Study visit to the EU institutions and training on reporting about the situation of human rights in May 2012.

Activists for human rights of LGBT people from Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Turkey took part in the training and study visit to the EU institutions in Brussels, from 23rd to 25th May 2012.

A preparatory training on reporting about the state of human rights of LGBT people was held in the premises of the organization ILGA – Europe, on May 23rd. During the training, participants were introduced with the functioning of the EU institutions, what needs to be done to achieve a high-quality contact with them, and the process and policy of EU integration, anti-discrimination policies and conditions, as well as the ways to strategically communicate with decision-makers in the EU, with the aim of improving the position of LGBT people.

The 24th and 25th May were marked by meetings with representatives of the EU institutions. During the meetings, the representative of Juventas team submitted a report on the state of human rights of LGBT people in Montenegro, spoke about the progress that Montenegro has achieved in the last six months in this area, but also identified problems which need to be actively addressed within the upcoming period. The meeting also included consultations about progress report of Montenegro that will be published by the EU in September this year.

On Thursday 24th May, meetings were held with representatives of the European Service of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Henk Visser, a task manager for civil society in the Directorate-General  for Enlargement, representatives of the Directorate-General for Justice.

On the same day, the Permanent Representation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Brussels organized a seminar dedicated to the achievements of Montenegro in the area of improving the rule of law, which was attended by 57 officials from the EU. On that occasion, the representative of Juventas held a presentation on the human rights of LGBT persons in Montenegro, together with a colleague from the organization MANS and representative of UNDP in Montenegro. The presentation included information about the achievements of Montenegro in the last six months, cases of violations of human rights of LGBT people, comparative research on homophobia, with special emphasis on the need for specific and high-quality implementation of the regulations adopted so far.

On Friday 25th May, a business lunch was organized with Angela Longo, from the political board for Montenegro, the Directorate-General for Enlargement of the EU, as well as a consultative meeting with representatives of the Directorate-General for Enlargement. During the meeting, they were talking about the situation of human rights of LGBT people in our country, while the representative of Juventas, for the purpose of reporting on the progress of Montenegro on the path to EU membership, gave their comments and suggestions regarding the ongoing process.

The study visit was ended with a two-hour meeting with Mr. Andris Ķesteris, first counsellor for civil society and the media. During the meeting, they discussed the ways in which the EU, as well as the EU Delegation to Montenegro can provide a political help for the promotion and protection of human rights of LGBT persons and ensure support to civil society on this issue.

The training and study visit were organized with the support of the organization ILGA - Europe.

 

Study visit to the EU institutions and training on strategic litigations for LGBT activists in the field of human rights in the Western Balkans and Turkey - Brussels, from 10th to 14th May 2011

From 10th to 14th May 2011, ILGA-Europe organized a study visit to the EU institutions and training on strategic litigation for nine activists in the field of human rights of LGBT people from the Western Balkans and Turkey.

This study visit was aimed at increasing the knowledge of activists on the work of the institutions of the European Union, but also about the possibilities of representation of these institutions. Also, activists had the opportunity to present to the EU officials a situation and the obstacles faced by LGBT communities in their respective countries.

During the visit, activists from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey met with Commissioner Füle’s Deputy, as well as with relevant representatives of the European External Action, the General Secretariat of Justice, the General Secretariat for Enlargement and the European Commission. Activists also participated in the consultations related to the European Commission’s progress report for 2011 and held subsequent individual meetings with representatives of the General Secretariat for Association in charge of their country. Furthermore, they were introduced with the work of Intergroup for LGBT Rights in the European Parliament, as well as the Secretariat of the European Network of Equality Bodies, i.e. Equinet.

The study visit also included a two-day training on strategic litigations. The training was aimed at providing participants with sufficient knowledge on strategic litigation, in order to be integrated into their representation plan later. During the training, the activists had the opportunity to learn more about the concept of strategic disputes, ways of using new anti-discrimination laws adopted in their countries, how to collect evidence of the existence of discrimination and work with the authorities responsible for equality. Also, relevant cases of the European Court of Human Rights were presented to activists, especially those related to freedom of assembly, speech and hate crimes, as well as transgender issues. Details of the work on cases under the European Court of Human Rights were also discussed. The training consisted of trainers’ presentations, followed by practical exercises, case studies and discussion.

 

Documenting the violations of human rights and representation - Podgorica, 29th and 30th March

On 29th and 30th March 2011, ILGA-Europe organized a training “Documenting the violations of human rights and representation“, for representatives of Juventas and LGBT Forum Progress, which are the only organizations dealing with LGBT rights in Montenegro.

Participants were introduced with international and regional instruments pertaining to human rights, but they also learned the most important thing about principles and methods of monitoring and documenting the violations of human rights.

Furthermore, activists have acquired certain skills of advocacy and lobbying.

 

Training on developing organizational leadership and leadership in community - Brussels, June 2010

The aim of this training was to improve the knowledge, skills and self-assessment of LGBT activists when it comes to organizational management and community development. There were eight representatives of partner organizations from Croatia (Kontra), Albania (Aleanca), Montenegro (Juventas) and Serbia (Labris).

The trainers talked about different strategies which can help to achieve a social change, cause and effect relationship between development of organization and community, as well as skills and characteristics that are closely related to management and leadership. With the help of facilitators, each of the organizations developed its own strategic plan.

 

Training on the documentation of human rights violations and advocacy - Belgrade, April 2010

The training was led by an external trainer and two lecturers from the organization ILGA Europe. The training was attended by nine representatives of partner organizations from Croatia (Kontra), BH (Equilibrium), Montenegro (Juventas) and Serbia (Labris).

The aim of the training was to increase the capacity of the project partners with regard to documenting violations of the rights of LGBT people in line with international standards, and to effectively represent the LGBT community concerning significant problems at the national level.

During the workshop, participants gained knowledge about the concepts, principles and methods of monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, but also about the necessary steps in advocacy planning. With the help of facilitators and through practical work, each organization developed a plan for monitoring and advocacy.