General legal framework

AuthorKrstic, Ivana
2 General legal framework
2.1 Constitution
2.1.1 Constitutional ban on sex discrimination
The Serbian Constitution12 in Article 21(3) contains the general anti-discrimination clause,
prohibiting any direct or indirect discrimination on any grounds, including sex and gender.
On the other hand, it does not explicitly cover marital status, gender, gender identity,
sexual orientation and pregnancy, although these grounds are particularly linked to
women’s position in a society.
Article 15 of the Constitution guarantees gender equality and states: ‘The State shall
guarantee the equality of women and men and develop equal opportunities policy’.
However, the provisions of the Constitution are not written in gender sensitive language.
2.1.2 Other constitutional protection of equality between men and women
Apart from the two articles mentioned above, the Constitution also contains Article 62
which guarantees the equality of spouses, and stipulates in Paragraph 3 that ‘Conclusion,
duration or dissolution of marriage shall be based on the equality of man and woman’. The
Constitution prohibits forced labour and all forms of human trafficking.13 It also guarantees
parental rights based on gender equality, special protection of reproductive rights and the
right to asylum for fear of gender-based persecution.14 Furthermore, Article 110 provides
the basis for equality in parliamentary life, as it stipulates that equality and representation
of different genders must be realised, in accordance with the law.
However, the Constitution guarantees freedom to procreate,15 stating that everyone shall
have the freedom to decide whethe r they shall procreate or not and does not confirm
women's reproductive rights.
2.2 Equal treatment legislation
In Serbia, there is a general anti-discrimination law (the Law on the Prohibition of
Discrimination), as well as specific legislation which covers only gender (the Gender
Equality Act). However, the LPD in Article 2(1) prohibits discrimination on the following
grounds: race, skin colour, ancestors, citizenship, national affiliation or ethnic origin,
language, religious or political beliefs, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, financial
position, birth, genetic characteristics, health, disability, marital and family status,
previous convictions, age, appearance, membership in political, trade union and other
organisations. It is an open clause and provides protection from discrimination based on
‘other real or presumed personal characteristic.’
The Law on Equality between Sexes (GEA)16 proclaims gender equality in Serbia in all
areas of public and private life. The adoption of this law marked an important step towards
integrating the international standards and EU Directives on gender equality and non-
discrimination in the Serbian legal framework. Serbia is committed to acceptance of the
EU acquis concerning, among others, gender equality, and to implement it fully by the
time it accesses to EU membership. The GEA obliges public authorities to develop active
equal opportunity policies in all spheres of public life in all phases of planning, formulating
12 The Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, No. 98/2006.
13 Article 26(2) of the Constitution.
14 Article 57 of the Constitution.
15 Article 63 of the Constitution.
16 Gender Equality Act, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, No. 104/2009. This law was adopted on 11
December 2009 and entered into force on 25 December 2009.

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