New regional initiative to end gender discrimination and violence kicks off in Montenegro

May 30, 2017

A new three-year programme “Implementing norms, changing minds” aiming to end discrimination and violence against women and girls kicked off today in Montenegro and brought together representatives of the EU Delegation, UNDP and UN agencies, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and civil society. Funded by the EU in the amount of 5 million euros, this regional programme will be implemented by UN Women in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey. Montenegro component is valued almost 380,000 euros and it will be implemented by UNDP.

At the launch event, ambassador Aivo Orav, Head of EU Delegation to Montenegro pointed out that: “As noted in the European Commission's latest annual report on Montenegro, despite some positive steps taken, gender-based violence continues to be of concern. The capacity of existing institutions in this area, including the police and judiciary, need to be strengthened to better protect victims and deter perpetrators. I wish to call on all stakeholders – Parliament, Government, judiciary, social welfare centres, Police, NGOs – to join forces to end violence in the family. Successful fight against violence, coupled with the economic empowerment and women’s equal participation, are all part of the same picture contributing to gender equality.”  

Fiona McCluney, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to Montenegro said: “Our most recent study shows that discriminatory patriarchal attitudes, fuelled by gender stereotypes, are still widespread in Montenegro. The data reveal that almost every second woman in Montenegro experienced some form of violence (psychological, physical, economic, or sexual) from her husband or partner in her lifetime. There’s a pattern of mild sentences: only 7% of all the processed cases in 2016 were given a prison sentence. The rest were fined, given suspended sentences or warnings. Unfortunately, it seems that is still easy to turn a blind eye to this toxic behaviour and obviously, there are high levels of tolerance for violence in the family. This is exactly why we need a united action of all institutions, international partners, civil society and citizens to join the forces in creating behavioural change at all levels of the society.”

Kemal Purišić, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare in Montenegro reminded that “Some progress was made in this domain, in terms of the work on prevention from violence in family and better protection for the victims. However, we need more concerted efforts to eliminate violence and discrimination in all its forms, ensure full protection and provide comprehensive support to the victims during legal proceedings, so that perpetrators are adequately sanctioned and justice reached. Since discriminatory attitudes, bad practices and gender stereotypes fuel violence, we need to focus on prevention, especially within our educational system, but also within relevant institutions, police and centres for social care.”

EU Delegation and UNDP in Montenegro are strongly committed to ending gender-based violence, which is reflected in our ongoing partnership since 2010. Our joint commitment is also demonstrated through the grant agreement EU is implementing with UNDP in Montenegro on Support to the anti-discrimination and gender equality policies. The project aims at contributing to a shift from discriminatory public values, perceptions, and practices to a society valuing human rights and embedding gender equality across the board. Now, we are happy that partnerships are becoming even stronger and this time we joined forces with UN Women to conduct this regional programme which will be implemented in Western Balkans and Turkey.

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