The joint European Union and Council of Europe action “Strengthening human rights protection in Serbia” continues to invest efforts in developing skills and knowledge on human rights matters of future legal professionals through supporting the regional summer school for law school students that took place from 11-14 July in Trebinje. This year's theme of the summer school was "Gender and Human Rights".
Ten students from Serbia had the opportunity to discuss, together with their colleagues from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and North Macedonia the need to educate and sensitise future lawyers, as well as key stakeholders in the fight against wrong and toxic ideas, beliefs and conviction related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Through the form of a living library, students got a direct insight into the everyday life of LGBTQI people, the obstacles they face on a personal, emotional, and professional level, but also reflected on the regulation of legal status as a precondition for the enjoyment of all other human rights. The intensive work included the analysis of case-law of the European Court of Human Rights including such controversial questions as the participation of transgender persons in professional sports competitions.
Raising awareness and deconstructing stereotypes of the law school students is vital in shaping future professionals who will contribute, through their work, to the change in the national legal framework and practices with the aim to ensure basic human and social rights of the discriminated community and individuals, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights standards. As the final event and ceremonial closing of the summer school, the students participated in a moot court simulation regarding a hypothetical case of legal recognition of gender identity, which took place in the premises of the Palace of Justice of Trebinje.
This activity was implemented within the action “Strengthening human rights protection in Serbia” implemented by the Council of Europe within the joint programme of the European Union and the Council of Europe “Horizontal Facility for Western Balkans and Türkiye“. Through this activity the action supported the regional school of human rights organised by the project “Initiative for Legal Certainty and Efficient Judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina – Phase III”.