Joint Statement of the NGOs who left the Round table organized by the Council for protection against discrimination as a protest

A group of NGOs left the meeting earlier today as a protest against continuous ignoring and exploitative behavior of the Council for protection against discrimination.

Since the beginning of work, the agenda was not respected. Following the opening statements, a long unscheduled break has been made during which the key speakers left the event.

Prime ministers’ advisor Jovan Kojicic, who moderated the event, rejected the proposal from NGOs to open a short discussion. Even though the NGOs warned that with this kind of rescheduling the chance for everyone to participate in the discussion will cease to exist, Kojicic demanded that the discussion should be held at the very end of the several hours long round table, insisting that the agenda, which has already been disrupted by him at the very beggining, should be respected.

The group of NGOs considers that this kind of behavior was detrimental to the possibility of most discriminated groups’ representatives to influence the quality and content of the discussion. Furthermore, this took away the opportunity for wider audience to be informed about their efforts to improve state of affairs in the field of human rights and freedoms in Montenegro, as well as to make the work of the Council more transparent.

This scenario is unfortunately already familiar to NGOs as a part of a usually implemented tactics that discredits the efforts and ignores the opinion of organizations working to protect the most endangered social groups. Therefore, by leaving the event this group of NGOs sent the message that cooperation is possible only on the basis of mutual respect and constructive approach, and that certainly implies openness for needs of all actors.

Ljupka Kovačević, Center for Women and Peace Education ANIMA
Radoš Mušović, Center for development of Non Governmental Organizations
Ivana Vujović, NGO Juventas
Danijel Kalezić, Queer Montenegro
Ljiljana Raičević, Shelter
Marina Vujačić, Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro
Jelena Dacić, Member of the Working Group for Chapter 28 (Consumer and health protection)
Milan Šaranović, Center for antidiscrimination EKVISTA and a Member of the Council for protection against discrimination
Daliborka Uljarević, Centre for Civic Education and Member of the Council for protection against discrimination