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OVERVIEW OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN MONTENEGRO IN RELATION TO UPR RECOMMENDATIONS

During the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in Geneva, the states that took part in the session clearly recognized and highlighted the progress achieved, but also the weaknesses of the system when it comes to the protection of human rights in Montenegro. It should be noted that the Civic Alliance continuously points to the important issues in the area, as well as the problem that was identified on this occasion.
One of the most important issues is the reform of the judiciary, which as a priority implies freedom from political influence. The need to elect the missing members of the Judicial Council, the Constitutional Court judges, president of the Supreme Court of Montenegro and the Supreme State Prosecutor as soon as possible and in a lawful procedure was highlighted at the session, as a prerequisite for the adequate functioning and work of institutions and state bodies in full capacity. The obvious political interest that decision-makers were guided by in the previous period must be put aside in these procedures, in order to elect credible persons to these crucial positions who will be free to make their decisions without pressure.

The problem of hate speech, discrimination and peer violence in Montenegro escalated in the previous period, as pointed out today by many countries in their presentations. The latest shocking events both in Montenegro and in the region have shown that we have failed to prepare adequate conditions for young people to grow up in and that a serious multifaceted approach must be taken by all actors in order to start improving the situation.

As part of the comprehensive reforms in the judiciary, which are directly related to the fight against corruption and organized crime, the focus should be put on the creation of all necessary personnel and technical conditions, as well as changes to the legal framework so that the reformed institutions can adequately deal with this problem. The reforms also include the implementation of the previous recommendations of the Venice Commission and Group of States against Corruption (GREKO), as well as the recommendations that could be heard today in Geneva.

The position of women in society must be improved through their economic and political empowerment, as well as ensuring greater participation of women in political life. The existence of strategic documents that foresee measures to improve the situation in this area is commendable, but consistent application should be ensured. The role of the Women’s Club of the Parliament of Montenegro, which was formed as an informal working body of the Parliament, is commendable. This successful model can be a good example for decision makers at the local level. The Women’s Club, in accordance with the goals for which it was formed, in cooperation with the Committee for Gender Equality of the Parliament of Montenegro, must continue to work on raising awareness among all citizens about the importance of more active participation of women in society.

The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW), which was signed in October 2006, must be ratified as soon as possible, as well as the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labor Convention from 1930. This is one of the recommendations that has been repeated before, and Montenegro must not allow certain recommendations to be reiterated from cycle to cycle.

As expected, there were a large number of recommendations related to the field of torture. For this reason, we would like to highlight a summary of the key points that we consider important in strengthening the fight against this phenomenon:
– Work on the implementation of measures that will ensure that all forms of torture and abuse be adequately sanctioned, in accordance with international standards.
– Every person who has been a victim of torture must have access to a legal remedy, including adequate compensation for the harm suffered, with the aim of his or her faster recovery;
– It is necessary to ensure that all persons deprived of liberty or detained have unhindered access to basic human rights, including the right to legal advice, health care and treatment in accordance with international standards.

A part of recommendations were related to dealing with the past, which is becoming more and more important for societies that have gone through conflicts and wars. This process is necessary for building a more just society, which is based on respect for human rights and the rule of law.

The given recommendations are very significant from the aspect of improving the situation in the field of human rights in Montenegro. At the end of the day, it is certainly more than clear that it is necessary to speed up reforms in various areas and do everything necessary so that state institutions are independent and strong enough to tackle all the problems in society. In the coming period, the Civic Alliance will monitor the degree of implementation of the recommendations and point to all bad practices, as well as progress.

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