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Panel discussion - improving access to compensation for victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence

Skopje 4 November 2019
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Panel discussion - improving access to compensation for victims of human trafficking and gender-based violence

In partnership with the French Embassy in North Macedonia and the Assembly’s Committee for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, the panel discussion was organised on 4 November to increase the awareness and facilitate a dialogue on the importance of compensation for the victims of violence, including victims of gender-based violence and human trafficking. This event also served as an opportunity to mark the 70th anniversary of the Council of Europe and it was held in the Assembly of North Macedonia in Skopje.

In her welcoming remarks, Daniela Rangelova, the Chair of the Committee for Equal Opportunities of Women and Men, stressed that “Republic of North Macedonia has the legal framework to protect the victims of trafficking according to European standards, especially for detection and identification of victims.”

Ambassador Samuel Zbogar, Head of the EU Delegation in North Macedonia stated that “access to compensation is enshrined in all European instruments and compensation sends a message to the victims that the society recognises their suffering.” French Ambassador H.E. Christian Thimonier emphasised that increased co-operation among the member states is needed in order to tackle the issue and that France will support North Macedonia in its efforts.

Mr Villano Qiriazi, the Council of Europe Special Co-ordinator, mentioned that the Council of Europe’s work on the issue of access to compensation is based on the human rights-based approach to criminal justice. “It is based on the assumption that victims of crimes have a right to justice and that criminal justice serves to redress the wrong done to victims,“ he concluded.

The event was attended by representatives of relevant ministries and institutions, embassies, the European Union Delegation, members of the parliament, civil society organisations as well as other key actors in the anti-trafficking field. The participants had the opportunity to present and discuss specific recommendations for actions and measures to be taken by the authorities to comply with the European standards, in particular the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings and Istanbul convention.

During the panel discussion, Mr Nicola Prokopenko from the Ministry of Justice, presented the Draft Law on the payment of monetary compensation to victims of violent criminal offences. He highlighted that the Draft Law has been prepared by the working group, in which representatives of all relevant ministers, civil society organisations and international experts participated. He stressed out that the Draft Law is based on the international standards and takes into account the victims’ needs and rights, including their right to access to information and compensation. He further highlighted that “the Draft Law is based on two principles, firstly on the principle of solidarity and secondly on the prevention of secondary victimisation by creating a speedy and efficient procedure which prevents any further suffering of the victims during the proceedings.”

The event was organised by the Horizontal Facility Action on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in North Macedonia and Supporting Enhanced Access to Higher Quaality Free Legal Aid Services in North Macedonia, which are part of the “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”, a co-operation initiative co-funded by the European Union and the Council of Europe and implemented by the Council of Europe, which aims at assisting beneficiaries in South-East Europe to comply with the Council of Europe standards and European Union acquis in the framework of the enlargement process.


What is the Horizontal Facility II?

The European Union/Council of Europe Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey (Horizontal Facility II) 2019-2022 is a co-operation initiative of the European Union and Council of Europe for the Western Balkans and Turkey. It is one of the results of the Statement of Intent signed on 1 April 2014 by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, in which both Organisations agreed to further strengthen their co-operation in key areas of joint interest.

The first phase of the programme included various Beneficiary-specific and regional initiatives and ran from 2016 to 2019. The second phase of the programme (worth €41 million between 2019 and 2022) keeps building on the results of the phase I and broadens the thematic areas to new topics crucial for the Western Balkans region and Turkey – freedom of expression and media.

The second phase of the programme covers Actions in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia as well as Turkey and the regional dimension of the programme is strengthened. The Expertise Co-ordination Mechanism that provides legislative expertise and policy advice within the Council of Europe system remains an important part of the programme available to all Beneficiaries.

 

How long will the Horizontal Facility II last?

The Horizontal Facility is a three-year programme, which is being implemented by the Council of Europe from May 2019 over a period of 36 months. 

 

How much will the Horizontal Facility II cost?

The envelope of this facility amounts to ca. 41 Million EUR (85% funded by the EU, 15% by the CoE).

 

What will the Horizontal Facility II do?

The Horizontal Facility enables the Beneficiaries to meet their reform agendas in the fields of human rights, rule of law and democracy and to comply with the European standards, including where relevant within the framework of the EU enlargement process. The Horizontal Facility relies on the Council of Europe’s unique working methods, whereby tailor-made technical co-operation activities are based on conclusions and recommendations of the Council of Europe’s monitoring bodies highlight areas where improvements are needed in legislation and policies of the Beneficiaries to comply with the Organisation’s treaties and other standards.

Themes covered by the Horizontal Facility include:

  • Ensuring justice;
  • Fighting economic crime;
  • Combating discrimination and protecting the rights of vulnerable groups (including LGBTI, minorities and Roma) and
  • Freedom of expression and freedom of the media.

All the themes are key priorities of the two Organisations in the Western Balkans region and Turkey.

All Horizontal Facility actions address cross-cutting issues such as gender mainstreaming, protection of minorities and vulnerable groups and foresees the engagement of civil society organisations in the implementation of the Horizontal Facility.

This website has been produced using funds of a Joint Project between the European Union and the Council of Europe. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union or the Council of Europe.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.