Results expected within this project are the following: CSOs and justice sectors in targeted Western Balkans countries improve their partnership ties and joint work; Western Balkans CSOs strengthened in high level analysis, advocacy and monitoring; in giving voice to citizens; accountability and working together; Targeted policies aligned with EU values and standards, and advocacy campaigns add value to the operation of justice sectors; The overarching CSO regional strategy operationalized
The key broad activities to be implemented within the strategy are:
- Creation, endorsement and operationalization of the regional CSO Declaration on combating human trafficking.
- CSO trainings in high-level advocacy, analysis and justice sector monitoring.
- Implementation of regional conference aimed at transferring EU practices in prosecution of traffickers
- Targeted national and regional advocacy and policy building campaigns implementation
- Development of CSO monitoring mechanism
The participatory nature of the action design has ensured that its positive impact is maximised and brings positive outcomes on various levels including technical, economic, social and policy ones.
TECHNICAL – On a technical level this translates into positive use of technology and via it improved reach for traditionally uninterested audiences. An example include the regional advocacy campaign that will use smart phone technology/apps to test resilience and raise awareness among 10-20,000 people on dangers of trafficking.
ECONOMIC – The proposed action’s major impact on this level is that by combating organized crime and strengthening the justice sector (specifically the judiciary), the overall level of profits from the organized criminal proceedings will be lowered and the response of the systems in criminal cases will strengthen. As the action aims towards strengthening of the rule of law and democratisation, it will indirectly contribute to strengthening market economies, free trade and access to finance throughout the Balkans.
SOCIAL – Social level benefit of the action is multi-fold and will have positive impact on both regional and national levels. By improving legislative framework and procedures, we are improving the attitude of Western Balkans societies towards victims. Strengthening civil society sectors and civil activism will lead to more open and democratic societies that are accountable to its citizens and function in a transparent manner. Awareness-raising campaigns will lead towards better informed and responsive general public that is confident to ask questions and hold to account. Importantly, by insisting on necessity of regional co-operation, inhabitants of targeted countries are likely to understand the importance of good connections and overcoming demons of the past, and hence become better citizens of their home countries. The project’s campaigns will target 10-20,000 people. As a region, the Balkans will benefit from improved links amongst civil society actors and public sector professionals, all leading towards improved neighborly connections, stable and peaceful region. Stronger mutual links, effective co-operation, exchange of experience and knowledge is likely to bring better responses to organized crime and trafficking in human beings. After all, cross-border crime requires a unified response from countries.
POLICY – Adjustment of policies to respond to EU standards, norm and values will bring improved frameworks that are person focused and respectful of international and national guaranteed rights. Positive impact on national policies will lead towards effective criminal justice responses to trafficking in human beings, thus ending current high levels of impunity for traffickers in the targeted countries. At the same time it will ensure security and justice for victims. Improvements in the justice sector is likely to have positive spill-over effect on other parts of the system and promote EU acqui harmonization as the best way forward towards improvements.
It is hoped that a virtuous cycle will be created whereby improvements in civil activism environment and strengthened regional co-operation will lead to a more peaceful, tolerant and democratic Balkans. This, in turn, will help bring about an environment where rights and individuality of all are respected.
NHC – Netherlands Helsinki Committee, The Netherlands
International Forum of Solidarity – EMMAUS, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Open Gate – La strada, Macedonia
Find out more about BAN 2 activities and results at www.nadoknadimo.org/home?locale=en
Regionalna konferencija „CSF Okvir za partnerstvo – početna konferencija“ održana je u Beogradu 23.-24. maja 2013. godine u Palati Srbije. Ovaj događaj okupio je blizu 200 predstavnika organizacija civilnog društva iz celog regiona (Zapadnog Balkana i Turske) i njihove partnere iz zemalja Evropske Unije. Ovi akteri predstavljaju organizacije koje čine 18 regionalnih mreža civilnog društva koje podržava Evropska Komisija. Svaka od mreža osnovana je kako bi se poradilo na rešavanju određenjih problema koji otežavaju evropske integracije i demokratizaciju u regionu i kako bi se ostvarili zajednički ciljevi vezani za dobro upravljanje i ostvarenje političkih kriterijuma neophodnih za pristupanje Evropskoj Uniji.
Tokom ove konferencije organizacije su predstavile svoje strategije i dogovore o partnerstvu, a diskutovalo se i o tome kako se mogu postići određeni prioritetni ciljevi kao što je podizanje kapaciteta OCD u oblastima zagovaranja, analize i nezavisnog monitoringa, te uspostavljanje aktivističkog okruženja i dijaloga između vladinog i nevladinog sektora na regionalnom i nacionalnom nivou. Još jedna tema koja je otvorena na konferenciji ticala se unapređenja legitimnosti, transparentnosti i odgovornog rada organizacija civilnog društva u regionu.
Kao vodeća organizacija u jednoj od 18 mreža, fokusiranoj na problem trgovine ljudima, ASTRA je sa partnerima na projektu Balkans ACT (Against the Crime of Trafficking) Now! prezentovala zajedničku strategiju i aktivnosti čije je sprovođenje planirano u okviru projekta. Ovaj projekat kreiran je tako da doprinese demokratizaciji i procesu evropskih integracija na prostoru Zapadnog Balkana kroz unapređenje aktivizma građanskog društva, izgradnju kapaciteta, posvećenost i učešće mreža civilnog društva u debati o ljudskim pravima, vladavini prava i organizovanom kriminalu, posebno trgovini ljudima. Takođe, ASTRA i partnerske organizacije nastoje da ojačaju kapacitete OCD za nezavisnu i objektivnu analizu i monitoring, učvrste njihov legitimitet i odgovornost i unaprede potencijal za uticaj na politije u Srbiji, Hrvatskoj, Bosni i Hercegovini i BJR Makedoniji. Sve akcije su usmerene na doprinos borbi protiv trgovine ljudima i usklađivanju politika u pravnom sektoru sa standardima, normama i vrednostima Evropske Unije. Dan pre Konferencije, partneri na projektu Balkans ACT Now! sastali su se u Beogradu kako bi utanačili plan implementacije ovog projekta od značaja za ceo region.
SIGNING OF THE BALKANS DECLARATION ON TRAFFICKING AND THE EXPLOITATION OF HUMAN BEINGS
Current Environment and Major Trafficking Challenges in Western Balkans
Signing ceremony of the Balkans Declaration on Suppression of Trafficking and the Exploitation of human beings was held in Zagreb on September 19th, 2013.
The aim of the Balkans Declaration on Trafficking and the Exploitation of Human Beings is to further develop national, regional and international co-operation, promote concrete measures and standards, best practices and mechanisms in tackling the issue of human trafficking. In addition, the document addresses THB prevention, protection and assistance to victims and cooperation with public bodies. Declaration also underlines countries’ international obligations pertaining to eradication of this heinous crime.
The Declaration was signed by four organizations involved in implementation of the project – ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action (Serbia), Partnership for Social Development (Croatia), IFS EMMAUS (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Open Gate – La Strada (FYR of Macedonia). In the following months intensive efforts will be put into encouraging other civil society organizations to sign the Declaration. Dozens of European organizations are expected to join their efforts in combating trafficking by supporting this document.
Croatia, Serbia, FYR of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina unanimously concluded that there are numerous shortcomings in the fight against human trafficking and organised crime. Therefore, the relevant authorities need to further strengthen their impact in solving these problems. With regards to that, the importance of regional cooperation in combating these cross-border organized crime acts, both on civil society and institutional level, was stressed at the event.
Current situation in the field of fight against human trafficking in Serbia, FYR of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia shows that every country is proved to be a country of origin, transit and destination for men, women and children who are trafficked internally or internationally for the purpose of sexual and labour exploitation, forced begging, forced marriage, and other forms of exploitation.
The Declaration was created within the Balkans ACT Now! Project. Regional partnership on this project is directed towards addressing downfalls in justice sector, specifically court proceedings in relation to cases of human trafficking including inefficient investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and ineffective protection of victims in compliance with fundamental rights and EU standards. Therefore, the partnership is of great significance for establishing a democratic society in the region, free of all forms of exploitation and other forms of human rights violations.
The project and the organization of the event were supported by the European Union, French Government and the Office for Associations of the Croatian Government.
Balkans Declaration on Suppression of Trafficking and the Exploitation of human beings
Balkans ACT Now! presented at HDIM
Balkans ACT Now! project was presented at the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Europe’s largest annual human rights and democracy conference, organized by OSCE /ODIHR. In a statement given on 30 September the Netherlands Helsinki Committee introduced the situation analysis that was carried out under the project and highlighted the importance of the Balkans declaration on the suppression of trafficking and the exploitation of human beings adopted on 19 September this year. Civil society organizations called on governments to honor international commitments with respect to victims of human trafficking and to prioritize their proper protection in national policies.
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