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Public debate on Anti-discrimination in Belgrade

The speakers at the event included the Commissioner for the protection of Equality, representatives of the Council of Europe, NGO sector and the Serbia BAR association, members of Academia, select experts, as well as GIZ representative who opened the event by providing background on the GIZ sub-project on antidiscrimination. 
Study shows that the Serbian antidiscrimination legal framework is very much aligned with the EU standards, but some further alignment is needed, in particular in regards with the scope of exceptions from the principle of equal treatment, the definition of indirect discrimination and the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled employees.
The institution of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality was established by the Law on the Protection from Discrimination as an independent, autonomous and specialised public body which has a wide mandate in the area of prevention and protection from discrimination. The Commissioner’s Office has a range of measures at its disposal and proves to be an efficient tool for combating discrimination.
The Republic of Serbia has not yet established a unified and centralised system for collecting data relevant to the functioning of the system of legal protection against discrimination and this fact represents a huge problem in assessing and monitoring discrimination.
The role of courts in combating discrimination is very important and the example of good practice is a training for trainers, very comprehensive anti-discrimination program for 8 judges, coming from the thejurisdition of four appelate courts, who will specialize in dealing with discrimination cases and who will later provide trainings to other judges.
Universities, except in some rare cases, do not offer specialized non-discrimination courses, but the example of good practice represents the Legal clinic on anti-discrimination at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade and this model should be followed by other universities, as well.
Speakers provided excellent illustrations by citing most interesting cases from Strasbourg Court case law, providing for a lively exchange with almost 40 participants, most of whom are law students and legal practitioners interested in the field of antidiscrimination. The discussion continued in an informal setting during the cocktail that was provided by GIZ in the premises of the Faculty of Law.