On Otober 11thUN Serbia in cooperation with ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association, its member organizations in Serbia, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in Serbia and UN Global Compact in Serbia launched the Standards of Conduct for Business “Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Intersex People”.
The Standards, are the first to be launched in an Eastern European country and to be translated into a local language. As the first of this kind to be introduced, they have been already endorsed by 3 major companies operating in Serbia: ERNST & Young, ERSTE Bank and Hemofarm.
At the launching forum, representatives of the United Nations, business community and civil society organizations discussed the importance of these standards being launched in Serbia and the South-Eastern European region as well as debating on the business case for LGBTI inclusion.
The first panel aimed to provide some initial insight on the situation of LGBTI persons in the labor marked in Serbia and discuss the business case, i.e. the role that the private sector has to play in changing attitudes towards LGBTI people.
The second panel looked more in-depth into the business case from the perspective of LGBTI activists and business representatives who provided argumentation on why LGBTI rights should be protected and actively promoted within and outside of the company environment.
Representatives from Civil Society explained the challenges that LGBTI persons face in the work environment and the need for active engagement on this issue. Meanwhile representatives of companies expressed support for addressing such issues as a reflection of a company's values even in contexts where speaking for such issues is complex and challenging.
Produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, the standards build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. The standards provide guidance to companies to ensure that human rights of LGBTI persons are respected, that there is no discrimination in the workplace, that there is a positive and affirmative environment for LGBTI employees. Additionally, the standards encourage companies to prevent discrimination in the marketplace by not discriminating towards LGBTI suppliers, distributors and consumers. Also, they should act in the public sphere by contributing to stopping human rights abuses in the countries in which they operate.
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey is continuing engagement and communication with the United Nations Human Rights Office to explore the possibility of these standards being translated and launched in other countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey region.
To read the Standards in English language CLICK HERE
To read the Standards in Serbian language CLICK HERE