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NEWS FROM FJC

Raising Awareness and Building Effective Communication between Law Enforcement and the Jewish Community in Serbia

With help of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and World Jewish Congress (WJC), on the 24 March 2021 there was organized online event. The theme of the event was: Raising Awareness and Building Effective Communication between Law Enforcement and the Jewish Community in Serbia.

The participants of this online event were: Tome Shekerdjiev (OSCE, ODIHR), Robert Sabadoš (Federation of the Jewish Communities of Serbia), Mila Stojanović (EUJS), Mike Whine (WJC), Paul Giannasi (NPPC), Marc Quedenbaum (OSCE, ODIHR), Jelena Jokanović (OSCE Mission to Serbia), Marija Makević (OSCE Mission to Serbia), Valdete Osmani (OSCE Mission to Serbia), Tamara Mirović (Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Serbia), Vladimir Šoć (Ministry for Human and Minority Rights in Serbia), Mikolaj Wrzecionkowski (OSCE, ODIHR), Ana Čobanović (Human resources department, Ministry of Interior in Serbia), Milorad Petković (Ministry of Interior in Serbia), Barbara Panić (Federation of the Jewish Communities of Serbia), Brane Popović (Jewish community of Belgrade), Dragan Dimović (Jewish community of Belgrade), Ladislav Trajer (Jewish community of Novi Sad), Mina Momčilović (Jewish community of Novi Sad), Branka Banjanin  (Jewish community of Subotica), i Vladimir Arsenic (Jewish community of Zrenjanin).

SUMMARY AND ACTION POINTS 

The online event was designed to raise awareness and build effective communication between law enforcement and the Jewish community in Serbia to address its security needs. Participants at the event represented the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Office for Human and Minority Rights of Serbia and the Federation of the Jewish Communities of Serbia. ODIHR, WJC, the OSCE Mission to Serbia, and the National Hate Crime Policy Lead of the United Kingdom National Police Chiefs’ Council provided expert support and facilitated the meeting. A total of 10 women and 12 men participated in the event. 

The presentations and discussions revealed that, on the local level, the co-operation between law enforcement and the Serbian Jewish community functions well. The further extension of this good cooperation to the central level and the development of a systemic approach by law enforcement toward anti-Semitic incidents would be welcomed by the Jewish community. The meeting identified several points for further co-operation between the national authorities and the Jewish community and the OSCE Mission to Serbia. 

The online event resulted in the commitment to the following action points:

•    The Jewish Community will follow up with the OSCE Mission to Serbia, the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Office for Human and Minority Rights how they may jointly improve the coordination between public authorities and civil society in Serbia; 
•    The OSCE Mission to Serbia will continue to provide support to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and to the Ministry of Interior to raise the capacity of police officers on issues relating to discrimination and hate crime. Good practice examples of direct communication between police and the Jewish Community will be used within this capacity building; 
•    The OSCE Mission to Serbia will explore opportunities to co-operate with and involve the Jewish Community, particularly youth, in implementing its activities;
•    The Jewish Community will submit information and data for the ODIHR Annual Hate Crime Report;
•    ODIHR and the OSCE Mission to Serbia will propose implementing the Information Against Hate Crimes Toolkit (INFAHCT) training programme to the national authorities of Serbia;
•    ODIHR, together with the Jewish Community, will translate ODIHR’s Understanding Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes and Addressing the Security Needs of Jewish Communities: A Practical Guide into the Serbian language;
•    ODIHR will reach out to all stakeholders to review the development of the co-operation and communication between the Jewish Community and the Serbian authorities in the first quarter of 2022. 


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