EWL News

Women’s Rights in the Western Balkans: event in Brussels

[Brussels, 29 October 2019] On 6 November, EWL is co-hosting an event with The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation on women’s rights in the Western Balkans.

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation and the EWL are gathering women activists, partners and decision-makers in Brussels on 6 November to discuss EU’s support to women’s rights in the Western Balkans.

With a new political leadership in place in the EU and following last week’s Council Conclusions on enlargement, questions arise about the EU’s political will and ability to move forward accession of the Western Balkan countries. The EU accession process is a key driver for reforms and legislative rapprochement in the region also with regards to respect for EU fundamental rights and values. Yet, in the last few years the EU’s focus on economic growth and governance often overshadowed that on women’s rights, gender equality, democracy and civic space.

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation is about to publish the fourth edition of the report Women’s Rights in the Western Balkans, a study collecting and analysing data on women in politics, gender-based violence and security for women human rights defenders in Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. Findings show that there is still much to do to support progress on equality between women and men in the Western Balkan region.

EWL’s recent report on the state of women’s rights in Central Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic States also shows that progress on gender equality has stalled and that there is a regression in some fields. EWL also published a report in November 2018 on Integrated policies - Integrated approach: A regional analysis of policies and legislation on violence against women and the Istanbul Convention. The report was part of a project "Regional Forum for the Promotion and Monitoring progress of the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey", and the mapping highlighted the existing gaps between normative frameworks, formal commitments and the implementation of laws and policies and concrete action taken to end violence against women in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey1.

The event on 6 November will include contributions from women activists from the region, namely Irena Cvetcovikj from Coalition Margins, North Macedonia, Larisa Kovačević from Bolja Buducnost, BIH and Maja Raičević from the Women’s Rights Center, Montenegro, and will be moderated by EWL’s Secreatrayr General Joanna Maycock.

The event takes place on from 17h30 to 19h00 on Wednesday 6 November in central Brussels, and will be followed by an informal reception with light refreshments. Please note that seats are limited and registration is required, so make sure to register here, by Thursday 31 October 2019.

The photo shows EWL Member the Women’s Network of Croatia’s protest to “Stop Fundamentalist Violence against Women” in front of the Parliament in December 2017

1 The EWL project "Regional Forum for the Promotion and Monitoring progress of the Implementation of the Istanbul Convention in the Western Balkans and Turkey" was part of the three-year UN Women Programme “Ending violence against women: Implementing norms, Changing minds” which aims to end gender-based discrimination and violence against women in the region of the Western Balkans and Turkey. The analysis focused on integrated policies, male intimate partner violence, sexual violence against women and violence against migrant and refugee women.

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