Good decision of the Legislative Committee of the Parliament of Montenegro

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) welcomes the decision of the Legislative Committee of the Parliament which refused the Governments’ Proposal of the Law on Higher Education because of the numerous omissions that the CCE, with the other interested parties, pointed out during and after public debate on that text.

The fact that Proposal of the Law on Higher Education did not pass the Legislative Committee is encouraging because it indicates that there is a control mechanism and that it can be, although very rare in our practice, used. That this law was seriously analyzed by the primary Committee (in this case Education Committee), in the discussion based on arguments, it would also not get the required majority, and therefore wouldn’t have gone into further procedure. But, there is hope that at the plenary will be certain awareness about the poor quality of this law Proposal and that it will not receive the needed majority. »

It is necessary to determine minimum of standards

With the support of the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) LGBT Forum Progress organized the first national dialogue session entitled “The principle of equality and LGBT rights: registered partnership.”

At the dialogue session, which was moderated by Aleksandar Saša Zeković, human rights expert, spoke: Marijana Laković, Deputy Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, Blanka Radošević Marović, Assistant Minister for Human and Minority Rights and leaders of nongovernmental organizations LGBT Forum Progress and Queer Montenegro Zdravko Cimbaljević and Danijel Kalezić.

Resolving of the issue of same-sex partnerships on the Montenegrin political, legislative and legal scene is present for almost three years, and coincides with the establishment of “LGBT Forum Progress”, and goal of this session was to start a dialogue on legal models on regulation of the same-sex communities in Montenegro.

Zdravko Cimbaljević, Executive director of the LGBT FP, recalled that the Government of Montenegro, by the recent adoption of the Strategy for improvement of the quality of life for LGBT people committed itself to determine draft Law on registered partnership, which will recognize same-sex communities rights in accordance with recognized international treaties and generally accepted rules of international law. He also evaluated that the best example of a country that regulated issue of same-sex marriages is Netherlands.

Danijel Kalezić, President of the Board of Queer Montenegro, indicated two possible legislative solutions of this problem: the recognition of the rights of same-sex marriage or the solution that provides legal recognition. One of the specific requirements in the legislative solution would be that the marriage ceremony can be held at the same premises as in the cases of heterosexual marriages. He concluded that someone else models shouldn’t be accepted, but rather to work on the one in line with the field needs.

Blanka Radošević Marović, Assistant of Minister for Human and Minority Rights, stated that the registered partnership is a great challenge for traditional environment such as Montenegro, and that no matter that the law is regulating normative behavior and that the state defines obligations it is necessary to achieve a high degree of democracy and apply the standards of the strategy adopted for the period 2013-2018. She underlined that it is necessary to learn from those countries that best regulated these issues and to work to raise awareness on this issue in order to create an environment that will accept it.

For Marijana Laković, Deputy Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, the most suitable solution is a registered partnership or cohabitation. The institution of Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro has already submitted an initiative to Montenegrin Parliament for passing this law. She pointed out that we should keep in mind that there are differences among the registered partnerships in the UK, France, which are totally different models, and we should give answers on how to regulate the details within such laws.

Aleksandar Saša Zeković concluded that the encouraging fact is that Montenegro has started to learn about the models of arranging of same-sex marriage and the Strategy itself prescribes that model which will be adopted is not below the international standards.

It was noted that there is no doubt that this law will be adopted, and that the deadline for its adoption should be 2018, as well as foreseen by the Strategy, it is only necessary to determine which is the minimum of standards that would be acceptable to advance the lives of LGBT people.

Svetlana Pešić, Programme assistant

Before the end of the game, new rules

The Centre for Civic Education (CCE) has been addressed by significant number of students from the University of Montenegro (UoM) who are outraged by the decision of the Senate of UoM which establishes that the enrollment to specialist studies is allowed with the possibility of transferring only one exam from the basic studies, assessing that this is forcing the students of the UoM to enroll the private universities.

CCE supports the decisions of UoM and its bodies that would lead to stricter criteria, but only when these are the real reasons lying below. However, if this limitation is aimed at filling the university cashbox with money from students for renewal of academic years, this decision comes as devastating for both sides. Moreover, tightened criteria that would narrow the rights of students cannot be decided at the end of the academic year, i.e. in June, when students are not able to act in any way to change their situation. In the light of this, the decision appears as a blackmail and demonstration of power. »

Rule of law must be based on justice

Centre for Civic Education (CCE), regarding today released comment of the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe Nils Muižnieks on establishing justice and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia, recalls that ensuring justice for the victims and dealing with the war past has to be a priority in the process of democratization of the post-Yugoslav societies.

The commentary (Justice and reconciliation long overdue in the Balkans) concluded that 20 years after the wars that led to the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the legacy of violence still lingers across the region. Official statistics show that more than 12 000 people are still missing, 423 000 refugees and displaced persons are still unable to return to their homes, and around 20,000 people are still stateless or in danger of becoming so. In addition, at least 20 000 women who were subjected to sexual violence in war has not yet received adequate support, which, as assessed by Commissioner Muižnieks, combined with impunity for war crimes, hampers reconciliation and endangers the full enjoyment of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. »

For the sixth time CCE is hosting american participants of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship programme in Montenegro

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) hosted the participants of this year’s American Marshall Memorial Fellowship programme during their stay in Montenegro from 28 June to 3 July 2013.

Marshall Memorial Fellowship, established in 1982 by the German Marshall Fund in the US, with the aim to present the emerging generation of European leaders in the United States of America. The programme focuses on the exchange of ideas and best practices between the US and Europe. Marshall Memorial Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for new leaders from the US and Europe for policy research, business innovation and learning about cultures on the other side of the Atlantic. Participants of the programme meet formally and informally with a number of politicians, financial and legal decision-makers and prominent members of the society from various spheres. The programme operates in the US and 39 European countries, as one of the most prestigious leadership programmes connecting over 3000 leaders across the globe. »