Partners for Democratic Change Serbia (Partners Serbia) is a civil society organization devoted to upholding the rule of law, supporting civil society and institutional development in Serbia and the region, and building local capacity through a reliance on local expertise. Partners Serbia specializes in the fields of rule of law, democracy and human rights, protection of privacy, alternative dispute resolution, change and conflict management, and anti-discrimination.
Established in 2008, Partners Serbia builds on the 10-year experience and expertise developed through the USAID funded ABA/CEELI rule of law project and activities of a number of civil society organizations in country and the region.
Partners Serbia conducted five projects in the field of protection of privacy from October 2010. Partners Serbia implemented a project “Personal Data Protection as a Basic Human Right” supported by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia. Within the project a number of activities were organized in 6 cities in Serbia and an electronic newsletter was launched to promote privacy and awareness of the need for a comprehensive implementation of the Law. In January 2013, this internet platform was launched with the aim of raising public awareness on the protection of personal data. Concurrently, Partners Serbia implemented “Protection of Privacy”, a project funded by the USAID Judicial Reform and Government Accountability (JRGA) program that explores to what extent Personal Data Protection Las is implemented in Serbia. Analysis of implementation of Personal Data Protection Law in Serbia is available online. With the support of Fund for an Open Society Serbia, Partners Serbia organized two 5-day specialized trainings on protection of privacy for 40 representatives of CSOs in total. Moreover, with the support from the same donor, Partners Serbia organized number of one-day seminars and panel discussions for representatives of state authorities, local self-government, organizational units and the Ministry of Interior, civil society organizations, and centers for social work. Through a separate project funded by the USAID media program IREX, five one-day trainings on protection of privacy were organized for representatives of media organizations and journalists‘ associations. Finally, three years in a row, Partners Serbia mark the International Personal Data Protection Day on 28th of January each year.
Currently, Partners Serbia implements a number of projects in the fields of criminal legislation reforms, accents to justice, anti-corruption and anti-discrimination. Partners Serbia organizes training of attorneys and attorney-trainees in Serbia, through a project supporting application of the new Criminal Procedure Code, in partnership with the ABA ROLI and in cooperation with the Bar Association of Serbia, supported by the U.S. Department of State – INL. In cooperation with the Nis Bar Association and Municipality of Bujanovac, Partners Serbia have also established a pilot Free Legal Aid system in south Serbia, through a project funded by the Berlin-based organization CSSP and funded by the Austrian Development Agency and British Embassy in Belgrade.
Through a project supported by DEU and Government of Republic of Serbia, Office for Cooperation with the Civil Society, Partners Serbia supports a comprehensive community-based system to fight against corruption on the basis of active civil society participation and implementation of international strategies.
Partners Serbia has developed a distinctive expertise in mediation training, coaching and mentoring, assisting different institutions, from state bodies to commercial subjects, in developing systems for providing mediation services to their staff and clients. In a project implemented in cooperation with the World Bank IFC, Partners Serbia led, developed, and delivered a 3-stage mediation training program to over 400 attorneys, working in cooperation with the bar associations of Belgrade, Nis, Cacak, Kragujevac and Vojvodina as implementing partners. Currently, Partners Serbia works with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia on supporting its Center for Service and Mediation in providing for services of institutional mediation in financial restructuring processes, with the overall goal of improving the business, finncial and investment environment in Serbia. In cooperation with the Commissioner for Protection of Equality (CPE) and with the support of the Delegation of the EU to Serbia and Sigrid Rausing Trust, Partners Serbia works on promoting and enabling the use of mediation in addressing discrimination in Serbia and develops a mediation case management system within this institution. Partners Serbia provided legislative drafting assistance to the Ministry of Justice of Serbia by participating in the working group drafting the new Law on Mediation and new Law on free Legal Aid.
Important Projects and Activities
Raising public awareness about privacy, through “Personal Data Protection as a Basic Human Right” project funded by the European Union.
Analysis of implementation of Personal Data Protection Law in Serbia through a “Protection of Privacy” project funded by USAID Judicial Reform and Government Accountability (JRGA) program.
Specialized trainings on privacy protection for CSO representatives and one day seminars for various personal data controllers with the support of Fund for an Open Society Serbia and the USAID media program IREX.
Supporting implementation of new Criminal Procedure Code, through training of attorneys and attorney trainees in Serbia, in partnership with American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative and with the support of U.S. Department of State – Bureau for International narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL);
Supporting the Commissioner for Anti-Discrimination in Serbia by building the capacity of attorneys, CSOs and other legal-aid providers to properly address and resolve discrimination cases through the use mediation, through a project funded by the Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Serbia;
With the support of the EU Technical Assistance for Civil Society Organisations Office in Serbia, creating a network of organizations promoting alternative dispute resolution mechanisms (ADR Network), aimed at lobbying the Government of Serbia and its ministries to accept and promote ADR techniques,
Drafting the Action Plan for Implementation of Mediation in Serbia, in cooperation with the World Bank IFC;
Building the capacity of corporate attorneys and commercial companies to use mediation in resolving commercial disputes, through a project implemented in cooperation with the World Bank IFC and supported by the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
Establishing a pilot Free Legal Aid system in south Serbia in cooperation with the bar association of Nis and the Municipality of Bujanovac, through a project funded by the Berlin-based organization CSSP and funded by the Austrian Development Agency;
Partners Serbia is a member of international network Partners for Democratic Change International (PDCI). This network has a 20-year track record of unparalleled success in promoting democracy and human rights, strengthening local organizations in transitioning countries to become sustainable, effective partners to other social sectors in creating good governance and a culture of democratic, peaceful change management. Through 19 independent local centers worldwide (www.partnersglobal.org), PDCI is able to implement local and transnational initiatives, and has worked in over 50 countries to strengthen citizen participation, good governance, empowerment of the disadvantaged, and the rule of law.
office (at) partners-serbia.org