Ministries of Defence in the Western Balkans committed to Combat Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Abuse
In December 2021, Ministries of Defence in the Western Balkans launched the regional Handbook on Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Abuse in the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces of the Western Balkans Countries. The Handbook will inform personnel in the MoDs and AFs how to identify, prevent and combat all forms of gender-based discrimination.
The Ministries of Defence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, and the Republic of Serbia developed the Handbook through a regional platform that enables the exchange of ideas, experiences, and good practice examples.
This regional knowledge tool is valuable both for the personnel in the Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces directly engaged in resolving cases of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and abuse and to the staff involved in creating and implementing gender-responsive policies in defense.
The Handbook includes:
- the explanation of concepts of equity and gender equality;
- description of what constitutes discrimination, gender-based discrimination, and sexual abuse;
- overview of the legal and institutional framework for gender equality and equal opportunities policy;
- measures for prevention and protection against gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and abuse;
- and guidelines for monitoring and analysis.
The Handbook represents a unique regional practical guide tailor-made for the defense sector. It contains examples of reported cases and measures conducted to process complaints within the Ministries of Defence and the Armed Forces, as well as examples of preventive work implemented by the MoDs. The Handbook aims to increase common understanding about the manifestations of discriminatory behavior and help establish the standard operating procedures to prevent it.
The Ministries of Defence launched the Handbook at the Ministerial conference A Way Forward on Gender Equality in the Defence Sector in the Western Balkans, on 7 December 2021 in Budva, Montenegro. The Ministers signed the Joint Ministerial Declaration demonstrating the commitment of MoDs to continue tackling existing gender inequalities through a regional approach.
The Regional Handbook on Preventing and Responding to Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Abuse in the Ministries of Defence and Armed Forces of the Western Balkans Countries was developed within the project Strengthening of Regional Cooperation on Gender Mainstreaming in Security Sector Reform in the Western Balkans, funded by Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.