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14 June 2006

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Procedure for Preparation of National Gender Equality Policy Not Serious Enough

The Government’s Gender Equality Office finished, at the start of last week, the Draft-National Policy for Promotion of Gender Equality 2006-2010. The draft was submitted to the Working Group for preparation of the document, with a review deadline of three days only, while simultaneously being submitted to all administrative bodies and local commissions. This action provoked strong protests with all involved participants.

Gordana Sobol, the Chairperson of the Sabor Committee on Gender Equality, submitted her resignation in the Working Group last Thursday, June 8. She said in her public statement that the Government approached the preparation of the document in a less then serious manner.

“It is attempt to, as before, do everything quickly, which could result in a document that won’t be of any practical value and of questionable applicability”, said Sobol.

Furthermore, she assumed that this was an attempt to compensate for the lost time, having in mind that the National Policy also covers 2006, in spite of the fact that, due to the lack of diligence on the behalf of the Government, it probably won’t be ready for adoption by this Autumn.

The Croatian Women Network also reacted to the procedure of preparation of the National Policy. Bojana Genov, CWN Coordinator and member of the Working Group, sent an open letter to the Gender Equality Office and the Vice-President of the Government Jadranka Kosor.

CWN considers the fact that the Gender Equality Office sent the Draft to the administrative bodies prior to the Working Group presenting its opinion on the document totally unacceptable and questioned the rationale of setting such a short deadline for comments and approximation of positions in the Working Group.

”The hinted urgency is totally unsuited, having in mind that only five meetings of the Working Group were held, with over five months passing between sessions 4 and 5. The treatment of a body established by the Government points out at the fact that NGOs are used just a decoration for the system”, states CWN.

When preparing such a document, public debate is necessary not only to provide for its quality, but also to raise public sensibility on the issue. Therefore, CWN proposed a longer deadline, at least till the end of June 2006, for comments and the public debate that would include the obligation to publish the draft-Document on the web.

The Draft National Policy for Promotion of Fender Equality is available for downloads at the CWN website.

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