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Study visit from the office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in Serbia

21 November 2014

On the 17 and 18 of November 2014 the AIRE Centre together with the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), with the support of the British Embassy in Belgrade, hosted a series of seminars, training sessions and meetings in London for the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in Serbia and her team. 

Programme Manager for the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans at AIRE, Ms. Biljana Braithwaite and Programme officer Ms. Beatrice Blois gave opening speeches.

Mr. Adam Weiss, Legal Director at the European Roma Rights Centre together with Ms. Emma Fenelon, Parliamentary Legal Officer to Lord Lester, spoke about the Commissioners strategic litigation. Cases taken by the Commissioners office where thoroughly discussed. The “theory of change" and how to conceptualise the road to achieving long-term objectives was discussed. Some main conclusion included: that further work is needed with higher instance court judges and that producing training material for judges would help them better understand and consider issues of discrimination in their legal reasoning and judgments.

Ms. Barbara Cohen legal expert on discrimination law and previously head of legal policy at the Commission for Racial Equality in the UK spoke about the strategic use of enforcement and other powers to complement the Commissioners strategic litigation. She shed light on the fact that strategic litigation is one avenue for change but that also working with civil society and the media are alternative ways to identify mechanisms to secure lasting change.

Finally, Ms. Arpi Avetisyan international human rights lawyer presented an analysis of caselaw from the European Court of Human Rights and her experience in litigating some of the most important cases of discrimination before the Strasbourg court.

The training sessions and seminars where a success, the second day comprised of meetings with NGO Child Rights International Network (CRIN), representatives of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

 

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