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August 10, 2022
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Human Rights in the Time of Crisis: Virtual Conference for the Western Balkans

Yesterday marked the start of the South East European Legal Days, a three-day virtual conference to enhance and develop cooperation in the rule of law and respect for human rights in the Western Balkans.

This year’s event consists of six different panel discussions related to ‘Human rights in times of crisis’. The first panel, entitled ‘Human rights in a State of Emergency’ brought together legal experts from across the region to discuss the various measures and human rights derogation brought about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his opening address, Civil Rights Defenders Director for Europe, Goran Miletic, explained that “despite the challenges this year, we have been able to deliver a programme which is comprehensive, yet speaks to the heart of the issues faced by human rights lawyers and activists in the current climate. Civil society must continue to work together and share experiences as we enter a new wave of lockdown measures.”

Marc Lassman, the Cheif of Party of the USAID Rule of Law Project, which supported the project said: “the pandemic has left all countries facing the difficult task of trying to balance protecting public health and safety, economic interests, and safeguarding the basic human rights of their citizens, which no one in the world has been completely prepared for. We hope the discussions over the next few days result in actionable measures that can be undertaken by citizens, public institutions, courts, legal professionals, civil society, and students to meet the unique and unprecedented challenges that we are all currently facing, and move us all to a more fair, just, and equitable future.”

Subsequent panel discussions will focus on Article 19: How do we protect the right to receive and impart information; Transparency of the process of enrolment and education of future judges and prosecutors (Panel of the Judicial Academy); Human rights at law faculties (Panel of the Council of Europe); Becoming a human rights lawyer; Gender equality in the Western Balkans.

The project is supported by USAID Rule of Law Project and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

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