Belgrade, 11 September 2019

The conference “Combating Intolerance and Promoting Equality” will take place on 17 September 2019, at the Palace of Serbia (room Serbia) in Belgrade from 09:00 to 17:00.

The conference is jointly organised by the Council of Europe Anti-discrimination Department, the Council of Europe’s anti-racism body (the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance - ECRI) and in co-operation with the Serbian Government and the Commissioner for the protection of equality under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

The conference participants will discuss national minority protection and promotion, protection of LGBTI rights and combating hate speech.

Opening remarks will be given by:

  • Ms Zorana Mihajlovic, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia
  • Ms Suzana Paunovic, Head of the Government Office for Human and Minority Rights
  • Mr Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade
  • H.E. Sem Fabrizi, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Jean-Louis Falconi, Ambassador of France to the Republic of Serbia

The Commissioner for Protection of Equality in Serbia, Brankica Jankovic, will also address the audience.

Local and international panelists will onlook at the roles and responsibilities of political leaders as well as equality bodies in combating hate speech and on the promotion of diversity and equality in Serbia. The conference will feature three members of the parliament: Elvira Kovac from the Republic of Serbia, Damir Arnaut from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Laetitia Avia from France.

Three members of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) from Germany, Greece and the Republic of Serbia will also take part in the conference, including keynote speaker Ms Maria Daniella Marouda, Vice-Chair of the Commission.

This year, ECRI marks its 25th anniversary. Quarter of a century ago, the Council of Europe member states decided to join forces to counter the threat of racism and intolerance and established the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. The 25th anniversary of ECRI coincides with the Council of Europe’s 70th anniversary and provides the opportunity to take stock of the progress achieved in combating intolerance and promoting equality, tackle the present and emerging challenges and explore how to increase the impact of the actions of the Council of Europe member states and ECRI.

The conference is taking place within the framework of the Joint European Union and Council of Europe Programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkan and Turkey II” and it will serve as an opportunity to launch a three year “Action on Promotion of Diversity and Equality in Serbia” implemented under this framework.

The conference will begin at 09:30 at the Palace of Serbia and is fully open to the media. Press statements are foreseen from 10:30 – 11:15. Separate interviews can be arranged upon request. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided. In order to facilitate the presence of the media at the conference, the journalists are expected to confirm their participation by Friday, 13 September, by the close of business indicating the name and the media outlet they represent. Contact for media accreditation: [email protected], +381 63 60 13 37. Please note that only registered media will be able to enter the premises of the Palace of Serbia.