market economy..." Although the country acceded to CEDAW almost 20 years ago (March 1982), full compliance is still to be achieved. Of course, the hardships of the economic restructuring and moving towards market liberalisation and European Union membership (Bulgaria started negotiations in March 2000) exacerbate the need for enhancing social safeguards. The Bulgarian government had to create a competitive environment while protecting its citizens from the potential harm of the structural reforms. In the last ten years of transition and structural reforms the Bulgarian government has not managed to find a balance and to counter the negative effects, specifically those on women and the most vulnerable groups, through enhancing the regulatory capacity and strengthening the safety nets. The reforms have thus produced a disproportionate effect on women in the field of privatisation, access to employment, violence against women, political participation. The prevailing concept of formal equality /v/s de facto equality and of the "already achieved gender equality" are still guiding principles for the institutions and constitute a serious obstacle to the further implementation of CEDAW. The lack of adequate legislation and practice in the field of domestic violence, combined with a conservative Family Code and procedures is a serious gap with respect to Article 5. The traditional gender stereotypes are still tolerated and disseminated through the media, although there is some breakthrough in this field. There is not yet adequate legislation, implementation and practice with regard to the labour and social rights of women, as this is the field their rights are most affected. Despite the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee, there has been no affirmative action in place either in the field of employment or in the field of political participation. There are no elements of national machinery for the advancement of women. Nevertheless, the Bulgarian government can be commended for some achievements towards the progressive implementation of CEDAW:

1/ A draft Equal Opportunities Act was elaborated through a large participatory process and was pending in the parliament till April, 3 of 2002. It was, unfortunately, rejected and the matter of gender equality will probably regulated under the future Anti-discrimination act. 2/ As a result of the last national elections in June 2001, thanks to the pressure of women' s NGOs and to the policy of the new political force, the representation of women in parliament considerably increased from less than 11% up to 26%.. 3/ A draft law on protection against Domestic Violence, proposed by a NGO is under consideration by the majority in the parliament and legislation on TIW is in the process of elaboration. Despite that, the progress in adopting gender equality legislation and legislation to combat violence against women is slow and there are no formally adopted positive measures concerning the participation of women in decision-making.




- Adopting and enacting a special act on equal opportunities of women and men in Bulgaria - Establishing of a national mechanism for gender equality at the highest possible level of the government and providing it with sufficient financial and personal resources, and further ensuring the gender mainstreaming at all levels in all spheres and at both national and local level - Creating a national consultative body for gender equality with a large participation of civil society representatives - Adopting affirmative action for women in the field of employment, and more specifically, in the field of access to employment and protection against unemployment - Ensuring and promoting information on the international standards of human rights and women' s rights, on CEDAW included, and involving institutions and organisations in preparing of the regular CEDAW reports - Disseminating information in society about CEDAW, the recommendations of the Committee and their implementation - Adopting an act against domestic violence providing urgent measures for protection of victims, as well as the respective changes in the penal law, penal procedure and administrative law concerning the role and duties of the police in such cases - Adopting regulations and undertaking quick policy measures in the field of domestic violence, by creating and supporting crisis centres and shelters and facilitating the work of NGOs in the field - Adopting and enacting legislation on TIW aimed at protection of the human rights of women, in particular in the field of prevention, and rehabilitation and reintegration, criminal law and procedure, witness protection included - Educating law enforcemnt officials and promoting co-operation with NGOs in the field of TIW - Designing and ensuring legal aid for women victims of domestic violence, TIW and other forms of severe violations of their rights, in cases of women with low income, mothers with small children, marginalised trafficked women - In the short term, undertaking changes in the regulation of the family law - Undertaking a public campaign against the gender stereotypes, included those circulated by the media - Ensuring and encouraging education of journalists , at senior level included, in the standards of protection of discrimination based on sex and gender equality - Ensuring the introduction of education combating negative gender stereotypes and supporting and institutionalising the existing valuable NGO initiatives

- Creating opportunities for education of women for political participation and supporting related activities - Creating incentives for political parties promoting gender equality in their policy and pre-election strategy - Promoting positive portrayal of women politicians in the media - Providing a broad range of credit opportunities for women, with affirmative action, if needed, in order to boost women' s independent economic activity - Providing increased opportunities for training and retraining for women, with specific focus on young women, women during and after maternity leave, and groups of vulnerable women - Providing opportunities for part- time and other flexible forms of employment for women with just and fair remuneration, of work and social security - Envisaging real incentives and substantial alleviations for employers who hire women from vulnerable groups, after maternity leave, etc. - Reconsidering the provisions on special protection of women in view of the new economic realities and of ensuring the balance of protection and promoting women in the labour market - Adopting affirmative action in order to ensure increased share of fathers in childcare, eliminating the consent of the mother as a condition for father' s leave and gradually adopting the principles of the parental leave - Strengthening the state control on the implementation of labour law and ensuring the education in gender equality of the respective state officials - Ensuring on a regular basis the education on gender equality and women' s rights of the representatives of the state institutions, of the judiciary included - For the professioanl media and business associations- ensuring gender education of their members, with the support of NGOs, where needed - Establishing a reliable system of gender statistics in all the fields, in the field of violence against women included, and regularly maintaining and updating this statistics - Promoting gender research and supporting research initiatives of the NGOs - Facilitating and supporting, financial support and tax alleviations included , the work of NGOs in the field of the impelementation of CEDAW




The present report was prepared and based on research and analysis of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation with the support of a representative of the Rule of Law Institute during the period May 2001 - January 2002. Analysis of existing sociological data, legal research, comparative analysis, gathering statistical data, interviews with NGO's representatives, etc. were the methods used in this exercise. The progress made after the last reporting under CEDAW by the government /January 1998/ has been measured towards the comments and the recommendations of the Committee in the course of considering the consolidated second and third periodical reports of the government of Bulgaria.

General status of CEDAW under Bulgarian law and implementation of art. 1-4

In January 1998, an alternative NGO report was presented to the Committee by representatives of BGRF in cooperation with the Women' s Alliance for Development. Not surprisingly, the main areas of concern of the report coincided with the provisions dealt with in the present report. Also related to the issues of women' s rights are also two more alternative reports and initiatives by Bulgarian NGOs: the alternative report of the BGRF on the governmental report to the Committee on ESCR in 1999 /21st session/ and the alternative report of BGRF on the governmental report on the implementation of the BPFA for the Division for the Advancement of Women. The report on the implementation/ non-implementation of the BPFA by the Women' s Alliance for Development, disseminated during the Precom of the CSW in 2000, was also part of the NGO monitoring process. The Convention entered into force for the Republic of Bulgaria on 10th March 1982. However, it has not yet been promulgated in the State Gazette. As was stressed also in the previous Alternative Report, this is an obstacle for it to become an integral part of Bulgarian national law. As a matter of fact, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Bulgaria by its Ruling No. 7 of 1992 on Const. case. 6 of 1992 ruled, that international instruments ratified under the Constitutional procedure, promulgated in the State Gazette and having entered into force in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution should become part of the national legislation. According to that Ruling of the Constitutional Court, the Convention forms

part of Bulgarian domestic legislation, but its provisions can not supersede those norms of the national legislation which contradict it. In order to get the same status as most international instrument to which the Republic Bulgaria is a Party, CEDAW must be promulgated. The signing by Bulgaria of the Optional Protocol to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in June 2000 is added to the CEDAW ratification. By now, the Protocol has not been ratified yet. Its ratification shall probably be a follow-up to the promulgation of both the Convention and the Protocol. On the other hand, taking steps toward the Protocol ratification, and toward the submission of the next governmental report on CEDAW, will depend on the progress to follow with implementation of the Convention and in particular with the adoption of an Equal Opportunities Act and the setting-up of an institutional mechanism for gender equality. After the last governmental report on the Convention no substantive steps have been taken to implement the National Action Plan, that was approved as early as 1996, or to approve a new one. The Report on the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action submitted by the Government to the DAW in 2000 did not contain any crucial new elements displaying any progress, compared to the Report presented to the Committee in 1998. The Report for the UN GASS, however, reflected a more explicit intent to improve the legislation and the relevant practices, in particular in the field of violence against women and the field of employment. Despite the 1998 Recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, there is still no explicit definition yet of discrimination in the Constitution and the laws as per Art. 1 of the Convention. The general provision of Article 6 of the Constitution relating to equality before the law, including gender - based equality, does not provide sufficient guarantees for the protection of women against discrimination. Such guarantees are not provided by the declaratory anti-discriminative provisions of some special laws either, e.g. the Labour Code, the Education Act, the Higher Education Act, the Employment Promotion Act, etc. The Draft Equal Opportunities Act, which was submitted for first reading in Parliament, was in compliance with the Constitution as it determined what is not gender discrimination, and also defines direct and indirect discrimination in this field. According to the Draft Act, the special statutory measures related to pregnancy and maternity protection as well as affirmative action shall not constitute discrimination. Should such an act be passed by



the Parliament, Bulgaria will make e decisive step towards compliance with Article 4 of the Convention, one of the major areas of concern for the Committee. The still prevailing philosophy of the institutions to give priority to formal gender equality instead of real gender equality in Bulgaria is still an obstacle to taking effective measures to implement the Convention and to more fully transpose its provisions. Despite the emerging regulation and definition of indirect discrimination in the Labour Code, there are no specific protection mechanisms - institutional, procedural, etc.- against such discrimination in the field of employment relations, gender-based discrimination included. The principle of women's rights protection in both the public and the private spheres is accepted rather slowly and reluctantly - this is especially valid for violence against women, fighting negative stereotypes, protection of the right to employment and other social rights in the private sector. This is manifested by the lack of legal rules against discrimination, e.g. domestic violence, sexual harassment at the workplace, as well as the lack of relevant mechanisms for control by the state. The Constitution and the laws still emphasize too much on the protection of the rights of women as mothers and special protection which is perceived as an expression of and guarantee for non-discrimination. Given the above consideration, it is essential to pass in the shortest possible term an Equal Opportunities Act like the one drafted in 2001 by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy with the broad participation of experts and civil society representatives (we enclose the final version of the Draft in English). The Act will be expected to lay down the basis of an effective protection against gender discrimination. One of the areas of concern for the Committee is the absence of an institutional mechanism for equal opportunities and the advancement of women. It is stipulated in the Draft that the Minister of Labour and Social Policy shall develop, coordinate and conduct the policy of the state to ensure equal opportunities for men and women. The institution of the specialised ombudsperson on equal opportunities with broad competence is envisaged in the Act, which is a guarantee for independent monitoring and protection of women' s rights. A national consultative body on gender equality was envisaged in the Act, too. Despite that, the most recent information as of July 2002 is that instead of adopting the gender equality act by the parliament / the Act was formally rejected on April 3, 2002, the government has elaborated a general Draft of a general Anti-

discrimination act where discrimination based on bender is just one of the grounds and there are no institutional mechanisms for gender equality provided. Part of the structure and the contents of the Draft Act on Equal Opportunities is repeated in this new draft but the specific protection is replaced by the general protection. Irrespective of these developments, the passing of a special gender equality act should be encouraged by both the NGOs in Bulgaria and international bodies, including the Committee. The lack of information from the government on the reporting status, recommendations and the extent of implementation of CEDAW is still a problem, as is the information on guaranteed women's rights and the possible mechanisms for their protection. Only women's NGOs are the ones that distribute information in this field and are involved in monitoring and protection of women's human rights. For example, the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation (BGRF) and the Women's Alliance for Development Foundation have distributed widely the text of the Final Comments and Recommendations of the Committee and insist on their implementation. Since 2000 BGRF, has been offering free legal assistance to women - victims of violence. Nadia Center, Animus Foundation and many other organisations in the country offer psychological support to such women, etc. There is no information about and awareness of women's rights within the judiciary. The lack of gender equality - related cases and litigation means that the existing regulations are not effective. A conclusion can be drawn that there is a progress in compliance with the general provisions of the Convention, as a result of the Beijing +5 and the EU -accession processes, and of the work of and pressure from NGOs.


4.1. Gender stereotypes

Despite some progress registered since the last official and alternative reports, this is an area where the Bulgarian government still lags behind the required standards. No specific measures have been taken so far in order to modify the existing gender stereotypes. Notwithstanding the fact that according to the overall public opinion there is gender equality in Bulgaria and direct and open discrimination is uncommon, hidden, indirect discrimination is a practice. It means that gender stereotypes exist and subsist. The ones circulated by the media, the conservative regulation of family relations, the lack of special education at school reinforce the prejudices in



favour of the traditional roles of men and women in Bulgaria. The content analyses of the press and the electronic media conducted by the Media Research Group and some women' s NGOs in the period 1998-2001 show that women are not represented in the multiple and diverse roles they perform, the image of the woman as an important factor of democracy, economic development and in politics is not highlighted. Violence against women is not treated seriously enough. Indicative is a recent /end of 2001/ publication in a daily newspaper in Plovdiv /the second biggest city in Bulgaria/- the article " Rape- a human drama or a lucrative business". The journalists explain the underreporting of rape by the fact that in many of the cases the woman deliberately wants to compromise a man. It is said to be especially true for women belonging to the Roma minority who report rapes with the sole purpose of compensation. This article was discriminatory for women and represented double discrimination against Roma women; despite that it had been approved by the editor of the newspaper and largely circulated. Throughout the whole period of transition, and especially during the last two years, a large number of discriminatory advertisements have been circulated in the media. Two types of such advertisements have been identified by the Media Research Group mentioned above and by women' s NGOs: job advertisements, and articles and commercials with sexist and discriminatory content. Although the Radio and Television Act of 1998 /recently amended in the beginning of 2002/ prohibits the broadcasting of any discriminatory ads, including sex-based discrimination, there has been no effective mechanism so far to monitor and ban them. The Council for Electronic Media has recently started considering more seriously the problem of discrimination and violence in broadcasts and has issued the first bans/ not yet in the field of gender discrimination/. The Consumer Protection and Rules of Commerce Act of 1999 provides for protection of the consumers against indecent advertisements, which includes sex-based discriminatory advertisements, and those humiliating human dignity. Each person concerned /both a physical person or a legal entity/ can file a complaint. During 2001, the first cases were referred to court. The first one was against the Radio-telecommunication company which advertised four sizes of phone cards /from A to D/ "MOBIKOM" using the picture of women stripped to the waist with a meter around their breasts. The message read, "Which size do you prefer?" Before going to court the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation/ BGRF/, submitted a complaint to the authority competent - the State Commission on Commerce

and Consumer Protection- to fine the offenders. The representatives of the Commission confessed it was for the first time they were confronted with such a case and did not dare to impose the fine to such a big company. Instead of that, they also referred the case to Sofia district court, along with the BGRF, but acting on behalf of the collective interests of the consumers. The petitioners wanted the court to ascertain the fact that the advertisement represented discrimination against women, to make this fact public and to ban the ad. Another case is pending against "Zagorka"- a brand of bier for a TV advertisement, which was allegedly offensive, humiliating and discriminatory for women, upon the claims of some women consumers and some NGOs. The fact that people have started using the law is very positive. The attitude of the state institutions, though, is still slow and inadequate and the judges are not yet prepared to consider such cases. Gender education is not yet part of the obligatory programmes in schools and universities and among professional groups, although the Level of Education, General Education Minimum and the Education Plan Act provides for opportunities to introduce of civil education on human rights. The state has not implemented the requirements of the Convention under this point. The breakthrough came again from NGOs which launched gender education programmes and courses/ general and specialised / at high schools after 1998. Thus came the recognition by the Ministry of Education of the programme and the training manuals of the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation aimed at cultivating non- violent behaviour among teen- agers and used in 2000-2001.Other courses were conducted by NGOs such as "Nadia Centre" Foundation/ combating violence against women/, the gender education course of the Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation, "SOSFamilies at risk"- Varna, etc. Education of adult groups on gender related and other aspects of human rights is offered through the educational programme of the Women' s Alliance for Development. The new Draft Equal Opportunities Act contained special provisions on overcoming gender stereotypes in its. CHAPTER SIX REMOVAL OF NEGATIVE STEREOTYPES OF THE ROLES OF WOMEN AND MEN Article 38. (1) Persons providing education and training, as well as authors of textbooks and study materials shall present information and apply training methods aiming at removal of the negative stereotypes of the roles of women



and men in all spheres of public life, including the family. (2) The kindergartens, schools and high schools shall include in their educational programmes and educational plans training on gender equality issues. Article 39. Requests for and designing and distribution of advertisements and announcements, which are humiliating for the dignity of women and men are prohibited. Article 40. Information distributed through the media must not contain or provoke discrimination based on sex. Notwithstanding of the fact the Act was rejected, these provisions are indicative of the progress made in drafting legislation. Besides that, there is still hope that a separate act will be adopted. Another source of hope represent the recently created contacts between the media and NGOs, especially in the field of violence against women, the strong media campaigns of NGOs, which can sensitize and positively influence the society. Related to the issue is the fact that the Bulgarian government has not managed to elaborate and pass a new Family Code. The one in force - the Family Code of 1985/ last amended in 1992!/ does not correspond any longer to the real relations and needs, especially in terms of personal family relationships, the recognition of informal partnerships, property relations, alimony, parental rights. Thus, by keeping the legal family relations within the narrow frame of the old conservative Code, and the respective procedures, the gender stereotypes are reproduced and reinforced.

4.2. Domestic Violence

The Bulgarian government has not yet implemented art. 5 of CEDAW and GR 19 with respect to the protection against domestic violence. It also means failure to implement the recommendations of the Committee from 1998. Regardless of the obligation of the state for taking the respective legislative measures against this particular form of discrimination against women, it can be stated definitely that the system of internal legal norms does not at all recognise the problem of "domestic violence" and does not contain effective regulations for its solution. Violence within the family, or within other close relationships, is not yet of interest to the state. Only very

recently some interest was declared by representatives of the parliament, a new fact that will be commented further. Bulgarian legislation lacks effective legislative mechanisms for fighting against domestic violence. The mechanisms provided for under some legislative acts, which can be used in respect of domestic violence, are ineffective and fragmentary. The considerations presented in the previous alternative report are still valid. For instance, the Penal Code does not contain any "domestic violence" offences under the category of crimes against the person. Bodily injuries are covered and, depending on the severity of the crime, the Code distinguishes between serious, medium and light bodily injury (Articles 128, 129 and 130). Offences classified under these texts are subject to sanctions by the state. The act committed, however, is punishable only where a bodily harm listed therein has been inflicted and is the case. Therefore, the regulations cover only a limited part of the acts constituting violence: the assault upon physical inviolability, which is almost never the only form of domestic violence. Meanwhile, a number of other forms of violence, such as psychological harassment, threats against a person's health or life, inhuman and degrading treatment, which are known for their high degree of risk to the public, remain outside the scope of legal regulations. Another proof of the inefficiency and the limited effect of the above texts in cases of domestic violence is the fact that according to art. 161 of the Penal Code, medium bodily injuries (where inflicted upon a descending or an ascending relative, a spouse, a brother or a sister) and light bodily injuries (in all cases) are prosecuted following a complaint by the victim and not by the state as is the case with serious and other types of bodily harms. Also, a number of other circumstances may be referred to, which make the said protective legal mechanisms so formal, that a reasonable conclusion can be drawn as to the fact that women do not avail of any such mechanisms at all. Most of the cases of domestic violence falling in the scope of the above legislative provisions constitute medium and light bodily injury offences, which are subjected to criminal prosecution only is the female victim brings her claim before the court. Most of these cases, however, never reach the court (which is the competent body to review the claim) or are terminated thereby. Most often, the reasons for this lie in the impossibility for the plaintiff to keep the deadline for filing the claim (6 months), in the fact that the victim bears the whole burden of proof in the proceedings, in the need to provide for a lawyer for one's own account, in the protraction and postpon-



ing of the case for years. Besides, even where the victim is able to prove the charges and win the case, she often lacks the motivation to do so, as, in the course of the proceedings, she is still subjected to harassment and threats by the aggressor, with no legal mechanism to remove him from their home. Therefore, many of the cases are terminated due to the withdrawal of the complaint of the private claimant. Where a crime is being prosecuted following a complaint by the injured party, no use is made of the legal possibility and the judicial practice which enable prosecutors to step into the proceedings or to institute proceedings on behalf of the victims. These opportunities, though provided for expressly under art. 45 and 46 of the Penal Procedural Code ("the injured party, due to their helpless condition or dependence on the perpetrator of the crime, being unable to protect their legal rights and interests") are never applied in practice. Statistical data showing that most of the bodily injuries are inflicted upon women, the categorisation of this type of offences (where women take most of the burden as compared to the aggressor) as crimes prosecuted following or private complaint, impose the general conclusion that the Penal Code contains covert discriminatory provisions against women. Respectively, the application of these discriminatory provisions, as well as the non-application of some of the provisions referred above, which guarantee the rights and the legal interests of the victims of domestic violence, obviously result in discrimination against women. Also, other substantive and procedural laws of the Bulgarian system of civil law, which are partly relevant to domestic violence (such as the Family Code and the Civil Procedure Code) are good examples of the lack of imminent and effective protection for the victims of violence. This applies particularly to divorce proceedings, instituted due to violence committed by the husband/father, in which, in addition to the wife, children also need protection and (similarly to the penal proceedings referred to above) no effective mechanisms exist for the fast removal of the perpetrator away from the victim or the family (in contrast to other legal systems where injunctions can be ordered to ensure the urgent protection of the victims of violence). Although the Civil Procedure Code contains provisions on some temporary measures /the so called interim measures/ regarding the matrimonial home and the exercise of parental rights while the divorce action is pending, the enforcement of a court ruling in this sense is carried out by successively charging the defendant with fines, and not by his actual removal from the home. Furthermore, the interim measures can be taken only after the conciliation

stage of the divorce case. They are often not taken by the court or the court rules at a stage when violence has escalated to a great extent. There is no accelerated civil procedure for compensating the victims of domestic violence, but only the common one, which is extremely awkward and ineffective. Besides, where a crime is at stake, the decision of the court on the civil claim (regardless of whether the case is reviewed in penal proceedings or independently) depends on proving the crime. Therefore, the problems (as mentioned) which women encounter in these penal cases and the numerous terminated cases could explain why the civil procedure of compensation would barely result in the actual compensation of the victim for the damages incurred. The review of the legislation and the actual situation with violence against women displays in its entirety the failure to perform the relevant Recommendations of the Committee, which, in very general terms, require the strengthening of both the public and the private measures protecting women against violence. The particular demand for adopting provisions with respect to the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of violence, even in the absence of a claim on behalf of the victim, has not been translated in legislative texts. The lack of sensitivity and effectiveness in the intervention of the police and the prosecutor' s office are a special issue of concern. This fact, together with the lack of effective civil measures, makes the situation of women victims particularly hopeless. The basic human rights principle of quick and effective protection is violated. Also, no steps have been undertaken under the recommendations for setting up a system of medical, psychological and other measures in support of female victims of violence, or such that would change the traditional attitude to domestic violence (as encouraging women to claim compensation in similar cases). No state system for legal aid for victims of violence or education for professionals is provided, official statistics are still missing. Therefore, the implementation of CEDAW in this sphere is completely left within the hands of NGOs and foreign sponsors. NGOs have undertaken research, psychological and legal support, educational programmes, and even support programmes for men. Such NGOs providing direct psychological support to victims are located in Sofia and all over the countryfor ex. "Nadya Centre" Foundation/ they have the only shelter for women victims of violence and their children in Bulgaria/, "Animus Association" Foundation, " Demetra" Association- Bourgas, "SOS - Families at risk"Varna, "Open door"- Pleven, etc. Legal support is provided by BGRF's net-



work of lawyers in Sofia and 6 other locations in Bulgaria. A programme in support of men with aggressive behaviour was created in "Demetra" in cooperation with the BGRF under a project aimed at non- violent behaviour. Domestic violence is a widespread phenomenon in Bulgaria according to 68% of the respondents in a representative survey carried out by the Gender Project for Bulgaria Foundation in March 2000. Fifty eight per cent of the respondents knew women who were being physically ill-treated by their husbands, and 32% reported they had needed medical aid after being ill-treated. Forty eight per cent of the respondents claimed they knew women who had been victims of psychological harassment. According to the "Animus Association" Foundation, the share of women and children victims of domestic violence, out of all victims of violence, is about 50. There are more and more women who take advantage of their hot line. In 1998 they were 1060 and in 2000 their number was 1776. In the last 5 years "Nadya Centre" Foundation got 10 000 telephone calls from women victims mainly of domestic violence and gave 1435 psychological consultations. In 2000, a total of 40 women addressed the Bulgarian Gender Researches Foundation's programme for legal aid for women in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas. In 2001 that number was 80. About one third of them had lodged complaints with the Prosecutor's Office, and had reported the violence to the police with no significant practical result. One of the women victims of violence filed a complaint with the European Court in Strasbourg seeking redress for her and her child' s violated rights and claiming the ineffectiveness of the legal procedure. The data for the District Prosecutor's Office in the town of Dobrich, which receives approximately 2-3 complaints daily from women victims of violence, reveals that in 2000 only 3 such complaints had been accepted for consideration. The submitted complaints remained, however without any significant consequences for the victims, and the warnings to the violators by the officials of the Ministry of Interior did not achieve the necessary results. The number of shelters for women victims of violence is insufficient and does not correspond to the actual needs. The crisis centres and shelters are run only by NGOs, with very limited support from the local authorities in some places. In 2000, the Demetra Association shelter, which can only accommodated 7 persons, gave shelter to a total of 45 women, but was addressed by 300 and approximately half of them needed shelter. This shelter had to interrupt its activity die to the lack of financial support and no interest on behalf of the local authorities. Practically all NGO centres in the country who work with

victims of violence badly need shelters; such centers function for example in Varna, Pernik, Dobrich, Silistra, Pleven and Gorna Oryahovitsa. According to the information from the Bulgarian Gender Researches Foundation, on average every fourth woman having used the services of these NGOs needed shelter. Due to the inadequate resources, in such cases women are redirected to the Nadya Centre in Sofia, which is equipped with 16 beds and allows stays of up to 6 weeks. The victims usually come with their children. From April 1997 to the end of 2000, 381 women and 126 children were provided with shelter at Nadya Centre. In the period January-October 2001, 120 women-victims have been hosted to the shelter of the Centre. As a result of the alarming data and of the fieldwork on cases of domestic violence, representatives and lawyers from the legal aid program of BGRF and some other experts, prepared a Draft Law for Protection Against Domestic Violence. This draft provides for a quick and effective intervention of the district court in order to ensure the protection of victims of violence and their children, as well as restraining orders for perpetrators of violence. A power of arrest is envisaged for failure to perform the court order. A wide range of people would be protected by the law, two types of protection measures are provided- quick and urgent with a variety of restraining orders for the perpetrators. The Draft Law for Protection against DV comprises some special measures for perpetrators, e. g. compulsory attendance of psychotherapeutic programs in order to cope with the aggression. A good example in this field is the Pilot Crisis Center for men created under the mentioned joint program of BGRF and the "Demetra" Association from Bourgas. They have provided so far 40 individual consultations and they work successfully with a group of prisoners detained for different kind of sexual assault. The Draft Law for Protection against Domestic Violence was presented to some MPs during the 16 days campaign against violence in November 2001. Media, especially in Sofia, were very much interested and supported the work of NGOs. NGOs are again the main actors in providing education to students about the phenomenon. A pilot legal clinic scheme was implemented in 2001 at Plovdiv and Bourgas universities under a programme of BGRF, implemented together with "Demetra" in Bourgas. The conclusion is that so far NGOs are those that have implemented the Convention in this field. It is high time for the Bulgarian government to take its responsibility, starting by considering and passing effective anti domestic violence legislation. The Draft law proposed is still under consid-



eration and, hopefully, will be introduced next fall.

5. ARTICLE 6 of CEDAW - Trafficking in women

Trafficking in women is a serious phenomenon which emerged for Bulgaria during the period of transition, like for the other countries in Eastern Europe. It is a complex issue caused by complex factors, e. g. impoverishment and marginalization during the transition, the process of globalization and the related migration flows, the increased demand for "fresh" recruitment from Eastern Europe, the increase in criminality and the expansion of international criminal nets. Bulgaria is mainly defined as a country of transit rather than as a country of origin, from where women are trafficked to other countries in Central and Western Europe. But Bulgaria becomes more and more a country of destination for trafficking in women from Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and other countries of the former Soviet union. Despite that, some NGOs as the "Animus Association" Foundation state that according to foreign NGOs more than 10 000 Bulgarian women have been sold abroad during the period of transition. For the time being, there are no official statistics on the number of victims of trafficking. Data given by the border police concern two categories of persons: expulsed foreigners and deported Bulgarian citizens. According to this data for the period 2000 - September 2001, 1074 Bulgarian women were deported from different European countries. Trafficking in children for the purpose of sexual exploitation is a relatively new issue of special interest and concern. This phenomenon has developed rapidly over the past ten years, especially in Europe. The difficulty in tackling this issue stems from the lack of reliable data, the lack of statistics and of any system of gathering age - disaggregated data. According to police officers working at the State borders, the registered victims of trafficking are only classified by nationality and the age is only indicated as "below 14 years", "14 - 18 years" or "full age". According to the data from the Ministry of Interior, during the whole period 1995-2000 some 158 cases were registered of hostage taking and kidnapping of persons below the age of 18, of which 33 aged 14 - 18 and 125 aged below 14. For the same period a total of 63 cases were registered of enticing persons under age to prostitution, of 12 were aged 14 - 18 and 51 were below the age 14. In order to measure the implementation of the Convention in this

respect, it is worth mentioning the 1998 final observations the Committee, when the latter made a series of recommendations to the Bulgarian government, such as: to review the legislation in force and its compliance with the Convention, to create effective administrative and police structures, to implement educational programmes, to work with media on the issue, to support the NGOs dealing with the issue, to provide statistical data about the number and the different flows of trafficking, about the number of people arrested and convicted. The government has started turning some of these recommendations into practice.

The legal aspect

The Constitution proclaims the fundamental human rights such as: the right to life, to work, the right to a free choice of place and residence, the right to personal liberty, security and integrity, the right to a free choice of profession and place of work etc. Forced labour is forbidden by the Constitution. Furthermore, according to art.29 par.1 of the Constitution, no one should be subject to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. TIW in the Bulgarian penal legislation is perceived mainly as an issue of organised crime, rather than as a severe human rights violation. The legal provisions which can be related to TIW, are Articles 155 and 156 of the Criminal Code - regulating respectively the enticing of a female person to become involved in prostitution and especially the second provision- the abduction of a person of the female gender for the purpose of debauchery. Although adopted in the period of transition, art. 156 para 2 p.3 (covering the aggravated abduction across the border of the country) is not effective enough for the cases of trafficking. It provides for imprisonment from 3 to 12 years but does not reflect the complexity of TIW and the severe violations of human rights it involves. The legislation in Bulgaria does not provide for adequate mechanisms to prosecute traffickers, there are no real court cases and persons convicted, despite the numerous police operations, labeled as successful. The law does not provide for adequate protection or remedies and compensation for the victims. There is no mention about their social rehabilitation, social and medical insurance and job placement. Legal aid, which is one of the requirements of international standards, is not envisaged at all. On April 12, 2001 Bulgaria ratified the UN Convention against



Transnational Organised Crime and its two Protocols, one related to smuggling migrants by land, sea and air and the other to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children. In connection with the requirements set in those international instruments, draft amendments to the Criminal Code were tabled which concern organised crime and trafficking in human beings, especially women and children. In the spring of 2001, the Ministry of Justice prepared a new draft article of the Penal Code (Art. 280a) on trafficking in human beings which literally repeats the definition of this notion in the said Protocol and provides for more severe punishment. Although fragmented and palliative, if adopted these new provisions would be a clear step forward. Despite that, the 38-th National Assembly refused to pass these amendments at the end of its term. After the general elections in June 2001 and the forming of the new government a special working group was created at the Ministry of Justice to drafting legislation against trafficking in human beings in compliance with the international standards. The group is composed both by representatives of the institutions and of NGOs dealing with trafficking. The anti- trafficking legislation is supposed to address the victims' needs and the protection of their human rights by providing financial, legal and psychological assistance, as well as social and health support. Special institutional mechanisms will be provided. This does not make the need for changes in the penal legislation less urgent. The concerns are that those changes will be underestimated, as well be the special problems of women and children victims of trafficking. The overall assessment of this part is that the Bulgarian government has good intentions to achieve compliance with CEDAW and the international standards but this process is slow and Bulgaria has missed the chance to curb TIW during its long period of transition marked with severe HR violations.

on Trafficking - a body aiming to co-ordinate the policy and activities of all institutions responsible for addressing the problem of trafficking in human beings in Bulgaria and to co-ordinate and share information through SECI (Southeast European Co-operation Initiative). Bulgaria is also active in cooperating with police in the European Union and within the Stability Pact Special Task Force on Trafficking. Although the country can be commended for this concerted activity, there is still in place yet and sometimes the actions taken by the police and the prosecutor' s offices are even inconsistent. The lack of reliable data from the government is another serious problem.

Role of the NGOs, education and the media

In contrast to the field of domestic violence which is almost a "reserved" but open area for NGOs, TIW is almost "monopolised" by "La Strada" programme coordinated by the "Animus Association" Foundation and the activity of IOM in Bulgaria. The first provides psychological support and temporary shelter in crisis situations and the second offers administrative support through strong relations with the institutions and foreign organisations. Some other NGOs provide psychological support and shelter to victims ("Nadya Centre"), as well as legal research (BGRF). The local NGOs, although some of them received training from "La Strada" programme, do not play an important role yet. Despite the recommendations of the Committee, NGOs are not supported by the government. Foreign governmental funds and private donations ensure the continuity of their activity. A regional grant will allow the establishment, through IOM, of the first specialised shelter for women victims of trafficking in Bulgaria. The initiative of the "Animus Association" Foundation in 2001 to elaborate a draft national programme Action on TIW should be commendedthe NGO was assisted by other organisations and institutions in this endeavour. In 2000 there was a huge Anti-Trafficking Campaign, organised by IOM-Bulgaria with the support of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and "La Strada". It consisted of several elements: information campaign to alert potential victims and their families to the danger of trafficking, training programmes for Bulgarian officials. There was also an educational component aimed at dis-

The administrative and police measures and statistical data

It was only in 1999 that the Bulgarian Government started taking action against trafficking. Several invitatives of the law enforcement units of the Ministry of Interior were launched. The most active unit was the National Service for Combatting Organized Crime, which was established in 1997 and deals with specific types of crimes: money laundering, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings, etc. The Department "Trafficking and Trade in Human Beings" at that Service hosts a National Task Force



seminating anti-trafficking materials at Bulgarian secondary schools. Despite that, the campaign for schools and professionals needs a new impetus both by the state and the NGOs. A deficit of relevant research was identified, the first research being implemented by IOM in 1999 on the attitudes of young people and women towards migration. Finally, special programmes for the media are needed, as the knowledge of the phenomenon is still poor, as is the coverage of information related to the dismantling channels of forced prostitution. The emphasis is still on sensation and women victims are exposed and additionally victimised, instead of the perpetrators being accused and exposed.

Members of Parliament 1945-2001 ã.

National Assemblies NA 26 NA 6 Great NA 1(27) NA 2(28) NA 3(29) NA 4(30) NA 5(31) NA Period 1945-1946 1946-1949 1950-1953 1954-1957 1958-1961 1962-1965 1966-1971 1971-1976 1976-1981 1981-1986 1986-1990 1990-1991 1991-1994 1995-1997 1997 06.2000 06.2001 MPs 279 465 23 9 249 254 321 416 400 400 400 400 400 240 240 240 240 240 Women MPs 16 38 36 39 41 65 70 75 78 87 84 34 34 31 27 25 63 % 5,7 8,1 15 15,7 16,1 20,2 16,8 18,7 19,5 21,7 21,0 8,5 14,1 12,9 11,2 10,4 26,3 Women in electivå positions in NA 1 3 2 4 6 7 3 1 non-available 2 2 6 7 7 4 non-available 3

6. ARTICLE 7 of CEDAW- Participation in political life and decision-making

If there was any good news about the implementation of CEDAW in 2001, it was uundoubtedly the election of so many women to the Bulgarian Parliament at the last general elections in June 2001- 63 women, representing near to 26 % of the MPs. This is a big success in terms of women's political rights and it is in itself in compliance with CEDAW and the Committee's recommendations. These results are not due to consistent state policy but rather to the pre-election policy of the ruling political movement, to the influence of the negotiations with the EU and, last but not least, to the pressure by NGOs working in the field of gender equality (WAD, BGRF, GPF, etc. The policy of the new ruling political force on equal political participation of women/ an internal unofficial quota of 40% was applied during the pre-election period, and many women were placed at eligible positions / it is still only a sign that does not eliminate the need for affirmative action in order to promote women's participation/. In other terms, the actual representation of women in the Bulgarian Parliament risks to be viewed as accidental and remain an isolated precedent if not complemented by the empowerment of women in parliament, by measures to keep and enhance their participation and to guarantee it by direct and open affirmative action by the parties or the state. The following data illustrate the described unprecedented phenomenon:

6(32) NA 7(33) NA 8(34) NA 9(35) NA 7 Great NA 36 NA 37 NA 38 NA 38 NA 39 NA

/Data from the Information Centre of the Parliament/

Main problems identified with respect to the political participation of women

Despite the declared principle of gender equality in terms of political participation in Bulgaria, it is one of the spheres where the gap between the de jure and de facto situation is most expressed. When the question comes to keeping power positions in the society, the "glass ceiling" becomes thickest. The problems with the political participation of women in Bulgaria reflect the discrimination of women in other spheres. Then, the paradox is that this discrimination which impairs their right to political participation, is taken to their detriment in



respect of their political participation. Their lack of motivation is regarded as the main reason for their limited participation in decision-making. Stereotypes are thus reproduced. The lack of access is replaced by a lack of motivation. So, formal gender equality among other grounds for equality is enshrined in the Constitution, and declared in the related laws, as in the Act on the Election of Members of Parliament, Municipal Counsellors and Mayors and in the Local Elections Act, the Act on Administration, the Civil Servants Act, etc. Thus, Bulgaria is formally in compliance with art. 7 a/ and b/ of CEDAW. But the government policy is not yet in compliance with the Convention, which requires real equality. No affirmative action has been taken so far. After 1989, the share of women occupying political posts has decreased. Nonetheless, women are still being widely used in pre-election campaigns and as candidates in non- eligible positions in the party lists. There is no declared party policy or quota for enhancing women' s participation, especially among the big political forces- the Socialist Party, the Democratic Union, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. Even the Movement Simeon the Second, which won the last elections, did not openly declare this and just used the general atmosphere of need for political changes, part of which was the strategy to promote women as something "exotic", especially after 1989. In June 2000, only three women occupied high-ranking posts in ministries or other institutions; only two out of a total of 28 regional governors are female; likewise, two out of a total of 27 high administrative body governors are women. After the October 1999 local elections every eleventh municipality and every seventh town council has a woman mayor. The average ratio between male and female mayors is 87:13. Slightly more women were elected to the new municipal councils, thus increasing their share from 22% to 23.5 per cent. In the period around and after the last local elections in 1999, and especially a year before the general elections, the first research on women' s political participation in Bulgaria was started by NGOs/ the Women' s Alliance, the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation/. Recently, it also provoked the interest of state agencies in the field, e. g. the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion. The research helped identify the main problems and root causes for the under-representation of women: gender equality is not perceived as an issue among politicians, it became sort of a "fashion"; only very recently, with the EU accession process; women are less influenced by lobbying, corruption and group interests; women bare the heavy burden of the economic transition and ensure the survival of the fam-

ily, they cannot "afford" easily to take the political risk; strong gender stereotypes and contradiction between the role of a mother and a political activist subsist, women have no lobby and no connections with women in business, in NGOs and in the media, from where they could be promoted and supported for political career, aggression and corruption in the current political life are dissuasive factors for women /the main results are the survey and the study of BGRF "Equal rights and equal opportunities for women in political life in Bulgaria - 2000/. These studies have made it clear that women are excluded and do not have access to the new political elite formed after the beginning of the period of transition, both at national and local levels. They can only rely on some" fashion" from abroad, on the immediate interest of a party for some specific pre-election period and, finally, on affirmative action. Some additional data: in the Parliament there is a woman vice-chair, but women are under-represented in the parliamentary committees on budget, finance, economic development; in the new government, only two out of 16 ministers are women - of Labour and Social Policy and of the Environment. One of them is also a Vice -Prime Minister, though. Two agencies which are part of the executive are lead by women - the State Agency on Child Protection and the Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises. The latter could be really an asset for the economic empowerment of women. The so - called - Chief Negotiator with the EU is a woman, too.

Role and programmes of the NGOs

The period mentioned above was a real "boom" of women' s NGO activities in the field. The strong and concerted efforts of some of them contributed to the results of the last general elections. Some projects should be mentioned- "Project parity" and "Platform 120" of WAD, the research report of BGRF "Equal rights and equal opportunities for women in political life in Bulgaria", "Women can do it" of the Gender project for Bulgaria Foundation. Some of these initiatives aimed at promoting and enhancing women' s political participation were supported by the Gender Task Force to WTI of the Stability Pact, which was very active in the field. The biggest challenge, though, is to work for gender equality after the elections and with women in parliament. Women there are not yet conscious of their real power, even if they are close to the critical mass of 30% when they can influence decision- making. Women's NGOs have programmes like"



Gender equality on the agenda of the Bulgarian Parliament" (BGRF), the National Network of NGOs on Equal Opportunities (WAD), the Coalition Gender Task Force- Bulgaria, the "Women' s parliament" coalition, etc.

government to:

· adopt the necessary measures regarding poverty among women and especially among those who are most vulnerable, including older women, women with children and impaired women;

Trends and perspectives

The trends toward increased women' s participation last year were identified by the study mentioned above and by the representative survey of the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion conducted in February 2001 among 1225 respondents. They showed clearly the new tendencies, the need for change. In order to make the change sustainable and to continue enhancing women' s participation, legislative measures were provided /and, hopefully will be adopted/ in the Draft Equal Opportunities Act, which was pending in Parliament. A special Chapter was introduced: "CHAPTER FOUR EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN AND MEN TO PARTICIPATE IN POLITICAL LIFE AND GOVERNANCE Article. 33. The state bodies and the bodies of local self-government, the managing bodies of companies, political parties and other non-profit legal entities shall promote and facilitate the balanced participation of women and men in governance and decision making. Article. 34. (1) The state and territorial executive bodies shall employ preferentially the applicant from the under-represented sex in case the applicants equally meet the requirements for the post in question until a 40 per cent representation of this sex is reached, unless there are objective reasons for non-compliance with this requirement. (2) Paragraph 1 shall also apply to the nomination of members of or participants in any councils, expert working groups, managing, consultative or any other bodies, except for the case, when such members or participants are subject to election. "

· adopt special measures for encouraging women's participation in the economic activity, to ensure training and to adopt measures for facilitating women's access to credits and loans, especially with respect to women from within the country;

· establish

a permanent system of monitoring and data collecting with respect to these rights. It can be stated that during the period of transition and after 1998 the government has not managed to strengthen women's rights in the field of employment and social protection so as to ensure the women's position in the labour market and to get advantage of their full potential in the field. Research and analyses show that the non- implementation of CEDAW in this area is the result of the lack of balance between economic restructuring /SAPs/ and privatization and the respect for SER, in particular the rights of women. This has been emphasized on many instances by BGRF and other representatives of the civil society /e. g. the 1999 Alternative report to CESCR, the Social Watch reports 2000 and 2001, and more recently in the 2002, report/.

7.1. The impact of economic restructuring and privatization

Privatization is one of the central economic policies of the Bulgarian government. Although the government was commended by the international financial institutions for its strict implementation of structural reforms and for the financial stabilisation of the country, the privatisation process has been notoriously corrupt and non- transparent. About 70% of the state assets (including banking) have been privatised so far. Because of corruption and inconsistent government economic policies, privatisation has not had a strengthening effect on the economy. According to the National Statistics Institute and the National Employment Office, the level of employment of women has been steadily dropping compared to men that of, and reached 36% in 2000. Women prevail among the unemployed for the last 3 years and make about 53%. An additionally alerting trend is the prevalence of young women /up to 25/ and of women in young fertility age /25-34/ in the low level of employment and among the unemployed. Long - term unemployment is

7. ARTICLE 11 - Discrimination of women in the field of employment

The implementation of art.11 is crucial for the situation of women and the level of respect and exercise of women's rights in all other spheres during the period of transition in Bulgaria. Given the relevance of women' s social - economic rights, in 1998 the Committee recommended the Bulgarian



typical of women as well. The economic restructuring has caused high unemployment unaccompanied with any effective alternatives. These severe economic conditions create harsh competition in the labour market, thus shaping the basis for gender discriminatory practices. Women with lower education prevail among the long-term unemployed and they cannot get enough advantage from the training and re-training activities proposed. It is not surprising that, although women get more advantage of the retraining programmes for unemployed than men /their share is more than 60% according to NEO/, they are less "attractive" for employment. The social benefits their reproductive role entails are regarded as a "burden" for the employers and represent another obstacle to their realisation. In this context, during the period 1998-1999 the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation conducted a sociological and legal research on the specific impact of privatisation on the socio-economic rights of women. Through the combined qualitative /25 in-depth interviews and 19 focusgroups /and quantitative/ 325 standardised interviews with employers in different sectors /sociological methods the following trends, related to the implementation of art.11 were identified: - Women had an uneven starting position in privatization and no real access to and impact on the most spread forms of privatization - management - employee buy-outs privatization and negotiations with potential buyers; - Privatization affected the labour and social rights of citizens and especially certain groups of women: young women, women during and after maternity leave, women with small children and women older than 40 years. To work without a labour contract or any contract at all was a wide spread phenomenon, which is also a violation of the right to social security and to unemployment benefits. The research revealed the existence of discriminatory practices in the process of hiring- women are very often asked additional questions not connected with their professional qualification-about their availability, their family and personal obligations. Sexual harassment at the workplace emerged as a serious problem; - Many highly qualified women could not find jobs or had to accept lower positions as the quality and the professional requirements to the employment available was beneath their qualifications, which had a direct impact on the conditions of work and the gender segregation of labour; - Foreign investors in Bulgaria required the state to restrict the guaran-

tees for citizens' labour and social rights in the transition to market economy, which also endangered women and their so-called "privileges", e. g. extended maternity and child care leave. Some foreign investors, especially from Greece and Turkey who were at the end of the subcontracting chains in the garment industry were deriving advantage of the cheap labour force and lowered labour standards. This had direct gender impacts; - In addition, there was a decrease in the state control /and namely the Labor Inspection/ for violations of labour and social rights. The trust in trade unions as defenders of the workers in the process of privatization dropped dramatically. Both institutions are not effective in monitoring discriminatory practices and providing protection to women. Women did not make use of their rights to seek protection in court, the attitude to the judicial system was characterised by distrust; - There were no affirmative actions ensuring the equal participation of women in the labour market, and namely in entrepreneurship; - Women entrepreneurs were almost twice less than men, but there were no incentives for them to start new business. These results were confirmed by the representative surveys of the national Centre for the Study of Public Opinion in 2000 and 2001, where men and women identified the discrimination of women in terms of access to employment and employment conditions as one of the main areas of discrimination in society. Stronger protection measures are recommended by the respondents. The research initiated in 2001 in the garment industry in Bulgaria by the Clean Clothes campaign -Bulgaria /Association "Bulgarian- European partnership"/ - confirmed the high risk for women employed in the garment industry with entrepreneurs foreign investors /in their factories women account for more than 80% of the workers/. The research which was conducted recently by the Women's Alliance for Development and the ASA Agency /still under processing/ called "Women, labour, glogalization" confirms these trends and reflects the opinion of women about work for MNCs and with the new technologies. It shows that they see the challenge for new employment, but they are not informed enough about the potential dangers in terms of quality of employment and conditions of work. The advantages of the new technologies remain an unexplored challenge.



7.2. The legal and policy response

· General considerations

There is no adequate response yet to the serious problems reported. One of the tools for it - the Draft Equal Opportunities Act - is with unclear chances for adoption. The general overview of the legislation shows that the government has not taken effective measures for the implementation of art.11 of CEDAW. If any measures have been taken this has happened only very recently, so women have been in a disadvantaged position and without effective protection during the long period of transition. For example, only in April 2001 the provision of art. 243 of the Labour Code was introduced as a response to the requirements of EU Directive 75/117 and of Revised European Social Charter - ratified in 2000. The provisions on gender equality continue to be declaratory and without effective mechanisms for protection the Bulgarian Constitution of 1991, which has direct effect, establishes in its Articles 14, 16, 47, 48, 49 and 51, the fundamental social and economic rights of Bulgarian citizens, along with the equality provision in Article 6. It guarantees the right to employment and the conditions for its exercising, the free choice of profession and working place, healthy and safe working conditions, a minimum wage, the receipt of remuneration corresponding to the work done, holidays and leave based on the provisions of the law as well as the right of workers and employers to association and the right to social security. It is expressly specified that the family, motherhood and children are under the special protection of the State and society and that the State shall assist the upbringing of children whereas women-mothers shall enjoy special protection. This brings in another conclusion about the legal framework - it is too much focused on special protection at the expense of lacking guarantees for real equality and affirmative action. Furthermore, special protection is being perceived as affirmative action for women.

It is obvious that the provisions of art. 8 LC /equality in labour relations/ and art. 243 LC /guarantee for equal pay/ are far from sufficient to provide protection from discrimination in the labour market. Another ineffective provision is Para. 2 of Article 127. 14, which protects the dignity at work. It was introduced after the ratification of Article 26 /the right to respect of dignity at work/ of the European Social Charter. Therefore, there is no mention of equality with respect of the selection procedure, the evaluation of work, the opportunities for promotion, etc. The existing provisions are not effective - the equal pay provision does not cover the employment relations of the civil servants/ the respective Civil Servants Act lacks such a provision/, for example, and relations not regulated by a strict labour contract. No mechanisms for implementation exist. The phenomenon of sexual harassment cannot be regulated without detailed and specific provisions on the obligations of the employer. Concerning the legal protection, it cannot be implemented without an initial reversal of the burden of proof. All these gaps would have been filled if the Draft Equal Opportunities Act was passed by the parliament.

· Social security and special protection based on reproductive

functions and maternity

Another problem of the legal regulation is the lack of balance between social protection and the special protection of women and their opportunities for participation in the labour market. For example, women after maternity leave are discriminated against in the labour market because of the higher social price and benefits the employer has to pay in case of their appointment and the need for additional training and qualification after the leave. This is due to the fact that social security contributions are rather high /about 40% of the gross income divided between the employer and the employee/ additional tax burden on both employers and employees and evasion is often practiced to the detriment of women's security. Since women are the major consumers of social security during maternity leave, child upbringing and sick child care, they are most affected by the ongoing processes and their rights are infringed to the greatest extent. This requires the government to implement strictly art. 11 para 1 and 2 in close connection with para 3.


· Equal pay and conditions of work

Part of Bulgarian legislation are. some ILO Conventions (100/equal pay/, 111/ equality in employment and professions, 3/ protection of maternity/, etc.), but the government has been slow in transposing of their requirements, especially in the field of equal pay and access to and conditions of work.

The article is entitled "Obligations of the employer for ensuring working conditions", Paragraph 2 provides that: "The employer is obliged to protect the dignity of the worker or the employee during the fulfilment of his/her work under the labour contract".



As a whole, the social benefits of women and the special measures correspond to the required CEDAW standards. Nevertheless, the legislation lacks incentive measures and affirmative action in the field. A step forward to guaranteeing citizen's rights to social security was the adoption in 1999 of the new Code on Obligatory Social Security. According to the Code, the compulsory social security scheme pays out compensations, benefits and pensions in the cases of temporary inability to work, limited ability to work, impairment, maternity, old age and death. Failure of an employer to pay the required security contributions does not deprive the employees from the right to receive all necessary financial compensations, benefits and pension. The Code also provides for financial compensations payable during pregnancy and birth, infant rearing and other cases relevant to the reproductive functions of women. During pregnancy and birth leave women are entitled to a daily financial compensation amounting 90 per cent of the average daily salary or income for social security purposes stated in the Code, but no less than the minimum daily salary for the country and no more than the average daily net remuneration for the period for which the compensation is computed. During maternity leave for infant upbringing, women are entitled to compensation equal to the minimum monthly working salary established for the country (which is BGN 100 as of 01.10.2001). The amount of compensation is far below the standards and very few women can afford to exercise their right and receive the minimum monthly salary for the country, provided that the mother works under the terms for labour legal relationships. The Labour Code also contains specific protective stipulations for women, regarding maternity. The list of measures comprises, as already mentioned, the right to pregnancy and birth leave, paid and unpaid leave for upbringing a small child as well as leave for breastfeeding and feeding an infant, plus a paid leave for two or more living children (Article 163 of the Labour Code). A positive element is the opportunity for the father to use the paid leave under Article 164 and the unpaid one, upon the written consent of the mother. The last condition is a conservative element, bearing in mind that this opportunity is almost not used by the fathers. Affirmative action for fathers is needed in this field, also in view of the better realisation of women in the labour market.

· The reformed social security system - a challenge to social equity

Despite the commended pension reform introduced with the mentioned Code in 2000, experts foresee serious inequalities in future. The system is based on 3 pillars - pay-as-you-go, an obligatory private scheme and a voluntary one with the involvement of both the private and the public sector. From 2002, all young workers will contribute to the second pillar, which comprises a set of regulated pension schemes. In addition, workers will have the option of making voluntary contributions to a fully capitalised third pillar. Women workers have been affected disproportionately by the increases in the retirement age, the elimination of redistributional elements in the benefit formulas, and, in particular, by the new contribution schedule that penalises more heavily for periods of unemployment early in a career. Another issue is the growing exclusion of workers in the informal sector, where a lot of women are involved. Women benefit from special protective measures under Bulgarian legislation which are justified by the biological specificity of women and by concern about their reproductive functions. Nevertheless, some protective provisions, especially those contained in the domestic legislation, must be reconsidered in view of reinforcing the rights of women to access to jobs and professional promotion. Chapter 15 Section 2 of the Labour Code is dedicated to the special protection of women at work, and the general provision of Article 307 of the Labour Code prohibits those hard and harmful work operations that can be detrimental to the health of women and to their reproductive functions.15 The activities prohibited (besides the work prohibited in relation to pregnancy and breastfeeding) are divided into two categories: the first category implies an absolute prohibition for all women, and the second one is relative and concerns only women up to the age of 35. Nevertheless, although the prohibition of such work is absolute, there are still cases in practice where women work in harmful conditions, and the trade unions in Bulgaria collect information about the working conditions and point to some


Paragraph 2 specifies that "[...] the list of work operations according to Para. 1 is specified in an act approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy and the Minister of Health. This list is periodically updated according to changes in the working conditions and shall be reviewed at least once every three years." This list is incorporated in Regulation No. 7 of 1993 issued by the two ministers.



violations of the prohibitions mentioned, especially in some privatised and feminised enterprises. (For example, "The Black Book of violations of labour rights of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions). Article 308 of the Labour Code requires employers with 20 or more women workers to equip rooms for the personal hygiene of women and for the relaxation of pregnant women, according to rules issued by the Minister of Health. This obligation is further developed in Regulation ¹ 11 of 1987 of the Minister of Health. Until very recently, Article 310 of the Labour Code contained an absolute prohibition for an employer to send a pregnant woman or a woman with a child under the age of three on a business trip.16 It is not the case any more - since the amendment of the LC in March 2001 it is up to the woman to decide. The provisions concerning night work for women were not revised or amended. Article 140 Para. 4 p. 2 of the Labour Code still contains an absolute prohibition for night work concerning not only pregnant women, but also women workers or employees with children up to the age of three. Women with small children are therefore deprived of choice and chances for promotion and higher remuneration. They are also more unsuitable candidates in the process of hiring for certain jobs and positions. Furthermore, night work for mothers of small children should be subject to the consent of the mother. There are no complete guarantees for the implementation of art. 11 para 2 a/ CEDAW- not enough mechanisms against discrimination, related to the marital status included, not an absolute prohibition of dismissal based on maternity, without any conditions and with full coverage of the grounds for dismissal. The legal solution so far - The Labour Code - sets forth special measures for the protection of women against dismissal. Article 333, para 1, subparagraph 1 protects against dismissal a female worker or employee who is pregnant or is a mother of a child up to 3 years old or is the spouse of a person currently doing their regular military service. The protection is expressed in the requirement for the preliminary permission of the Labour


Inspection Administration for each particular dismissal. It is also used with some of the reasons for terminating the employment contract by the employer with notice under Article 328, para 1: closing down a part of the enterprise or laying off staff, decrease in the volume of work, worker's or employee's lack of qualities for the effective performance of the work, change in the requirements for performing the job where the worker does not comply with them, as well as terminating the employment contract without notice by the employer in the case of disciplinary dismissal of the worker or employee. The new provision of Article 333, para 5 provides for an additional guarantee in the cases of dismissal of a female worker or employee using her pregnancy and birth leave, by allowing for their dismissal only where the enterprise closes down. The grounds for dismissal, which the legislator has included among the circumstances that entail protection of the women whose employment contracts are terminated with notice do not cover the cases under Article 328, para 1, subparagraph 4: ceasing work for longer than 15 days. In other words, in these cases women from the abovelisted categories can be dismissed without the permission of the Inspection. In addition to that, obviously l the period of pregnancy is not covered from the very beginning.

· New employment opportunities

The new government which is in power since last summer has declared a policy for promotion of employment, unemployment being one of the most severe problems of the country. One of the first measures was the adoption of a new act in the beginning of 2002 - the Employment Promotion Act, which introduced the notion of " active job- seekers" , thus creating two categories of unemployed and boosting the employment of people with entrepreneurial spirit only. For well- known reasons women cannot always compete for work. For the rest, the Act (which is still with unclear results) creates some incentives for employers when hiring representatives of vulnerable groups, including the vulnerable groups of women. Another improvement is the introduction of one of the provisions of the draft Equal Opportunities Act the prohibition of discriminatory requirements for new job positions. The guarantee is extended to other grounds of discrimination as well. Unemployed people are also provided with new alternatives for business facilitated by small credits. These guarantees have to be reinforced by specific mechanisms for implementation. Another positive trend is the adoption of special provisions and policy

After the recent amendment to the Labour Code, the provision of Article 310 reads: "1) An employer cannot send a pregnant woman on a business trip". 2) An employer cannot send a woman with a child under the age of three on a business trip except with her written consent." Obviously, the arguments in favour of the woman's choice and her chances for professional development prevailed and the legislator revised the absolute prohibition.



about gender equality and planning of special measures for women' s enterpreneurship. All this is very new and reflected in the short- term programme of the Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises. The latter started playing an important role by creating a task force for women' s economic empowerment and enterpreneurship. This is all in process of elaboration and does not prevent the necessity for changes in the legislation.


1. Gender Surveys of the National centre for Study of the Public Opinion /NCSPO/- October 2000, February 2001. 2. Political analysis of the gender representation and gender agenda in 39th National assembly- Institute for regional and international studies, Sofia, 2002. 3. Monthly surveys of the National Employment Office. Sofia, 1998 - 2002. 4. Report of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee on the status of human rights in Bulgaria for 2001 with contribution of the BGRF for the section on women' s rights. 5. The impact of privatisation on women in the period of economic transition in Bulgaria. - Bulgarian gender research Foundation, Sofia, 1999. 6. Alternative report to the Committee on ESCR, 21st session. - Bulgarian gender research Foundation, 1999 7. Equal rights and equal opportunities for women in political life in Bulgaria. - Bulgarian gender research Foundation, Sofia, 2000. 8. Research on the labour conditions in the garment industry in 2 regions of Bulgaria. - Bulgarian gender research Foundation, Clean Clothes Campaign -Bulgaria, October 2001. 9. Women in the advertisements. - Gender project for Bulgaria Foundation and the Media Research Group, Sofia, 1998. 10. Domestic violence in Bulgaria. - Quantitative research of the GPF, Sofia, march 2000. 11. Women, labour, globalisation. - WAD and ASSA Sociological agency, Sofia, 2001/ under processing/

7.3. Remedies the lege ferenda - the need for a gender equality act and for economic literacy

Employment relations are the central area in which a gender equality act would apply. A very detailed regulation is needed and accompanied with real guarantees and mechanisms for protection. The triple system of controladministrative, by the ombudsperson and by the courts, with the decisive participation of trade unions and NGOs, would be without precedent in the Bulgarian legal system. Other key issues are the specific way of defining gender discrimination, the introduction of the notion of affirmative action, the concrete and detailed obligations of the employer, the reversal of the burden of proof, the regulation of sexual harassment. Economic literacy and empowerment of women is another field where the action of the state leaves to desire. In order to improve the situation of women in the labour market, women' s NGOs in Bulgaria have assumed this role in respect to women and women' s groups in the country, but also in respect to the representatives of the government. In a nutshell, despite the good intentions and the fragmented new legislative provisions, there is still absence of stable and detailed legislation, gender equality legislation included, lack of policies and programmes aimed at gender equality. It makes a serious obstacle to the real compliance of the government with the requirements of Article 11 and the respective recommendations of the Committee.





Article 4. The Minister of Labour and Social Policy for Women and Men shall elaborate, coordinate and implement the national policy for the provision of equal opportunities for women and men.



Article 1. This Act lays down the relationships related to elimination of direct and indirect discrimination based on sex and the promotion of equal opportunities for women and men in all spheres of public life in the Republic of Bulgaria. Article 2. This Act shall not apply to personal relationships between women and men, as well as to the relationships related to the canons, dogmas and statutory provisions of the religious communities. Article 3. (1) Direct and indirect discrimination based on sex is prohibited. (2) Sexual harassment shall be considered as a form of discrimination. (3) The following shall not be considered as discrimination: 1. special measures provided for in law in regard to protection in cases of pregnancy, child birth and breastfeeding; 2. incentive measures provided for in law in regard to women or men 3. qualificational requirements for activities for which the sex is determining factor due to the nature of the relevant activity or the way it is being carried out.

Article 5. (1) A steering consultative body - National Council for the Equal Opportunities, hereinafter referred to as the 'National Council', shall be established with the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. (2) The National Council shall consist of 20 members. It shall consist of five representatives of the government, the nationally representative employers' and employees' organisations, as well as of the non-governmental organisations working in this field. (3) The Rules of Procedure of the National Council shall be issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. (4) The National Council shall be assisted in its activities by an administration. The structure and the functions of the administration shall be laid down with the Rules of Procedure of the National Council. (5) The representatives of the government shall be determined by the Council of Ministers. The representatives of the nationally representative organisations of the employees, nationally representative organisations of the employers and of the non-governmental organisations shall be determined accordingly after conciliation between their head offices. Article 6. An independent body - Public Defender (Ombudsperson) for the Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, hereinafter referred to as the 'Public Defender', shall be established for monitoring of the observance of the equal opportunities for women and men, for termination of the violations of the equality rights and for redressing of the inflicted damages. Article 7. The state bodies and the bodies of the local self-government shall implement the equal opportunities policy within the scope of their powers in cooperation with the non-governmental organisations, as well as with the nationally representative employers' and employees' organisations. Article 8. The municipal councils shall establish in the municipalities with a decision public councils for exertion of public control over this act's application. Article 9. Non-governmental organisations shall participate in the activities



for creation of equal opportunities under terms and following procedures laid down in this Act. Article 10. (1) The bodies mentioned in this Act shall periodically elaborate strategies, plans and programmes for the implementation of the national policy in the field of the equal opportunities for women and men. (2) The terms and conditions for elaboration of strategies, plans and programmes as referred to in paragraph 1 shall be determined by an Ordinance of the Couincil of Ministers. Article 11. (1) The state bodies shall be responsible for the creation and observance of equal opportunities for women and men during the drafting, adoption and implementation of the legislation. (2) The issues within the competence of the Council of Ministers shall be submitted for consideration accompanied by a reasoned opinion on the conformity of the issue with the purposes of this Act approved by the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. Article 12. The National Statistical Institute shall carry out the statistical activity in regard to the equality of women and men.

sions for ensuring the equal opportunities than those provided for in the act, as well as incentive measures for achieving balanced gender representation in the undertaking. (2) An individual employment contract contrary to this Act or evading it shall be void and null. (3) A collective agreement contrary to this Act or evading it shall be void and null. (4) Separate clauses of an individual employment contract or a collective agreement may also be proclaimed void and null. In such cases the relevant imperative provisions of the law shall apply in lieu of the nullified provisions. (5) The nullity of the employment contract or the collective agreement, or of the separate clauses of the individual employment contract or collective agreement shall be proclaimed by the court. Article 15. (1) An employer of more than 20 workers and employees shall appoint by a written order an official responsible for the equal opportunities for women and men after consultations with the employees' representatives. (2) The functions and the tasks of the official referred to in paragraph 1 shall be determined byan Ordinance of the Minister of Labour and Social Policy. (3) The employer must not place at disadvantaged position such an official or undertake disciplinary punishments against him/her due to his/her actions in implementation of this Act. Article 16. When announcing a job vacancy, the employer is not entitled to post by whatsoever means, directly or indirectly, qualificational requirements related to the applicants' sex, except for activities where sex is a decisive factor. Article 17. (1) A special log shall be kept in undertakings with more than 20 employees in which all job vacancies, all job advertisements and all candidates for a job vacancy shall be recorded. (2) The log as referred to in paragraph 1 shall be kept by the official responsible for the equal opportunities for women and men. Article 18. (1) The employer must not select a job applicant only on the basis of his/her sex. (2) The employer must not pose questions to the applicants, orally or in writing, related to his/her family or parental status or duties. (3) The employer must not refuse to employ a person on the grounds of pregnancy, maternity or raising a child.


Article 13. (1) Women and men shall have equal opportunities to exercise their right to work. (2) The employer must ensure for the women and men: 1. equal access to job vacancies; 2. equal opportunities in job placement; 3. equal working conditions; 4. the right to equal remuneration for equal work or work of equal value 5. equal opportunities for vocational training, improvement of professional qualification and obtaining of new qualification; 6. equal opportunities for professional development and promotion; 7. respect for the dignity at the workplace; 8. equal criteria when terminating unilaterally the employment or civil service relationship; 9. equal access to information. Article 14. (1) A collective agreement may stipulate more favourable provi-



Article 19. The employer shall provide equal working conditions for women and men. Article 20. (1) The employer shall provide equal payment for women and men for equal work or work of equal value. (2) Paragraph 1 shall apply to all kinds of remuneration, paid directly or indirectly, in cash or in kind. (3) The criteria for assessment of the work for the purpose of determination of remuneration shall be equal for men and women and shall be defined by collective agreements or in the internal (company) salary rules after consultations with the employees' representatives. (4) The employer shall apply equal criteria for assessment of the quality of work of women and men when determining their remuneration. Article 21. (1) The employer shall provide equal opportunities for vocational training, improvement of the professional qualification and obtaining of new qualification, regardless of the sex of the worker. (2) The employer shall create conditions for maintaining and improvement of the professional qualification of employees on leave for raising of a child. Article 22. The employer shall provide equal opportunities to women and men for their professional development and promotion by applying equal criteria and indicators for evaluation of their activity. Article 23. The employer shall apply equal criteria in regard to women and men in conducting the disciplinary responsibility. Article 24. The employer shall apply equal criteria in regard to women and men in exercising his right to unilateral termination of the employment relationship under Article 328, paragraph 1, points 2-5, 10 and 11 and Article 329 of the Labour Code or of the civil service relationship under Article 106, para. 1, points 2, 3 and 5 of the Civil Servants Act. Article 25. Organisation of work, as well as other measures permitting the conciliation of the professional and family or parental responsibilities of women and men may be stipulated in a collective agreement. Article 26. (1) Sexual harassment at the workplace by the employer or an employee is prohibited. (2) An employer who has received a complaint from an employee who considers himself harassed sexually by another employee shall carry out an investigation and undertake measures for its prevention.

(3) The employer must not place into a disadvantaged position or take disciplinary punishments against an employee as a result from his actions to oppose to or complain about sexual harassment. (4) An employee who testifies for sexual harassment is entitled to the same protection. Article 27. The employer must place in an accessible to the employees place in his premise the text of this act, as well as all regulations and stipulations of the collective agreement and the internal regulations related to equal opportunities for women and men. Article 28. (1) The employer must provide on request an information to the person claiming that his rights under this chapter have been violated. (2) The information under paragraph 1 must contain the grounds for the decision taken by him. Article 29. The employer must not undertake any disciplinary punishments towards an employee due to the fact that he/she had complained about violation of his/her rights under this Chapter. Article 30. The provisions laid down in this Chapter, except for Articles 14, 20, para.3 and 25, shall apply also to regular service in the armed forces except for the fulfilment of activities for which the sex is a determining factor. Article 31. In disputes on violated rights under Articles 15 (3), 16 -24 and 27 - 30 the burden of proof for the lack of discrimination is placed on the employer in case that from the facts established by the plaintif it can be presumed that there was discrimination. Article 32. The territorial divisions of the National Employment Service must ensure the guaranteed by law rights of unemployed persons regardless of their sex.


Article 33. The state bodies and the bodies of the local self-government, the managing bodies of the companies, political parties and other non-profit legal entities shall promote and facilitate the balanced participation of women and men in the governance and decision making. Article 34. (1) The state and territorial executive bodies shall employ pref-



erentially the applicant from the under-represented sex in case the applicants meet the requirements for the post in question equally until a 40 per cent representation of this sex is reached, unless there are objective reasons for non-compliance with this requirement. (2) Paragraph 1 shall also apply to the nomination of members of or participants in any councils, expert working groups, managing, consultative or any other bodies, except for the case, when such members or participants are subject to election.

(4) A student, professor or administrator who testifies for sexual harassment is entitled to the same protection.


Article 38. (1) Persons providing education and training, as well as authors of textbooks and study materials shall present information and apply training methods aiming at removal of the negative stereotypes of the roles of women and men in all spheres of public life, including the family. (2) The kindergartens, schools and high schools shall include in their educational programmes and plans training on the gender equality issues. Article 39. Requests for and designing and distribution of advertisements and announcements, which are humiliating for the dignity of women and men are prohibited. Article 40. Information distributed through the media must not contain or provoke discrimination based on sex.


Article 35. The schools and training institutions shall provide equal opportunities for everybody regardless of his sex in: 1. access to education and/or training; 2. the educational and/or training process, including assessment of the knowledge acquired; 3. graduation. Article 36. (1) The schools and training institutions are not entitled when announcing the qualificational requirements to impose directly or indirectly whatsoever restrictions related to the sex of the applicant or applicants. (2) Incentive measures in the field of education; training and vocational education and training can be introduced for reduction of the existing imbalanced participation in a specific profession or area of activity. (3) The terms and conditions for the application of the measures as referred to in paragraph 1 shall be determined in an ordinance of the Minister of Education and Science and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy after consultations in the National Council. Article 37. (1) Sexual harassment in the higher schools (universities) by an administrator, professor or another student is prohibited. (2) The head of a higher school (university) who has received a complaint from a student, who considers himself harassed sexually by administrator, professor or another student, shall carry out an investigation and undertake measures for its prevention. (3) The head of a higher school (university), the administrators and the professors must not place into a disadvantaged position or take disciplinary measures against a student as a result from his actions to oppose to or complain about sexual harassment.


Article 41. For the post of the public defender are eligible Bulgarian citizens with higher education in law, high professional and moral qualities and at least 15 years experience as a legal practitioner. Article 42. The public defender shall be nominated and elected by Parliament for a period of 6 years. Article 43. During the term of office the public defender shall not be entitled to hold a post of a state official, to receive any other remuneration than from professorship or scientific publications, to perform any other public function nor to be a member of a political party or a trade union. Article 44. (1) The powers of the public defender shall be terminated in one of the following cases: 1. resignation; 2. expiry of the term of office; 3. death or pertaining incapability to perform his/her duties due to a grave illness; 4. conviction with an effective sentence for an aforethought criminal offence.



(2) In cases referred to in points 1 and 2 of paragraph 1, the public defender shall continue to fulfil his/her duties until the election of the new one. Article 45. In performing his/her functions, the public defender shall be bound only by the law and shall be guided by his/hers personal conscience and morals. Article 46. The public defender shall: 1. consider complaints and signals for violation of the rights provided for in this Act and carry out inspections on the basis of such complaints and signals; 2. in cases of established violations issue suggestions and recommendations for termination of the violation, for removal of the reasons which led to the infringement, as well as for redressing its consequences; 3. issue mandatory prescriptions and punitive decrees in cases prescribed by this Act; 4. refer to the specialised control bodies under this Act in case there is evidence of an administrative offence or refer to the prosecutor in case there is evidence of a committed crime 5. make a review of the existing legislation and of the practical implementation of this Act and submit to the competent authorities reasoned proposals for to the legislation; 6. be entitled to require and receive timely, complete and precise information related to the fulfilment of his/her duties; 7. prepare and submit to Parliament an annual report; 8. inform the Parliament on cases of extremely grave offence of basic rights and disrespect of equal opportunities. 9. publish a bulletin. Article 47. The public defender may act on his initiative when he establishes that the conditions necessary to respect equal opportunities for men and women are not created or there is a violation of this Act. Article 48. (1) No one can refuse to provide information to the Public Defender related to the fulfilment of his/her duties on a basis that the required information is considered to be state, official or commercial secret. (2) The public defender must not disclose the facts considered to be state, official or commercial secret, as well as the personal data of which he/she has become aware of during fulfilment of his/her duties. Article 49. (1) The Public Defender shall be assisted in his/her activities by

an administration, which shall be a legal person with a seat in Sofia. (2) The public defender shall issue the rules for procedure and organisation of his/her activity. Article 50. (1) The public defender shall reply in one-month period from the date of the submission the complaint or the signal. (2) Complaints and signals for offences committed more than two years ago shall not be considered. Article 51. (1) The complaints shall contain: 1. information about the petitioner; 2. information about the person against whom the complaint is filed; 3. short description of the facts related to the offences of the rights provided for in this Act. (2) The signals shall contain: 4. information about the person who has submitted the signal; 5. information about the person or persons whose rights have been violated; 6. information about the person against whom the complaint is filed; 7. short description of the facts related to the offences of the rights provided for in this Act. Article 52. (1) Complaints and signals to the public defender can be submitted regardless of the fact that there exist other means for redressing. (2) The complaints and signals shall not be considered by the public defender when there is a pending procedure before the court. Article 53. (1) The bodies and persons who have received recommendations and suggestions must declare in two months period whether they accept them. (2) The bodies and persons as referred to in paragraph 1 shall inform forthwith the public defender on the measures which they have undertaken, as well as on the terms in which they intend to undertake such measures. (3) The public defender shall inform forthwith the petitioners or the persons who have submitted the signal on the undertaken measures referred to in paragraph 2. Article 54. The public defender shall publish annually a black book of employers and institutions, which have not complied with his/her recommendations and/or suggestions. Article 55. The expenditures in regard to the activities of the public defender shall be included in a separate chapter of the State Budget.




Article 56. (1) The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and the Ministry of Education and Science and the public defender shall exercise the overall control over the observation of this act within their powers. (2) The specialised controlling bodies are the Executive Agency "Chief Labour Inspection", the Inspectorate with the National Employment Service and the Education Inspectorate. (3) The bodies referred to in paragraph 2 shall carry out inspections on complaints by affected persons, as well as when being referred to by the trade unions, non-governmental organisations or the public defender. Article 57. (1) When performing their controlling functions the inspectors shall be entitled to: 1. visit without any limitations the employer's administration; 2. require explanations and submission of documents, inquiries and information; 3. receive the required information directly from the persons who have lodged the complaint; 4. draw up statements for the established violations; 5. issue mandatory instructions to the employer /the appointing body/ for removal of the established violations. (2) The inspectors must: 1. establish the facts strictly during the inspections carried out; 2. not disclose the information related to the inspections before their completion; 3. not use information received during the inspections for other purposes. (3) In case the inspector establishes infringements of the law, which contain evidence of a criminal offence, the inspector shall forthwith the prosecution.

established with an act issued by an inspector from the Inspectorate with the National Employment Service. (3) Infringements under Articles 35 - 38 shall be established with an act issued by an education inspector. (4) Infringements under Articles 39 and 40 shall be established with an act issued by an official from the Public Defender's administration determined by him/her. Article 59. (1) Infringement of this Act shall be punished by a fine in amount of 500 to 1000 leva imposed on the natural persons or property sanction in amount of 2000 to 5000 leva imposed on the sole proprietors and legal entities. (2) Failure to fulfil the inspector's mandatory instruction under Article 57, paragraph 1, point 5, shall be punished by a fine or property sanction in amount of 1000 to 2000 leva, imposed on the employer, and by a fine in amount of 750 to 1500 leva, imposed on the responsible official. Article 60. (1) On violation of Articles 26 or 37, the offended person can submit to the punitive body, before a punitive decree is issued, a request for indemnities for the damages suffered at the amount of four average salaries of the employer, or the administration of the state or executive authorities, respectively. (2) When Article 37 is infringed by a student the claim under the paragraph 1 can be in amount not exceeding 500 leva. Article 61. (1) Persons whose rights under this Act have been violated are entitled to a claim before a court. (2) The court procedures under Chapters Three and Five are free of charge. (3) The claims for violated rights as provided for in Articles 15 24, 27 - 30, 32 and 35 - 38 shall be considered in accordance with procedure laid down in Chapter 12a of the Civil Procedures Code. Article 62. (1) Trade unions and their divisions, the non-governmental organisations and the public defender shall be entitled to represent before the court the persons whose rights under this act have been violated on their request. (2) The representatives as referred to in paragraph 1 shall not be entitled to come to agreements, settle, withdraw or reduce the claims of the persons represented by them, nor to receive money on their behalf, unless there have been an explicit authorisation for such actions.


Article 58. (1) Infringements under Chapter Three, except for Articles 16, 17, 18, 21 and 32 shall be established with an act issued by a labour inspector. (2) Infringements under Articles 16, 17, 18, 21 and 32 shall be




§ 1. For the purpose of this Act: 1. "employer" means the term established in § 1, point 1 of the Additional Provisions of the Labour Code or the employing body within the sense of Chapter 3, Section 3 of the Civil Servants' Act. 2. "direct discrimination" means the placement of a person into a disadvantaged or advantaged position on the grounds of his/her sex; 3. "indirect discrimination" means application of apparently permitted by law provisions in a manner that leads to de facto placement of persons from one sex into a disadvantaged or advantaged position in comparison to the persons from the other sex; 4. "sexual harassment at the workplace" means any unwanted behaviour, related to the sex of the person aiming at or leading to offence of a person's dignity and/or creation of environment of intolerance, anxiety, humiliation, hostility; 5. "incentive measures"/ it means affirmative action/ means temporary special measures aiming at achievement of equal opportunities for women or men.

Draft Protection Against Domestic Violence Act

(Introduced by the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation to the Parliamentary Commission on Legal Issues) Chapter One General Provisions

Subject Matter of the Act

Article 1. (1) This Act shall settle the legal relations arising in the cases of domestic violence, the principles and the measures for protection against domestic violence where immediate assistance is required. (2) This Act shall also settle the order of issuance, appealing against and the enforcement of the judicial administration acts regulating the civil legal relations set forth under para 1.

Definition of Domestic Violence

Article 2. (1) Domestic violence shall be each act of violence which inflicts or could inflict psychological, sexual or bodily harms, pain or suffering, or the threat of committing thereof, as well as the forcible luring into sexual relations or the forcible restriction of personal freedom committed against persons, who are or have been into a family, personal or kinship relation or such who inhabit a common home. (2) Domestic violence is a violation of human rights.


§ 2. This Act shall enter into force from 1 January 2002, except for Article 30 and § 5, which shall enter into force from 1 January 2003. § 3. (1) The Minister of Labour and Social Policy shall invite the bodies and organisations referred to in Article 5, paragraph 2 to present their nominations for the National Council in one-month period from the entry of this Act into force. (2) The bodies and organisations referred to in Article 5, paragraph 2 shall nominate their representatives in the National Council in one-month period. (3) The Minister of Labour and Social Policy shall convene the first meeting of the National Council on its first meeting. § 4. The Civil Procedures Code shall be amened as follows: A new letter "ì" shall be created in Article 126a: "upon claims under Article 61, para. 3 of the Act on Equal Opprotunities for Women and Men". § 5. Article 88 of the Act on the Defence and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria shall be repealed.

Related Persons

Article 3. Entitled to protection under this Act shall be the following persons: - spouses or former souses; - persons who are or have been into actual cohabitation; - parents and children, including stepchildren and foster children and children entrusted to the care of foster parents; - persons related by blood; - persons having a common child; - persons related or having been related through a lasting intimate contact.



Domestic violence and the Rights of the Child

Article 4. Domestic violence committed between related persons in the presence of a child shall be deemed violence against the child.

Right to Protection

Article 5. (1) In the cases of domestic violence, the person victim to such violence shall be entitled to address the court for protection. (2) Protection shall be provided within the shortest possible time; (3) Court authorities shall be accessible during non-working hours and weekends.

5. provision of services for the recovery of persons victims of domestic violence; 6. binding the perpetrator to attend specialised programmes stipulated by the court order; (2) In all cases the court shall charge the perpetrator with a fine between BGN 200 and 1000.

Chapter Two Court Proceedings for Protection Against Domestic Violence

Section One General Provisions

Competent Court

Article 8. (1) For reviewing and making a pronouncement on the petition or on the protective order request, the competent court shall be the regional court at the plaintiff's place of residence or working place, or within the region (if other than the above) in the territory of which the enforcement of the protective order is required. (2) The petition or request may be filed before the court referred to as a court of first instance on a pending action between the parties or regarding any of them, pursuant to the Family Code or the Child Protection Act, irrespective of the phase of the pending action, including within the reconciliation period and the time before the first court session on the case, regardless of the character thereof.

Obligation for Protection by the State

Article 6. (1) The state and state bodies shall establish and implement measures for active protection against domestic violence and for the selection and training of the persons involved in specialised protection under this Act. (2) The state shall establish conditions for the development of free legal aid programmes for the victims of domestic violence. (3) Women and children victims of domestic violence shall be entitled to special protection by the state. (4) The court, the bodies of the Ministry of Interior, the social aid municipal offices and non-governmental organisations shall work together for the protection of injured persons.

Measures for Protection

Article 7. (1) Under this Act, protection against domestic violence shall be carried out in terms of: 1. the commitment of the perpetrator to restrain from any action constituting domestic violence; 2. the removal of the perpetrator from the commonly inhabited home for a particular period of time; 3. prohibition for the perpetrator to approach the home, the working place and the places for social contacts and recreation of the victim for a period of time set forth by the order; 4. temporary assignment of parental rights and responsibilities to the injured parent (battered spouse or cohabitant) or to the parent who did not commit the violence, determining, at the same time, the schedule of personal contacts with the perpetrator on such terms and within such time as set forth in the order, where such arrangement does not conflict with the interests of the child;

State Fees and Costs

Article 9. (1) In filing a request for the issuance of an order under Articles 14 or 19 of this Act, the plaintiff shall not owe any state fees. (2) State fees and costs shall be adjudicated in charge of the perpetrator of the domestic violence act to an amount stated by Tariff 1 to the State Charges Act. (3) Where the issuance of an order is rejected or the order is cancelled, the state fees and the costs shall be paid by the plaintiff.

Petition/Request for Protection

Article 10. (1) The proceedings on the issuance of a protective order shall start at the petition of:



The interested party or their legal representative, as well as at the request of the Chairperson of the Social Aid Municipal Office or the Chairperson of the Child Protection Department at the Social Aid Municipal Office. (2) The petition shall be in writing, according to the approved format (Appendix 1) and shall necessarily contain: a) the name, the address and the civic ID number of the injured and the interested party, who undertake to accept, by signing their hand, all notices on the case within three days from their issuance and appending to the case file; where the injured party may not or does not want to disclose their address, they can state an address for service; b) the names and the address of the perpetrator or another address at which they can be summoned, including telephone and fax numbers; c) information on the family, personal or kinship relation between the injured party, the interested party and the perpetrator; d) description of the facts and the circumstances of the perpetration of domestic violence; e) a declaration by the plaintiff for being aware of their criminal liability for making untrue statements; f) a signature of the plaintiff, the interested party. (3) Where the proceedings are instituted at the request of the Chairperson of the Social Aid Municipal Office or the Chairperson of the Child Protection Department at the Social Aid Municipal Office, the latter shall necessarily contain the requisites stipulated under the subparagraphs from a) through f) of the above paragraph, data that the injured party and the interested party are duly notified, and signature of the requestor. (4) Where the proceedings are instituted at the request of the Chairperson of the Social Aid Municipal Office or the Chairperson of the Child Protection Department at the Social Aid Municipal Office, the injured party may, at any time, state that they do not support the request. In this case, the proceedings shall be terminated. (5) Documentary evidence (if any) shall be appended to the petition or request and also instructions as to the existence of such evidence with other state bodies; (6) The petition or request shall ex officio be appended by: a) a previous conviction certificate of the perpetrator; b) a certificate of other administrative measures or penalties taken against the perpetrator; c) a certificate of their psychiatric status.

Filing the Petition or Request

Article 11. (1) The petition or request shall be filed within 10 days from the act of domestic violence. (2) Entries of petitions and requests shall be made into a special register, whereby they shall be distributed and reported to the judge on duty on the day of their filing with the court, or on the next working day, where the filing was made after the regular working hours of the court. (3) Where, on a regular working day, the court and the court administration are not working, the judge on duty shall receive the petition or request at the Regional Police Department of the Ministry of Interior nearest to the court. (4) During a court non-working time, the petition or request shall be filed with the Regional Police Department of the Ministry of Interior at the place of residence of the injured party.

Obligation for Certification by a Physician

Article 12. At the request of a person victim of domestic violence, any practicing physician shall issue a document, certifying in writing the injuries they identify.

Section Two Proceedings for Issuing Emergency Protective Orders

Emergency Protection

Article 13. Where the petition or request contain data regarding the existence of direct and immediate threat to the life and health of the injured party or child, the regional court shall, within 24 hours from the receipt of the petition or request, at a closed sitting and without summoning the parties, make a pronouncement by a substantiated ruling.

Emergency Protective Order

Article 14. (1) Where the petition or request under Article 10 is respected, pursuant to the ruling, the court shall issue an order for the enforcement of the measures set forth under Article 7 (1), items 1-3 of this Act. (2) The order under para 1 shall be subject to immediate enforcement by the police authorities or by the Chairperson of the Child Protection Department at the Social Aid Municipal Office. (3) A copy of the order shall be served to the parties and forward-



ed ex officio to the Regional Police Department of the Ministry of Interior. (4) Where the information on the case requires measures under the Child Protection Act, the court shall also notify of its sitting the Child Protection Department at the Social Aid Municipal Office operating at the place of effect. (5) The copy of the order for the defendant shall be accompanied by a transcript of the petition or request together with the appendices to be served. The defendant shall answer in writing and identify and produce every evidence within 5 days. (6) After the elapse of the reply term, the court shall appoint an open session for reviewing the case 15 days from such elapse, stating in the summons a second date for an open court session.

summons a second date for an open court session. (5) The court shall notify the Social Aid Municipal Office of its sitting. (6) Where the information on the case requires measures under the Child Protection Act, the court shall also notify of its sitting the Child Protection Department.


Article 17. (1) In these proceedings (for the issuance of a protective order), admissible evidence shall be all evidence admissible in the meaning of the Civil Procedural Code as well as: transcripts of admonition statements, written explanations or witnesses' and/or other persons' testimony collected and duly certified by each state authority. (2) The bodies of the Ministry of Interior and other state bodies holding documentary evidence in the meaning of Article 1 shall immediately issue certified transcripts thereof, at the request of the injured party, their representative or attorney. (3) All statements, official certificates, reports and other acts issued by the social workers at the Social Aid Municipal Services, by practicing physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists, who have been consulted by persons victims of domestic violence, shall be admissible evidence in the proceedings for the issuance of a protective order. (4) Documentary evidence under the provisions of Article 3, issued by non-profit juridical persons licensed under the provisions of the Act on Social Assistance and the Rules for the Application thereof, as well as the testimony of persons working for such non-profit juridical persons shall be admissible evidence in the proceedings for the issuance of a protective order.

Term of Effect of the Emergency Protective Order

Article 15. (1) The emergency protective order shall be effective for 7 days from the day of issuance. (2) At the request of the plaintiff, this term may be extended by the court for an additional 8 days, but for no longer than a total of 15 days.

Chapter Three General Legal Procedures for the Issuance of Protective Orders

Summons and Service

Article 16. (1) As of the day of the filing of the petition or request, the court shall send transcripts thereof together with the appendices to be served to the defendant, who shall answer in writing and identify and produce every evidence within 5 days. It shall be stated in the summons that the summons is subject to immediate service. (2) Where, within 14 days from sending the summons, there is no evidence of the regular service thereof, the court shall rule for a serving with the assistance of the authorities of the Ministry of Interior. In this case, the court shall require explanations in writing from the service officer in view of applying the sanctions under Article 74 of the Civil Procedural Code. (3) The summons shall quote the obligations under Article 41, para 6, sentence two of the Civil Procedural Code, including the obligation of the parties to inform themselves as to the final judicial act. (4) After the elapse of the reply term, the court shall appoint an open session for reviewing the case 15 days from such elapse, stating in the


Article 18. For the non-issuance of a document or a transcript of a document in the meaning of Article 17, the person responsible for the issuance thereof shall be charged with a fine of BGN 100 levied by the court under the provisions of the Civil Procedural Code.

Orders of the Court

Article 19. (1) Where the perpetration of domestic violence is identified, the court shall make a pronouncement by a substantiated ruling, whereby it shall issue a protective order with a 6-month term of effect. (2) The order shall have an administrative character and shall



not affect the civil relations between the injured party and the perpetrator of domestic violence, which relations shall be settled by the respective legal procedures. (3) This procedure shall be without prejudice to the injured party's opportunity to seek remedy for the injuries they have incurred.

Contents of the Order

Article 20. (1) By the protective order the court may rule: 1. for the perpetrator to restrain from any subsequent action constituting domestic violence; 2. for the removal of the perpetrator from the commonly inhabited home for a period of 6 months; 3. for the perpetrator not to approach the home, the working place and the places for social contacts and recreation of the victim under particular terms and for a particular period of time; 4. for the temporary exercise of parental rights and responsibilities by the injured parent or by the parent who did not commit the violence, whereby the regime of personal contacts with the other parent shall be set out by the provisions of the Family Code. 5. for the perpetrator to necessarily attend the programmes set forth under Article 7, para 1, item 6. (2) In the protective order the court makes a pronouncement as to: 1. the amount of the fine under Article 7, para 2; 2. the party charged with the payment of costs and state fees. (3) At the issuance of the order, the court may offer to the Social Aid Municipal Office to counsel the person victim of domestic violence and offer them to use the services and the programmes under Article 7, para 1, item 5. (4) The order shall contain an express caution of the consequences of the non-performance of the order. (5) a transcript of the order shall be issued to the injured party ex officio.

(3) The authorities of the Ministry of Interior shall perform the order under Article 7, item 2. (4) At the issuance of the order, the court shall advise the injured persons to use the services and the programmes under Article 7, para 1, item 5 and may compel the perpetrator of the violence act to attend the programmes under Article 7, para 1, item 6. (5) For the charged fines, state fees and costs, the court shall issue ex officio a writ of execution.

Sanction for Non-Performance

Article 22. In the case of a violation of the orders of the court ruling for the performance of the measures under Article 7, para 1, items 1-3, the regional Police Department at the Ministry of Interior at the place of residence of the perpetrator as of the time of the issuance of the order, shall detain the perpetrator within the scope of their powers under the Act on the Ministry of Interior and shall immediately notify the prosecutor's office in view of exercising the prosecutor's office's powers regarding the information on the offence committed under Article ...... (new text) of the Criminal Code.


Article 23. The appeal against the ruling substantiating the issuance of the orders shall be done under the provisions of the Civil Procedural Code.


§1. The non-profit juridical persons licensed under the provisions of the Act on Social Assistance and the Rules for the Application thereof, which offer services and programmes for the recovery of victims of domestic violence and specialised programmes for the perpetrators of violence in performance of Article 7, para 1, items 5 and 6 of this Act, shall announce at the court venues the list of the programmes and services and the capacity of these programmes. §2. The state shall assist the municipalities and the non-profit juridical persons for the establishment and support of services and centres for the performance of the measures under Article 7, para 1, items 5 and 6. §3. The funds generated by the fines under Article 7, para 2 and Article 18 shall be collected into a specialised Fund for Protection Against Domestic Violence at the Superior Court Council.

Performance of the Order

Article 21. (1) The Order shall be subject to immediate performance. (2) The performance of the order under Article 7, para 1, items 1 and 3 shall be carried out with the assistance of the authorities of the Ministry of Interior according to their powers under the Act on the Ministry of Interior.




Page 1. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 2. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 3. Legal and institutional framework on women's rights and equal opportunities within the family (Article 5, CEDAW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 3.1. Violence against women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 3.2. Status of women in the family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155


Tijana Vukojicic

(Croatian Helsinki Committee for HR), national coordinator,

4. Trafficking in women (Article 6, CEDAW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 5. Women's political rights and participation in public life (Article 7, CEDAW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 6. Women's social and economic rights (Article 11, CEDAW) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

Marija Brajdic


Jasmina Zdravcevic





Croatia became independent in 1991, having previously been part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia since 1945. After independence was gained, the processes of transition from a state-controlled to a market economy were further complicated by the war situation in which Croatia was involved. Due partly to the process of transition, partly to the war and partly to the policies of the right-wing conservative and nationalist ruling party, the status of women has deteriorated gravely over the last twelve years. Since 1991 leading politicians have started to explicitly encourage traditional patriarchal patterns of behavior. The position of women is worsening in the economic, social and political spheres. The present report was conducted by Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights /National Coordinator/ with the help of B.a.b.e. /Be active Be emancipated/ and Stvarnost /Reality/. Article 14 of the Constitution states that " The Citizens of the Republic of Croatia shall enjoy all rights and freedoms regardless of race, color, sex, religion, political and other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status or other characteristics. All shall be equal before the law." Beside the Constitution, the legal status of women in Croatia is regulated by the international agreements Croatia has signed and ratified. International agreements, concluded and confirmed in accordance with the Croatian Constitution form part of the internal legal system and are legally considered to be of a higher rankin Croatia (Article 141 of the Constitution). The Republic of Croatia has started negotiations on the Agreement on Stabilization and also in view of Joining to the European Union. The agreement is expected to be signed in mid 2001. Article 90 of the Draft of the Agreement stipulates the obligation of the Croatian legislature to make the necessary adjustments concerning the equality of men and women. In the course of harmonising the national legislation with European standards it will be necessary that all the laws, which regulate human rights, include the principle of gender equality. Still, the legislation does not contain any provisions that define or punish discrimination against women. Equality is defined in the Constitution in a declaratory manner rather than in terms, which mention, define or prohibit discrimination. The Constitutional Court usually interprets discriminatory actions as being against the Constitution only if discrimination is described

within particular laws. This interpretation is often too narrow to be applied in practice. Due to the absence of an appropriate legal definition of discrimination against women, and to the lack of mechanisms to enforce antidiscriminatory practice, much discrimination goes on without proper legal prohibition or sanctions and is not publicly recognized. Many problems arise from this deficiency which is not alleviated by any provisions to ensure actual equality. Nor are there any measures that could constitute a positive action to remedy this situation. Croatia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on September 9, 1992 and submitted its report to the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women at the 18th UN General Assembly held in January 1998. The Committee expressed its concern regarding the human rights situation in Croatia. In May 1996 the Government established the Commission of the Government of the Republic of Croatia regarding questions of equality with the aim of developing a national policy for the promotion of equality between sexes. The Croatian Commission for Equality is a governmental advisory body. During the period from 1996 to 2000, women's NGO representatives participated in the activities of the Commission as members of the Commission's Advisory Committee together with civil servants from all the ministries. The Committee was originally established to fulfill the government's obligation as a signatory to certain treaties, under pressure from the international community. The status and the responsibilities of the Advisory Committee of the Commission for Equality have not been defined by any legal act of the Commission. The members of the Counseling Committee were chosen for a unrenewable term of six months. Its role is still not clear, although one thing that is noticeable in its name is that it does not mention gender equality - nor has there, to our knowledge, been any attempt by the Committee to properly define gender equality or equity. In December 1997, the Government accepted the National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality. The national policy is drafted in order to close the gap between the legislature and the actual situation in society regarding the participation of women at all levels of activity. As basic guidelines the following topics from the Beijing platform have been taken into account: women's human rights, institutional mechanisms for the improvement of women's position, women with high positions and decision-making power, women and health, education and professional training of women,



violence against women, women and the economy, and women and the armed conflicts. In the implementation of the National Policy for Advancement of the Status of Women no significant results have been accomplished because very little of what have been planned was actually implemented in practice. The Commission for Equality organized two conference discussions: one on the participation of women in political life and another on violence against women. Croatia signed the Optional Protocol on June 5, 2000, and ratified it on March 7, 2001. By signing the Optional Protocol, the state accepted the authority of the UN Commission for Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination of Women which has the responsibility to review and take into consideration the claims by individuals or groups concerning the breaches of any right defined in the CEDAW Convention. Croatia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and on March 18, 1997 the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister reported on the human rights situation in Croatia. Croatia signed the Beijing Plan of Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women /Beijing, September 1995/. At the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, out of the whole population in Croatia, women are a simple majority (51,5% of women and 48,5% of men17), they live in smaller families than their mothers and grandmothers, and very often decide to live as singles. In the case of divorce, they usually continue living as single mothers. Today, women are becoming more educated with a clear trend of their participation at the highest levels of education (in 1991, only 4% of women were highly qualified18). There is a division between men and women in the labor market (which, according to opinion polls, is considered acceptable to women) that is very much related to the fact that men have better paid jobs. Particularly, male jobs include politics, directors and managerial positions and, to a lesser degree, the Judiciary. Medicine, education, art and entertainment, sports and science were considered both male and female jobs. Typically female professions were thought to be mothers, teachers or assistants. Also, women are more often working part-time, or on half-time working-hours programs. Unemployment, together with numerous economic problems in Croatia, is a frequently addressed concern. Out of the whole employed population, 45%

17 18

are women. According to the studies on the gender unemployed people, the analysis for the period 1991-1999 shows a stable percentage of women in the total number of unemployed people, i.e. is 52% of women compared to 48% of men19. When it comes to old-age pension, women get less money than men. The social power of women is still unsatisfactory, looking at their representation in politics. There is only a small number of women in politics at the local level. In some fields it is possible to note remarkable results: among judges at all levels, and the Judiciary as a whole, women make up a majority. The percentage of female trainees shows the trend of further feminization of the Judiciary. The Commission for Equality has started developing the new National Policy. Women's NGOs have been included in this process. Members of NGOs and of the Commission for Equality are split into dozen expert groups and prepare the Draft of the new national document which should be the basis for advancement of the status of women in the Croatian society for the next four years. It includes the Draft of the new Law on the Gender Equality. The new National Policy is not final yet, and it is expected to be approved in Parliament by the end of October.

Statistical Year Book, 1998-2000 Women of Croatia in Numbers, 2000


Statistical Year Book, 1998-2000




· Including a proper definition of discrimination against women in the relevant laws · Clarifying the role of the Committee for Equality · Implementing the Law on Gender Equality · Changing the Criminal Law provision according to which the victim has to bring charges against the perpetrator in the cases of marital rape and heavy bodily injury · Implementing the "restraining order" in Croatian legislation · Education and sensibilisation of police forces, social workers and legal system officers of violence against women · Emphasizing less on "motherhood" as the main role of women in the public sphere · Making contraception available and free of charge · Clarifying the Article in the Family Law on alimony upon divorce, the amount of alimony and the sanctions if a person doesn't pay · Public education on the importance of the equal distribution of family roles and responsibilities between women and men · Including a proper definition of trafficking in women and sanctions for traffickers in the domestic Law (separating it from slavery and prostitution) · Public awareness of the problem of trafficking in women · Education of the Border police on the issue and better cooperation between police forces and the International community · State support for NGOs willing to assist women-victims of trafficking · Implementing a system of gender quotas for candidate lists in elections in order to achieve the appropriate number of women in the Parliament (40 to 60%) · Putting the gender issues on programs of political parties · Governmental support to women's NGOs to promote the participation of women in politics · Clarifying the circumstances under which it is possible to employ a person under a contract of employment for a definite period (especially regardless of pregnancy) · Bringing the childbirth allowance as well as the maternity leave back to last year's standards · Implementing the Law against Harassment · Insisting on legal sanctions for employers who fail to pay their employees · Providing Governmental financial support to women who run and initiate small businesses


3.1.Violence against women

· Legislation and policy review

The Croatian Constitution, in its Articles on personal and political freedoms and rights, defines that: "No person is to be subjected to any type of abuse..." (Article 23). Violence can take various forms, such as physical, sexual, verbal and emotional. All these types of violence are sanctioned by the Criminal Code, which does not recognize and does not provide for any gender specific violence. At the end of 1997, a reform of criminal legislation was conducted in Croatia and some provisions regarding violence were changed. The new Criminal Code, however, does not significantly improve the legal status of women. Only one segment of the protection of women's sexual freedom was improved, by criminalizing rape in marriage, which did not exist as unlawful act in the prior law. Domestic violence is most often demonstrated physically in the form of lighter bodily injury (Article 98, Criminal Code), heavy bodily injury (Article 99, Criminal Code), and impulsive bodily injury (Article 100, Criminal Code). Sometimes it ends with the most severe type of physical violence a murder (Article 90, Criminal Code). Punishments for perpetrating bodily injuries have been reduced as compared to the previous law. The previous Criminal Code provided a punishment of up to three years in prison for perpetrating light bodily injury. After the new Criminal Code was adopted, the punishment for this offence is monetary or one year of imprisonment. For heavy bodily injury, the punishment was imprisonment from six months to five years. Now, it is imprisonment from six months to three years. Sexual violence includes sexually abusive criminal acts (all sexual acts except intercourse itself), perverse acts (Article 193, Criminal Code), coercion to sexual intercourse (Article 190, Criminal Code) and rape (Article 188, Criminal Code). A new Family Law was adopted on December 11, 1998, and came into force on July 1, 1999. Under this Law, domestic violence is specifically pro-



hibited as a "violent behavior of a spouse or another family member over the age of 18" (Article 118, Family Law). According to the Family Law, the acts contrary to the prohibition of violent behavior are punishable by a jail sentence for 30 days (Article 362). Although some changes have been made in the Criminal Code, not all barriers have been removed to the efficient protection of victims of domestic violence. A serious barrier is found in the nonexistence of a protective mechanism which would remove the perpetrator form the family before the court decision is made. Before the reform of the Criminal Code, the criminal procedure for heavy bodily injury was always initiated by the State Criminal Prosecutor upon receipt of a police report, the victim's report or the medical report. The reformed Criminal Code, in Article 102.2. states that the State Criminal Prosecutor is not required by the law to bring charges if the victim was heavily injured by her married or unmarried partner or by a close relative. The State Criminal prosecutor is obliged to bring charges only on the initiative of the victim. The same procedure of bringing charges is provided in Article 188.5. for the crime of rape committed in marriage and in a domestic partnership, and between close family members. As this type of law suggests, the State considers domestic violence to be a private family problem.

for a variety of reasons, first of all fear. Victims of domestic violence seek protection from the police, which is in general insensitive and untrained to intervene in domestic violence situations. Although the police have many special branches, there are no units trained to prevent domestic violence, nor are there any training programs to educate police officers about gender violence. In a court procedure, a woman victim of domestic violence rarely receives efficient protection. Light bodily injury (Article 98 of the Criminal Code) is the most frequent type of physical violence in the family. According to Article 102 of the Criminal Code, for the criminal act of a light bodily injury, the criminal procedure is initiated by filing a private lawsuit. Criminal procedures drag on for a very long time and generally end with a very mild punishment for the perpetrator. Economic dependence is a factor that prevents women from leaving an abusive relationship. In addition, women in Croatia live in a traditional and patriarchal environment that believes marriage should be preserved. However, the most important reason why women stay in an abusive relationship is the lack of protection for victims, i.e. of mechanisms whereby the perpetrator would be removed form the family and the lack of a legal framework for court restraining orders.

3.2. Status of women in the family

· Research and statistical data

Although the Croatian Parliament ratified CEDAW, the right to a life free from violence in the private and public sphere has never been achieved. The increasing violence against women has partially resulted from the militarization of society due to the war (1991 - 1995). The post-war period is also characterized by an increased number of people who have unregistered weapons, a face that also affected on the type of violence exerted. It is impossible to establish the exact number of women exposed to any type of domestic violence, firstly because women do not report such violence, and secondly because no research is conducted and no data are collected on this matter. According to only three NGOs which provide help to victims of domestic violence, from 1997 to May 2000 there was a total of 14,454 phone-calls about domestic violence. According to the figures provided by the Ministry of Interior, between 1996 - 1998 1,066 women asked the police for help. It is important to bear in mind, however, that women only rarely report cases of domestic violence,

· Legislation and policy review

The legislation does not contain any provisions that define or punish discrimination against women and the Criminal Law mentions gender discrimination only in Article 106: "Whosoever denies or limits the freedoms or rights of man and citizen, set forth in the Constitution, statutes or other legal provisions on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status or other characteristics, affiliation to an ethnic or national community or minority in the Republic of Croatia, or whosoever, on the basis of such a difference or affiliation, grants citizens any privileges or advantages, shall be punished by imprisonment from six months to five years." The above mentioned new Draft Law on the Gender Equality includes an Article intended to implements all the provisions on anti-discriminatory policy from the CEDAW. There is only one constitutional provision devoted to fundamental



human rights and freedoms: "The citizens of the Republic of Croatia shall enjoy all rights and freedoms, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, political and other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, education, social status or other characteristics. All shall be equal before the law." (Article 14, Constitution of the Republic of Croatia) It is visible that there is no explicit or determined discrimination of women or any suggestion on how to sanction it in the Legislation of the Republic of Croatia. That is why in practice it is very hard to prove such discrimination. In the great majority of cases, such legislation discourages women in their attempts or efforts to prove the existence of discriminating gender based discrimination. Family Law defines marriage as: "Legal partnership of a woman and a man." (Article 5, Family Law) The definition of a common law community is limited as follows: "...a partnership of an unmarried woman and an unmarried man." (Article 3, Family Law) People can get married at a registry office and in a church. Only the marriage concluded before an official member of a religious community which has established legal relationships with the Republic of Croatia. For the time being, such a relationship with the State only the Catholic Church would produce legal effects. Therefore, in terms of marriage rights, the members of other religious communities in Croatia are in an unequal position in comparison to the Catholic majority. The equality of spouses is determined by the following article: "The spouses are equal. Spouses consent decide by consent on childbirth, the upbringing of children and the performance of duties in the family." (Article 33, Family Law) Spouses have equal rights to the property acquired during the marriage. This is determined by the Family Law as follows: "Marital property is the property acquired by both spouses during their marriage. The spouses are joint owners of marital property, unless they agree differently." (Articles 252 and 253, Family Law) In the case that one spouses claims that she/he deserves a major share of the joint property, the Court must decide upon this question. "Property acquired by one spouses before the marriage remains her/his property." (Article 257, Family Law) Regarding divorce, it can be applied for by either spouses or they can

file the claim for divorce together. The new Family Law provides for a simpler and quicker divorce procedure because, unlike the provisions of the previous law, the spouses partners without minor children do not have to undergo now a mediate on procedure at the center for social care. According to the information received through the free legal advice phone hotline (women's NGO, B.a.b.e), divorce causes many financial difficulties to a large number of woman and children. Unemployed women, whose number is increasing daily, reluctantly decide to get divorced even when they suffered to domestic violence. In the past few years, the divorce rate in Croatia has decreased. In 1999 there were 12% less divorces than in 1995, and even 24% less than in 199120. As regards alimony upon divorce, according to the Family Law (Article 221), during the divorce case each spouse has the right to file an alimony claim if she/he can't support herself/himself. Under the same conditions, the same right for alimony has the partner in a common law marriage (Family Law, Article 226). In divorce cases, the Centers for Social Care and the Courts most often entrust children to the custody of mothers, and fathers are obliged to pay child supports. When it comes to paying the alimony, women face a lot of problems. Very often it is impossible to prove the real income of the person obliged to pay the alimony. The reason is that they usually report the minimum wages and make much more money in reality. Another problem is the performance of Court ordered alimony payments, especially when the person to pay alimony in unemployed, (the number of such peoples increases with the total number of the unemployed). Article 353 of the Family Law prescribes that when a parent obliged to pay alimony avoids paying it for more than three months, the center for social care is obliged to "undertake measures to provide funds for a temporary upkeep of the child while the parent obliged to pay alimony does not fulfill his/her duty." The Centers for Social Care, though, rarely fulfill this obligation.

· Research and statistical data

A new Family Law was passed at the end of 1998. It came into force on July 1, 1999. Within the Family Law, Art. 5 therefor defines marriage as: "a legal partnership of a woman and a man", while the definition of a common law community, in comparison with the previous Marriage and Family Relationships Law, is limited and defined as "..a partnership of an unmarried


Women of Croatia in Numbers, 2000



woman and an unmarried man" (Family Law, Article 3). According to the Law, marriage can be agreed between two consenting individuals of the opposite sex who are over the age of 18 and are not connected by a blood or adoptive relationship. People can get married at a registry office and in a church. Only the marriage concluded before an official member of a religious community that has established legal relationships with the Republic of Croatia would produced legal effect. For the time being only Catholic Church has such a relationship with the State. Therefore, in terms of marriage rights, the members of other religious communities in Croatia are in an unequal position in comparison to the Catholic majority. According to the data in the publication "Women of Croatia in Numbers", during the period from 1971 to 1991, the number of legal marriages decreased. For 1000 citizens there were 8,5 marriages in 1971 and only 4,5 in 1991. After 1991, this trend stopped and the data for 1999 show that there are 5 marriages per 1000 citizens. According to Article 33 of the Family Law, "Spouses are equal and shall jointly decide on child-birth, child upbringing and the duties in the family." The Family Law states that both spouses are equal before the law. In terms of marital obligations and duties, i.e. upbringing the children, spouses must decide together. In other words, the law does not interfere with the division of duties. Both spouses must support each other and the Criminal Code states that: "Whosoever, in violation of his statutory familial obligations, abandons in a situation of distress a family member who is unable to take care of himself shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding three years (Criminal Code, Article 208). However, in practice, women care for the household and the children (and all related tasks), while men work and earn money. Because Croatia is still a very traditional and patriarchal country, their roles are viewed as natural. There are very few examples of couples that share household duties, and this is reflected in the ways in which mothers and fathers spend their leisure time. According to research conducted by professor Smiljana Leinert-Novosel, mothers spend 90% of their free time doing something for the family, and only 2% for themselves. The Family Law states that "Parents shall equally and jointly look after their children, unless otherwise determined by law" and that "the upbringing of children must correspond to the age and maturity, and to the liberty of conscience." (Family Law, Article 98 and 92). Parents are obliged to support children under the age of 18 during their

education (including university education). The Centre for Social Welfare determines the amount of alimony to be paid in the case of divorce; this amount is not prescribed by law and depends on the parents' monthly income. A parent considered capable of working cannot be exempt from the duty to support a child/children financially. However, the daily practice differs from the law and there are many cases where a parent refuses to pay the alimony required by virtue of law. Legal proceedings in such cases are long and difficult, often to the detriment of the child. According to the Family Law, children born out of wedlock have the same rights as children born within marriage. Upon the separation of an unmarried couple, the Centre for Social Welfare will evaluate the parents' obligations in terms of upbringing the child, financial support etc. The Centre will also recommend when, and under what circumstances, the non-custodial parent shall have visitation rights. According to the research presented in the book "Women of Croatia in Numbers", the number of marriages without children is on the rise: in 1991 these were 24% more than in 1971. Figures also show that in 1971 most of the couples had only one child, while in 1991 trend had changed and couples had two children on average. But the number of families with three or more children decreased: in 1991 they were 66% less than in 1971. One child remains the standard for 20th century families in Croatia. The trend of changes in the family is also demonstrated by the number of single mothers: in 1991 they were 24% more than in 1971. After the divorce, in 82% of cases women take the responsibility for upbringing the child compared to 18% of men. The trend of decreasing number of children in a family is connected to the financial situation of families in Croatia. In most of the cases, in 62% of families, both parents work and earn money. Regarding the education of children, 43% of the couples send their children to primary or secondary schools, and 57% do not21.


· Legislation and policy review

According to the Criminal Code, trafficking is established as a serious offense and is dealt with in 3 articles: Establishment of Slavery and Transport of Slaves (Criminal Code, Article 175)


Women Approaching the 21st Century, Smiljana Leinert-Novosel, April 1999.



"Whoever, in violation of the rules of international law, places another in slavery or in a similar status or keeps him in such a status, buys, sells, hands over to another person or mediates in the purchase, sale or handing over of such a person or induces someone else to sell his freedom or the freedom of the person he provides for or takes care of shall be punished by imprisonment of one to ten years. Whoever, in violation of the rules of international law, buys, sells, hands over to another person or mediates in the purchase, sale or handing over of a child or a minor for the purposes of adoption, transplantation of organs, exploitation by labor, or for other illicit purposes shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than five years. Whoever, in violation of the rules of international law, transports persons who are in a position of slavery or in a similar status shall be punished by imprisonment of six months to five years." Illegal Transfer of Persons Across the State Border (Criminal Code, Article 177) "Whoever, for lucrative purposes, illicitly transfers across the state border a person or a number of persons shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding one year. Whoever organizes the perpetration of the criminal offence referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished by imprisonment of six months to five years. An attempt to commit the criminal offence referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished." International Prostitution (Criminal Code, Article 178) "Whoever procures, entices or leads away another person to offer sexual services for profit within a state excluding the one in which such a person has residence or of which he is a citizen shall be punished by imprisonment of three months to three years. Whoever, by force or threat to use force or deceit, coerces or induces another person to go to a state in which he has no residence or of which he is not a citizen, for the purpose of offering sexual services upon payment, shall be punished by imprisonment of six months to five years. If the criminal offence referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article is committed against a child or a minor, the perpetrator shall be punished by imprisonment of one to ten years. The fact whether the person procured, enticed, led away, forced or deceived into prostitution has already been engaged in prostitution is of no relevance for the existence of a criminal offence."

· Research and statistical data

The cases of trafficked people caught while crossing the boarder are not registered as trafficking in persons, but rather as illegal border crossings. The Republic of Croatia is a transit country and there are indications that Croatia is partly a receiving country also; however, nothing is publicly known about the issue, and when the police are questioned about the topic they reply that such cases do not exist in Croatia. Relevant investigations regarding the issue of trafficking have never been carried out in Croatia and there are no reports on the topic. The same could be said for the work of the media and NGOs, as only individual cases have been monitored (for example, when the police detain persons without a visa, citizens-ship papers, work permits, travel permits and similar documents.) In terms of returning victims of trafficking, persons caught in illegal border crossings in Croatia are accommodated in a shelter in Jezevo, near Zagreb, and deported to the domicile state at a later stage. They are fined for the act of illegal border crossing in accordance with the Law on Offences. There are no support services available for women-victims of trafficking, and no research related to the dimensions of trafficking, either by NGOs or by public institutions, is available in Croatia. In the near future a new Law on Asylum will be finalized and presented to the Parliament. The draft was prepared in co-operation with UNHCR. There is a need for preparing a new Law on Foreigners and international organizations were asked for help. Some NGOs recommended Croatian authorities some steps that should be taken: co-ordination work on new draft law, regional co-operation and networking of all relevant partners, a new shelter with a department for women and children, technical equipment for border police, specialized training of border police, custom officers, prosecutors, lawyers, social workers, NGOs, specialized research and public awareness campaigns that will start pulling down the wall of silence about trafficking in human beings (international conferences, round tables, TV...)


· Legislation and policy review

As regards election rights, the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia provides that all citizens of the Republic of Croatia are equal before the Law and have the legal right to elect and to be elected. All citizens of the



Republic who have reached the age of eighteen shall have universal equal suffrage. This right shall be exercised through direct elections by secret ballot. Furthermore, the Criminal Law punishes anyone who violates this constitutional provision: "Whoever, by force, serious threat, bribery or in some other illegal way influences a voter to vote for or against a certain candidate in elections, or to vote for or against the recall of a candidate, or to vote for or against a certain proposal in a referendum, or not to vote at all, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding one year." (Criminal Code, Article 116) Croatian legislation doesn't deal explicitly with gender or any other form of discrimination because of the provision which proclaims the equality of all citizens of Croatia. Also, there are no legal obligations or even recommendations that could serve as the means to improve the position of women in politics or in governing bodies, or a system of gender quotas for candidate lists for elections to Parliament and to regional and municipal councils in order to achieve an appropriate number of women in parliaments.

· Research and statistical data

All citizens of the Republic of Croatia are equal before the law and have the legal right to vote and to be elected. Furthermore, the Criminal Law punishes anyone who violates this constitutional provision. In the latest parliamentary elections, which were held on 3 January 2000, 86,3% of women voted. This high percentage was due partly to the fact that women were better aware of their disadvantageous position, especially concerning unemployment, and due to the poor economic situation in general. Women's need to participate politically by way of voting has risen during the last few years: 1990 - 87,9%; 1992 - 88%; 1995 - 88,6%22. After the political system changed and after the first multi-party elections, the participation of women in Parliament, County and Municipal Assemblies decreased drastically compared to the socialistic system Croatia had previously. At all levels in decision-making bodies, the percentage of women dropped from 22% to 4,8% which brought Croatia to the same group of countries as Iran, Sudan and Romania. After the elections in 1995, out of 127 seats in the House of Representatives only 11 (8,7%) were held by women and out of 68 representatives in the House of Counties only 4 were women. In County Assemblies the situation was even worse. According to the data from


1996, out of 776 representatives only 3 (4,25%) were women and in Municipal Assemblies the percentage of women was 7,05%. In 15 Municipal Assemblies, out of 70 representatives there was no single woman23. During the last parliamentary elections held on January 3, 2000 the situation started changing for better. Women have started participating in the political life of the country as carriers of political changes. Women's NGOs contributed to those changes with their active participation in the pre-election campaigns. In terms of women's interest in politics and their real participation in politics, there is a paradox: 86% of Croatian women are very or considerably interested in politics, a figure which surpasses the interest of the average man in Europe. Furthermore, unemployed women in Croatia are disinterested in political issues to a much greater degree than unemployed men (33% and 20% respectively)24. However, women's interest in politics extends well beyond their real political participation: in the House of Representatives, out of 151 representatives there are 31 (21%) women and 120 (79%) men. In the 20 committees in the House of Representatives, there are 6 chairwomen and 4 vice-chairwomen. After the elections in 1997 more parliamentary parties introduced internal women's quota (SDP - Social Democratic Party, HSLS - Croatian Social Liberal Party, HDZ - Croatian Democratic Union), and others like LS - Liberal Party - elected more women in their governing bodies even without official internal women's quota. It is also important to show women's positions in the eight strongest political parties in Croatia: · Social Democratic Party: Head committee - 30% are women · Croatian Social and Liberal Party: 20% women, not holding any leading position · Croatian Democratic Union: 16% women, not holding any leading position · Croatian Peasant Party: 7,22% of women take part in the presidency of the party · Croatian People's Party: a woman is a president, 12,63% women · Liberal Party: 40% women, not holding any leading position · Croatian Party of the Right: 18% women, not holding any leading position In the last election campaign, only 3,6% of female candidates included gender issues in their program, which is an illustration of the persisting


Women and Elections 2000, Women's Information Office, 2000


Women and Elections 2000, Women's Information Office, 2000 Women Approaching the 21st Century, Smiljana Leinert-Novosel, April 1999.



unpopularity of the issue. Women in Parliament are mostly interested in health services, education and the rights of veterans state. The recognized priorities (concerning gender policies) include: a need for more women in politics, family planning, and the protection of women affected by war. Although the Parliamentary Elections on 3 January 2000 resulted in a significant increase in women's participation, the same is not true of the Government. Among the members of the Government, there are currently 13% women and 87% men. Women hold positions as Ministers of Health, Tourism and Vice - Prime Minister of Government. Apart form these positions, women do not participate in decision-making processes dealing with important issues such as privatization, labor policy, etc. Women are better represented in the Judiciary than in the Legislature and the Executive. In the Constitutional Court, which is independent and not belonging to any of the three parties, out of eleven judges, only two are women. In courts of first instance 57% of the judges are women (in municipal courts 63%, in county courts 45% and in supreme courts 46%). Among the judges of the administrative court, 72% are women. In misdemeanor courts 74% of the judges are women and in appellate misdemeanor courts the percentage is 61%. Among Croatian lawyers, 31% are women and this trend is continuing; 56% of lawyer apprentices are women.25 There are many more women than men in the non-governmental sector, although it is impossible to give exact statistics because no such research has ever been conducted in Croatia. However, it can be said that more women work in the NGO sector, where they also hold leading positions. In addition, it should be noted that many more women work on a volunteer basis. Currently, there are almost 50 women's NGOs, a fact that has contributed to expending the attention to women's issues in the last 6 years.


· Legislation and policy review

The changes of the Labor Law started with the passing of new regulations in 1995 in the sphere of labor and employment, the social care system, retirement and health insurance. The legal changes concerning labor and


Women and Elections 2000, Women's Information Office, 2000; Women in PreElection Campaigns, B.a.b.e, 2000

social care resulted in restricting already achieved rights by introducing wider personal responsibility for one's social status while simultaneously decreasing the state expenditure and responsibility for the social status of employed and unemployed people. According to the Labor Law (in force since January 1, 1996), the employment status is defined as a contractual relationship which comes into force by signing the contract between the employer and the employee. This contract defines all the rights and obligations of the employee. The issues which are not covered by this contract are regulated by the labor protocol and the collective agreement. Actually, the Labor Law is only a frame for drawing contracts with minimum standards which have to be obeyed in the contractual definitions of individual rights and obligations of employees. The Law clearly forbids gender discrimination by stipulating that: "The job seeker as well as the person who becomes employed (employee) shall not be put into a less favorable position compared to other persons on the basis of race, color, sex, marital status, family obligations, age, language, religion, political or other affiliation, national or social background, financial status, birth, social status, membership or non-membership of a political party, membership or non-membership of a trade union and physical or psychological difficulties." (Labor Law, Article 2) However, the experience of the several women's NGOs (mostly with their free legal advice hotline) shows that women nevertheless suffer from the effects of gender discrimination in the process of employment (as explained bellow). The Labor Law contains an article that guarantees the equality of pay for women and men and stipulates: "An employer shall pay equal salaries to women and men for equal work and for work of equal value. Any provision in an employment contract, a collective agreement, employment by-laws, or any other legal act that contravenes Paragraph 1 of this Article shall be null and void." (Labor Law, Article 82) In practice, some facts prove that there are many ways in which an employer can avoid what the Law stipulates. First of all, it is very hard for women to get well-paid jobs as those jobs are usually "the men's type of jobs". Secondly, employees are put into an unfavorable position because the employers report minimum salaries and pay the lowest possible contributions to retirement funds (according to the information of the Institute for Retirement Insurance and Tax Administration there are 400.000 employees in Croatia who receive minimum salaries). In wage statistics, no gender cat-



egories exist. But the comparison of retirement amounts shows that women's wages are lower, in the way that women's retirement amounts are 22% lower than the retirement amounts for men. The Labor Law defines the Contract of employment for a definite period as follows: "When there is a valid and important reason, the contract of employment may exceptionally be made for a definite period and especially when it concerns: - seasonal work; replacement of a temporarily absent employee; and order limited by time or quantity, or another temporary increase in the scope of work; temporary jobs for the performance of which the employer has an exceptional need; the realization of a particular business enterprise, or the boarding of crew onto a vessel; in other cases established in this or other laws." (Labor Law, Article 10) So, although this kind of contract is an exemption under the Law, in practice it is almost a rule and is often used when women are the hired. A very important fact to mention is that if a woman is employed temporarily, the employer has no obligations towards her in case she gets pregnant, because the employment status expires at the time defined by the contract, regardless of pregnancy: "During pregnancy or during the exercise of maternity leave rights, the exercise of the right to part-time work of parents or adoptive parents, the exercise of adoption leave and leave for the care of a child with serious difficulties in development, and during a period of fifteen days after the cessation of pregnancy or the cessation of the exercise of these rights, an employer shall not dismiss from work a pregnant woman or a person exercising one of the aforementioned rights. The circumstances mentioned in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall not prevent the termination of an employment contract made for a limited period of time upon expiry of the period of time for which the contract has been made." (Labor Law, Article 70) The information published in 1999 Monthly Statistics Bulletin 1-4 (2000), of the Croatian Employment Agency reveals that the employers normally employ temporarily women (51,4%). Article 56 of the Labor Law stipulates that pregnancy could not be the reason for the refusal of an employer to employ the woman, neither can the employer ask for any kind of information on pregnancy: "The employer shall not refuse to employ a women because she is preg-

nant nor shall he terminate her contract of employment or transfer her to other jobs except under the conditions of Article 57 of this Law. The employer shall not ask for any kind of information on the woman's pregnancy nor shall he send another person to seek such information except if the woman - employee personally requests a specific right envisaged under law or other regulation concerning the protection of expectant mothers." (Labor Law, Article 56) Legally, women should have the same working hours as men (42 hours a week). Shortened working hour are only provided for pregnant women, wet-nurses and single mothers. One of the basic flaws of the Labor Law is that it doesn't stipulate any kind of sanctions for the employers who do not pay wages to their employees. A large number of employers do not pay off their employees without any legal repercussions. In the Labor Law there are no provisions that would protect women sexual harassment and blackmail while looking for a job or at work.

· Research and statistical data

The period of transition in Croatia began in the previous decade by the impoverishment of the wider population. The increase in the unemployment rate approaches the alarming number of 400.000 unemployed. According to the data of the Croatian Employment Agency on December 31, 2000 there were 378.544 unemployed, of which 201.652 were women, while according to the same data in June, 2001 there were 364.879 unemployed people of which 194.983 were women. Women make up 48,3% of the total employed population. The gender-based analysis of unemployment rates shows the stable share of women during the period 1991 - 1999 in the total number of unemployed persons that is 52% of women compared to 48% of men26. Women's employment can be analised by type of profession, working time, qualification, type of job etc. Women are mostly employed on the following jobs: manufacturing industry (25% of all employed women), trade (16%), education (13%) and health protection and social insurance (13%). Men are mostly working in the manufacturing industry (30%), trade (13%), transport and warehousing (12%) and the construction industry (11%)27. A "Women's" job is for sure the upbringing, i.e., work in the kindergartens (93% of women and 97% of men agree this is a job for women). Then the

26 27

Statistical Year Book, 1998-2000 Women of Croatia in Numbers, 2000



administrative and secretarial positions are also considered to be women's jobs (83% of women and 84% of men argue with that28). Typical men's jobs are political, directors' and managerial positions. Professions regarded as suitable for both women and men are medicine, education, art, entertainment, the Judiciary as well as sport and science. The status of the mother as a teacher has also influenced this kind of division. That new "profession" has been inserted into the National program of demographic renewal. However it was not implemented in practice because of the limited financial resources. Women aged between 40-50 do not have much chance of finding a job and single mothers are in a particularly bad situation. This trend is even more dangerous due to the fact that many companies have gone bankrupt. In such cases, women only receive small financial assistance from the state, to which they are entitled the period of one year. Many women, if unemployed, are forced to pay the same amount as employers in order to enjoy the right to a pension. Nearly 32% of women the vast majority of whom are over 45, search for a job for over two years29. They usually accept work on the black market because they have to support their family. The Croatian legal system gives employers the possibility to pay their workers through a contract for a determined period of time, which is especially detrimental to women. Information published in 1999 (Monthly Statistics Bulletin 1-4 2000), by the Croatian Employment Agency suggests that the employers normally employ temporarily women (51,4%). If a woman is employed temporarily, the employer has no obligations towards her if she gets pregnant, as the employment status expires at the time defined by the contract, regardless of pregnancy (Article 70, Labor Law). While seeking legal help, women have informed women's NGOs that some of them had been employed temporarily even after such employment had become illegal (for example some of the employees in Airport Zagreb were temporarily employed for five years and in one Zagreb hospital over three years). The facts prove that in those circumstances women are first to suffer because they usually occupy positions which require little skills and are the first to be abolished. It is then very hard for them to find a new job and almost every second women is waiting for a new job between 1 and 8 years. In short, when an employer can chose he chooses a man even though women are well disposed towards accepting any kind of job which usually men

28 29

refuse. As to the professional skills, the biggest number of employed women have high school degrees (42%), then university degree (14%), and the others are unqualified workers (12%). Of the total number of employed women, 38% are aged between 35 to 44. Statistics on the age of unemployed people show the larger share of women in the group of persons aged 20 to 50. Precisely, according to research conducted on November 31, 1999, in the group of younger people (between 20 and 24) there were 51% women; in the group 25 to 29 years there were 57% women, and in the group of 35 to 39 years 57% were women. In the group of unemployed people between 40 and 44 years there were 53% women30. The Employment Law passed in 1996 regulates the rights of unemployed people, and some of its stipulations concern specifically women. The basic right during the unemployment period is the right to cash benefits which the unemployed will receive if they meet certain conditions. Due to the fewer possibilities to find employment, the Law expressly protects senior citizens. In the case of job loss, an unemployed woman with 25 years of work record (and men with 30 years of work record) has the right to cash benefits until she finds another job or meets the conditions for retirement. An unemployed woman who at the time of termination of employment has a child younger than a year, or has twins, three or more kids younger than three years of age, has the right to cash benefits and retirement insurance until the child is one (i.e. three) years old. If an unemployed woman gives birth to twins, the third and every next child has the right to cash benefits until he/she becomes three years old. In 1995, the Croatian Government adopted a National Program of Demographic Renewal which defined a set of measures to provide conditions for a higher birth rate, less new immigrants, more returnees from immigration, and better distribution of population within Croatia. For the purpose of the implementation of this National Program, the Labor Law now includes a stipulation on the rights of the mother-nurturer (Article 63). According to this stipulation, the status of mother nurturer will be given to a mother with four or more children. It will enable an employed or unemployed woman to receive cash benefits, retirement and health insurance and to have any other rights in accordance with special regulations. The Law clearly forbids gender discrimination by stipulating that:


Women Approaching the 21st Century, Smiljana Leinert-Novosel, April 1999 Annual Report by B.a.b.e, Fall/Winter 2000

Women of Croatia in Numbers, 2000



"The person who seeks employment as well as the person who gets employed must not be put into an unfavorable position by others on the basis of race, color, gender..." (Article 2, Labor Law). However, according to the experience of a women's NGO (B.a.b.e) which has set up a free legal advice hotline, women nevertheless suffer the effects of gender discrimination in the process of employment. Advertisements for jobs very often explicitly show that the employer is looking for a man. More often during job interviews women are told that they are not desirable candidates because they would go on maternity leave, or sick leave for nurturing sick children. The Law guarantees equal wages to women and men for equal work (Labor Law, Article 82). However, employees are put into an unfavorable position because employers report minimum salaries and pay the lowest possible contributions to retirement funds, which are then entered into a database as the basis on which their retirement amounts will be calculated. According to the information of the Institute for Retirement Insurance and Tax Administration, there are 400.000 employees in Croatia who receive minimum salaries. This means that they formally receive the minimum salaries, but in reality receive higher amounts without paying taxes and fees on the difference. Despite the pretended gender equality in respect of wages, the retirement amounts comparison shows that women's wages are lower. Women's retirement amounts are 22% lower than men's which proves beyond doubt that women work equally with men, but for lower salaries31. A large number of employers do not pay off their employees without any legal repercussions. Tens of thousands of employed people in Croatia are only formally employed since they haven't received salaries for months. There are 112.000 such employees (or 8,8% of the total number) according to the latest information32. This flaw (or gap in the Law) should be removed by changes in the Labor Law, that should enable employees to go on strike because of unpaid salaries, while the employers should be obliged to provide them with the payroll accounts by the end of the month. The Labor Law protects employed women during their reproductive age by norms the on protection of women's health, norms which limit night work and overtime hours for women, norms on the protection of pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and mothers of young children. Article 56 of the Labor Law stipu31 32

lates that pregnancy can not be the reason for an employer to refuse to employ the woman, neither can the employer ask for any kind of information on pregnancy. This high standards built into the Labor Law are not implemented in practice. Therefore, very often employers ask young women and girls to sign the contract by which they promise that they will not get married or have children for the next few years. There are also situations in which employers prefer not-married young women. Employed women take their maternity leave 28 days before giving birth and until the child is six months (old mandatory maternity leave, Article 58), and are entitled to take it 45 days before the expected birth, until the child is one year old. For twins, a third child and every next child after the third, employed woman are entitled to a maternity leave until the child becomes three years old. The rights based on motherhood can be given to the father as well after the mandatory maternity leave is terminated (Article 59). The Law stipulates that for the first and the second child, after the mandatory maternity leave which is paid for until the child is one year old, one of the parents can take unpaid leave until the child is three years old. In that case all his/her employment rights and obligations are put on hold, and the rights to health care and retirement insurance are governed by the relevant regulations. The Law prescribes a break for breast feeding two times a day, for one hour per break (Labor Law, Article 60), and the time of breaks is considered to be working time. Currently, the main subject the Parliament procedures are dealing with are maternity leaves and the allowance for maternity leave. The working group of the National Bureau for Protection of Family, Maternity and Youth should present by September a program of national family policy in which it is expected to describe the new measures by which the three year maternity leave should be reduced. The allowance for maternity leave is already reduced, and the main consequence of that decision is that women mostly decide to start working before the end of the maternity leave. Thus, during the first three months of this year 290 employed mothers returned to work before the end of their maternity leave33. The reform of the retirement system started with passing the new Retirement Insurance Law in mid - 1998 (in force since January 1, 1999). The Retirement Insurance Law has stricter criteria for eligibility for retirement, meaning that the age limit is higher, the rights based on disability ben33

Annual Report by B.a.b.e, Fall/Winter 2000 Annual Report by B.a.b.e, Fall/Winter 2000

Press Clipping, August 2001.



efits are restricted etc. The conditions of retirement are a little bit more favorable for women than for men. Women are entitled to old-age pension when they become 60 compare to 65 for men and have 15 years of employment record (Retirement Insurance Law, Article 30). A woman also has the right to retire prematurely when she becomes 55 (for men 60). According to the Law, men and women are equally entitled to family pension (Retirement Insurance Law, Article 62). Out of all pensioners in Croatia, there are 52% of women (December 31, 1999). The same analysis shows that women with family pensions (79%), old-age pensions (47%) and disability pensions (39%) make up the majority34. As already mentioned, according to the data of the Croatian Retirement Institute, the average women's working pension is 22% lower than men's, due to the fact that women work in fields where wages are much lower.


1. Statistical Year Book - 1998, 1999 and 2000 2. Women Approaching the 21st Century, Smiljana Leinert-Novosel, April 1999. 3. Risks of Modernization; Women in Croatia in 90's, Inga TomiKoludrovi and Suzana Kunac, March 2000. 4. Women in Pre-Election Campaigns, B.a.b.e, 2000. 5. "No means No" (a comparative study on sexual harassment in Universities in Europe), 2000. 6. Women and Elections 2000, the Women's Information Office (Zenska Infoteka), 2000. 7. Annual Report, B.a.b.e, Fall/Winter 2000 8. "Women of Croatia in Numbers", Governmental Commission for Equality, 2000. 9. Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, Criminal Code, Penal Code, Family Law, Labor Law 10. National Policy for the Promotion of Gender Equality, Governmental Commission for Equality, December 1997. 11. Press Clippings from Vjesnik, Novi list, Vecernji list, Glas Istre, Slobodna Dalmacija, Nacional, Jutarnji list (Daily and Weekly papers), 2000 and 2001.


Statistics of the Croatian Retirement Institute




Page 1. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176 2. General Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177 3. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180 4. Article 5 - legislation, the real situation, recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184 5. Article 6 - legislation, the real situation, recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 194


Mirjana Najcevska

(Institute for Sociological, Political and Juridical Research), national coordinator

6. Article 7 - legislation, the real situation, recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 196 7. Article 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203




The national legal framework is, to a large extent, compatible with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and with CEDAW standards. There is no single law where discrimination on the basis of gender is promoted, but on the other hand, there are no affirmative legal provisions that create favorable conditions to overcome the factual inequality between men and women and the traditional gender relationships. In practice, there are no adequate mechanisms enabling the full implementation of those legal provisions. There are no adequate structures and procedures to monitor the situation or mechanisms that could make it possible for women to notify the violations of the law. The overall socio-cultural environment prevents these legal provisions from becoming reality and functioning properly. The major challenges to the application of Article 5 of CEDAW can be found in the process of education, in the traditional perception of women's role and in the criminal law treatment of gender discrimination and violence against women. As to Article 6, the legislation of the Republic of Macedonia contains no provision on the crime of illicit trading in women. The involvement of women in the political processes and their appointment to relevant political positions are strongly influenced by the issue of power and how it is vested. In the framework of a global system of values, in which power is perceived as a typical man's value, the path to the achievement of this objective by women is certainly very difficult. This is even more valid if one takes into consideration the fact that political parties in the Republic of Macedonia function on ethnic grounds, i.e. there are political parties of separate ethnic groups. Such a situation very often transforms women in so weak political actors within their ethnic group that can very often be extremely patriarchal. There is no legal support that could help change the present position of women in politics. The basic problem of women in the work process (and generally in the sphere of public life) is the inaccessibility of the higher level functions. This is closely connected with the lower level of income women have and with their restricted power in the society in general.

A basic problem of gender equality in the Republic of Macedonia is the implementation of equality. The main impediments are: - the absence of affirmative legal framework supported by easily accessible and developed mechanisms for application, control and protection, and, - the absence of systematic efforts to change the stereotypes about and the prejudices against the role of genders in public and private life. To genuinely enhance gender equality the state should: 1. Change the legal framework so as to address the problem positively and clearly define its own role. This implies including clear non-discrimination norms in the laws on family and marriage, the working regulations, the Penal Code, the Law on Political Parties, the Law on Education. 2. Include affirmative provisions (parity, quotas and affirmative action) in the Election Law, the Law on State Administration, the Law on Education, the Law on Defense, the Law on Internal Affairs. 3. Develop of secondary legislation (rules, procedures, organizational acts) to clarify the treatment of women in the procedures (especially in the police procedure and when the serving imprisonment sentences) and to enlarge the presence of women in high government positions (especially in the areas of defense and internal affairs). 4. Adopt a law on domestic violence or specifically incriminate it in the existing Criminal Law of the Republic of Macedonia. Sanctions for violence should be included in labour and administrative legislation and the victims should receive compensation. In the Act on Social Protection, provisions should be included for the prevention of violence against women. The problem can also be addressed by stipulating more rigorous criminal, civil, work and administrative sanctions for any type of violence against or sexual abuse of women. 5. Help women expand their knowledge of the laws. To provide the minimum conditions for such a framework to become operational, necessary to build an adequate machinery at the state and non-state level, so that these norms could be complied with. This implies creating structures and bodies that would facilitate women to report any abuse without being exposed to unnecessary reactions and pressure from the community. This would mean: 1. Creating a national machinery for equality on a higher political level 2. Forming parliamentary committees or groups to work on equality/parity between men and women



3. Initiating work with members of law-making bodies with the goal of promoting the real perspectives in the overall legislation and politics 4. Stimulating parties to support, through their program orientation and during the pre-election campaigns, the involvement of women for eligible and non-eligible positions in the same proportion and at the same level as men. The absence of women from key decision-making positions completely prevents them from manifesting their specific interests, and makes it impossible to individualise the approach to key positions of power. The adequate launch activation of the programs and their implementation require institutional changes in the state structure itself. The setting up of specific bodies within the ministries, or the setting up of a specific ministry to handle the problem in its entirety, could provide institutional guarantees for the adequate approach towards the problems and for its being resolved within the institutions of the system. When it comes to registering and sanctioning domestic violence, positive results would most likely be achieved through the formation of a special division within the public prosecution, to investigate the cases of domestic violence. This further requires the development of specialized departments, specifically in the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (in the absence of a specific ministry that would handle the problems of woman). The following activities would be very helpful facilitating the access of victims of violent abuse to the legal mechanisms and legal remedies, information campaigns on the rights of the victims of violent abuse, stimulating research projects on this social scourge. The affirmative action must contain an element of education for both men and women, implemented both in the educational system and through special systems and methods of adult education. (Promoting self-respect, respect and cooperation between women and men in the process of socialization in the family, at school and in the wider community). This includes serious interventions in the curricula for primary and high school formal education (freeing the curricula, the schoolbooks and other learning tools from prejudices based on gender eliminating the evident sexist aspect from their contents and introducing sex education), and in the educational programs for pre-service and in-service training of the teaching staff (to overcome gender stereotypes in the interpretation of curricula and in everyday behavior). It is important to pay specific attention to the training of the authorities of internal affairs and other government services that must intervene in cases of violence against women or discriminatory practices based on gender.

Special recommendations:

R Article 5, CEDAW As gender-determined stereotyping is deeply rooted in the traditional division of the roles of genders in Macedonia, in the relations within the family and in the general atmosphere of public life, there is a basic need for:

· positive change in the legislation aimed at accepting clear non-discrimination provisions with precise control mechanisms and sanctions · specific incrimination of domestic violence in a special law or as a separate part in some of the existing laws · changes in the content of curricula and of the textbooks for primary and secondary education · protection of the girls and young women against early marriage and early motherhood · creation of adequate mechanisms enabling the full implementation of the legal provisions · development of adequate structures and procedures to monitor the situation and of mechanisms that could make it possible for women to notify the violations of the law · wide education on gender equality and non-discrimination R Artcle 6, CEDAW · to draft specific articles on trafficking in human beings (women) in the Penal Code · to train the police on issues of the trafficking and develop specific skills in that respect · to organise research on the problem · to develop data bases · to establish strong communication between the police and NGOs working on the issue of trafficking R Article 7, CEDAW · to change the Elections Law so as to allow quotas for the representation of women in Parliament · to develop secondary legislation that would enable positive changes and a balanced gender representation in senior official positions · to initiate strong state action in favor of a better representation of women on all levels of government · NGOs should work to encourage women to stand as candidates in municipal elections R Article 11, CEDAW · to carry out field work with women so as to develop of their managerial skills · to ensure state and NGO support for small business run by women · to provide specific education to women in the rural areas of the country on how to run small farms and family businesses




Structure of the population in the Republic of Macedonia according to the census in 199435:

Population: Urban population: Female population: 1,945,932 59,7 % 49,9 %

Ethnic structure:

Macedonians Albanians Turks Gypsies Serbs Wallachs Others 66,5 % 22,9 % 4,0 % 2,0 % 1,9% 1,0% 1,7 %

Since 1991, several considerable changes have taken place in the Republic of Macedonia, which launched the process of transition from a socialist system to a system of a developed west democracy. In legal and political terms that meant promoting the principles of parliamentary democracy, multiparty elections, the rule of law and human rights. In economic terms it meant market economy, privatization, denationalization and demonopolization of the state. The Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia of 1991 does not cover gender equality as a separate issue, but according to Article 9, the general provision against discrimination, "The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are equal in their freedoms and rights irrespective of their sex, race ...", i.e. "All citizens are equal before the Constitution and the laws". Article 42 provides for special protection of all women who are mothers. Macedonia started the process of transition with a formally existing system of gender equality based on the ideology of Communism and in the positive development during the 50 years of socialism. When the changes


began, there were no laws with discriminatory provisions against women and gender equality had been achieved from a legal and formal point of view, both in the private and public life. At first glance, the acceptance of the model of civic society and the new political and legal concepts after the constitutional changes in 1991 has affected the basic concepts and principles formulated in the previous period to an extent that can be accepted as an affirmation of individual human rights and freedoms and their specific protection. But the economic effects of transition were not a suitable soil for the idea of gender equality to flourish. The economic hardships accompanying the transformation of the system had the effect of worsening the general situation of citizens and especially that of the woman both at work and in a broader social context. In an environment of economic poverty where it is very difficult for an individual to survive on his own, the importance of the family and of life together has understandingly grown36. So quite naturally, the promotion of women as the "pillar" of the family came back to the fore37. What was specific about the transitional process in Macedonia was that it didn't so much result in getting women fired from work, but in burdening them with a double weight. Namely, the decline in the standard of living eliminated or made unavailable to the average family a large number of services and service providers, and, hence, made the family resume (even at a lower level than before) all the activities needed to sustain the everyday life of family members. With that, women found themselves bearing a double burden without the possibility to share the household chores with other family members. This has certainly affected the real possibilities for a more active participation of women in the global social activities and the decision-making process. There are always many more essential things to be performed daily.


Employees in the Republic of Macedonia, Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Macedonia 2000

1990 1991 488372 1992 446117 1993 421028 1994 395688 1997 319453 1998 310213 1999 315792


The largest share within the structure of individual consumption still goes to food expenses, which amounted to 44,3% in 1999 took 44,3%, Statistical Office of Macedonia, 2000


Statistical Office of Macedonia, The 1994 census of population, households, dwellings and agricultural holdings in the Republic of Macedonia.

There are 42435 single parent families with mothers and 10207 with fathers, Women and Men in Macedonia, Statistical Office of Macedonia, 2000



This tight bonding of women to the family has reflected on: · their position in the family (economic dependency, domestic violence) · education (the process of graduation and studying at University becomes slower) · promotion at work (regardless of their education, women accept lower positions in order to perform their duties toward the family) · insignificant participation in the public and political life An area in which the regression is most apparent is the political involvement of women. Women are not successful in making a serious breakthrough into the higher levels of political decision-making (in the Parliament, in the Government, in the high executive positions within the Ministries). This situation prevents them from really influencing the key decisions of a broader social importance or from addressing issues of specific interest to women. Assuming that the policy of gender equality is to a great extent a product of the political orientations and the political will of the current government, and that the participation of women in the political processes and in the structuring of the government is of high importance, the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia adopted in 1998 the "Declaration on the promotion of gender equality in the decision-making process". That Declaration voiced the opinion that there was still a discrepancy between legally guaranteed and realistically achieved equality between men and women in the process of decision-making in the country, and the need for an active approach to overcome the prejudice and the stereotypes concerning the role of women was emphasized. The document also identified the final institutional and organizational shaping of existing mechanisms and the setting of procedures as a next step in the implementation of gender equality. The adoption of that document has not, so far, brought about any significant changes in the sense of an increased and more essential participation of women in the decision-making processes. CEDAW was ratified by the Republic of Macedonia and basically incorporated into domestic law. The Republic of Macedonia submitted a report in May 2000. Neither the Report, itself nor the Comments by the Commission were published or put at disposal of the general public. The mass media did not pay any attention to these activities. According to unofficial reports, one of the main comments in the report concerned the difference between the legislation and the practical implementation of gender equality. The Republic of Macedonia has ratified ICCPR and ICSECR, and

some ILO Conventions, as well as the Convention against discrimination in education, the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, the Convention for the suppression of the traffic in persons and of the exploitation of the prostitution of others.. In accordance with the obligation under the Beijing Declaration and Action Plan, in 2000 the National Committee and the Department for the promotion of Gender Equality developed a National Action Plan within a project financed by the UNDP, "Strengthening the processes of women's development in the Republic of Macedonia", which should be the instrument for the implementation of the policy of equality. The Action Plan set out the objectives, and also the measures needed to achieve those objectives. The Plan is aimed at promoting a more intensive approach focused on gender equality issues, and should be a channel through which the Government will inform the citizens on its principles and practices with regard to equality. So far, the implementation has not started of a single part of the Action Plan. One of the positive actions in the Republic of Macedonia was the decision of the Government to establish a Department for the promotion of Gender Equality within the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. The basic task of that newly established Department is to contribute to advancing of the position of women in conformity with the international conventions and documents ratified or accepted by the Republic of Macedonia, and to coordinate certain activities with a clearly built concept and strategy for eliminating the problems that women in our country are faced with. In this context, it is worth mentioning that the Department has reactivated the National Committee for Gender Equality, which had been established for the drafting of the National Report to the Fourth International Conference for Women, held in Beijing in 1995. The National Committee for Gender Equality, composed of representatives of governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations alike should, inter alia, make priority-related assessments of the proposed projects and also verify the project results. The idea is to transform the Department for the Promotion of Gender Equality into high-level national machinery (placed directly under the Government) that should help overcome the traditional absence of women from the public life and eliminate the possibilities for discrimination against women. No special bodies have been formed yet to encourage and support women to apply for senior executive positions within the public authorities. Such measures are included in the action plan. However, the Department is



still very weak and there is no real activity yet. At the beginning of 2000 the first women's lobby group was formed whose basic objective is to exert structured influence on the political and government bodies with respect to issues of interest to women and the attainment of factual equality. The lobby group is structured by women from universities in Macedonia. This lobby group was and will be especially engaged in the process of adopting new laws that deal with treat the position of women and implementing of those legal provisions once they are adopted. The lobby group played a very important part during the last local elections held in mid September 2000. The national legal framework is largely compatible with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and with CEDAW standards. Discrimination based on gender difference is punishable by the Penal Code of the Republic of Macedonia. There is no single law where discrimination on the basis of gender is promoted, but on the other hand, there are no affirmative legal provisions that create favorable conditions to eliminate the factual inequality between men and women and the traditional gender relationships. In practice, there are no adequate mechanisms enabling the full implementation of those legal provisions. While the legal framework is not discriminatory itself, it does not address the problem of discrimination in a way that would enable the direct and efficient protection of women. It all comes down to the idea that men and women are equal and that this does not merit any special discussion. The absence of an affirmative approach in the presentation and solving of gender equality issues makes the position of women (especially in public life) depend on the political will of those in power. There are no adequate structures and procedures to monitor the situation mechanisms that could make it possible for women to notify the violations of the law. The major problem is that the overall socio-cultural environment prevents these legal provisions from becoming reality and from functioning properly.

Discrimination based on gender is punishable by the Penal Code of the Republic of Macedonia. Chapter 15 "Crimes against Civil and Human Rights and Freedoms" contains a general rule on criminal liability for discriminatory acts - Article 137, "Prejudice to the Equality of Citizens": (1) A person who, on the basis of a difference in sex, race, color, ethnic and social origin, political and religious belief, wealth and social position, language or other individual characteristics or circumstances, takes away or limits the rights of a person and citizen, as determined by the Constitution, by law or by a ratified international treaty, or who, on the basis of such differences privileges a citizen, shall be punished with imprisonment of three months to three years. (...) On the contrary, Article 417 concerning the racial and other sorts of discrimination, fails to mention gender discrimination: (1) A person who, on the basis of a difference in race, color, nationality or ethnic origin, violates the fundamental human rights and freedoms recognized by the international community, shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to five years. (2) The punishment under paragraph 1 of this Article is also applicable to a person who persecutes organizations or individuals because of their commitment to the equality of people. (3) A person who disseminates ideas of superiority of one race over another, or who advocates racial hatred or instigates to racial discrimination, shall be punished with imprisonment of six months to three years. A number of articles of the Penal Code deal with some specific acts and cases in which the victims is, most often or in a specific way, a woman. Some of those provisions that tackle, among other things, violence against women, i.e. violence between the sexes, have been moved to Chapter 19 entitled: "Criminal Acts against Gender Freedom and Gender Morality". This chapter also covers violence against women based on the abuse of one's position (possibly including the abuse of an official position). The prohibition of prostitution and the provisions addressing this type of sexual abuse of women are contained in Article 191. In the Penal Code, there is no special rule on domestic violence. On the contrary, one gets the impression that domestic violence is in a "privileged position" compared to violence outside the home, which is clear from the provisions about rape (article 186, Penal Code). Some general provisions of the Family Law are also worth mentioning:



According to the Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, "The citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are equal in their freedoms and rights irrespective of their sex, race ...", i.e. "All citizens are equal before of the Constitution and the laws".



Article 3 The relationships in the family are based on equal rights, mutual respect, mutual assistance and support, and on care for and protection of the interests of the minors. Article 8 The parents have the same rights and responsibilities (parental rights). Article 45 The parental right belongs to the mother and the father equally. Article 76 The parents exercise their parental rights together and by common consent. Article 207 The spouses manage the community property together and by common consent. The will of the law-makers as to the equality of partners in and out of wedlock community is clearly articulated in the Law both in respect of the right to mutual alimony of both spouses and in respect of the property acquired during the marriage (or in the course of relationships between the partners). "All matters relating to relations between the spouses are based on free decision a man and a woman to conclude a marriage and on equal rights, mutual respect, and mutual assistance and support".

tional view of the roles of men and women. When after 60 years of proclaimed gender equality women are absent from public life38, from the local governments39, from the superior bodies of the judicial system40 and from the senior administrative positions, and when poverty is still visible along the line of gender41, the issue must be placed in the context of the global sociocultural environment and parameters suggested by Àrticle 5 of CEDAW. As regards the treatment of genders and the stereotyping of their roles, there are evident retrograde processes in the Republic of Macedonia, which were exacerbated in 2001 with the development of the last crisis (the military engagement of men brings women back to their homes and completely marginalizes them in the public life). The state has not placed the problem on its agenda and has not taken a single concrete step to resolve it. The first key problem connected with the application of Article 5 CEDAW is education (both in terms of curricula organization and in terms of their contents).


The real situation

Gender-determined stereotyping is deeply rooted in the traditional division of the roles of the genders in Macedonia, in the relations within the family and in the general atmosphere of public life. The substantive law inclusiveness of the matter, compared to many other legislations, is on an extremely high level and concerns a very wide range of areas. The legislative framework on gender equality and on the equality of women in the Republic of Macedonia is generally characterised by vagueness and declaratory provisions that have as their staring point an assumed equality of the genders without clearly stated intention of the legislator for further explicitness or affirmative elaboration. Over the past 10 years, neither in the legislation nor on a political level, nor within education have adequate measures been undertaken towards identifying ways to overcome gender-related stereotypes and prejudices. The general approach of the state to the issue of gender equality is that it is already settled and there is no need for any systematic and continuous activity in any of its areas. The problems are solely percepted and addressed by the actions of the non-governmental sector and in certain academic circles. The state has not undertaken a single practical step towards the elimination of prejudices and stereotypes underlying the tradi39

After the third multiparty parliamentary elections, one can speak of a better representation of women in the supreme legislative institution in the country. After the first parliamentary elections in 1990, only 5 women were elected Members of the Parliament, out of a total of 120 seats. After the second elections in 1994 only 4 women became MPs, and after the third elections 9 women were elected MPs. Results in the Local self government elections, 1996 year:

Women Council of the City of Skopje Councils of the municipalities 5 105 Men 20 1615 Total 25 1720


Courts Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia Appeal courts (3) Basic courts (27)


Female judges 6 38 325

Male judges Total number of judges 19 50 331 25 88 656


Neto pay in denars upto 3001- 5001- 8001- 12001- 16001- 20001- 30001- 40001 without 3000 5000 8000 12000 16000 20000 30000 40000 and more payment

women men

38,0 62,0

36,6 63,4

42,0 58,0

38,5 61,5

31,2 68,8

29,7 70,3

27,0 73,0

18,16 81,4


23,3 76,7

55,8 44,2



Education is an area where both most and least has been done at the same time to equalize the position of men and women in the Republic of Macedonia. The results from the research clearly reveal the existing stereotypes of the roles of men and women in the process of education, both in the content of the curricula and in the textbooks for the primary and secondary education. For example, contrary to the declared gender equality, the model of a woman presented in education is a model of a mother and housewife whose life is connected with the family. Here are a few examples:


in the content and the pictures of the textbooks for the first four years of primary education men are shown in over 20 different professions, and women appear in the roles of: mothers-housewives, teachers and once as a pedagogue, a cleaning lady and a woman-scientist. women are placed in correlation with family much more often than men: for example, women are mentioned as mother in 55 cases, and men as fathers in only 19. the female gender is represented on far much less space in the textbooks than the male gender. In the pictures of the text books for the first four years of education girls appear 337 times, and boys 541; in the textbooks used in primary education women writers have 51 representatives, while men-writers have 398 representatives; the main characters in the texts of textbooks for the first four years are 133 women and 249 men. The imbalance is deepened when it comes to subjects concerning public life and issues outside the family and the home. in the content of the textbooks there are no texts connected to gender equality, the fight of women for equality or the relationships in a modern family and the interests and needs of modern women and modern men. The child is placed in a position to relive the past, live in the past and accept the values of the past.


same time, their practical meaning in most of the cases is that those women who got married so early interrupted their formal education and withdrew from the wider processes of decision-making in the society. From a formal point of view, men and women are completely equal in the family, in the process of marriage and in the process of divorce. The parents (regardless of gender) are called on to give permission for their children's marriage if their children are underage (16 to 18). Factually, (especially in the village communities and among the members of the Albanian and the Roma minorities) the influence of the family on the issue of marriage is still great (especially as far as women are concerned). Marriage at an early age is usually closely connected with an early motherhood, which contributes to the children growing up in a home where the mother is uneducated, finds herself in an inferior position compared to the man and is much more susceptible to accepting the traditional role of a woman.


Structure of live births according to the mother's age:

1986 Age of mother Under 19 years 20-29 years 30-39 years 40-49 years above 50 Unknown Total Number 3943 27375 6573 305 5 33 38234 % 10.3 71.6 17.2 0.8 0.01 0.09 100.0 1996 Number 3134 22144 5814 277 34 31403 % 10.0 70.5 18.5 0.9 0.1 100.0 1999 Number 2489 19086 5429 227 4 49 27309 % 9.11 69.8 19.8 0.8 0.01 0.17 100.0


A second key indicator of the traditional views of the position of women in the Republic of Macedonia is the early age at which women marry. The problem of early marriage is primarily a problem of women. Only in 3,8 % of the marriages registered in 1999 men got married at an age between 15 and 19, whereas as much as 23 % of the women who got married in 1999 in the Republic of Macedonia were aged between 15 and 1942. These figures reveal the persistence of some traditional relationships concerning the relations within a family and the treatment of women. At the


Statistical yearbook of the Republic of Macedonia 2000

The fact that 10% of the children were born by mothers under 19, and even by girls aged 16 or younger, gives rise to concerns for the well being of both mothers and infants. The third key moment is the legislation and especially the criminal law treatment of gender discrimination and violence against women. At first glance, the legislation seems largely compatible with the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and with CEDAW standards. In practice, there are no adequate mechanisms enabling the full implementation of these legal provisions. There are no adequate structures and pro-



cedures to monitor the situation or mechanisms that could make it possible for women to notify the violations of the law. The overall socio-cultural environment prevents these legal provisions from becoming reality and from functioning properly. There is no single law where discrimination on the basis of gender is promoted, but, on the other hand there are no affirmative legal provisions that create favorable conditions to overcome the factual inequality between men and women and the traditional gender relationships. In the Republic of Macedonia, the institution of the Ombudsman has been existing for the last two years, with the function to monitor the respect for human rights. A woman was appointed Deputy Ombudsman, and she emphasised that out of 1000 cases of human rights violations submitted to that office, none was contained a request for protection against gender discrimination. One can see this as a proof that women rarely decide to seek protection against gender-based discrimination through a judicial procedure. There is no clearly formulated and precise procedure that would enable legal suits against institutions for discrimination. There has been no single case brought before the Courts on grounds of gender discrimination. At the Law School, there are no programs for training the student to handle cases of discrimination. There are no such graduate multidisciplinary studies or post-graduate studies either. The judges have no special training on gender discrimination. In principle, rape is not reported that often and that easily (especially in village communities). In 1998 a total of 60 rape reports were registered, and 18 of them resulted in convictions. Rapes are reported to a special section of the police department, but, given the traditional upbringing which is very discriminatory when defining the role that women play in society and which provides for strict moral sanctioning of their sexual life, the police are very suspicious in cases of reported rape. There is no distinct procedure that would require the presence of a female police officer (whenever possible) or the mandatory presence of a social worker or psychologist in cases of reported rape. There are no specific training sessions available to police officers to give them specific knowledge and skills to handle cases with violence against woman. Sexual abuse of girls in the family is not perceived as a problem in Macedonia even though the centres for social work indicate a widespread occurrence of this type of violence (especially in the village communities and among the members of the Albanian and Roma nationalities). According to the law, the sexual abuse of a minor, is always a reason for a heavier sentence. Rape is an act for which the offender is indicted by the attorney gen-

eral except when performed within the matrimonial community: If the act under paragraphs 1, 3 and 4 is performed against a person with whom the perpetrator lives in a matrimonial or, permanent extramarital community, the prosecution is undertaken by private lawsuit. The removal of the procedure for the same act when it concerns married partners from the attorney general's hands and its entrusting to the affected individual aims at protecting the institution of marriage and the family sometimes even at the expense of heavy violations of the rights of the individuals constituting that community; for acts with the same seriousness and consequences, different procedures exist; this furthers the existence of the mental pattern according to which once a woman becomes a part of the home of a man she looses her identity and is left to his mercy. Instead of creating a positive assumption that would free women from this mental pattern and enable them to oppose the persistent traditional treatment every woman is placed in a situation to find her own forces to oppose the entire institutional surrounding, her own prejudices and the prejudices of the wider environment and submit a private lawsuit, i.e. report the abuse, with the hope that the authorities which she will refer to will have an understanding of these actions of hers. If the provisions of this article are placed in the context of Article 137, of the same law, the conclusion to be drawn is that there is discrimination based on social position or in other words, that the rights of the citizens and persons have been limited. The marital bond gives the spouse a wide range of rights vis-a-vis the other spouse that go much beyond protected human rights and freedoms. If the still prevailing patriarchal character of marriage and family community in Macedonia is taken into consideration, it is clear that in most cases this is an issue of violence of the man against the woman. Domestic violence in Macedonia is characterized by43:

· marginalization of the problem. In the country there is no interest in studying, systematically monitoring and analyzing this problem, as to achieve its more successful prevention and elimination and to overcome its consequences;

· insufficient knowledge about its frequency= There are not even elementary data about how widespread domestic violence is or its manifestations, reasons or consequences;


Violeta Caceva, Domestic violence in the Republic of Macedonia, Institute for sociological, political and juridical research, Skopje, 2000



· the absence of official data. Considering that it is not seriously incriminated, there are no official statistical data for this phenomenon. On the other hand the Institute of Statistics records criminal acts by perpetrator, not by the victim, so there are not even indirect ways of bringing to light the cases of domestic violence. Likewise, even the state authorities which come across this phenomenon when performing their duties (centers for social work, medical institutions, courts) do not collect special statistics for it;

· the absence of empirical data. No scientific research had been carried out

before (this was the first one) to partly fill the gap in the official data, and to provide the knowledge needed to grasp the essence of the phenomenon and better understand it; Our legal system does not incriminate domestic violence as a specific criminal act. This crime is addressed via the prohibition of general criminal acts (murder, physical abuse, serious physical abuse, refusal to provide help, coercion, rape of a helpless person, mediating for purposes of prostitution etc.), but the fact of co-habitation is not taken into consideration. The results of this research show that the highest reported numbers concern mental violence 61.5%, 23.9% of the respondents confirmed being victims of domestic violence, and at least 5.0% stated that their sexual integrity had been assaulted

Victims of physical violence, by type:

Type of violence Threats,(physical or other ways) Throwing objects apt to cause injury Hitting, grabbing or pushing Arm-twisting or hair-pulling Slapping Kicking, biting or hitting with a fist Attempts to strangle, covering the mouth of the woman Buttery Hitting with an object Burning or pouring a hot liquid Using a knife or gun Other forms of violence Total 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 202 N 147 102 133 81 161 94 34 130 79 9 17 59 % 72,8 50,5 65,8 40,1 79,7 46,5 16,8 64,4 39,1 4,4 8,4 29,2

The question whether they consider their husband's behaviour criminal was answered in the affirmative by only 47.5% of the respondents. The fact that more than half of the women do not regard the violence they suffered as criminal behaviour, reaffirms the existence of a present patriarchal matrix which makes women tolerant to violence, thus limiting the attempts to undertake specific steps to rectify the situation and creating conditions for violence to go on forever. It is within this framework that one should look for the answer to the very high figures on domestic violence in our territory. The research results showed that women most often list the following reasons for continuing life together with the violent person: fear for how the break-up of the family would influence the children (19.3%), hope that the situation would improve (17.3%) and the absence of the minimum objective conditions to live without the violent person ("has nowhere to go" and "economic dependency", 16.9% altogether). Violence against women is the most drastic indicator of the factual inequality of genders, which still exists and is not specifically addressed or acted upon by the state. The permissive primary and secondary legislation virtually upholds the traditional division of responsibilities between the genders and does not significantly upset the traditional mental schemes about the relations between them. If isolated, declarations against any form of discrimination not accompanied by real mechanisms structural changes and a system of sanctions, that is by solutions in positive law that express the active commitment of the state to the promotion and protection of gender equality, would hardly achieve the desired result, they would not even be a step in the general direction. The legislation must be enriched with specific organizational and functional solutions to enable the overall orientation towards gender equality and non-discrimination materialise. Gender equality is specifically emphasized in the Family Law and in the Law on Inheritance which clearly and unambiguously proclaim the equal position of the man and the woman with respects all the rights and obligations connected with marriage, the family, parenthood, divorce and inheritance. In real life, women do not benefit from all the possibilities for equality provided for in these laws (that goes especially for rural areas and for women of Albanian or Roma ethnic origin). Just one example: according to the Family Law, when getting married a woman can: assume her husband's family name, add her family name to her husband's family name, add her husband's family name to her family name or keep her family name. In fact, over 80% of women take their hus-



band's family name, 19% decide on a combination of the two family names and 1% decide to keep their family name. As to the children, regardless of the family name that the woman chose when getting married, in 99,9% of the cases children get their father's family name (which is changed only in the event of divorce and custody entrusted to the mother). Except for tradition and disapproval by the society, there are no other repercussions for women that have kept their own family names when getting married. According to the law, spouses have equal rights and obligations with respect to the family and the children. As a matter of fact, the traditional treatment of women is such that the woman obeys the will of the man and is "tied" to her household responsibilities. The decision-making power in the family is determined primarily by tradition, and not by the economical status of the man and the woman, but the overall decline of the living standard pushes women back into the family, thus separating them from public life and from the positions of power in society. Under the law, both parents have equal custodial rights after divorce. In fact, custody over the children is usually entrusted to the mother (especially when they are below the age of 7)44. The Law and the secondary legislation are not sufficient to ensure adequate support to the children in the case of divorce. The mechanisms for implementing court judgments and to identify the real resources of the parent as a basis to calculate the amount of support money are especially weak.

Article 140 of the Criminal Code, "Unlawful Deprivation of Freedom": (1) A Person who unlawfully locks or keeps locked, or in any other way deprives or limits the freedom of movement of another person will be sentenced to a fine or to imprisonment for up to one year; (2) The attempt is punishable; (3) If the unlawful deprivation of freedom is committed by an official misusing his/her official capacity or authorization, the person will be sentenced to imprisonment of six months to five years; (4) If the deprivation of liberty lasted for more than 30 days or was committed in a cruel manner or caused health or other serious damages to the deprived person, the perpetrator will be sentenced to imprisonment of one to five years; (5) If the deprivation has resulted in the death of a person, the perpetuator will be sentenced with imprisonment of at least three years.45

The real situation

As indicated by the data acquired by the Ministry of Interior, the illegal trafficking in women in the Republic of Macedonia is constantly on the rise. It concerns mainly women coming from the Eastern European countries (Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine), while women from Macedonia are insignificantly involved. During the period 1991/1997, the Republic of Macedonia was basically a transit country, while the destination was the Republic of Greece. Starting from 1998, the Republic of Macedonia itself becomes a country where these women reside. Especially attractive places (besides the capital, Skopje) are the cities in Western Macedonia (Tetovo, Gostivar, Struga and Ohrid) and their surroundings. The Interior Ministry is in permanent contact with the diplomatic representatives of the countries concerned in relation to certain cases. Unfortunately, these representatives are apparently not very interested in the illegal trafficking in women. They usually act only on private requests from the concerned nationals of their own countries. According to the information both of the Interior Ministry and the




The legislation of the Republic of Macedonia contains no provision on the crime of illicit trafficking in women. This lack of regulation limits to a high degree the activities of the Interior Ministry. The police officers often are unable to classify properly certain criminal acts and this is reflected in the indictments they present to the Public Prosecutor and the Court, or they try to find some other legal basis for the act in questions. They usually invoke


Single-parents families by architecture, Women and Men in Macedonia, Statistical office, Skopje 2000

Total number of families 41435 10207 Number of members of the family 113586 26129

Families Mother with children Father with children

Court case-law: The indicted person who deceived the victim the latter being younger than 18, and brought her home, locked her, undressed her naked, bit her and burned her body with a cigarette, committed in a severe manner the crime of unlawful deprivation of liberty provided in Art. 150 para 4 of the Criminal Code. (Verdict of the Macedonian Supreme Court, 339/74)



mass media, Macedonia's increased attractiveness as a final destination for the illegal trafficking in women is due to the presence of troops of the KFOR contributing nations that are deployed either in Macedonia or in Yugoslavia (Kosovo). One of the pull factors for the blossoming of bawdy or "entertainment", houses in all bigger cities of Macedonia, and especially in Western Macedonia, is the high percentage of Muslim population. Islam tolerates polygamy, but largely limits the freedom of its women believers. Therefore, it is a precondition that foreign women work in those "houses". According to the available data, there are organized "networks" of illicit trafficking in women. The chain commences with promises for jobs in restaurants and hotels. The vast majority of women "enter the procedure" on a voluntary basis. Afterwards, once they are "freed" and brought back to their countries, they come back to the territory of the Republic of Macedonia. An additional difficulty in informing the police of the illegal trafficking in women is the possible involvement of local police in the trafficking chain, while it is not easy to reach some of the higher levels of the central police. There are no specialized services where a citizen could provide information on these issues. Finally, the illicit trafficking in women is not treated as a priority at either governmental or non-governmental level. Within the Interior Ministry this matter is dealt with by the Department of Organized Crime and there are very limited contacts with other stakeholders willing to work on these issues (NGOs, centers for social work, etc.). There are no special Reception Centers for the victims of the illicit trafficking in women or any sort of support services at their disposal, and so long. The dimension of women in the issue of illicit trafficking is almost outside the scope of the interest and work of the non-governmental organizations. Not a single one out of the numerous women organizations deals with these issues. Therefore, there are no real efforts or research in this sphere.

The real situation

The problem of women's presence in public life, and particularly in decision-making positions, is most by connected with the exercise of power in the state. Women make up half of the staff employed in the institutions that administer power in the society, but there is a clear fact that they usually have low ranking jobs and mainly have the status of support staff. Moreover, the number of women who are senior staff is very small. Actually, the situation in the Parliament and in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia confirms the latter finding. According to the data from the last parliamentary elections in 1998, there were 53 women, out of a total of 614 candidates in the majority elections system, whereas on the proportional lists of the political parties there were 99 women out of 595 proposed candidates. After the third multiparty parliamentary elections, one could hardly saw any improvement in the representation of women in the supreme legislative institution of the country. After the first parliamentary elections in 1990, only 5 women were elected Members of the Parliament, out of a total of 120 seats. After the second elections in 1994, only 4 women became MPs, and after the third elections there were 9 women who were elected MPs. After two elected female MPs moved to the Prime minister's cabinet, there are currently 8 female MPs who participate in the work of the Parliament, since one of the two initial MPs, now member of the Government, was elected from the proportional list of her party. In none of the parliamentary elections since year 1990 to date has an Albanian woman even been a candidate, let alone elected. The programs and platforms of political parties in Macedonia, on the basis of which they participated in the last general and multicipal elections, strongly resist all forms of discrimination on any ground. It should also be stressed that gender equality is at the bottom of the lists of priorities of the political parties. Despite that, political parties support in their programs the idea of improving the status of women in the society, the above numbers of women-candidates for senior administrative functions reveal that this idea has been anything but implemented. It can be concluded that the process of proposing candidates largely depends on the positions women-members occupy within their parties. Available data show that women are represented by 16 - 20 % on the Central Boards of political parties, and these data are based on the number of women in the decision-making bodies of the big parties in Macedonia.



There are no provisions in the existing legislation that ensures equal political presentation of women. The Equality is guaranteed by the general provisions on non-discrimination on any ground in the Constitution and in the Elections Law.



It is suggested that if women were more influential in the political parties, that would result into better election results. Looking at things from this perspective, one needs to emphasise the fact that political parties do not implement an affirmative policy in proposing female candidates, nor are they ready to accept quotas in order to improve the representation of women in politics. During the last years, Women's Fora have been functioning within the political parties, which shows the tendency of female members to voice their requests and their interests. However, these Fora can't be involved in decisionmaking within the parties. It is more than clear that without an active policy of the parties aimed at promoting gender equality, which is a fundamental principle of democracy, gender equality will not remain but a dead letter in the programs and platforms of political parties. An active policy of the parties' bodies, coupled with well-organised actions by the female members of the political parties, will entail a better position of women in society. The above considerations invite the conclusion that women have mainly been candidates on the proportional lists advanced by political parties or their coalitions. Accordingly, the increase in the number of women MPs in the Macedonian Parliament is closely connected with election-laws. The majority election model' in Macedonia and in other countries, didn't prove to be efficient with respect to the representation of women in superior decision-making bodies. The proportional election model is considered to be more efficient in terms of gender equality policy when the political parties put together their proportional lists. The second interesting point concerned the small number of female candidates on the majority lists, obviously due to intra-party dilemmas based on the assumption that male candidates are more likely to achieve better results than women. On the proportional lists, there were more female candidates proposed, but only few of them were placed on higher seats on the party's list. It was only on the list of the coalition of the Socialist Party and the Movement for Cultural and Civil Tolerance that a woman-candidate was placed first on the list. On the lists of two parties - DA and of VMRO-DP - a woman-candidate was second, whereas on the lists of the other parties women were ranked anywhere between seat 3 and the last seat 35. So, it is more than clear that the mixed election system, combining majority and proportional elements of electing MPs, benefits women and enables them to obtain more seats within the political parties. This system, however, is not sufficient in itself if it is not accompanied by an active policy implemented by the parties in the process of nominating women-candidates.

Women are present in the structures of the Government, the public administration and the judicial system. They occupied many junior positions but are not present in the governing structures (higher and senior positions). The highest administrative positions in the ministries - those of the undersecretaries - are reserved mainly for men. After the third general elections held in 1998,the Republic of Macedonia has a new, coalition Government composed of three political parties: VMRO-DPMNE, DA and PDPA. According to the law recently passed by the Parliament, the new Government consists of 27 ministries. Mr. Ljubcho Georgievski, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE, included in the Prime Minister's Cabinet of 1998 4 women-Ministers from the 3 political parties in the coalition. Two of them vice-prime ministers and the other two were ministers of science and of development, respectively. The new Government had more women-Ministers than previous Governments; in the Government before this one there were only 1 or 2 women-Ministers. However, the participation of four women in the Government is not a major change on terms of proportion if one takes into account the fact that previous Governments had 2 women-Ministers out of a total of 20 Ministers, while now there are 4 women-Ministers out of a total of 27 Ministers. After the first reconstruction of the new Government, only two women-ministers kept their ministerial positions and there are three women who are deputy ministers. At present, there is only one woman among the twenty ministers (Minister for culture). As mentioned earlier, the judicial system, as an important part of governmental power, is important for the promotion of the gender equality principle. There is only one woman who is a member of the Judicial Council of the Republic consisting of 7 members. In the Republic of Macedonia there are three Appeal courts, and the President of the Appeal Court in Skopje is a woman. Women are represented as follows among the judges in the country:

Courts Supreme court of the Republic of Macedonia Appeal courts (3) Basic courts (27) Female judges 6 38 325 Male judges 19 50 331 Total number of judges 25 88 656



Out of all District Attorneys in Macedonia, 20 are men and 3 are women, whereas the number of female Deputy District Attorneys is much higher, 52 women out of a total of 140 Deputy District Attorneys. When talking about the Judiciary, it is very important to consider the involvement of female lawyers in the judicial procedures. According to the data from the 1997 Statistical Yearbook, in 1996 the number of lawyers and law clerks by gender was as follows:

Women Lawyers Law clerks 256 84 Men 643 69 Total 899 153

were elected, of which one Albanian. In our opinion, this is a clear indicator of the progress women have made at the level of local self-government46.



According to the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, everybody has the right to employment, to a free choice of a job, to protection at work and to material support when temporarily unemployed. Each job is accessible to every person on the same conditions and without any discrimination, including gender-based discrimination. The following laws wee passed: Law on Labor Relations, Law on Employment and Insurance in Case of Unemployment, and Law on the Promotion of Employment. Two general collective agreements were concluded in both the economic and the non-economic sectors, as follows: General collective agreement for the economy of the Republic of Macedonia and General collective agreement for the public services, public enterprises, state administrations, local government bodies and other legal entities which perform non-economic activities. On the basis of these two general collective agreements, nearly all branch agreements (in the different sectors) were concluded.

The growth of local democracy is considered to be very important for the promotion of democratic values in a society. It is not by chance that the Council of Europe discusses these issues separately within the Committee of local and regional government, and has developed a number of recommendations and resolutions to encourage a more active development of local democracy. According to the new laws on territorial division of the Republic of Macedonia and the Law on Local Government, there are 123 municipalities in Macedonia, compared to 34 that existed until 1995. The increase in the number of municipalities under the new Law on Local Government did not change the gender structure of the group of elected Municipal Mayors. Neither after the first, nor after the second local level elections was a woman elected Mayor of municipality in the Republic of Macedonia. It is also worth saying that the number of women-members of Municipal Councils after the municipal elections held in 1996 is considerably smaller than the number of their male colleagues:

Women Council of the City of Skopje Councils of the municipalities 5 105 Men 20 1615 Total 25 1720

The real situation

There is a high rate of employment of women in the Republic of Macedonia. According to the data from the 1994 Census, women account for 47,6% of the population that is fit for work. The percentage of employed women in the total number of employed population during the past four years has been relatively constant, with minor variations in the average number of employed (from 37,6 % in 1995 to 40% in 1999 year). The basic problem faced by all employed people in the Republic of Macedonia, regardless of gender, is the poor financial status of most of the companies for which they work and the low pay for their work.


During the last municipal elections positive changes were noticeable, as there were both more candidates for councilors in the municipality councils and more elected women-mayors. At those elections 3 women mayors

By now the experience, with multiparty elections both at the parliamentary and local self-government levels, shows that the women of Albanian ethnic origin are deprived of the possibility to exercise their voting rights on an equal footing with men. In all these elections in the rural areas the practice of the so called "family vote" was evident, i.e. the man in his capacity as "the head of the family" voted either on behalf of the whole family or on behalf of the women in that family. Furthermore, the secrecy of the vote was violated in many cases on the pretext that women were illiterate and they could not vote themselves.



There is a traditional division of jobs between women and men47.

Employees by field of activity, 1999:

Electricity Construction Textile Hydraulic Transport Housing, materials products engineering and utilities and industry communications public services Women Total 1155 7893 350 2796 19050 22542 848 8230 3790 19473 1408 8416

This is closely connected with the level of income women have, as demonstrated by the data on employed persons grouped by net pay and gender.

Total US$ women 38,0 men 62,0 up to 45 36,6 63,4 7545-75 120 42,0 58,0 38,5 61,5 120180 31,2 68,8 Net pay in denars 180240 29,7 70,3 240300 27,0 73,0 300450 18,16 81,4 450600 100,0 600 or more 23,3 76,7 no payment 55,8 44,2

Statistical data about the structure of employment among women in 1999:

1999 Employed Employers Self-employed Unpaid family employee Women 161017 6201 6410 33600 Men 244974 37230 33303 2248748


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia Family Law of the Republic of Macedonia Labour Law of the Republic of Macedonia Law on Primary Education in the Republic of Macedonia Law on Secondary Education in the Republic of Macedonia Macedonian Report on Women 2000, IHF, 2000 National Action Plan, National Committee for Implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action, Department for Improvement of Gender Equality, UNDP Office in the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje 2000 8. Penal Code of the Republic of Macedonia 9. Situation Analysis of Children and Women in the Republic of Macedonia, Violeta Petroska-Beska, Mirjana Najcevska (UNICEF 1998) 10. Situation analysis of the position of Roma women and children in the Republic of Macedonia, Lazhar Aloui, Violeta Petroska-Beska, Mirjana Najcevska (UNICEF 1999) 11. Sources of insecurity for the citizens in the Republic of Macedonia, UNDP, Skopje 2000 12. Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Macedonia 2000 13. Violeta Caceva, Domestic violence in the Republic of Macedonia, Institute for sociological, political and juridical research, Skopje, 2000 14. Women and Men in Macedonia, Statistical Office of Macedonia, 2000 15. Women's Participation in Contemporary Trends in the Republic of Macedonia, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Skopje, June 1997

According to the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and the labor legislation, everybody is entitled to appropriate earnings and to paid daily, weekly and yearly leaves. It means that there is no discrimination against women with regard to the salaries they receive. A woman will receive the same salary as a man if they perform the same work and have the same status at work. Employed people have the right to supplementary benefit on the following occasions: year holidays, festivities, pregnancy, delivery and motherhood, care for a child, vocational re-training and vocational upgrading, pre-service and in-service training and in other circumstances determined by law. Gender-biased firing from work is not a common practice. The basic problem of women at work (and public life in general) is the inaccessibility of the higher level functions. As an illustration, out of all managerial positions in 1999 23.8%, or 6196, were occupied by women, and 19825 by men. The higher level in the hierarchy, the fewer women you can see49.

47 48 49

Statistical yearbook of the Republic of Macedonia 2000 Women and man in Macedonia, Statistical office of Macedonia, 2000 It is very interesting that the same process is noticeable at the University. In 1999 the participation of women in the total number of graduates was 62,5%. As regard the MA and the PhD degrees, women were 48,9% and 35,3%. In the Council of the University in Skopje, 15% are women.




Page 1. Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 206 2. Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 3. Articles 1-4 - Gender equality in the legal system . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 4. Article 5 - Violence against women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215 5. Article 6 - Trafficking in human beings / Sex Trafficking . . . . . . . 218 6. Article 7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 6.1. Women in political life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 220 6.2. Women in public life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223


Kaca Rajovic

(WFM), national coordinator,

7. Article 10 - Women and education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 8. Article 11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227

8.1. Employment of women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227 8.2. Women in trade unions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 230 9. Article 12 - Women and health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 231 Remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233

Maja Raicevic

(Shelter for Women and Children)

Tamara Durutovic

(Centre for protection of Women's and Children's Rights)




The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was ratified by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia on February 26th, 1982. The last CEDAW Report from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was sent to the UN CEDAW Commission in January 1994. The Present report from Montenegro will be for the first time a separate Report that will present the status of women in Montenegro. This CEDAW Shadow Report is the result of the efforts and work of 89 women from all parts of Montenegro based on hardly available statistics on gender issues and the experience of women-activists from the governmental and non-governmental sectors in Montenegro. The report was prepared by Kaca Djurickovic from Women's Forum of Montenegro - National Coordinator and following partner organisations: Shelter for Women and Children victims of violence - Podgorica and Center for the Protection of Women and Children - Podgorica. For the purpose of Reporting to the UN CEDAW Commission, Women's Forum organized seminar in which participated 89 women from all NGO groups in Montenegro, from trade union and all political parties in Montenegro. The Seminar was held on October 26-28, 2001, and women from all parts of Montenegro discussed on different topics that are presented in the Report. The Statistical data found in the Report are from: The Institute for Statistics in Podgorica; The Statistical Year Books; Regional Monitoring Report of CEE/CIS/Baltic's; The UNICEF office in Podgorica; Research of women's groups in Montenegro -Shelter and SOS line for women; Women from trade unions - Women Today; and the Women's Forum of Montenegro. In Montenegro, women represent half of population - 51,4%, and their particular concerns affect fundamental social questions. Women are worse placed on the lower steps on the gradient of advantage because of their expected role in providing and caring for the new generation. Women's experiences, however, also exert a tremendous influence on the whole society, and women's progress is a sensitive indicator of human development in each country as well as in Montenegro.

When the communist rule collapsed at the end of the 1980s and the beginning 90s, it left behind many basic economic and national issues unresolved, including the issue of gender equality. People did not immediately realize that the paternalistic communist state, despite all proclamations, had actually failed to deal with the fundamental questions of gender equality. These "missing achievements" were closely linked to the lack of market forces and the shortcomings of a civil society - the same area which transition is supposed to address. However, the years of transition in Montenegro have brought new problems, which coupled with the failure of the old system, put a very heavy burden on the shoulders of women. Transition as a larger economic and structural change has brought about significant, tough mixed, implications for the economic independence and the security of women across Montenegro The transition impacts enormously on the private and public dimensions of women's lives. The growing poverty rate shows the tremendous pressures that strain the capacity and resources of women. This stressful and unsettled environment also influences women's decisions about their participation in public and social life in Montenegro, about their involvement in decision-making, as well as their courage and strength to fight for their own rights. Montenegro is the last of the Former Yugoslav Republics still involved in the political race to resurrect as an independent state. The government is divided between the social, economic and political needs and rights of Montenegrins, on the one hand and the international community is support and expectations, on the other hand. Against this background, gender issues are treated as "less burning". The government of Montenegro has not established any institutional support for the promotion and protection of equal opportunities of citizens on the basis of gender. In other words, the government that has an essential role in building and maintaining a culture of equality within the nation does not recognize the need for and, finally, the obligation to work on this issue. The Platform for Action of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women makes it clear that the state is crucial to the effort to advance women's equality through the development of a "national machinery" for the advancement of women. The Beijing Platform for Action was not accepted or signed by the Federal Government and this is also one of the signs how the government recognises women's problems in Montenegro. Within the



Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and the Gender Task Force, the Montenegrin Government submitted Project in 2000 for the establishment of Gender Machinery. This was the first reaction to international expectations and European integration. The implementation of this one-year Project, has not yet started, it should have started two years ago with the financial support of the Italian Government. The visible efforts of the Montenegrin Government "on the field" concerned its involvement and interest in stopping and preventing sex trafficking in Montenegro. These activities and efforts of the Government in cooperation with women's NGOs in the field of sex trafficking gives weak hopes that in the near future it will show more interest in and understanding for women issues and will establish an agency that will promote the equal opportunities of citizens as a legitimate feature of democratic societies. Apart from this periodical governmental interest in dealing with gender issues and all political problems that are up-coming in the relations between the Montenegrin, Serbian-and Yugoslav Governments, it is hard to foresee when there will be institutions where women will be able to apply for support and get it.

"No people will find enlightenment if their women stay in dark"

The Constitution of Montenegro and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are basic and major legal acts. They have to be in harmony and all citizens have the right to use both - Federal laws as well as Montenegrin laws. Montenegrin laws treat in more details the rights, obligations and sanctions while, the laws at Federal level are more like a legal frame that should be observed by republics. This legal order is inherited from former Yugoslavia and Montenegro today (in the existing FRY) has a legal system that protects its citizens. In Montenegro, despite the Constitutional rules that women and men are equal before law, women do not enjoy "de facto" equality. Current legal reforms in Montenegro do not reflect the understanding of indirect and structural discrimination of women. In the legal system there are no envisaged measures to ensure the implementation of guaranteed rights, which in every day practice sounds as if there is no legal protection for women at all.

The lack of legislative and governmental support for women's equality has also inhibited the development of the community of non-governmental organizations, an essential pillar of and primary player in women's equality. From the mid-1990's mainstream politics in Montenegro started to part from Milosevic. The struggle for an independent, democratic and Europe-oriented Montenegro began to face the risk of a quite possible armed attack by Belgrade politicians. In such circumstances, Montenegrin women who had not traditionally been an organized public actor started acting. Firstly, they came to the streets in spontaneous peace and anti-war demonstrations of mothers of conscripted soldiers. Then they started organizing themselves within democratic opposition parties. In the late 1990's, they got more organized within the newly established independent women's NGOs fighting for women's social and economic rights. Women's NGOs today demand the deal with work on questions of violence against women and political participation, and demand the full political responsibility of the government, on the one hand, and the political parties and the public, on the other. Now, there is the challenge and the opportunity in Montenegro for women not only to aspire to decision-making positions at the top of society's institutions, but to build decision making and participation in institutions bottom - in the families, in the communities, in local governments and in the workplace. The meaningful representation of women at the pinnacles of economic and political power implies the existence of a power base, which is well anchored. The impact of transition on women has in many ways inhibited their capacity to participate in public life. Women in Montenegro as well as women in other transitional countries faced higher unemployment, lower real income, a gender gap in wages, loss of formal childcare support, increased violence and a deterioration in health.

"Women stand in the doorway on the exit and the entrance of this World" (Andric)





Violence against women - art.5 · Collecting the data and analyzing the cases of violence in Montenegro · Establishing the statistical basis all forms of violence against women · Reforms in Criminal Law that will recognise domestic violence as a criminal offence · Improving and accelerating court work with family cases, especially when violence is involved · Financial support to help women victims of violence, without interfering with the independence of NGO groups · Educating and sensitization the police forces, the social workers and the employees in the legal system to violence against women about how victims of violence should be supported · Organizing, widespread campaigns to stimulate a change in the attitude towards violence against women


· Political Parties Programs · Decision-making bodies · Women's branches in the parties · Measures to ensure participation in the activities of political parties · Creating equality committee within parties


Legal protection of women's political rights · International legal instruments and other documents ratified by State · Domestic laws ensuring a proportional gender representation system


Women in public life - women in the media · Training sessions for journalists about gender equality · Larger media campaigns to inform the public about gender issues and all women's activities · Media Program reforms to include gender issues


Trafficking in human beings -art.6 · Compiling data bases · Developing networks at regional level · Joining the international network against sex trafficking · Continuous work on the education of women and girls, as well as children · Media campaigns against trafficking in women · Involving private detectives to ensure an easier protection of women


Programs for victims of violence · Developing Projects for stopping the sex trafficking and making new contacts with other middle European countries that can provide specific help to the Balkan countries such as Montenegro · Sensitizing the police officers and social workers


Women in political life - art.7

Developing a National Plan of Action Raising Political Awareness of Gender Equality

Women and education - art.10 · Founding parent councils to support the process of reforms and create new ways of communication · Improving the pedagogical service in all schools and work on sensitizing parents and families to the support women need to develop as decision-makers · Working through the institutions to change the traditional choice of men's and women's professions. · Developing NGOs initiatives to address the differences between urban and rural areas and the education differences there · Including specific lectures on "women's rights" in the process of education where sociology, psychology, the Constitution etc could be taught · Including special lectures about the reproductive rights of women- raising the awareness young people and women of their responsibility for sexual life · Including special lectures about gender literature · Developing special educational support for housewives special courses · Including in the curricula the topic of mutual gender respect and developing non-violent communication skills from kindergarten to university.


· *Government · Political parties and organizations, and trade unions · Non-governmental organizations · Media


Equality within Political Parties · Basic equality text as an expression of gender policy

Employment of women - art.11 · Founding an Employment Agency to implement active employment policy, so that we could expect an increase in the employment of women by way of selfemployment programs · Legal reforms to fill the gaps and mirror the new legal trends in line with transition and while addressing gender issues · Accepting the International standards for work, e.g. part-time paid job, work at home, producing organic food, etc



· Gender segregated statistics as one of the required aspects of reform · Supporting single mothers · Founding courts of social justice · Center for women's issues- Founding a women's network to work on the economic empowerment of women.



Gender equality in the legal system

There is no general definition of discrimination in Montenegrin legislation, nor is there any specific definition of discrimination against women. According to the Constitution, equality is one of the supreme values of the Montenegrin Constitutional order, and all citizens are equal before the law. The development and creation of the legal framework was based on a high level of protection of women's rights. The position of women is defined by legislation and the normative frame at Federal and Republican levels. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia of 1992, Art. 20, and the Constitution of Republic of Montenegro, Art. 15, started that all citizens are equal regardless of their personal characteristics like nationality, race, sex, language, religion, political opinion, education, social status, property status, or any other personal characteristic. The law also prescribes for the violation of equality and the punishment is from one (1) to three (3) years of imprisonment (Article 43 Criminal Law) The protection of women's rights forms part of that of citizens rights but there is also special legal protection for women envisaged in the Constitutions, e.g.: - special protection of women on the labor market (Art. 53 par. 3, SRY Constitution and Art. 53 par. 4, Constitution MN) - special rights for pregnant women and public healthcare services (Art. 60 par. 2, Constitution. SRY and Art. 57 par. 2 Constitution. MN) - family, mother and child enjoy special legal protection (Art. 61, Constitution SRY and Art. 62, Constitution MN) In the Family Law of Montenegro of 1989 women's position is defined as equal to that of men in terms of marital obligations. Women who have extramarital relationships have the same rights as married women, but only with respect to property. An extra-marital relation is not a sufficient ground preliminary estimate for paternity. This solution is discriminatory and should be changed to get to address more real life situations with the same quality of decision-making. The inheritance law introduces the principle universality, i.e. women are included with all their personal characteristics. The woman as a wife under inheritance law is always the first successor. Women with extra-mari-

Women and health · Analyzing the legal framework on health protection and developing of mechanisms for its implementation · Obligatory checks of pregnant women for the HIV virus and HEPATITIS B and C · Founding a special commission to monitor the work of medical institutions on the basis of guaranteed health care. Also, using this body to promote health care and providing the needed documentation to everyone concerned · Promoting preventive health services like vaccination, systematic medical checks · Stronger legislative sanctions for failure to implement the existing norms on health care · Collecting statistics on different issues like of injuries caused by violence, number of abortions, number of women with "women's illnesses" · Developing a " Family doctor" Project · Networking of all women's groups with aim to support and protect women.



tal relations do not have the right to succession regardless of any characteristics of that relation like a period of existing co-habitation, the quality of relations, children, etc. In analyzing women's legal position in MN, we can see that is the legal order of a state which experiences the transition of ownership, economy, society and politics, moreover coupled with the decay of the previous state, civil war, international armed intervention, destruction, emmigration of the population, pauperization, international isolation, destruction of self-regulatory institutions and the creation of institutions of a democratic society based on the neo-liberal principles of free competition and private property. It is obvious that the whole life in FRY and Montenegro is characterized by clear-cut, deep and complex discrepancies. It is the same with the existing legal order, where the previous rules vanished and new social relationships arose. Also, there are legal gaps. There have been radical changes in our country during the last decade, which were brought about by war, the economic crisis, privatization, by processes which fragmented the system of values. All this pushed women to the margins and reaffirmed digressive concepts of social development, i.e. that women should stay at home only, devoted to reproduction and family care. The social changes made many women return into the family, without social participation and hence, without social and financial security, under conditions in which they reproduce their own inequality. This is the reason why the laws, which regulate the status of women, remain partly a declaration only. When you go deeper, under the surface, in every day life, you can notice the narrowness of the laws that should be applied in practice. Besides the absence of an appropriate legal definition of discrimination against women there are no mechanisms that should develop anti-discriminatory practice. Almost all laws are drafted and passed, then implemented without public debates. There is also a great number of women in Montenegro that are not aware of their own basic rights and where to go to get help. This is very frequent in the rural areas of Montenegro. The strong influence of tradition marks the life of every woman. This tradition and customary law sometimes even strongly influence the courts in Montenegro. Women participate in suits for divorce and property partition in courts for ten to fifteen years while they live mostly as tenants mostly (in 95% of the cases) with their children.

This extreme discrimination against women in Montenegro is very frequent. The Criminal Law treats women as equal to men (Criminal Law of FRY, 1994), and the Criminal Law of MN, 1994, Law for criminal procedure 1994, Law for sanction implementation, 1994. There are special norms according to which the death penalty cannot be imposed on pregnant women. The Criminal law brings us to the burning issue in the context of women's basic rights. The Criminal law does not contain a single norm concerning domestic violence. Cases of violence in the family are qualified under norms that sanction usual bodily injuries, violent behavior and treats to safety.


Violence against Women

The legislation in Montenegro does not recognize the term domestic violence. Domestic violence is treated as general criminal act and victims are protected by the Criminal and Penalty laws. In cases when a woman is the victim of domestic violence, there is no specific legal norm to protect her nor any other measures, i.e. of divorcing proceedings cannot be accelerated even when violence is involved. The Penalty Law provides for a prison sentence for the criminal act of violence, from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the act. Women's groups insist on reforms in family and criminal law that will treat domestic violence as a specific criminal act. Beside this approach to violence in the laws, the predominant traditional patriarchal culture still regards violence against women as something that may not be desirable but is definitely tolerable. Further, the Government of Montenegro does not support NGOs that assist women victims of violence and moreover does not undertake any steps to improve this legal, economic, social and psychological situation or to help these women to re-socialize. Violence against women brings us all to the past and to "pater familias" relations. Stimulated by the social and economic crises, it gets to a critical level where every third women in Montenegro suffers from domestic violence. There are no official statistics on violence against women, though police reports and the experience of women's groups, hotlines, shelters,



counseling and support services for battered women show that violence steadily increases. It has been noticed that the forms of violence change. Women's groups have identified a few cases of violence against women involving the use of firearms and grenades with fatal outcomes in Niksic and Podgorica. 47% of women that asked for help at the SOS phone line were married, 37% of them were not married but lived together or had relationships with boyfriends50. The SOS line for women victims of violence in Podgorica works for four hours a day. Between 1997 and 2001 they had 1778 calls or 445 calls per year. The average age of the women that called the hot line was 16-25 and then 26-30, years.51 The social status of victims of violence is very often too low. Education has a very important role, because educated women contact the Center for social welfare, the medical institutions, NGOs or the police more often and without hesitation. There is only one shelter in Montenegro that protects women and children victims of violence. In their practice they found out that 95,5% of the tyrants were men, often husbands or ex-husbands in aged 26-40 on average. Near 50% of the women victims of violence were sexually and psychologically abused by their husbands. In the Capital of Montenegro where 30% of the population lives research was carried out on domestic violence with the following results (20%) said that their partner (husband, boyfriend) threatened them with violence. In 79% of those cases there were repeated threats. Also, every fifth woman (23%) had suffered physical violence (partner beats her). Out of that number, it happened more than once in 77% of cases. Almost every fourth woman (24%) was maltreated for a longer period of time. Women recognized the term "physical violence" much better than the term "threat".52 29 % of women were eyewitnesses of violence against women they knew.53 73% of women knew of more than one case of family violence against

50 51 52 53

Data from the SOS phone for women and children victims of violence Podgorica data Data from the SOS phone for women and children victims of violence Podgorica data Data from the Shelter for women and children victims of violence - data Data from the Shelter for women and children victims of violence - data

women.54 54% of women knew of cases of family violence against children.55 The research showed that every second woman had experienced domestic violence at least once. Regarding the marital status, the level of violence varied. Divorced women very often report on cases of violence. A high percentage of divorced women say they had suffered all forms of violence (physical, mental, economic). Out of 78% of married women, 16% said their partners had threatened them with violence: out of that number four-fifths (81%) said it had happened more than once. Every tenth woman (11%) said she had suffered all forms of violence. Violence does not start in the marriage. A large number of single women had also experienced violence. Most young women that we talked to, were very young; 73% were between 18 and 25 and 14% were between 26 and 37. Every sixth unmarried woman (14%) had already experienced a threat with violence by her partner and almost half of them (42%) were threatened more than once. 8% had been beaten, with which 85% of them being beaten more than once.56 All this proves the level of violence is alarming. Unmarried women, that are mainly very young, have already experienced violence in their relationships. This is a dangerous ground for further violence in more complex relations such as marriage. Police officers are generally insensitive and misinformed about gender violence. Direct police protection of victims of violence is badly needed, as well as cooperation with women's shelters and Centers for protection. In Montenegro police officers have attended since this summer training sessions initiated and organised by a women's group from the Shelters. Despite the important efforts of grassroot organizations, the effect of their work has been limited. The Government that should play a substantial role does not undertake any actions, nor does it reform the major social institutions, e.g. the workplace, the judicial system, the health care and social services etc. The Government is not interested in developing early-warning systems and or making possible the intervention related to domestic violence, raising the awareness and changing the attitude through media campaigns or


Data from the Shelter for women and children victims of violence - data Data from the Shelter for women and children victims of violence - data





recognising violence against women as a public health issue. In the rapidly growing private sector, business and labor interests both have a role to play in creating a safe work environment for women through policies and practices dealing with sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse at work.


Trafficking in Human Beings - Sex Trafficking

The protection of victims of Sex Trafficking is not formulated as a modern law. The phenomenon of the 21st Century - modern time slavery is actually covered by the Criminal Law of SRY, Art. 251, under the criminal act of Mediation and Engaging in Prostitution, and by the Criminal Law of MN, Art. 93, under the Criminal act of procuring and enabling sexual promiscuity. These legal norms are contained in Criminal Laws at Federal and Republican levels in YU and basically concerns the issue of prostitution and the punishment of women that work as prostitutes. Prostitution in Montenegro is forbidden, but is rarely sanctioned. On the other hand, sex-trafficking does not exist, in the legal framework of Montenegro, which means that the organizer cannot be punished. Only the victim is punished for the crime of prostitution. For example, owners of night bars can make agreements (to which they are entitled) to temporarily hire women from other countries usually for three months, as dancers, waitresses, etc. These owners report to the police office that the girls reside in Montenegro, so if you contact the police, they cannot do anything because of this legal situation. Also, there is a great number of false documents for the women "working" in Montenegro. During last two years, near by 90 women were deported to their countries of origin. In only one police raid, one night in the summer, 70 women victims of sex-violence were deported to their countries.57 In their contacts with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Care, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, NGOs usually get many promises that they institutions will work on this issue and that probably in 2002 reforms of the Criminal Law will be initiated so as to address. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 500 000 women have been sold in West European countries. Former


Yugoslavia is known as a country of origin, destination and transit country for trafficking in human beings. The main reason for this is that in the beginning of the 1990s former Yugoslavia had a much better standard in comparison with other countries in the Region. The country thus became interesting for women from East European countries. The wars in Yugoslavia increased the number of women victims of sex trafficking. At governmental level there are some data which remain a secret and a taboo between institutions and police officers. Women's non-governmental organizations have started networking in order to prevent and stop sextrafficking in Montenegro.

The strategy plan of non-governmental organizations had the following elements: Cooperation with the police

- starting cooperation and communication between women activists and police officers. The police officers used to say that this activity is too dangerous for women to deal with and at the same time they did not show any interest in dealing with this problem seriously. Then with the support of OSCE, IOM, UNICEF, a network was formed that united the efforts of all those working in this area.

Cooperation with the courts and the legal system:

- Cooperation with courts has started as well. The great problem is social workers that should be organized to receive better training in this issue.

Sources of information:

- The sources of information about sex trafficking are usually rumors and in-formal contacts. Through such channels we got the information that there are agencies that work only on this issue in places where sex-trafficking exists like Beograd, Podgorica, Bosnia, Kosovo, Metohija


This question list was drafted to find out the level of what knowledge about sex-trafficking. It was established that many people had not even heard about the problem of sexual exploitation and trafficking in women. The OSCE mission in Montenegro started providing training to governmental institutions with the aim to enhance the fight against sex traffick-

Police official documents on sex-trafficking



ing. This is because Governmental bodies very often regard trafficking as a question of migration and the victims of trafficking are considered to violate the migration laws rather than as people in need of protection. In June 2000, in Wienie the Government of Montenegro approved the OSCE Program on issues of trafficking. The program envisages that the Governments will start awareness raising at the legislative and judicial institutions and at all other authorities to address the problem of trafficking in human beings. The Government should provide public prosecutors with new techniques for and knowledge of ways of investigation, and encourage them to cooperate with NGOs on the issues of organized crime. The Government should provide the public administration with special instructions to approach the trafficking in human beings from the angle of respect of victims' protection and based on research, respect for human rights and prevention of abuse. Each State should establish special police forces and a team of prosecutors that will be trained to work on trafficking and gender issues and with victims of sex trafficking. Also lawyers should be prepared and trained to deal with cases of illegal trafficking in human beings. The first next step of the Government should be a special educational plan for all police Academies. Montenegro today is probably the only country in the region that has signed an official Agreement for stopping and preventing sex-trafficking with international organizations; networks and non-governmental organizations in its territory. The Agreement obliged the government to fully support their work, and it was till now respected.

Today 51,4 % of the population in Montenegro are women. 49,7% of the voters are women.58 230 000 women are voters in Montenegro, of which 200 000 have secondary or university degrees and 30 000 have elementary school education.59 Only 5% of the women take part in decision-making in Montenegro.60 The Parliamentary Assembly had 4 women parliamentarians out of 78 members (~5%) over the past two years. During at period there were strong public media campaigns of women's NGOs for the empowerment of women in politics. Then an Agreement was made that at least 30% of the MPs should be women which was signed by 4 political parties - SDP, DPS, LSCG and DUA. Other political parties supported the Agreement and stated that they will work for the improvement of women's participation. Today our Parliament has 77 members of whom 7 are women (9%) In the Government of Montenegro there has not been any woman. There are no women mayors in Montenegro. Out of 716 members in the municipality parliaments 32 women are local parliamentarians. Women participate as members of political parties and their share is 30-50%. Party structures look as follows:61

PARTY NAME DPS MAIN BOARD total 125 150 124 67 52 35 women 16 (11%) 7 (4,7%) 32 (25,8%) 14 (20%) 2 (3,8%) 1 (3%) EXECUTIVE BOARD total 7 21 5 10 11 / women 1 (14,4%) 1 (4,8%) 1 (20%) 1(10%) 2 (18,2%) / PRESIDENCY total 11 / / 11 14 / women 1 (9,1%) / / 2 (18,1%) / /


6.1. Women in political life

The Constitution of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and many international documents by SFRY- FRY guarantee the equality of all citizens. Some international documents that are signed and under which require the Government develop a system to ensure gender equality are: the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; CEDAW; the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights.



59 60

Research on "Women in politics" - dr. Cukic


Data from the Women's Forum of Montenegro Data from the Women's Forum of Montenegro Data from the Women's Forum of Montenegro



For the last two years NGO groups have been working on the political empowerment of women in Montenegro. A major NGOs' activity in the area of political empowerment of women is the training for women for political participation. Till now nearly 600 women from all municipalities (21) in Montenegro have been trained. After the last elections for the Montenegrin Parliament, its speaker is a woman from the Liberal Alliance in Montenegro(LSCG). The political approach of that political party drew the attention of the public to the women in politics and their rights as well as to the capability of women as decision-makers. The public reaction was quite divided. A great number of people supported the idea that women can work as decision-makers. On the other hand, great many men and women reacted in a way that this should not be the case, at least not in Montenegro. The personality of those women was strongly attacked with very mean sexist newspaper texts and public accusations. This was an example that the awareness of gender equality in Montenegro is something that we should work a lot on. Women's groups in Montenegro have developed many campaigns for the promotion of women's rights and about the importance of women's political participation. The first results of women's activism are: - Increasing the number of women interested to take part in politics. - A great number of women trained through training sessions at local level. - An established cooperation between women from different political parties, NGOs and trade unions. - The established parliamentary board on gender issues. Since 1945 in Montenegro there have been three women Ministers in the Government. It is interesting to mention that all the three women were not professional politicians but women experts in the field. One of them was elected in the governmental structures at the beginning of the term of office, while the other two were involved later. During the communist period there was 30% of women's participation in the Parliamentary structures.62 After the breakdown of that political system women also lost their political interest. This was due to the fact


that in the previous system women "owed" their participation to their involvement in the Second World War as partisans. That political role of women did not enhance their further work for the political empowerment of women, raising the awareness of gender issues and establishing the real basic principles of social equality. During the last year in Montenegro a women's network was formed with representatives of political parties, NGOs and trade unions. This network has as its main aim to work for political empowerment of women. We also plan to implement a National Gender Action Plan that we present here.

6.2. Women in public life - women in media

The Constitution of Montenegro, Article 4. par 4, and the Law on Free Access to Information adopted by the Montenegrin Parliamentary Assembly are basically good. There are no legal regulations to keep track of the development of independent media in Montenegro. This is why women's NGOs express a strong criticism of women journalists and the media in a whole. For almost 5 years now, there are women's groups (NGOs) in Montenegro dealing with different women's issues, starting with violence, sex trafficking, having a status of a servant in family, the problems of the transition process in Montenegro, sexual harassment at work, let alone political participation which is only 5% and the fact that women occupy 2% of decision-making positions in the Montenegrin society. Unfortunately this list is far from being exhaustive. In Montenegro any politician, regardless of his political affiliation, claims that Montenegro is a democratic country with a developing civil society. The word "DEMOCRACY" is on almost every corner, on every radio or TV show, and in any daily newspaper. For a moment you can think you live in perfect country. But this is only for a moment - that is how long a woman has to stop and dream.

Our DEMOCRACY has forgotten women, who are 51,4% of the population. What is the problem?

The majority of Montenegrins still live with the great history of our people. Our society is still a typical men-dominated patriarchal society. Many women do not even think that they should do something about their position at home, at work, in the society, in politics. They are victims of the lives of their grandmothers and mothers.

Governmental statistical books



On the other hand, there are women's NGOs that patiently work with women, talk to them, acquaint them with their rights under the international instruments, show them an easier way in life... But such women's groups face another problem. Media in Montenegro sometimes look like blind followers of the politicians-and it is obvious that they are not prepared or willing to talk about women's issues. So women come across closed media through which they have to promote and talk about women's rights; raise public awareness; launched an educational process; raise the question about the political responsibility of all parties; inform the public about their activities and at least provoke logic of women and men. As a result, we have a media presentation of women as stereotyped housewives or just as a working class in the society. Despite all the reforms, the media have not succeeded to include in their program TV broadcasts presenting women in a new style and raising the awareness of gender equality. The media gender structure reminds you of all hardly paid professions that men have already left behind. There are 74% of women journalists and 4,3% of them are editors in chief and nearly 48% are editors of media informative blocs. Media have always had a specific role in democracy developing processes and democracy cannot be developed if you are silent about the rights of the majority, i.e. women rights. The term "women's rights" is strange to our political and governmental bodies as well to media representatives who remain not interested in such "soft" topics like women's rights and always have more urgent priorities. The activists of women's groups are rather dissatisfied with the media approach to gender issues. They do not appear when they are invited to press conferences or any other events organized by women's groups. From time to time people can see some TV show about gender equality that prepared by women's groups, but still there should be continuous process of providing information to the public, so the results could be accelerated.

the Law on secondary education and a Law on university - faculty education that also have as a gender equality fundamental right. The School system is free of charge up to the University level. At University there are a number of best students who have free of charge education if they keep on with good scores. Otherwise students should pay for their own further education. All students, who are not selected for students' scholarship, have to pay for their education an amount equal to two average wages in Montenegro for one year of education. The Educational system since 1946 has been based on laws and with full information has been given to all inhabitants in all parts of Montenegro. We cannot ignore the fact that the last ten years of political crises and economical poverty have influenced a lot the process of education. Differences could be noticed also among the various ethnic, cultural, national groups living in urban or rural area. An old, slow machinery such as the educational system should be reformed and improved in areas determined by the needs of the times - the needs of a society in transition. In Montenegro, about 51,4% of the population are women, almost 200 000 have high education or have at least finished secondary school, and 30 000 have finished primary school The lack of statistics prevents us from identifying the exact number of women's positions in education, the number of women who graduate from secondary schools and faculties or the kind of schools and education women prefer today. The situation at Montenegrin Universities and higher schools is presented in the following scheme:63

Higher schools men professors 19 30 year 1998-2000 Higher schools women professors 7 12 University men professors 400 407 University women professors 179 203


Women and education

Legislation in Montenegro provides women with equal rights for education. Women's rights are well established in the Law on elementary education that is obligated and guaranteed to all by the Constitution. Then we have


Statistical book of the Ministry of Education Montenegro



University gender









age age

Professors total women Associate prof. Docent Senior total


157 139 12 67 19 4 1 95 44

1825 19 16 -

2630 80 39 29 13

31- 3635 40 56 34 23 15 37 18 5 3 7 3

4145 63 15 13 3 14 1 1 14 6

4650 77 20 19 21 9 6 3

5155 43 7 21 9 3 1 1

56- 6160 67 69 16 6 43 43 8 1 10 2 8 2 3 1 -



women Prof.


total women



atory under the law, the Ministry of Education has warned them that they would be brought before the High Court of Montenegro. Women from this rural area have a relatively poor chance for faculty education. This requires wide-spread educational reforms. Unfortunately, this traditional approach to education strongly contributes to marked gender differences already at the secondary school. Normally girls study at general secondary schools while many fewer students are enrolled at technical and vocational schools (a traditional male area). Parents and the community have a very important role here, as because education in the early childhood is especially important for the future understanding and orientation. The educational system should be reformed for the benefit of women's rights promotion. In the long- and short-term plan this will bring the first visible results that will make our society more equal, just and civilized.

The problem in education derives from the traditional approach to gender education. In the literature for schools and the books, from the very beginning in kinder-gardens you can find lectures that presents a family in which the mother takes care of the children and the house. Then elementary schools texts and pictures openly offer to teachers and children gender segregation on the labor market. A good example is the book for the first class of elementary schools (nature and society) where children learn about social activities. The first picture shows a man siting in an office, and the next one presents a woman cooking. Such an approach to education results in gender inequality that is and presented it as a "normal" status of gender relations. Another example is language discrimination that is widely come across. In newspaper texts, school books or women's magazines you can read about women in different positions. If a woman is presented as a cleaning woman, housewife, the words are always in the female. On the contrary when women are directors, professors, journalists, the words are always in the always in male gender. This obvious discrimination in every day language usage has become so familiar, that women introduce themselves as men if they work on higher positions and do not even notice the mistake in gender. In the northern parts of Montenegro, in villages people apparently still live under the strong influence of tradition supported by nationalism over the last ten years. Those who belong to the Muslim nationality do not send their daughters even to the elementary school. As elementary education is oblig-


8.1.Employment of women

Labour relations are regulated by the Law on basic labour relations, the Employment law, the Law on labour relations. These laws have to be reformed in line with the legal concepts of transition and to enable good labour relations and protection. They provide for: - special protection of women on the labor market (Art. 53 par.3, SRY Constitution, and Art. 53 par.4, Constitution of MN) - special rights for pregnant women and public healthcare services (Art. 60 par.2, Constitution. SRY and Art. 57 par.2, Constitution. MN) - families, mothers and children enjoy special legal protection (Art.61, Constitution SRY and Art.62, Constitution MN) The Pension law provides that women have the right to old-age pension at age of 55 (60 for men), after at least 20 years of work, or the right to old-age pension after at least 15 years of work at the age of 60 (65 for men). Women's position on the labor marker is regulated by domestic laws as equal to that of men and with all guaranteed rights, especially during maternity leave. The women's position is also covered by ILO Conventions. Montenegro is now a typical transition country undergoing a process of moving property from public into private hands. To achieve the equal position of women from 1948 to 1989 certain progressive steps were made,



that provoked constant increase in the number of employed women in all areas, with some differences due to the level of development. The highest percentage of women have high school degrees, so in the overall number of employed persons - women with high school education participated with 53,6%, with higher education are 48,3% and those with University degree 40%.* The historical division of male and female work and activities still exists in practice, so there are some branches of economy with a majority of female workers. In industry, the highest percentage of working women is found in the production of textiles - 79,3%. In the public sector, 59,7% women are involved and the greatest number is in the field of health protection and social care -73,2%* The difficult conditions in the economy during the last ten years have caused a decrease in the number of workers in the economy as well as a large number of leaves - the so-called "forced leaves". Even though there are no official statistical data by gender on these forced leaves, the analysis of the structure of workers in different branches and fields of activity shows that there is a higher percentage of forced leaves in the branches with a majority of female workers, as compared to the entire economy.64

Employes- Trade by genderand by fields Total number women % 8 780 5 131 58,5% Hotel manage ment/ Tourism 7 284 4123 56,6% Handi- Housing- Finances Education/ Health/ Political crafts Community Culture Social organizations work Care 1 238 311 25,2% 3 864 709 18,4% 3 112 1826 58,7% 14 655 8 136 55,6% 10 695 7 828 73,2% 9 551 4 887 51,2%

sions. On the other hand because of the poverty of the population and specially the working class, women are not financially powerful to either "buying" the right to pension or start a small business. The Constitutional principle - same salary for approximately the same work, is designed to protect against gender discrimination. However, this principle is not implemented everywhere, e.g. in some cases women with the same level of education occupy positions with lower salaries (only few of them are heads of departments, supervisors or managers). There are not many women in the management and decision-making structures in companies. Even though they meet all the necessary prerequisites, women have to overcome additional obstacles to be chosen for a higher position. The latest trend shows that there are more and more women among the young unemployed people, even though they have the same level of education as men. Women are fired more easily, so many of them are involved in the "gray" economy without any protection of their labor and social rights

EMPLOYMENT: Number of job applicants

Bureau for employment total women

1995 56 614 33 539

1996 60 730 36 652

1997 64 478 38 990

1998 68 923 41 423

1999 79 800 47 062

All the processes create great problems for women aged between 40 and 60 who do not yet have the right to pensions but in whom the private business sector is not interested because of their age. This category of the population is neither on land nor in the air. In the pension legislation there is a possibility to "buy" your working years and to get the right to receive pen64

Statistical book of Montenegro

The key players in the process of implementation remain men. Small businesses are usually controlled by newly established and very conservative rich elite who has gained their wealth trough political power. For most women the only jobs that remain are those offering low pay and low status. This discriminatory practice is not yet sanctioned. Discrimination on the "gray" market is larger. Women compete with both women and men. Women compete with appearance and age. These circumstances of life push women to courts where they cannot find protection because of this discrimination. On the other hand, for some legally employed women employers will officially declare salaries for lower in order to reduce the obligation to contribute for those women's social and health insurance benefits.



The Labor law does not contain provisions that would protect women from sexual harassment and blackmail while looking for a job or at work. The extent of sexual harassment is so overwhelming that it has become a standard behavior expected and accepted without comment.

terms of women's representation. A women's interest organization was found within the trade union Confederation with the main aim to promote the economic empowerment of women.


During the previous political regime, health care was free and available to almost 98% of citizens of Montenegro. Now, the situation is different, although health care is more or less still available. The share of the state budget allocated for health care was reduced because of the global economic crises in Montenegro. The Law on Health Care and Insurance provided that women should avail themselves of: - the obligatory health checks for women - primary health protection for pregnant women, birth, contraception The lack of financial resources has become immediately apparent in the lowered quality of health services, with its strong repercussions for the protection of women's health in general, and for reproductive health, in particular. Gynecological care is still a part of primary health protection with a strong network of clinics across Montenegro. Abortion is legal until the 10th week of pregnancy, at the woman's request. After that women have to apply to a special committee for permission for abortion if a threat to the health of the woman or the fetus exists. There have been several attempts to criminalize abortion. These attempts were initiated by Orthodox Church and were target at the legislation as well as at gynecologist and the medical staff of the hospitals. As a whole, the laws are very good. Their implementation is a different matter there are some gaps here. For example, Primary health protection of women's health is guaranteed by law but it is implemented differently in the urban and rural areas of Montenegro. There are practical examples of discrimination against women exactly in the area of primary health protection. According to the law, all contraceptive medicines are free of charge. The same is valid for the regular systematic checks for women aged 35-55 years old. Family planning is very important for any woman and man to enable them to assure own responsibility and make a choice in their personal lives. In Montenegro women generally, and especially younger women, have a rel-

8.2. Women in Trade Unions

The participation of women in trade union membership is a reliable indicator of the level of internal democracy in the trade union movement. This Participation is based on the data about employed women. However, it is necessary to emphasize that we do not have precise data, as none of the branch unions accumulates gender statistics. For the need of the Project on gender equality within trade unions, implemented in 2000 within the ICFTU CEE Women's Network, data have been collected on the participation of women in the structures and decisionmaking bodies of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro and its branch unions. Out of 807 union shops, some 20,45% are women and in the highest decision making body between two Congresses, CITUM General Council, women were only 12%, In the Presidium of CITUM General Council there is only one woman, i.e. 7,7* Among the Presidents of 19 independent branch unions only three are women, that is 15,8%. At the last CITUM Congress, 14,5% of the delegates were women. Out of 21 municipal trade union agencies, there is only one woman President union agency, which is 4,8% representation.65 The top of the trade union management pyramid in CITUM are the President, three Vice-Presidents and a Secretary- all five of them are men. Out of 19 branch unions, only four can be considered representative from a women's point of view, as they have 30 % of women in the trade management body-Republican Committee. The analysis of the data gathered draws us to the conclusion that the average rate of women's representation in all branch unions together is higher than the one at Confederation level. Montenegrin trade unions are virtually at the bottom of the scales compared to other trade union centers in Central and Eastern Europe in


Data from a Research of the Women from trade union



atively poor understanding of reproductive health issues. With the opening of a great number of private medical clinics there are no realistic data about the number of abortions. Statistics in the last ten years have shown that the number of births is equal to number of abortions (1:1) Official statistics today still provide have data (1:1,2) though private clinics are not included in this official information. On the other hand a great number of young people - teenagers become sexually active much earlier than the older generations. The lack of sexual education for young people and the unprotected sex among young people have increased the number of unwanted pregnancies. Sexual health education is needed to ensure healthy and responsible sexual behaviour. This is important because women's decisions on reproductive matters are directly influenced by their partners, whose responsibilities should not be neglected. This can also help challenge the gender roles in terms of sexuality, reproductive health and male-female relationship in general. The numerous influences on lifestyle during the transition also cause risk-taking behavior. Alcohol consumption and smoking have risen among women and adolescent girls during the transition period. The occurrence of drug abuse and sexually transmitted diseases is also rising. Women, especially young women, are biologically and socially vulnerable and the political and social situation in Montenegro is a major concern in terms of a possible expansion of the sexual industry. Specific dimensions of health, such as mental health, are still ignored. This is especially troubling for women, as they more often report emotional health problems than men. A better understanding of women's health requires a more complex approach than the one underlying the health system inherited from the former communist years.


We thank to all above-mentioned organizations for providing us with information and data. We would like to thank specially the Danish Center for Human Rights for supporting us in Reporting to CEDAW, to the Bulgarian Gender Research Foundation for training us. Special thanks to the Norwegian Peoples Aid - office in Belgrade, for providing us with financial support for the organization of the CEDAW seminar in Cetinje.




Biljana Brankovic

(Voice of Difference - Group for Promotion of WPR) national coordinator,

Marija Lukic

(Voice of Difference - Group for Promotion of WPR),

Olja Delic

(Faculty of Management, Novi Sad)

Mirjana Djelmas


Page Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 236 General Recommendations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 Article 5(a) - Violence against women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 4.1. Domestic violence: legal regulations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249 4.2. Sexual abuse: legal provisions; Domestic violence: estimated occurrence; Institutional response to family violence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 250 4.3. The survivor and the state: analysis of case - law; Hidden sexual assaults: the result of institutional policy?; Child sexual abuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252 4.4. Sexual harassment - a "state of mind"; Stereotyping: the contribution of the media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 254 5. Article 5(b) - Equality in marriage and childbearing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255 6. Article 6 - Trafficking in women . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 6.1. Legal provisions; Routes; Victims, perpetrators, accomplices; Victims' protection policy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258 6.2. Prevention and regional collaboration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 7. Article 7: Political participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 7.1. Legal framework; Official political participation under the previous regime; Political activity behind the (parliamentary) scene; Current participation in parliaments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 262 7.2. Women in election campaigns and party programs; Women as policy makers: a redistribution of power . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 264 7.3. Women in the NGO sector: leaders in the shadow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266 8. Article 11 - Women and the labour market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266 8.1. Legal provisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266 8.2. Women and the labour market; Increased rates of female unemployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267 8.3. Lower opportunities in the workplace; The gender pay gap; Sexual harassment at the workplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 269 8.4. Specific discrimination in the private sector and the hidden economy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271 9. Article 12 - Reproductive health and access to health care . . . . . . . . . 273 9.1. Legal provisions; Access to health care . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273 9.2. Female mortality rates and indicators of reproductive health; Abortion rates, contraceptive use and awareness of reproductive health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 274 9.3. Risk-taking sexual behaviour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 276 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 278 Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280

1. 2. 3. 4.





The political regime in Serbia (a federal unit of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) was changed, and FRY recently acceded to CEDAW, after a period of international isolation. During the isolation/sanctions, FRY was bound by CEDAW - according to the FRY Constitution, all international treaties that the former Yugoslavia (SFRY) had ratified, were binding on FRY, including the CEDAW Convention. The last government report was made in 1993 on an exceptional basis and did not meet the Committee's requirements. Women's NGOs have not submitted shadow reports on CEDAW up to now. This shadow report on the status of women in Serbia reviews legislation, policies and the real status of women in relation to Articles 5, 6, 7, 11, and 12 of CEDAW. The review of the real status mostly covers the last 10 years. Analyses reveal that the legislation does not comply with CEDAW standards or European standards (possibly, with the exception of marriage and family relations, pay equality provisions, parental leave, etc.). However, compliance would be probably improved soon - several laws that affect women's rights have been changed or are in preparation. The new government is over-burdened by the large "legacy" of the former dictatorial regime - a ruined economy, increased poverty, criminalization of the society, a high corruption rate, the erosion of ethical standards, etc. Although the new government has notably improved the policy in some areas (relevant legislative initiatives, better protection of trafficked women, somewhat increased female participation in decision-making, etc.), no coordinated efforts have been devoted to enhancing gender equality, and particularly, no consistent policy of affirmative action has been applied. The institutional machinery for gender equality is weak, with undefined status and authority. The data (mostly, research studies on nationally-representative samples) supports the general conclusion that women, relative to men, have paid higher price during the last 10 years of political/economic hardship. We shall focus on some main issues. The position of women in the labour market has radically deteriorated (even new, unpunished discriminatory practices have emerged in the private sector and in the hidden economy). The latter is indicated by: increased unemployment (they make almost 60% of the unemployed and the bulk of long-term unemployment), a wider gender gap in unemployment rates, increased vertical job segregation, an extended gender pay gap - although the educational levels of male and female workers do not

differ, women on average earn 20% less than men, and in the hidden economy even 28% less. There are women among private sector employees, and particularly among owners; they are often unregistered, engaged temporarily or as unpaid helpers, and exposed to sexual harassment/blackmail. They mostly work in the public sector (in which jobs are commonly less paid), while their work in the hidden economy often means no additional income - they mostly produce food for the family survival. Due to the economic hardships, the "double burden" on women has increased - the relevant survival strategy of the families is to rely on (enlarged) unpaid female work, which amounted to nearly 23% of GDP from 1996 to 1998. Women (both employed and unemployed) spend on average 6 hours per day at household work/childcare, and 4.2 hours at paid work. Prolonged life in stressful conditions, the increased responsibilities for the family survival, the collapse of the public health care institutions and the gradual abolition of free health care policy (i.e., unofficial payment to corrupt physicians) have probably contributed to increased health risks. Female mortality rates have increased, while life expectancy has declined (the opposite trend has been identified among men). The rate of cancer among women has also increased, while abortion has remained the main method of birth control. Restrictions in the existing law on abortion (which is far more restrictive than the previous one) have not been claimed openly, yet, political parties in their respective programs mostly mention women in discussions on a pro-natalist policy. The poor awareness of reproductive health and the high incidence of risk-taking sexual behavior have been identified among girls. Women/girls are exposed to increased family violence and sexual abuse. Institutions often fail to properly address survivors' needs, due to: a) non-existing legal provisions related to family violence (this would, though, improve soon) and a lack of real legal protection against child sexual abuse, b) improper legal procedures which often lead to re-traumatization, rather than recovery, c) the common practice to protect the family in general, rather than the survivor, as implied, e.g., in the biased and/or mild penalizing policy of the courts. The latter has been confirmed by an in-depth analysis of a large number of court cases. The policy of the institutions created (supposedly) to assist victims has very likely contributed to a high rate of "hidden" cases of family violence/sexual abuse. The state-run media during the previous regime also contributed to high tolerance or unspoken acceptance of gender-based violence, while only women's NGOs assumed the task to provide survivor-focused protection. The problem of trafficking in women has been largely neglected or over-



looked during the last 10 years. However, the new government has introduced some relevant improvements very recently, particularly regarding victims' protection policy (e.g., a Shelter was established). The Shelter will offer round-the-clock police protection, which is not granted to the shelters for victims of family violence. Initiatives have also started to improve domestic laws in order to achieve compliance with recently signed international conventions. Women were very poorly represented in decision-making posts in official politics under the previous regime, but they engaged considerably in the NGO sector, and roughly equally in civil protests and other "underground" activities, which slowly but gradually, made the recent political changes possible. However, women obtained a limited share in the current redistribution of power. The new government has improved the practices and attitudes regarding the participation of women in decision-making, but has failed to implement a consistent policy of affirmative action. This sudden disappearance of women between "street activism" and official politics might have a far-reaching impact. Women are poorly involved in planning strategies for societal development at the crucial historical moment - the government has lately initiated structural reforms in the economy and large-scale privatization will start soon. In view of these facts, the establishment of an efficient gender equality machinery seems to be of essential importance.


Despite the improved policy of the new government, women have not been involved in sectors fundamental to social progress. The monopolization of political power by men within the recently established political structures might have a far-reaching impact on the status of women in Serbia. The participation of women in planning strategies for societal development is probably more important than ever, since recently initiated structural reforms in the economy and in the legislation will shape the lives of men and women within the next 10 years or more. Therefore, establishing institutional mechanisms for gender equality is essential in order to promote the idea that the improvement of women's status is first and foremost the responsibility of the state. The introduction of such mechanisms currently faces considerable procedural and legal obstacles, e.g., the Law on the Ombudsperson should be adopted first (Pajvancic, 2002). In addition, some measures might be taken in advance to ensure that the prospective gender equality machinery would not develop into a bureaucratic "dinosaur" or token representation of women in legislative bodies (well known from the socialist times). The NGO community will propose these measures elsewhere. Herein, we only propose one principle regarding the participation of the civil sector and other organizations (unions, associations, universities, etc.) in these (prospective) bodies. As we believe that in building partnership with the government, NGOs and other associations should maintain their genuine independence, we suggest that NGOs and other respective communities should elect their own representatives, without governmental interference. The joint efforts of the government and all other partners might focus on the following: · Clarifying/improving the non-discrimination provisions in the new Constitution of Serbia; A new law that would prohibit gender discrimination and guarantee the principle of equality; Improving the existing legislation to achieve compliance with international treaties and European standards; Improving the policies related to gender-balanced language in legislation; Adopting affirmative action provisions (quotas, parity) in the respective laws; Establishing a team authorized to analyze existing and proposed laws from a gender-equality perspective and to suggest changes · Establishing institutional mechanisms for gender equality at national and local levels (commissions, governmental and parliamentary bodies, Ombudsperson); Ensuring the participation of NGOs, unions, informal groups, etc. in these (prospective) bodies; Developing the National Plan of Action for Women (experts, representatives of women's NGOs, human rights NGOs, unions, political parties and students' associations should be involved in this project); Developing and regularly publishing gender-sensitive statistics; Collaboration with international/regional organizations and regional NGOs in designing longterm policies for achieving gender equality and ensuring an easier integration



into European Union

· Affirmative action - adopting policies aimed to improve gender equality in decision-making positions in all areas of public life and to achieve participation of women in the planning of strategies for the development of society.

Specific recommendations related to Articles 5a, 5b, 6, 7, 11 and 12 of CEDAW:

· Article 5(a): Penalizing family violence as a specific criminal offence, prescribing removal of abusers from the home/restraining orders; Adopting regulations on sexually offensive advertising (hot-lines, pornography); Applying an accelerated divorce procedure when violence is involved; Re-examining the procedures for reporting rapes to prevent the re-traumatization of survivors; Implementing of the existing laws (e.g., challenging arguments for lowering the sentence); Changing the legal definition of incest Providing police protection and governmental support to shelters for victims of family violence; Introducing changes in the common practice of police/social workers (e.g., creating special police units, hiring female police officers, ensuring mandatory/effective police protection, sending a child to foster care in cases of alleged child sexual abuse); Organising seminars for police officers, the judiciary and social workers Collecting reliable gender-sensitive victim statistics at national level; Carrying out nationally representative research on the causes for and the consequences of gender-based violence "Project 5555" - the government might establish Awareness-raising Task Force: 5 journalists, 5 artists/advertising experts, 5 representatives elected by women's NGOs, and 5 experts to launch a media campaign against gender-based violence and innovative educational programs (two school classes during a school-year); Setting up teams for gender-sensitive editorial policy in state media · Article 5(b): Providing governmental protection to single mothers in the forthcoming transition - in case of losing jobs, they might have priority in finding another job in the state sector or be supported to initiate small businesses; Promoting parenthood instead of motherhood in the media Changing regulations on child support payments - the custodial parent might collect child support directly from the ex-partner's employer and/or the court might prescribe an amount needed for raising the child(ren), regardless of the employment status of the non-custodial parent Re-examining the curricula and the textbooks from a gender-equality perspective - the government might establish a Monitoring Task Force at the Ministry of Education (experts and representatives of NGOs), authorized to provide guidelines for future programs/books

Improving the condition of facilities/institutions for children; Supporting private nurseries and baby-sitting services (including implementation of effective supervision/control) · Article 6: Improving the legal provisions (adopting the definitions of trafficking from the Palermo Protocols); Harmonizing the penalties for traffickers at regional level (the Balkans); Providing extraterritorial jurisdiction; Increasing penalties for corrupt officials; Providing a witness protection program Hiring female police officers specialized in trafficking; Organizing seminars for police, the judiciary, public officials; Implementing a Code of conduct for international peace keeping forces, including removal of functional immunity; Improving cooperation between Yugoslav police and the UN Mission in Kosovo; Exchange of information between NGOs in the Balkans Awareness raising activities in schools, collective centres for refugees and local communities Suggesting different priorities to foreign donors - fewer conferences, but more shelters, research/monitoring and programs for the economic empowerment of women in Eastern Europe. · Article 7: Establishing a gender equality machinery; Promoting women's legislative initiatives in the media Affirmative action: increasing the number of women in leadership posts in central and local governments, the judiciary, the police, defence, diplomacy, etc.; Implementing a quota system: at least 30% of women on candidates' lists for elections, placing women-candidates at eligible positions in the lists, improving their promotion in the media Training and mentoring programs for young female leaders (members of political parties, NGOs, informal groups); Authorizing University and respectable NGOs to appoint the best female students as "trainees" for leadership posts (according to strict and transparent procedures); Implementing public/transparent procedures for appointment into decision-making posts in general Promoting gender-balanced, anti-discriminatory language in official documents, media/public Collaboration with OSCE, UNIFEM, UNICEF, the Council of Europe and other international and regional organizations in planning strategies related to the share of women in public life · Article 11: Clarifying and implementation of the existing anti-discriminatory legislation; Adopting clear provisions related to sexual harassment at work; Providing that a woman should return to the same job when childcare leave expires; Considering flexible working hours for women; Implementing pay equality provisions; Implementing measures to prevent "double discrimination" on the labor market



(Roma, sexual minorities); Increasing the job opportunities for disabled people Affirmative action: Establishing institutional mechanisms to increase the share of women in leadership posts in business, banking, finance, governing/executive boards, privatization agencies Implementing high fines for unregistered workers and false reports on employees' wages in private companies; Measures aimed at a gradual decrease of the hidden economy; Implementing strict, transparent and fair procedures for employment in the public sector Supporting women to initiating small businesses (micro-credit programs, training in managerial skills, business incubators, reduced taxes); More computer skills courses for unemployed women, better access to new technology; Promoting female managers in the media · Article 12: Abolishing the restrictions in the existing law on abortion; Regulations regarding elective sterilization; Implementing provisions related to malpractice in state and private clinics Introducing gender-sensitive statistics at national level - reliable monitoring of trends in female mortality and morbidity, abortion rates, and contraceptive use Making contraceptives available and free of charge; Eliminating the domestic production of contraceptives; Promoting elective sterilization and baby-friendly hospitals; Promoting NGOs that offer support to seriously ill or vulnerable women: Roma, disabled, refugees, single mothers; Media campaigns targeted on youth; Sex education in schools; Peer education programs Ensuring stricter governmental control of private clinics; Implementing official and encouraging unofficial mechanisms aimed at decreasing corruption and gender/ethnic discrimination of patients in the public healthcare system (hotlines and other procedures for reporting such cases).


Serbia is a federal unit of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. After the political regime in Serbia changed (in September 2000), Yugoslavia regained its seat in the UN and international organizations. Recent negotiations regarding the succession to the federal state, in which representatives of the EU were involved, provided a provisional solution - Yugoslavia will cease to exist, but a "loose confederation", with the new name "Serbia and Montenegro", will continue to function for three years. The status of Kosovo province remains uncertain. Kosovo seeks independence and is currently under the civil administration of the UN Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), according to Resolution 1244 of the Security Council. The former Serbian regime engaged in four wars in the region, which caused thousands of deaths. Its policy had devastating effects on the population as a whole, but women seemed to pay the "higher price". The "legacy", involving a devastated economy, increased corruption, a heavy criminalization of the society, wider poverty and social inequality, the erosion of ethical standards will be probably difficult to overcome for many years. "Facing the past" will also be a great problem, especially regarding the damage caused to other nations. As the political regime in Serbia changed, Yugoslavia acceded to CEDAW on April 12, 2001 after a period of political isolation from the international community. During the period of isolation, however, the FRY Assembly stated that all international treaties that the former Yugoslavia (SFRY) had ratified, were binding on the FRY. According to the FRY Constitution international treaties ratified by SFRY form an integral part of the internal legal system and as such are part of federal law. In the legislative hierarchy, international treaties are on a higher level than both the federal and the republican laws. Only the provisions of the FRY Constitution are of a higher rank than international treaties. (BCHR, 2000). SFRY ratified CEDAW, but not the Optional Protocol; therefore, CEDAW has not been incorporated into SFRY/FRY legislation (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). Following the guidelines of the Beijing platform, a Draft National Plan of Action for Women was prepared in March 2000, but most of the measures proposed have not been implemented. The last Government Report on CEDAW was submitted in 1993 (and discussed in February 1994) on an exceptional basis - the Committee expressed concern that events in the former Yugoslavia (wars, economic cri-



sis, etc.) were affecting the women's human rights. The report did not meet the Committee's requirements. The written report and the additional oral report involved claims typical of the government policy at that time, e.g.: "FRY was not engaged in the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina". The deteriorating status of women and children was mostly explained as a consequence of the UN sanctions, as if the government had nothing to do with the situation in the country. Although the sanctions certainly had an adverse effect on women, the "achievements" of the former government gravely eroded all aspects of women's lives. Women's NGOs have not submitted shadow reports on CEDAW until now.

Other relevant human rights treaties:

SFRY had ratified all major international human rights treaties: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ISESCR), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, etc. FRY is, in terms of prohibition of discrimination, also bound by all these conventions. As FRY is not member of the Council of Europe, it is not bound by the European Convention on Human Rights. In general, the legislation is not compatible with CEDAW standards and with European standards in many important areas (possibly, with the exception of marriage and family relations, pay equality provisions, parental leave, etc.). FRY expressed its readiness to join the Council of Europe and to become member of the European Union in the future, as the new government stated. However, these processes are complicated, due to the uncertain status of the federal state. In addition, a particularly grave problem is the contradiction between the Serbian Constitution and the federal Constitution. Most federal laws are enforced by the authorities in the republics (they obey the republica legislation, in case of contradiction). Some federal and republican laws and regulations have not been adopted following the federal constitution. Consequently, some important constitutional guarantees for human rights are not effectively implemented in practice (BCHR, 2000). Nevertheless, some laws have been changed or are in the process of being changed, so conformity with European standards would probably improve. The new Constitution of Serbia is in preparation, as well as some Bills or amendments. Some proposed legal changes relevant to women cover the following areas:

family violence, trafficking, marriage and family relations, advertising, law on the Ombudsperson, amendments to the Criminal Code, etc. The Constitution of Yugoslavia and the Constitution of Serbia do contain provisions on the prohibition of discrimination in general, but there are no provisions that clearly define or prohibit gender discrimination. As constitutional provisions are mainly of a declaratory nature, they cannot provide a good basis for achieving genuine gender equality. The Constitution of Serbia states that: "Citizens have equal rights and obligations and are entitled to equal protection before the state and other institutions regardless of race, sex, birth, language, ethnicity, religion, political or other beliefs, education, social origin, property status or any other personal factors" (Art. 13). "Women" are mentioned only once in the entire Constitution of Serbia, in Article 38: "Youth, women and the handicapped enjoy special protection at work in accordance with the law" (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). Similar provisions are contained in the FRY Constitution (Art. 20, Art. 56). The Criminal Code of FR Yugoslavia states that "Whosoever denies or restricts - on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, race or religion, political or other beliefs, sex, language, education, social status, social origin, property status or other personal factors - the rights of any person and citizen guaranteed under the Constitution, the laws or other legal provisions, general rules, or confirmed international treaties, or - on the basis of the above differences - grants privileges or conveniences to anyone, shall be punished with three months to five years of imprisonment." The Serbian Criminal Code contains a similar provision (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). The institutional mechanisms for gender equality founded thus far have limited possibilities to implement an anti-discriminatory policy. One mechanism was established within the federal government - the Yugoslav Committee for Collaboration with UNICEF and Improvement of the Status of Women. Both the status and the authority of this Committee, however, remain unclear (some official documents which regulate the foundation of federal ministries and administrative bodies do not even mention this Committee, Pajvancic, 2002). A similar mechanism was established in Vojvodina, but also with limited opportunities. However, relevant initiatives to establish an operational gender equality machinery have very recently started in Serbia, and some attempts at local level (Novi Sad, Becej) are noteworthy (Pajvancic, 2002). The effective machinery would probably enhance the official commitment of the authorities to the implementation of CEDAW. Current improvements in implementation, the new government has



notably improved policies in some areas (relevant changes in the legislation or initiatives for change, protection of trafficked women, enhanced female participation in decision-making, better protection of families with children, etc). Collaboration with NGOs has also improved. The advanced policy in some areas has resulted from increased cooperation with international organizations, e.g. OSCE and the Stability Pact. In some fields (access to health care, employment), possibilities for implementation are reduced, due to the desperate economic situation. However, protective measures and legislative procedures related to survivors of family violence and sexual abuse have not changed, and the responsibility for providing recovery/support has been mostly left to NGOs. The government has not undertaken a (visible) coordinated effort to improve the status of women or to design long-term strategies for promoting gender equality (only NGOs have raised public awareness of the relevance of this issue). The lack of affirmative action should be particularly emphasized. Although the attitude towards female participation in decision-making has improved, there is no systematic and consistent policy of affirmative action.

Preparation of the report, methodology.

The report was prepared by Biljana Brankovic (Voice of Difference - Group for Promotion of Women's Political Rights, Belgrade) with help of Marija Lukic (Voice of Difference - Group for Promotion of Women's Political Rights, Belgrade), Olja Delic (Faculty of Management, Novi Sad) and Mirjana Djelmas (Association "Antropy", Belgrade). The last census was conducted in 1991, before the wars and the large changes in the demographic picture (a huge influx of refugees, emigration waves, etc.). The statistical indicators are either gender-aggregated or (possibly) unreliable, so monitoring trends in women's status was rather complex. Moreover, some relevant statistical data are published at federal level. As we decided to monitor trends during the last 10 years (wherever possible or appropriate), we made a "puzzle" out of relevant research studies based on nationally-representative samples of women and girls, monitoring reports, data or estimates of NGOs, Web sources, etc. (some relevant topics, which are not covered here, will be involved in the extended version of this report). Women's groups interested in monitoring have approved the suggestions and recommendations provided here or proposed modifications. Most of modifications have been included (some are omitted due to the lack of space). A survey of the political and economic situation - The "Legacy" of the

former regime - åconomic, social and demographic data all reveal disturbing picture. The total number of persons killed in the wars is not precisely known. According to UNHCR (June, 2001), FRY remains one of the countries with a highest number of refugees and displaced persons in Europe (about 620 000), although the number has dropped by 30% in comparison to 1996. These refugees/IDPs live mostly in Serbia. On the other hand, an unknown number of citizens have fled to foreign countries. According to estimates (Bolcic, 1995), about 280 000 young persons with secondary or university education emigrated between 1991 and 1994 (i.e., 10% of the younger generation and about 15% of all highly educated citizens). Since some citizens have fled to evade the draft during the wars, it might be presumed that more men than women have emigrated. The percentage of urban population has probably changed during the last 10 years but in the last census (1991) it was 53.4% in Central Serbia and 55.7% in Vojvodina, respectively. Hyperinflation, the years of international sanctions and isolation, corrupt officials, the huge influx of refugees and IDPs, the NATO bombing, and the destructive economic policy contributed to the collapse of the economy. The gross national product (per capita) has dramatically fell - in 1989 and 1999 it was 2 941 US $ and 975 US $, respectively (G17, 1999). The hyperinflationary episode in 1993-1994 was one of the worst in written history. At the peak of hyperinflation (December 1993), the average wage amounted to 21 DEM (app.10$), which was 30 times lower than in 1990 (G17, 2000). The monthly inflation was 312 million percent in January 1994. For the sake of comparison, hyperinflation in Weimar Germany reached its peak in October 1923 when monthly inflation stood at 29,72% (Krstic & Reilly, 2001). The direct costs caused by the UN sanctions were estimated at US$ 36 billion and the losses caused by the NATO bombing at tens of billions (UN Development Program, 2000). Poverty has become widespread. Under the minimum "consumer basket" criterion, the national standard for gauging poverty, 2.8 million people in Central Serbia and Vojvodina (out of a total of 7.7 million inhabitants) were below the poverty line in 1999. Some social groups were consistently reported as having higher poverty risk: the families of unemployed, underemployed or underpaid workers, families with many children and single parents, the families of the disabled, low - income pensioners, living alone or with dependents, IDPs and refugees (World Bank, 2001). The "Less visible legacy" of the former regime, almost immeasurable in "hard data", involves deeply - rooted social changes (therefore, the psycho-



logical recovery of the society would probably take a longer time than economic recovery one). Within the last ten years, Serbia has become a heavily criminalized society, with a high corruption rate and increased social inequality. This would probably have a serious impact on future development (the new government recently introduced mechanisms to decrease corruption, but the effects are not yet visible). In 1999, corruption in Yugoslavia (including both Serbia and Montenegro) was the highest in Europe, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index. An expert cynically described the status of this new "elite" in the previous regime: "All states have Mafia, but only in Serbia Mafia has the state." The regime policy, as well as the isolation from the international community, created a fruitful ground for criminals, war profiteers and "nouvean riche " (one to three percent of the population, according to estimates). "Party officials" who mostly managed state enterprises had a privileged position in the so-called "brotherto-brother privatization", and many of them became distinguished managers of their own companies. In general, the civil sector played a constructive role in this social context. Many NGOs had large informal political influence, representing the "conscience of Serbia", while some others avoided criticism towards the regime, followed the mainstream and enjoyed benefits. Women have appeared to be more affected by negative social and economic trends during the last 10 years. The female mortality rate has declined (this trend has not been identified among men). Their health has deteriorated, as implied by the increased rates of cancer. Some studies showed that survival of the families during the economic crisis has been largely enable by increased female work at home, as well as on family farms (most women engaged in the hidden economy actually produce food for their own household). Women make up nearly 60% of unemployed, and the majority of those affected by long-term unemployment. In addition, women work mostly in the state sector (in which wages are, in general, lower than in the private sector). The gender pay gap has increased, particularly in the hidden economy. The hidden economy has contributed to enlarge gender inequality, since women working in this sector could not have been protected against any form of discrimination, violence, or abuse. Women are poorly represented in the private sector. Owners of private firms favor young males as job candidates, while women working in this sector were more often unregistered, engaged as unpaid helpers in family businesses or on a temporary basis. In addition, female representation in decision-making has been very low during the last 10 years. This fact might be regarded as fortunate -

women made a very limited contribution to the aggressive nationalistic policy of the previous regime (there were exceptions, for instance, the wife of ex-president Milosevic, who led neo-communist party JUL). Contrary to their restricted participation in Parliament, women have been largely represented in NGOs (among both leaders and activists), and participated about equally in civil protests. Their contribution to recent political changes was far greater than their current participation in policy making. Therefore, women, to a large extent, have paid the price of the economic and political crisis within the last 10 years. Since women mostly work in the public sector, they would be more affected by privatization and (expected) dismissals - they might again become the "losers" in the forthcoming transitional changes. It should be stressed that serious structural reforms in economy and banking have recently started in Serbia. These reforms are rather efficient and rapid (as indicated in the frequent approvals of IMF, the World Bank, etc.), but far more rapid than citizens can bear (as opinion polls and the frequent strikes imply). Social inequality is high according to the new poll on 2006 households (G17 Institute, 2001), the average monthly income of the poorest part of the population is 12 times lower than the average monthly income of the richest, and 4 times smaller than the estimated average of all households. According to an agreement between the trade unions and the government, the minimum wage by the end of 2001 - beginning of 2002 will be 3250 YU dinars (app. US$ 47). Just for the sake of comparison, the rent for an one-room apartment in Belgrade is app. $ 130, which is roughly equal to the monthly wage of a high-school teacher with a BA degree. Therefore, it is not surprising that, according to the recent research on the quality of life, Belgrade has achieved the lowest rank among all capitals in Europe.


4.1. Domestic violence - legal regulations

Violence against women has not been recognized as a specific form of violence in Serbia. There are no specific laws or legal provisions on domestic violence. It is still hidden behind general crimes as bodily injury, jeopardizing personal security, etc. (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). The legislation would probably be amended soon, and it is expected that e. g., restraining orders might be adopted.



4.2. Sexual abuse

· Legal provisions

Until recently, the Serbian Criminal Code defined rape as the act of forced sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married (Article 103, Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). In addition, rape was punishable by one to ten years imprisonment, but if the victim was under the age of 14, the minimum punishment was 3 years of imprisonment (there were also more severe forms of rape, punishable by three to ten years of imprisonment). However, the legislation was recently amended. The act of spousal rape is now penalized, and the penalties for different sexual crimes were increased (for two years). Usually, a victim must prove that she really did not want to have sex (i. e., real and serious resistance), and that resistance lasted as long as the use of force. If the victim only resisted in the beginning and later gave up, it is not considered resistance anymore. There is also the offence of unnatural debauchery by abuse of position of authority. Incest is defined (Art. 121, Serbian Criminal Code) as sexual relations between direct blood relatives and between siblings, and the penalty is up to three years of imprisonment. There is no specific difference between voluntary and forced sexual intercourse, or between blood relatives, regardless of whether they are adults or minors. By taking a vague attitude toward acts committed by an adult blood relative, the law has left this issue to court interpretation - there is no real and well-rooted protection of children from sexual abuse (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000).

war"). A recent large survey involved a few questions on this topic and found that 15% of women had suffered violence in a family. The majority of women reported that other women were victims - 38% knew a few, while 21% knew numerous women being abused (SCAN, 2001). It might be assumed that violence is more prevalent than these results imply, since women hesitate to speak about it openly. Roma women and girls often face family violence, but no studies are focused on their particular problems. Violence is frequently reported to SOS hotlines. In 2001, the Counseling Centre for Family Violence received more calls (3910) than any year before. Girls are also faced with gender-based violence, occurring within a relationship or elsewhere. The Center for Girls in Belgrade, working with young women (aged 12 to 22), received 3000 calls in 6 years - violence was reported in 16% of the cases. Case studies of women in prison revealed that many women who committed murder actually killed a husband, family member or partner after a prolonged "history" of physical/sexual abuse. One of them suffered violence by a father-in-law for years, and finally killed him the last time he attempted to rape her (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 2000).

· Institutional response to family violence

As no adequate legal provisions do exist (e.g., removal of the offender from the home), the treatment of survivors by the official institutions often reflect conservative views regarding family roles or the common attitude that family violence is a private matter. The new government has not yet addressed gender-based violence against women through legislation, though important initiatives have started. Measures taken by social workers and courts often reveal a pattern of protecting a family in general, not a woman survivor of violence. They often tend to keep family members together at the expense of a woman (see below). The Autonomous Women's Center (1998) analyzed cases reported to their SOS hotline from 1991 to 1993. Incidents involved violence or severe life treats, but survivors were dissatisfied with the assistance provided by official agencies (e.g., 79% of women who asked police assistance did not obtain it). Most cases (71%) did not end up in courts. Roma women face particular obstacles in dealing with institutions. Survivors interviewed in a study (Lukic & Jovanovic, 2001) stated that social workers and police officers attempt to preserve family members together, because: "that is in the best interest of the kids". In-depth interviews with 40 professionals (police officers, attorneys, lawyers, and judges) revealed that most of them did not know what the "battered woman syndrome" meant. In

· Domestic violence - estimated occurence

Official statistics are non-existing, so the only sources of information are the data from SOS hotlines and limited studies. No in-depth research on nationally-representative samples has been conducted. The first study (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 1994) based on a small sample of women in Belgrade found that many of them experienced different forms of violence by a spouse: insults or serious threats (49%), physical violence (19%), rape or attempted rape (19%). Husbands who were heavy drinkers more often used severe violence, resorting to a gun or knife. Similarly, analyses showed that violence increased after a husband, partner or son had returned from the war, as well as due to the refugee status or to the deteriorated of economic position (Nikolic-Ristanovic, 1995). Ex-warriors used heavy weapons or bombs to threaten victims, (they commonly kept the "souvenirs from the



their opinion, courts should not distinguish between family violence and other violent acts, because: "Violence is violence, no matter where it occurs" (Lukic & Jovanovic, 2001). In order to improve survivors' protection, women's NGOs have organized a widespread network of hotlines/counseling centres and a few shelters. The capacity of the shelters is very limited. As they have no regular police protection, some have been closed down, after attacks from victims' (ex)husbands.

4.3. The survivor and the state - analysis of court case - law.

Lately, law experts (Lukic and Jovanovic, 2001) analyzed 1224 court cases that occurred between 1995 and 1998 and involved general violent crimes - heavy bodily injury, use of a weapon in fight, etc. Actually, 30% of those violent crimes happened in the family - offenders were mostly ex-husbands/partners, and nearly half of the cases involved heavy bodily injury or use of arms. Two compelling facts reflect the court policy in family violence cases - as compared to other (out of the family) incidents, the chances for the public prosecutor to drop the charges were higher, and the chances for an imprisonment sentence were weaker. In 53% of domestic violence cases, an offender was not sentenced, (mostly, because the public prosecutor dropped the charges). An offender was found guilty in 37% of the cases. The most common sentence was probation (75% of those found guilty). Only 5% of the perpetrators were sentenced to imprisonment. The analysis of the most frequent reasons for lowering the sentence confirmed the mild penalizing policy of the courts and the bias against the victims. They were: a) being a father, b) expressing regret: remorse, a fact that they confessed the crime, self-criticism, a promise that they would not commit it again, c) the economic status - sometimes, a fact that they financially supported the victim. An"illustrative" conviction is quoted in the Appendix.

friends, etc. Although assaults were severe (rape, attempted rape, incest, etc.), they were, as a rule, unreported to parents or to any official institution. Only 2% of the offences were reported to SOS helplines and 16% to the police, respectively. The main reasons for the low levels of disclosure were: the victim's fear of being blamed by the local community, or fear of the offender's revenge. The attitudes toward official institutions might clarify the reasons for the low level of disclosure - adolescents had no confidence in courts, social workers, the police or any official institution whatsoever, while counseling centres were relatively most trusted, though not too much. The findings were consistent with statistics on convictions and experiences of women's NGOs that provide support to victims. Since sexual assaults are difficult to prove, many accused perpetrators are not convicted, or they receive a mild punishment. For example, 250 rapes were reported in 1997 and only 103 accused perpetrators were sentenced. The convictions were commonly between 6 months and two years of imprisonment. To be precise, 31 perpetrators were sentenced to imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years, while 25 were sentenced to six months of imprisonment (Aleksic and Lukic, 2000). The procedure prescribed for reporting a rape is such that it inevitably leads to re-traumatization of the survivor. The survivor needs to provide a statement describing the incident, with all the details, 6-7 times during the medical examination, the police and court investigation; further, males mostly do interrogation. Medical doctors, especially in rural areas, sometimes fail to follow any protocol in examining rape victims. Offenders often threaten/force the victims to drop the charges, and a few (as one female officer asserts), offer money to the victims' fathers.

· Child sexual abuse

Sexual assaults committed by offenders closely related to the victims (especially, incest) are the least "visible" to official institutions. Only 1-2 cases of child sexual abuse are reported to police in Belgrade per year, while the Incest trauma center, a women's NGO offering assistance to survivors, has on the average five reported cases per week (Popadic, 1999). The centers for social work mostly avoid to separate a child from the family member who is an offender, since such intervention is presumed to be "a big responsibility" (Popadic, 1999). This policy sometimes leads to recidivism, as one police officer describes (Lukic & Jovanovic, 2001): "...Offenders should be isolated from the surrounding in which they committed a crime and put in prison, but they are mostly e left out there, so we have recidivism. For instance,

· Hidden sexual assaults - the result of institutional policy?

The number of hidden sexual assaults is probably very high. Comprehensive studies on women have not been conducted. The only nationally representative study focused on adolescents and implied the 'social invisibility' maybe even unspoken social acceptance of sexual abuse, (Brankovic, 1999). The analysis of assaults for which participants learned from the victims implied that victims were mainly minor females (average age: 16.60), while offenders were adult males (average age: 26.86), often closely related to victims -close friends, boy friends, relatives, bosses, family



we submit a case of incest to a prosecutor, but the offender is not in prison, the case is put into a regular procedure, and after 3 months, the court cannot solve the problem of burial of a child born in incest. Unfortunately, the same happened again. Again, incest, and again, a stillborn child".

4.4. Sexual harassment - a "state of mind"

Sexual harassment is not penalized, and no protective measures exist (harassment at work is discussed in another chapter). One study at the University of Belgrade involved 5890 students - at some faculties, almost all respondents identified the same professors as harassers/abusers of female students, and even specified their names (Beta, June 4, 2001). The public was not informed of measures taken (if any) against those professors. In general, the treatment of this issue in public is often offensive to women. Sexual harassment is taken for granted as a part of mentality in the Balkan countries. One recent case implies possible changes in policy (though not in common attitudes). A Deputy Prime Minister, ex-general of the Yugoslav Army, and a leader of the Social-democratic party (one of the parties in the ruling coalition DOS) was accused of sexual harassment of the party spokeswoman. The incident had excessive media coverage and gave rise to an "avalanche" of comments. The government decided to dismiss the Deputy Prime Minister. Regardless of the possible motives of the government, the public for the first time received a message that sexual harassment could not be tolerated.

Not only did they enable the entire nation to watch hard-core porno movies every night for years, but it also had advertisements for porno-tapes. Those ads involved "incest", "pregnant women", "sadism", "pedophilia", "weird", "animals", "sodomy", etc. The voice of the NGO community could not have been heard in state-run media. The common labels for the NGO members were "betrayers", "NATO-spies", and the like. After the political changes, the issue of gender-based violence has received more attention in the media than before. However, there are no efforts to introduce a gender-sensitive language or editorial policies. Pornographic magazines are sold regularly. Escort agencies and "erotic" hotlines are advertised freely. No specific prohibitions relate to publishing this type of ads - the only 'regulation' is that they are charged double, as an employee in an advertising agency confirms. Sexually offensive advertising is prevalent (see: Appendix - an example of a billboard is enclosed), and some experts warn that privatization will turn Serbia into "a paradise for porno industry". However, a Bill that would regulate advertising is underway. In general, only women's NGOs have thus far taken the responsibility to provide protective measures focused on survivors' needs and to raise the awareness of gender-based violence. The time has come to stress the responsibility of the state to implement preventive and protective measures, to provide a successful recovery to survivors, as well as "control mechanisms" that would ensure feedback from client-survivors (e.g., satisfaction or dissatisfaction with provided services).

· Stereotyping - the contribution of the media

Under the previous regime, state-controlled media, an important source of poisoning the nation with aggressive nationalistic concepts, significantly contributed to an atmosphere of "violence glorification", offering the image of an aggressive macho or militant warrior as a positive role model. The sstereotyped or sexist portrayal of women in the media supported the traditional views on family roles and contributed to a widespread tolerance of gender-based violence. Ethnically motivated rapes committed by Serbian forces during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia were denied in state-run media. Serbian women, raped in the armed conflicts who fled to Serbia received moderate attention. The stigmatizing approach of some journalists was noteworthy - e.g., an attempt to portray child sexual abuse as a problem of refugees or of the Roma population (Popadic, 1999). A private TV channel (Palma) with a nearly national coverage promoted sexual violence very openly.


Legal definition of marriage: "Marriage is the union of a man and a woman regulated by the law. Both spouses are equal under the law" (Law on Marriage and Family Relations, adopted in 1988, Art. 26; Official Journal of SRS, Nos. 22/80 and 11/88). Women and men have the same rights/obligations in marriage, both parents have equal responsibilities towards children. Children can have the surnames of both parents (this is a matter of agreement between the spouses). Legal regulations related to unmarried couples: "Unmarried couples are equal with regard to mutual support and other property rights" (Law on Marriage and Family Relations Art. 16). If a unmarried couple has children, it is treated as a married couple by the law (irrespective of whether the par-



ents lived together). In terms of property rights, the law stipulates that unmarried couples are treated in the same way as married couples if they lived together for at least 5 years, or have common children (irrespective of whether they lived together). X Child custody: The law provides for equality in terms of filing an order for custody with the court. According to the law, up to 50% of the salary should be provided for children living with the other parent. X Rights of children born out of wedlock: According to Article 60 of the Constitution of FRY, "Children born out of wedlock shall have the same rights and duties as children born in wedlock." X Property acquired during marriage: "Property relations in the family are based on the principals of equality, reciprocity and solidarity, and on the protection of the interests of minor children". The property of members of the family community may be either community property of husband and wife or their personal property. "The property acquired by the spouses by work during the marriage is their community property" (Art.12, Law on Marriage and Family Relations). Property owned before the marriage is personal property, but if it is enlarged/developed during the marriage through the efforts of the other spouse, this part could be considered commonunity property. It could be divided between the spouses during the marriage and during or after divorce (Article 321). If the (ex)spouses cannot reach an agreement about the division, the civil court shall divide the property taking into account the contribution of each spouse. It should be stressed that Article 328 specifies: "contribution need not be financial, and includes assistance, caring for children, housekeeping, taking care of, managing, maintaining, and increasing the income and property" (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). Equality in marriage and childbearing in practice - marriage and birth rates have dropped in the period between 1991 and 1998. The birth rate per 1000 inhabitants declined dramatically - from 14.6 to 9.8 between 1991 and 1998 (HSRC, 2001). The average age of women at first marriage, however, rose. It was 26,7 years (Central Serbia), and 27,4 years (Vojvodina) in 1997. Equality in marriage is not promoted in schools or in the media, and prejudices regarding the family roles are still prevalent. Representative surveys show that: a) 45% of women claim that the husband is "dominant" in marital relations (SCAN, 2001), b) the majority of women assess the relationship with their husband/partner as "harmonious", but 57% of them disclose that he sometimes uses coercion/force in solving marital conflicts (Posarac, 1998). Although the law stresses the equal obligations of spouses, in practice women mostly, perform household work and childcare.

Nationally representative studies imply that unpaid female work at home has largely contributed to the survival of families during the economic crisis (Posarac, 1998; CPL, 2000, UNICEF, 2000). The share of the value of household work performed by women (homemakers, employed, farmers and pensioners) in GDP from 1996 to 1998 amounted to app. 23% (Jovanovic & Nedovic, 1998). Women aged 20-55 (including both employed and unemployed ones) spend on average 4.2 hours per day at paid work, and more that 6 hours per day performing unpaid household work, childcare, etc. (Posarac, 1998). They devote to their own needs (recreation, rest, watching TV) less than two hours daily. Women-mothers mostly claim that their husbands "equally" engage in childcare, but analyses of the daily activities reveal that mothers spend in childcare twice as much as fathers. More than one third of the women have no help from their husbands/family members in household keeping and only 0,3% can afford to pay domestic help. These results are consistent with findings that the total workload of females is higher in Eastern Europe than in developed countries (UNICEF regional report, 1999). Motherhood reduces employment opportunities - private employers generally avoid hiring mothers with children. The institutional provision of childcare is insufficient. The percent age of children aged 36-59 months attending pre-school education establishments ranges from 25,8 (in Central Serbia) to 51,7 (in Belgrade area; UNICEF, 2000). Conditions at childcare facilities have seriously deteriorated. Institutions for disabled children often look like medieval asylums, despite some recent improvements. Families having children with special needs are faced with grave problems and a higher risk of poverty (World bank, 2001). Child benefits are low, but the new government pays them regularly and generally pays more attention to families with children. The former government did not pay any child benefits for two years. Divorce rates have stagnated or slightly dropped during the last 10 years, most likely due to impoverishment and housing problems. According to the law, child custody might be given to the father in case of divorce. In practice though, custody is mostly entrusted to mothers. Even if the material situation of the father is better, the mother will be granted custody if she wants to raise the children. The legal provisions related to child support payment (up to 50% of the wage of the non-custodial parent) would be proper only if wages can provide descent life. However, many citizens earn additional income in the hidden economy (often, larger than the one obtained from a regular job!) that cannot be used in calculating liabilities like child



support payments. Further, these regulations are poorly implemented in practice - there is a huge and burning problem of avoiding child support payments (in most cases it is the father who avoids payment; Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). Women mostly hesitate to collect arrears in the courts, since legal procedures are slow. Hence, single mothers often assume a heavy burden nobody asks them if their wages are sufficient to raise children. Their difficult position is confirmed in studies of poverty. Single-parent families in Serbia are consistently reported as facing a higher risk of poverty (World Bank, 2001). Further, modest monitoring/research is devoted to mothers with children born out of wedlock. The total number of those children has significantly grown between 1991 and 1997. In 1997, every fifth child was born outside marriage. Their mothers were single or cohabiting, and the vast majority of them attended (and often, not completed) only elementary school (Bobic, 2000). It may be assumed that these women have limited capacity to stand for their legal rights in court if the fathers refuse to support the children. It appears that single mothers need special protection, since the "feminization of poverty" might increase in the forthcoming transition.


6.1. Legal provisions

The analysis (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000) revealed that according to the criminal Code of Serbia and FRY, there is no specific criminal offence related to trafficking in women and girls, although it can be covered by crime Article 155 ("Slavery and Transportation of Human Beings in the Position of Slaves"). This crime belongs to the group of crimes against international law, along with genocide, crimes against humanity, etc. Having ratified the Convention of the Prevention and Combating of Slavery (1926) and the Additional Convention on the Elimination of Slavery and Trafficking in Human Beings (1956), FRY adopted the definition from these conventions within the national code. Only the last paragraph of this article, which deals with the transfer of human beings, includes crossing a border as one of its elements. Another relevant provision in the Criminal Code involves pandering. There are three forms of this act - pimping a minor (aged 14-18), making possible the indecent assault of a minor, and pimping or making possible the indecent assault for reward (which does not need to be pecuniary). Article 251 of the Yugoslav Criminal Code is another relevant provision, as it

contains various acts of mediating prostitution (more severe forms include mediating prostitution of minor females, or using force, threat or delusion). In addition, the new government of FRY signed and ratified the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the protocols related to trafficking. A recently established Yugoslav team for combating trafficking is preparing a Bill on trafficking, which would probably admirror the definitions from these protocols. Under the former regime, many factors contributed to the growth of trafficking in women: wars and the isolation of FRY, the corrupt judiciary, widespread poverty, and the collaboration between state officials and organized crime. Criminals took advantage of the wider presence of international military forces in the region and organized forced prostitution, encouraged by the fact that FRY was not the member of Interpol (re-admission to Interpol took place recently). Despite the improved policy of the new government, the problem receives modest media exposure. Routes - Various sources (women's NGOs, IOM, UNICEF) indicate that Serbia has become a major transit route and to a lesser extent a territory of origin and destination. Women from Moldova, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine are often trafficked through Serbia into Montenegro and onto Italy through Albania. The other major route is through Serbia and/or Montenegro onto Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia or Greece (UNICEF, Aug. 2000). Records of IOM and Macedonian police support claims that FRY is a relevant transit route - out of 328 trafficked women, assisted by the IOM Mission in Skopje (from Aug. 2000 to Sept. 2001), 68% transited FRY. Victims, perpetrators and accomplices - no complete official data on trafficking in women and girls exist. The IOM Mission in Belgrade provided repatriation assistance to 30 trafficked women between July 3, 2001 and January 1, 2002. The Yugoslav Ministry of Interior (Dec.18, 2001) announced that app. 300 persons, mostly women, had been identified as victims of trafficking in 2001. The Ministry further specified that: a) Kosovo and Macedonia were major destinations, b) the federal police, in collaboration with foreign colleagues, had broken up two large rings of traffickers in July and October 2001. The Serbian Ministry of Interiors 2001 annual report (Tanjug, Jan. 22, 2002) provided additional data - 1018 foreign women were found in police raids on nightclubs or in illegal transit through the FRY into Kosovo, Bosnia or Western countries. Further, 72 persons were accused for criminal acts related to trafficking in 2001 (bar owners, people who orga-



nized illegal transport or mediated prostitution, etc.). Recently, police raided 441 nightclubs throughout Serbia and detained 150 persons only during one night, including one "untouchable trafficker" (B92, Jan. 24, 2002). Local police in Southern Serbia confirmed that women were mostly trafficked into Kosovo in 2001 (Beta, Dec. 11, 2001). No figures on convictions related to mediating prostitution or similar crimes are available, but police officers testify that these crimes are difficult to prove in court. Women's NGOs assume that the real number of trafficked women is larger than indicated above, but their estimates are only "guestimates". There is no efficient monitoring/research on this topic, although a study on adolescents (Brankovic, 1999) confirms that minor girls in Serbia are also victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Women's NGOs suggest that Roma girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, as well as women from collective centres for IDPs (the latter is also stated in the OSCE report on police reforms in Serbia, Reporter, 2001). One activist who assists the victims (Stanojevic, 2002) provides the following evidence. The main trafficking centres are located in Southern Serbia (near the Kosovo administrative border), Eastern Serbia, and Northern Vojvodina. Trafficking in underage girls is increasing. Women and girls are sold for app. $250-500. Even some farmers provide illegal transport across the border (the price is app. $ 10 per woman). Often, entire families living along the borders are involved in trafficking networks (similar evidence is provided by the IOM Mission in Macedonia, 2001). Women from Romania and Moldova testified that they had been sold from one brothel owner to another, placed in debt bondage, beaten, taken to brothel in Kosovo, and forced to take 10-15 clients per night. The Serbian Minister of Interior asserted that police and Mafia highly collaborated under the previous regime, but the new government had put an end to the deeply rooted police complicity. He stated, though, that crime rings might have links with low-ranking police officers (Serbian Minister of Interior, 2001). Interestingly, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting that an ex-member of the Intelligence currently runs a brothel in Serbia (Reporter, 2001). The FRY Ministry of Interior repeatedly claimed that "Kosovo has become a paradise for traffickers", blaming the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for this situation. The US Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization (2002) provided evidence on 85 identified brothels in Kosovo. However, the UNMIK (Regulation No.2001/4) imposed severe penalties for traffickers - up to 20 years imprisonment. On the other hand,

Human Rights Watch (2001) reported that the implementation of this regulation was slow, and only a handful of prosecutions went forward, so trafficking in Kosovo continued to rise in 2001. In addition, the UN disciplined four civilian police officers for alleged involvement in trafficking. Compelling evidence of international police complicity was obtained in Bosnia as well (Human Rights Watch, 2001; FOW, 2001), so the implementation of the Code of conduct might be re-considered. Victims' protection policy - the policy regarding trafficked women does not assume that victims should be always treated as victims, not only when they are willing to testify against traffickers. Until recently, the only "protective measure" was to put them into the Asylum for illegal immigrants, within the prison Padinska skela near Belgrade. On average, 8-12 women, aged 16-24, mostly from Ukraine, Moldova and Romania, were placed in this Asylum (Stanojevic, 2002). No witness protection programs exist, police often lacks interpreters for foreign detained women, and female police investigators are rare. However, the government has lately changed its approach to fighting trafficking (especially, the policy of victims' protection), in cooperation with the OSCE Mission to FRY and the Stability Pact Task Force on Trafficking. A recently established Yugoslav team for combating trafficking involved 28 ministries, local and international NGOs. One women's NGO, experienced in running safe houses for battered women, created a Shelter for trafficked women (funded by the Austrian government) a short time ago. The shelter will provide recovery, support, psychological/medical aid, and legal aid for safe repatriation or asylum seeking. One women's NGO organized seminars for police officers, in cooperation with the Serbian and FRY Ministries of Interior.

6.2. Prevention and regional collaboration

Awareness raising campaigns (organized by a women's NGO, ASTRA) have not reached a wide range of potential victims. Such campaigns are faced with legal obstacles and general tolerance toward genderbased violence. Women's NGOs suggest that the increasing number of escort and tourist agencies disguise trafficking. However, the FRY legislation allows escort agencies to be registered, so they can freely advertise their work. In 1997, 32 such agencies were registered in Belgrade alone (Aleksic & Lukic, 2000). Moreover, efficient prevention is impossible without mechanisms to root out corruption in general (the government introduced such measures, but they are not yet implemented), better border surveillance



equipment, and improved regional cooperation, particularly with UNMIK. A long-term approach to combating trafficking inevitably implies combating poverty in Eastern Europe.


Legal framework :(Aleksic & Lukic, 2000): The Constitution of FRY (in Art. 34) specifies that "Yugoslav citizens who are 18 years old have the right to vote and to be elected in state organs". The Constitution of Serbia states that "A citizen who is 18 years old has the right to vote and to be elected in the People's Assembly and in other organs and elective bodies. Elections are direct suffrage is universal and equal, and voting is secret." (Art. 42).

· Official political participation under the previous regime

Former Yugoslavia had 17% of women in the Federal Parliament before the first multi-party elections. In the nineties, the participation of women at all levels of government sharply fell relative to socialist times. This decline was striking, regardless of the well-known fact that in socialist states the participation of women in political bodies did not imply real political power (see: Appendix). After the first multi-party elections in Serbia, the share of women in the National Parliament fell to 1,6 % (probably, the lowest percentage in Europe at that time; Voice of Difference, 2000). The share of women elected to the Serbian Parliament remained very low during the former regime (max. 5,6 % ). Elections were neither free nor democratic, and involved widespread fraud. The low participation of women in political bodies was not surprising, taking into account the policies of the Serbian dictatorial regime.

nizers in 1996/1997 (Blagojevic, 1998). Similarly, females were highly represented in "Otpor" (Resistance), a large-scale movement, that involved mostly high-school/university students. Some leaders/activists of the opposition movement and some NGO activists were exposed to pressure, arrests, beatings, and even attempts. This was particularly valid for Otpor members. In the period May-September 2000, police detained app. 2500 citizens, mostly young (under 25), while 200 were minors (aged 16-18) and 30 were mothers of Otpor members (HLC, 2000). Sadly enough, some respectable international organizations dealing with children's rights did not report about wellknown police brutality toward minors, including girls, although such "events" were probably unique in Europe at that time. In addition to "street activism", organized women's political activities intensified one year before the September 2000 elections. Female politicians from Democratic Opposition of Serbia - DOS coalition (the ruling coalition in Serbia now) created the Women's Political Network, which organized many activities to support political changes. Women organized four pre-election campaigns at the national level, six regional ones and an endless number of local ones. During the pre-election "door-to-door" campaign, organized by the Group for Promotion of Women's Political Rights, app. 45 000 women in 28 cities were interviewed (see: Appendix). The DOS coalition won the presidential and the federal parliamentary elections in September 2000. Ex-president Milosevic refused to recognize his defeat, and the massive street protests lasted for days. After the "peaceful revolution" of October 5, 2000, the regime was overthrown. Women participated equally in the rallies, as documentaries clearly showed. What was the result of female activism?

· Current participation in parliaments

In the September 2000 elections, women won only 8 out of 178 seats in the Federal Parliament. In federal government, no women ministers were appointed. Interestingly, when the results were officially published for administrative purposes, the gender of elected candidates was not even mentioned (Voice of Difference, 2001). Before the parliamentary elections in Serbia (December 2000), the Women's Political Network and the Gender Equality Task Force of the Stability Pact attempted to introduce a 30-percent quota and made an agreement with the DOS coalition to increase the number of female candidates. Twelve (out of 18) leaders of DOS coalition signed the agreement, but only three fulfilled the promise (Voice of Difference, 2001). Therefore, among 250 candidates nominated by the DOS

· Political activity behind the (parliamentary) scene

Women had a genuine impact on recent political changes in Serbia. They participated in the opposition movement and the civil protests under the previous regime, and especially in the NGO sector. In that period, political activity was not concentrated only within opposition parties. Some of the most vigorous and influential "dissident" political initiatives/actions were generated behind the official political scene. Civil and student protests in 1991/1992 involved many female leaders and activists. Three main opposition leaders organized massive protests in 1996/1997; one of them was a woman. Women represented roughly the half of the student protests' orga-



coalition, only 35 (14%) were women. One right-wing party had more female candidates than DOS. After the parliamentary elections in December 2000, women won 11% of the seats in the new Serbian Parliament (as in Jan. 22, 2001). Women won 6,7% of the seats in the Parliament of Vojvodina. However, a woman recently became the Speaker of the National Parliament. Data from the countries in Eastern Europe (UNICEF, 1999) show that women are consistently better represented in local than in national authorities. This trend is not evident in Serbia. After the 2000 elections, the percent age of women in local parliaments ranged from 2 to 11. Certain local assemblies were entirely "female-free", and in some cities women were not even nominated (Voice of Difference, 2001). Activists of local NGOs testified that the names of women candidates were often placed at the end of electoral lists. Likewise, many women candidates were designated to "in-themiddle-of-nowhere" -electoral places. Currently, a woman is the mayor of Belgrade, but female mayors are rare. An activist in women's pre-election campaigns, Jasna Trifunovic, summarized the outcome of the campaigns in the following way: "Can 8 women in the Federal Parliament represent our voice? Where have we disappeared in between 'street' activism and the parliamentary seats? And who made us disappear?"

ing gender equality. Interestingly, the programs mentioned women mostly within discussions of pro-natalist policy.

· Women as policy makers - a redistribution of power

A large redistribution of power has happened in Serbia since the elections. The former regime was removed, but the system has not yet been completely dismantled. The proportion of women among the key decision-makers is still low, particularly in economy, finance and other strategic branches relevant to development of society. In the Serbian government, only two ministers are women. Women were recently designated to certain significant posts - Speaker of the National Parliament, one of the deputy -nspeakers of the parliament, President of the Supreme Court, Rector of the University of Belgrade, Rector of the Academy of Arts in Belgrade, Rector of the University of Novi Sad (in Vojvodina), Vice-governor of the National Bank, editor-in-chief of news in the state TV. It should be noted that the University of Belgrade (founded in 1905) has a female rector for the first time in its history. Women hold posts in ministries (as deputy ministers or assistants), diplomacy (often, as ambassadors), courts, the civil service, education, administration, health care and culture. The share of women in sub-ministerial positions is higher than in ministerial ones. It has also become "fashionable" to hire women as assistants, counselors, chiefs of the office, PR staff or spokespersons of political parties. The general benefiting the involvement of women in policy making has improved. However, the efforts of the new government to enhance female representation in decision-making appear to be occasional signs of "good will", rather than the result of consistent and systematic affirmative action policy. Both previous and recent analyses reveal the more limited chances of women to move upwards. According to the 1991 census data the chance of an employed or self-employed woman to obtain a leadership post was three times lower in comparison to a man. Similar "invisible barriers" have been identified in recent studies - many female respondents specify that women, in comparison to men, have lower access to managerial and leadership posts in general (Posarac, 1998; SCAN, 2001). Further, the representation of women in senior positions has been considerable in some areas (higher education), but limited in others (business). Women make up 20% of the most prestigious positions at the university, working as full professors, and 31% as associate professors (Aleksic and Lukic, 2000). On the other hand, the share of women in managerial posts in economy and banking in FRY is 16%

7.2. Women in election campaigns and party programs

Female candidates in general were less promoted in the press during the pre-election campaign, at least in eight papers or magazines analyzed during the period December 11-22, 2000 (Voice of Difference, 2001). Further, the tiny promotion of female candidates was not improved by statements/speeches of their own respective party members. The weaker promotion of women candidates was at least partially attributable to gender-role stereotypes in the media, as well as among party members (a positive model of female politician has not yet been created on the political scene). On the other hand, female candidates designated by the DOS coalition followed the programs of their respective parties in public speeches. They did not focus on social issues or specific women's problems more frequently than their male party-colleagues. Ex-president Milosevic was 10 times more likely to be mentioned in the speeches of both male and female candidates than education, health care and other daily-life issues. The programs of all political parties on the current political scene were also analyzed from a gender-equality perspective (Voice of Difference, 2000). Many programs explicitly notified gender discrimination, but did not specify any mechanisms for increas-



(HDR, 1997). The limited involvement in business might become detrimental to women in the forthcoming large-scale privatization. Under the former regime, privatization followed a "wild" model - privileged managers of state firms became the "new owners". Despite the promises of the new government that privatization will be transparent and fair, those who gained capital in the past might become the "old new owners". In that context, the low share of women in privatization agencies might be a "bad omen".

7.3. Women in the NGO sector: leaders in the shadow

In general, the NGO sector generated important political initiatives and had a large influence on public opinion under the former regime. Some NGOs were under severe police pressure, e.g., Women in black, the women's group well known for anti-militaristic activity (recently, nominated for a Nobel Prize for Peace). Currently, the civil sector is rather developed, but NGOs differ considerably interms of programs' quality and authentic autonomy. By September 2000, 790 "citizens' associations", as defined in the law, had been registered in Central Serbia and 683 in Vojvodina (Federal Statistical Office, 2001). NGOs were, and still are, incubators for leadership. Some prominent representatives of the civil sector have assumed political functions under the current regime. This specific "mobility" might become risky for the future independence of the NGO sector. Women have been highly represented in this sector, among both activists and directors - women have led some of the largest and most influential NGOs. The network of women's NGOs has been rather strong and developed, in spite of rivalry, the insufficient coordination of activity and the lack of development planning.


8.1. Legal provisions

The Constitution of Serbia (Art. 54, para 1) has some provisions prescribing that jobs and functions are accessible to all, under the same conditions. "Everyone shall have the right to work. Freedom of work, the free choice of occupation and job, and participation in management are guaranteed. Everyone shall have access, on equal terms, to every job and every function." The special protection for working women is guaranteed by Article 56, para. 3 of the FRY Constitution, and Article 38, para. 3 of the Serbian Constitution. The new Labor Law of Serbia was introduced lately, and it was amended very

recently to adopt some proposals of women's groups. The Law introduced some relevant improvements, e.g., regarding pay equality and "childcare leave" (the changes involved the principle of equality in childbearing). The law stipulates that employees who work for the same employer are guaranteed equal pay for equal work or work of the same value (Article 81), and the right to protection of personal integrity (Article 9). The latter provision might, depending on the case - law, protect women against blackmail, abuse, etc. at work. Article 9 specifies that the employee has the right to special protection related to childcare, according to this law. According to Article 69, para. 1, of the Labor Law, an employed woman has the right to maternity leave and the right to be absent from work for childcare for a period of 365 days. The maternity leave lasts until the third month after delivery (para 2). After the maternity leave expires, the employed woman has the right to be absent from work for childcare, but for no longer than 365 days starting from the day when she went on maternity leave (para 3). The father of the child may enjoy the rights under para 1 in case of the mother's death, or if the mother abandons the child or if she is prevented from enjoying this right for other good reasons (imprisonment, serious illness). During the maternity leave and the absence from work for childcare, the employed woman, or the father of the child, has the right to compensation, according to the law (para 4). The father of the child may go on childcare leave, i.e., enjoy the rights in para 4. One parent may be absent from work until the child reaches the age of three, and during that period, the rights and obligations of that person are suspended, unless certain rights are regulated differently by law or by act/contract (Article 75). The same rights may be enjoyed by one of adoptive parents- a man or a woman on condition that the adopted child is under the age of five. In case that a child needs special care due to severe psychophysical disability, one parent of the child has the right to be absent from work (after the maternity and childcare leave expire), or to work part-time, but until the child reaches the age of five at the latest (Article 71). One parent has the right to compensation - half is provided by the employer, while the other half is obtained according to the provisions on care for children and the family.

8.2. Women and the labor market; Increased rates of female unemployment

Although the Constitution of Serbia contains some provisions related to the equal accessibility of jobs and functions, the data clearly show that gender discrimination at the labor market still prevails. Even some new discrim-



inatory practices have emerged in the private sector and the hidden economy. According to the last census data (1991), 42% of women in Central Serbia were economically active, even in some age groups (30-39) the percent exceeded 80. The share of women among the employed has not changed notably during the nineties (app. 40%). Women mostly work in the public sector. They are poorly represented in the private sector (see below), and they make up about one third of the workers in the hidden economy (Labour Force Survey, 1998; UNDP, 2000). The job opportunities for disabled women are very limited. In 2000, 28 enterprises were registered "for disabled persons' employment" (FSO, 2001). Some groups of women face "double discrimination" regarding employment (Roma, sexual minorities). Due to a lack of gender-sensitive data, occupational segregation is difficult to monitor, but regional survey (UNICEF, 1999) implied that it is lower relative to several transitional countries. Some analyses showed that two thirds of employed women have worked in public and financial services (UNDP, 2000). It is important to stress that gender differences in the educational levels of employed workforce are not significant (Matkovic & Maric, 2000). Unfortunately, education does not necessarily imply equality in the workplace, or upward mobility. More women than men are engaged in occupations below their educational qualifications (SCAN 2001). The "Boom" of the hidden economy further degrades the importance of education, as a potential advantage of female workforce - no education is needed in many "branches" of the informal sector66. Protective legislation (e.g., maternity leave) is enforced in the public sector, but it is not necessary beneficial to a mother and a child - the wages are low and usually in arrears, so the same applies to maternity leave compensations. In general, combining professional and family roles is more difficult due to the economic hardship - women are over-burdened, as they assume the primary responsibility for the survival of the family.

regards sending on mandatory leave, women are not discriminated, at least they were not until 1999 (trends have probably changed thereafter, but no data are available). Nevertheless, the share of women in general unemployment was constantly growing during the period between 1990 and 1997, while it stagnated or slightly dropped from 1997 to 2001. Out of 772 611 unemployed in July 2001, 56.1% were women (Serbian Labor Market Agency, 2001). In addition, women make up the majority of long-term unemployed (1-3 years), although the educational levels of unemployed men and women do not differ (Matkovic & Maric, 2000). Women account for two thirds of those who have been waiting for a job longer than 8 years (UNDP, 2000).

Officially registered unemployment: unemployed - total unemployed women % of women in general unemployment 1997 636 451 366 323 57.6 % 2000 725 596 413 082 56.9% 2001 772 611 433 109 56.1%

· Increased rates of female unemployment

In addition to officially registered unemployment, hidden unemployment has been high also. Many workers in the public sector have been sent on mandatory leave for several years (with the minimum pay). The total surplus labor rate was estimated to be 47% (Jovanovic & Nedovic 1998). As


Unemployment rates by gender reveal a more disturbing picture. Among 10 examined countries in the region, in 1994 Yugoslavia had the widest gender gap in unemployment rates, defined under the standard ILO criteria (UNICEF Regional Monitoring Report, 1999). A similar trend might be shown, taking into account only data from Serbia. According to 1999 data, the female unemployment rate was 32.4%, while the rate for men was 20.3% (UNDP, 2000). Institutional measures to reduce unemployment (courses for unemployed) have been insufficient, since women are under-represented in those programs. However, women have shown great interest in computer science courses for unemployed (they made up 70.5% of the attendants in 1998). Female unemployment might worsen - as women are mostly public employees, they would be more affected by privatization and the expected dismissal (Prime Minister claimed that about 60 000 persons will become jobless in 2002).

8.3. Lower opportunities in the workplace

The legal provisions on equal access to work are poorly implemented - surveys based on representative samples show that women's chances are lower. There is no consistent state policy aimed at reducing vertical job segregation. Every fourth woman reports that, at her workplace, chances for job

An in-depth analysis of equality in education was removed from this report, for lack of space. In general, it showed that if job opportunities would depend solely on educational qualifications, the status of female work force at the labor market would be far better than it actually is.



promotion are weaker for women (Posarac, 1998). Responses of female employees, describing experiences in their workplaces, indicate the following "rank" of discriminatory practices (SCAN, 2001). As composed to men, women have lower chances for job promotion (48% agreement), lower access to managerial posts (34% agreement), lower access to leadership positions in firms/institutions (26%), and higher chances to be "shifted" to low-paid jobs (15%). Activists of the SOS hotline for women - victims of discrimination in the workplace testify - that women mostly report unlawful cut of wage or sending on mandatory leave. Those who decide to prosecute employers faced with a higher degree of increased mistreatment (SOS hotline statistics, 2000).

be exposed to "blackmail". A cross-national survey reported 58 sexual incidents at work per 1000 women in the FRY in 1996 - the rate was one of the highest in the region (UNICEF, 1999). A recent survey found that 5% of women had experienced harassment while seeking a job (20% refused to answer the question!). In addition, 22% of them reported that other women had been sexually harassed in their workplace by male employers (SCAN, 2001). It seems that women hesitate to disclose incidents during the face-toface interview while; on the other hand, some women perhaps assume they should tolerate harassment. The view that women have the right not to be sexually offended is still regarded as "weird".

· The gender pay gap

The gender pay gap, and the monthly and hourly pay gap increased by 4,9% and 4,7% respectively between 1995-1998, as a result of the selective withdrawal of less qualified women from the labor market (Krstic, 2000). A survey conducted in 1998 among randomly selected households revealed that female employees earned 20% less than their male counterparts (Krstic & Reilly, 2001). The gap could not be attributed to the different educational levels of men and women - the qualifications of employed women were not lower in comparison to male workforce (Matkovic & Maric, 2000). In general, the gender pay gap was similar or narrower than in other countries in the region (UNICEF, 1999). However, Serbia is on the way to a serious economic restructuring, launched by the new government. Women would probably be the first to "pay the price", as transition progresses. Therefore, the gender pay gap should be monitored, while keeping track of the educational level, the age, the work experience, the branch of economic activity (the gap might be partially attributable to the concentration of women in low-paid professions, like teachers).

8.4. Specific discrimination in the private sector and in the hidden economy

The borderline between the private sector and the hidden economy has been (and still is) vague in Serbia, to put it mildly. Some private companies performed illegal activities, protected by the previous regime, and enjoyed enormous benefits. Studies implied that some war profiteers and "nouvean riche", after gaining capital from illegal jobs, simply switched to legal businesses (Bolcic, 1995). Females are poorly represented in the private sector (Matkovic & Maric, 2000; Posarac, 1998, SCAN, 2001, UNDP, 2000). This factor influences the economic position of women in general, since the difference between the wages in private firms and in other enterprises is higher in Serbia than in many transitional countries (Krstic & Reilly, 2001). The Labor Force Survey of 1998 indicated a slight rise in female representation in this sector (data pertained to FRY). Women made up 37% of private sector employees but this trend should not be regarded as stable (Matkovic & Maric, 2000) or reliable, as employees are often unregistered. Similarly, women made up only 22% of private enterprises/shops owners (Matkovic & Maric, 2000). The reasons for poor female participation in this sector involve unpaid work at home, extended family responsibilities (Posarac, 1998), and a lack of experience in managerial work - women in Serbia have been under-represented in leadership positions for years. In addition, families often decide to confide to the husband a risky private job, while the wife keeps a less paid, but more secure job in the public sector (Matkovic & Maric, 2000). Other obstacles are more difficult to overcome. Some women who want to initiate business do not fit conventional loan models - since property is often registered in the husbands' names, they cannot provide

· Sexual harassment in the workplace

Women's NGOs have identified a tremendous prevalence of sexual harassment at work, especially in the private and the informal sector. Sexual harassment is not a criminal offence and no protective mechanisms exist. It often starts as a request to "amuse business partners during dinner" and remains unreported to any official agency. Job advertisements sometimes openly mention "pleasant looking" as a requirement. As the Labor Law endows the employers with a power to hire and fire, female workers might



guarantee to the bank. Two large surveys (Bolcic, 1995; Milic, 1995) indicated that the owners of private firms are mostly males who possess lower educational qualifications relative to their own employees, as well as directors and employees in the state sector. Those employers tend to eliminate women as job candidates and to favor younger males. Females are more likely to be unregistered, engaged as unpaid "helpers" in family businesses, or hired on a temporary basis for less-paid technical jobs, often below their educational qualifications. They are often deprived of many rights regarding working hours, maternity leave, medical care provision, etc. Employers can easily avoid the payment for maternity leave by keeping female workers unregistered. Likewise they often tend to report lower wages than actual in order to reduce the tax payment, the medical insurance, the obligations toward retirement funds (these practices would jeopardize women's security when they get older). Wages are sometimes in arrears, but no protective mechanisms are implemented. As workers in the private sector do not enjoy protection by unions, even severe violations are not penalized. The hidden economy in Serbia comprises different activities, ranging from "grey" (selling food or smuggled goods at a flee market) to very "black", clearly criminal ones, i.e. weapons trade, organized prostitution, involving the modus operandi typical for organized crime (Bolcic, 1995). Nevertheless, the "grey" branch has become the safety net for unemployed, underemployed, refugees and displaced, retired and all impoverished people (particularly, Roma), and a source of additional income for the employed, because almost one third of the population was below the recognized poverty threshold in 1995 (Posarac 1998). Krstic (1998) but the hidden economy activity at 34% of measured GDP in 1997. Women made up about one third of the workers in this sector (Labor Force Survey, 1998). The hidden economy might be viewed as a significant source of gender inequality. Women working in this sector enjoy no legal rights, so they could not be protected against sexual abuse or harassment, violence, discrimination regarding pay, working hours, etc. They often work in the open air, under unacceptable conditions, below any civilized norms. The average pay of women in the hidden economy was 28% lower than the average pay of men in 1997 (Jovanovic & Nedovic, 1998). Two thirds of women were engaged in the informal sector as farmers (they often produced food for their own household; LFS, 1998, CPL, 2000). Therefore, female additional work in the informal sector has often not produced additional income - it has become a mere survival strategy. On the other hand, this sector has provided a chance, particularly to

younger and educated women, to hold second jobs on rather fair terms. As a large survey revealed, officially employed women (with the exception of young ones) are less likely than men to engage in "moonlighting", i.e., to hold second jobs in the informal sector. No gender differences in second-job earnings were identified, and women even earned more in some branches, which means that the skills women possess are in demand in the informal sector. Unfortunately, women over the age of the age of 30 could not benefit from such job opportunities, probably due to household work and childcare (Krstic & Reilly, 2001).


9.1. Legal provisions

As indicated by Lukic (1998; 2000, BCHR, 2000), Article 27 of the Constitution of Serbia states that "It is a human right to freely decide matters related to childbearing". Abortion was legalized in 1952. The 1960 Decree stipulates the social conditions - difficult personal, family or financial conditions that would affect the woman if she had the child. This trend was changed in the existing Law on Abortion Procedures in Health Institutions (adopted in 1995). The 1995 Law states that abortion may be performed only at the woman's request, but it stipulates that abortion may be performed up to the 10-th week of pregnancy. Thereafter, abortion may only be performed for health reasons (e.g., saving women's life), eugenic reasons (a risk that child could have serious disabilities) or if the woman was raped. Up to the 12-th week, a Commission of physicians must approve the abortion. After that, the Ethical Board of the medical institution has to decide. Despite the vigorous campaign against these restrictions that mark the beginning of a conservative demographic policy, the Law was adopted.

· Access to healthcare

The network of medical facilities in Serbia has been rather developed (including special health care facilities for women and maternity wards), due to the very high state investment before the nineties. The resources available to the health care sector declined from $200 per capita in 1990 to app. $60 per capita in 2000 (HSRC, 2001), so the system has nearly collapsed. The quality of services has radically worsened due to the shortage of drugs/sup-



ply, and to the obsolete equipment. Because of shortage of drugs in state pharmacies, prescription drugs are mostly bought in private pharmacies. In 1998, the out of pocket payments for drugs amounted to 35,5% (UNICEF, 1999). The services are not fully covered by medical insurance. A beneficiary must contribute to the cost of drugs or some complex interventions or to fully pay the supply (chemicals for reproductive hormone analyses, supersound breast check general/local anesthesia for abortion, etc.). In addition, the small wages and damaging conditions of work at state institutions result in low motivation of the staff and wider enlarged corruption. Research on corruption (CPL, 2001) reveals that the medical profession is one of the most corrupt ones. Health care beneficiaries are often required to pay for (supposedly) free services at state institutions. Monitoring pregnancy costs between $500 to $1000, and this covers the entire duration of pregnancy (UNDP, 2000). In addition, physicians are rarely prosecuted for malpractice. This gradual unofficial abolition of the free medical care policy inevitably damages women's health. Roma and rural women are mainly affected. Women's NGOs report that women give up medical treatment for to economic reasons. A women's group came across notified many rural women who had breast cancer and gave up treatment, to avoid selling goods from the house and jeopardizing the existence of the family. In a recent study, 40% of citizens reported emotional problems. However, the impact of increased poverty and prolonged living in stressful conditions on the mental and physical health of women has not been studied in detail. In addition, no reliable data on environmental pollution exist. The health risks related to toxic substances released during the NATO bombings are rarely discussed in the media. According to estimates, that incidence of cancer might increase but the lack of reliable information on this topic is striking. The media recently announced the disturbing fact that 120 000 patients in Serbia have cancer, and that cancer rates have rapidly increased.

to 1996 data, maternal mortality per 100 000 live births was higher in Central Serbia (five) than in Vojvodina (two). The aggregate mortality rates rose notably between 1991 and 1997 (reaching the highest annual level for the last 40 years in 1997). The female mortality rates rose, while the male mortality rates dropped during that period. The primary causes for increased female mortality were the diseases of the circulatory system and cancer of the reproductive organs. Monitoring the trends in female health is difficult, as morbidity statistics are gender-aggregated (Pejin-Stokic, 2000). Incomplete evidence from primary health care in suggests a deterioration in reproductive health. The rates of cervical cancer and neoplasm increased by 41% and 40%, respectively in the period between 1991 and 1996. The number of pregnant women suffering from anemia has also increased. An in-depth survey of women aged 20-55 revealed a high incidence of ignorance or self-neglect with respect to health care (Posarac, 1998). The most recent data published in the media, indicate that every 8-th woman suffers from breast cancer.

· Abortion rates, contraceptive use and awareness of reproductive health

The political parties in the ruling coalition propose pro-natalist measures in their programs but do not demand (at least, not openly) a restriction on the right to abortion. In the media, the issue of abortion is mostly raised in the context of a pro-natalist policy, which would probably become more aggressive as soon as the standard of living improves. At present, the economic situation is so desperate that rhetorical appeals to "prevent the extinction of the nation" simply cannot attract enough supporters. Abortion can be legally carried out in public hospitals, but payment for anaesthetics is required and the quality of services is poor. Medications for pregnancy termination after 12 weeks are available only in private pharmacies, at very high prices. Women who can afford payment (app. one average salary or more) prefer to have the abortion carried out in private clinics. No complete monitoring is available, but analyses (Rasevic, 2000) show that abortion has been the main method of birth control for years, regardless of women's age, marital status, educational level, occupation or marital status (probably due to the lack of efficient institutionalized measures for family planning and tovarious prejudices related to contraceptive use - see below). The number of abortions has been, and still is, higher than the total number of live births. The number of registered abortions was 193 755 in 1989 (84.6 abortions per 1000 women of fertile age), while it fell to 80 003 in 1996 (Konstantinovic

9.2. Female mortality rates and indicators of reproductive health

In 1997, the average life expectancy for women and men was estimated to 74 and 68.9 years respectively (Pejin-Stokic, 2000). In comparison to 1991, a decline in the life expectancy for women was identified (- 0.49 years), while male life expectancy had increased (+ 1.1 years). The pattern of gender differences in life expectancy has actually reversed, which should be viewed as distressing. The infant mortality rate was 11 (in 1999). According


275, 1999; Rasevic, 2000). This high drop in abortion rates is not plausible (Rasevic, 2000), given to increased poverty, the lower access to contraception and the growing number of illegal gynecological clinics. Moreover, no reliable and complete statistics on legal abortions have been collected after 1989 (does this fact show the state concern for women's health?). As reliable recent survey (Posarac, 1998) showed that 50% of the women interwiewed had at least one or two abortions (among those who did have abortion, over 15% in fact had more than two). Over 90% of abortions were performed in public clinics, and the percent age of illegal ones (without professional assistance) was low. Roma women face greater difficulties, as they often cannot afford payment in clinics. Some of them returns to forgotten, abandoned "methods" that sometimes cause the woman's death. No rreliable official data on contraceptives use are available. A large survey revealed a low rates of use among adult women in Central Serbia and Vojvodina - 26,6% and 28,6%, respectively (Posarac, 1998). In urban areas, as compared to rural ones, the rates of use are notably higher. The pill is the most common method, followed by condoms It is noteworthy that even gynecologists (or their partners) do not differ from the general population regarding the rates of use. One third of the gynecologists working in 11 institutions in Belgrade did not use any contraceptives, and over 30% had two or more abortions (Ristic, 1994). The low rates of use can be explained by various reasons. First comes the poor availability - imported spirals and pills can be bought mostly in private pharmacies, at rather high prices. Condoms are widely available, but expensive ($0,5 per piece). Elective sterilization is not legally regulated. Second is the low awareness of reproductive health - every third woman believe that the interrupted intercourse is a secure method of birth control, while every tenth woman cannot define the most fertile period of the menstrual cycle (Rasevic, 1993). Sex education is not a part of the curriculum, and no campaigns are organized. Third by prejudices contribute a great deal - in particular, the attitude that the woman alone is responsible for preventing unwanted pregnancy. In one survey, every fifth man was directly against the use of contraceptives, and every third woman reported that her partner had been entirely indifferent (Rasevic, 1993).

population exist. App. 90 % of AIDS cases are registered in Belgrade, which fits the availability of testing (voluntary testing, free of charge, has been available in Belgrade one day per year). The survey of persons who voluntarily applied for HIV testing found higher incidence of risk-taking sexual behavior among males, yet, 54% of women reported they often had unprotected sex (Zakula, 2001). Sporadic anti-AIDS media campaigns, focusing mostly on men as a target population, have appeared insufficient. Very few preventive actions have addressed the specific needs of the young (provision of condoms free of charge in some Belgrade-based associations, peer education programs funded by foreign NGOs). Research on adolescents has proven the high prevalence of risk-taking sexual behavior,the limited awareness of sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives, a decline in the average age at first intercourse and a growing number of unwanted teen-age pregnancies. The percent age of boys and girls who had had their first sexual experience at the age of 12-14 ranged from 9 to 13 (Bjegovic, 1999; Jankovic, 2000). The estimated annual prevalence of teen-age pregnancies is 50 per 1000 girls (Rasovic, 2000).A study conducted in Belgrade found that 75% of sexually active girls did not use condoms, while 20% did not know that HIV could be transmitted sexually (Djeletovic, 1998). A broad survey (Pesic et al., 2000) revealed that youth rarely discussed safe sex/contraception with parents. TV was the essential source of information, while doctors/gynecologists were (interestingly) the least important (further, 47% of girls reported avoiding visits to gynecologists, even when they suffered disturbances).

9.3. Risk-taking sexual behavior

Between 1985 and 2000, 860 cases of AIDS were registered. The male/female case ratio was 5:1 in 1990 but fell to 2:1 in 2000 (HSRC, 2001). No estimates of HIV/AIDS rates among refugees, IDPs and non-Belgrade




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Advertisement (billboard) for "Kumho" tires A text on the billboard says: "(She) sticks to every surface"

years). The sentence was lower than the one prescribed for that crime by the law. As justifications for lowering the sentence, the following was stated: the accused confessed the offence, the accused and the victim stabilized their relationship and got a third child, the accused was supporting a family, and finally, he honestly expressed remorse. Moreover, the court "...sentenced him to probation, because eventual imprisonment would prevent him in the attempts to support his family. Also, that would put the offended and their children in a unfavorable material position and jeopardize their existence. .... In sentencing the accused to probation, the court took into the consideration the behavior of the victim, since she to great extent contributed to his mental state of enhanced affective agitation.... Prolonged marital problems, which the accused could not have successfully solved, generated enhanced emotional tension.... Therefore, his liability tempore criminis was greatly reduced". (Source: Lukic, Marija, Jovanovic, Sladjana (2001). Violence in the Family - Violence in the Presence of Authorities. Belgrade: Institute for criminological and sociological research)

A statement of an NGO activist

"The last years of my life have been taken away from me. I did not ask for these wars. All I want is some stability - a normal life where I can do my job, be with the kids and have some fun. Look what other women like me in the countries around have achieved. They are now years ahead. Where would I be now? Who had the right to steal these years from me?" Source: Womankind worldwide and Focus on Development consultancy team, Dakova, Vera, Hyatt, Jenny, Latifi, Hamide, Vesic, Aleksandra (2000). Future Strategy in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Mimeo

An example of a court case concerning severe family violence, obtained in research (Lukic and Jovanovic, 2001), might reveal how courts (sometimes) perceive gender-based violence. In between the lines, the court sent an important social message to females - they should be very careful not to irritate their husbands. A husband was accused of inflicting a heavy bodily injury that might put a life in danger (his wife's spleen was split, she had internal bleeding, her eyes, belly and lungs were crumpled). His wife did not appear in court, since she was expecting a third child; further, she had pregnancy complications due to severe injuries inflicted by the husband. As her husband put it: "She did not come because of pregnancy, but also because she's afraid she might say something that she shouldn't". He also expressed his regret in the following way: "I'm sorry. I shouldn't beat her that much, but if I hadn't, maybe she would go with that guy and leave me and the kids". The sentence was announced one year and a half after the incident. The accused was sentenced to probation (10 months imprisonment, with a probation period of 3

Responses of a woman in the survey conducted among 44 654 women respondents during awomen's door-to-door election campaign (December, 2000)

Question: In which areas is gender inequality the most visible? Answer: Women are overwhelmed by it. I have an aquarium and a little fish in it. I think the fish and I are profoundly alike. Women float within the limits imposed by men. Men are those who decide what the internal, domestic



arrangement will be like. Question: What should the state finance in order to improve the position of women? Answer: To enable pensions to housewives. To enable me to break the aquarium walls and swim away to the sea. Question: Who/what is the most significant source of gender inequality? Answer: I think that my parents bought me the aquarium. Mom didn't know otherwise, and it suited dad. It means that everything depends on tradition and upbringing. Question: What should the state do to prevent violence against women? Answer: My husband slapped me two or three times. Since the first slap, I have become mute like a fish and overwhelmed by hatred. His best friends are policemen. I don't trust the authorities. The state would have to gain my trust first. We need places in which women can find haven. Question: What do you expect from female politicians? Answer: At least to replace the water in my aquarium. (Source: The Voice of Difference - Group for Promotion of Women's Political Rights (2001). Elect to be Able to Make Choices)

Candidates to the National Assembly (December 23, 2000) Note: DOS - currently, the ruling coalition in Serbia

Participation of women (%) in the Federal Assembly: former Yugoslavia and FR Yugoslavia (1969-2000)




LIST OF CONTACTS Organisations and coordination

Danish Centre for Human Rights Nell Rasmussen - Senior Advisor on Gender Issues Dace Kavasa - Project Assistant 8 H Wilders Plads, 1403 Copenhagen K Denmark [email protected] [email protected] REGIONAL COORDINATORS: BULGARIA Genoveva Tisheva Irina Moulechkova Bulgarian gender research foundation 12 Luben Karavelov Str., 1142 Sofia, Bulgaria [email protected] NATIONAL COORDINATORS: ALBANIA Diana Culi Independent forum of Albanian women 46/1 Myslym Shyri Str., Apt. 15, Tirana, Albania [email protected] BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Jivica Abadjic Helsinki Committee for human rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina 14b Ante Fijamenga Str., 71 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina [email protected] BULGARIA Genoveva Tisheva Bulgarian gender research foundation 12 Luben Karavelov Str., 1142 Sofia, Bulgaria [email protected] Nevena Stefanova Rule of Law Institute 44 Parchevich Str., Apt. 15, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria [email protected] CROATIA Tijana Vukojicic Croatian Helsinki Committee for human rights 15 Ilica Str., 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia [email protected] MACEDONIA Mirjana Najevska Macedonian Helsinki Committee 8 Dame Gruev Str., Skopie, Macedonia [email protected] MONTENEGRO Kaca Djurickovic (Rajovic) Women forum of Montenegro 6 Kralja Nikole Trg, 81 000 Podgorica, Montenegro (FRY) [email protected] [email protected] SERBIA Biljana Brankovic 6 Zarka Zrenjanina Str., 11 000 Belgrade, Serbia (FRY) [email protected]



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