Montenegro declared its independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in June 2006. The state of human rights in Montenegro seems to be better compared to other countries in the region. However, at the present the country is still facing the serious violations of human rights, especially in the areas of freedom of expression, media freedom, and lack of accountability for the committed war crimes, torture and ill-treatment as well as other economic, social and cultural rights. These issues triggered the civil society organizations in Montenegro to become active on the scene and advocate for the protection of human rights of citizens and marginalized groups in Montenegrin society. This article, therefore, offers a brief overview of the most active civil society and human rights organizations in Montenegro.
1. Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Montenegro (YIHR)
The Youth Initiative is a regional network of non-governmental organizations on the territories of Kosovo, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The work of the YIHR is based on the conviction that civil liberties and human rights serve as a basis for an open and advanced society. The mission of YIHR active in Montenegro is to actively and qualitatively contribute to development of society in the country. The organization is dedicated to the protection of victims of human rights violations, promotion of the rule of law and democratic political culture. The activities that the YIHR often implements are research, monitoring and documenting of human rights violations as well as providing free legal assistance to the victims of human rights violations and public representation aimed at improving their position.
The Infomont is a non-governmental and non-profit youth organizations founded in 2004. The organization works as an Internet-based network and it is active in using the Internet as a tool to connect people and promote its goals. The members of Infomont are young professionals, civil society activists and contributors located in different parts of Montenegro, Europe and the world. The Infomont’s work is focused on areas of culture, fostering European values, civic engagement, open democratic society, sustainable development, tourism and education. The goal of the organization is to help Montenegro to become progressive, developed and open society through educating and engaging the citizens.
3. Centre for Civil Education (CCE)
The CCE was established in 2002 with a vision of Montenegro becoming a democratic society of responsible citizens. The mission of the organization is to contribute to the development of civil society and participation of citizens in policy shaping and decision-making through education in the field of human rights, democracy and European integrations. The CCE is active in encouraging the citizens of Montenegro to be active in building an open society based on the rule of law and equal opportunities. The organization’s projects revolve around monitoring and promotion of anti-corruption policies, research and analysis of policies related to democratization, advocating for fact-finding on human rights violations during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, affirmation of freedom of expression and media freedoms and improvement of the status of minorities and marginalized groups.
The MANS is a non-governmental organization active in fighting against corruption and organized crime that affect the society in Montenegro. The MANS sees Montenegro as a fair, open and free society of active citizens and the government that serves the public interest. The organization is active in investigating concrete cases of corruption and organized crime, monitoring the implementation of legislation and government policy, providing free legal assistance to citizens, civil society organizations, media and businesses and conducting advocacy campaigns.
5. Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro (AYDM)
The AYDM was founded in 2001 in Podgorica with a goal to stimulate and involve the persons with disabilities in all segments of social and economic life with a focus on education and employment. The organization is actively working in providing basic conditions in all educational institutions in Montenegro for all young people with disabilities and preparing them to obtain higher education. The organization educates young people with disabilities about their rights, possibilities and needs and implements the activities which aim at improving their skills and strengthen their personality.
6. Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM)
The CEDEM is a think tank organization and association of citizens that was established in to advance and spread conscience on importance of proper and successful democratic transition as well as to research, analyze and follow this process and contribute to the strengthening of civil society and democratization in general. The CEDEM organizes various conferences, roundtables, meetings, workshops and trainings in order to encourage the process of democratic transition and influence the legislative processes in Montenegro. It closely operates with other non-governmental organizations with a similar areas of interest from Montenegro, the region and abroad.
7. Center for Democratic Transition (CDT)
The CDT is a non-governmental organization that envisages Montenegro as civic society, society of knowledge and equal opportunities based on democratic values and achievements. It strives to promote democratic values in Montenegro and assist in accomplishing honest and accountable government, active and informed citizens as well as dynamic civil society. The activities of the organizations are fostering of public dialogue, education of political actors and advocacy and monitoring of institutions, processes and policies.
8. Green Home
The Green Home was established by a group of graduated students of biology science in 2000. The organization appeared from the need for participation of great number of citizens in protection and conservation of environment and taking an active role in civil society development through respect for biodiversity and efforts in sustainable development. The Green home operates in the programs of environmental protection and energy. It is dedicated to improving environment and foster a sustainable future by working in local communities as well as on the national level. In order to achieve its goals, the organization works with different stakeholders in order to foster partnerships to achieve healthy environment.
9. New Horizon
The New Horizon was founded in 1999 in Ulcinj with a mission to increase the participation of citizens in local processes by contributing to development of democracy and promoting good governance. The New Horizon works on articulating local communities’ needs and mobilizing groups of citizens, other non-governmental organizations and governmental bodies in order to increase awareness on the necessity of participation of citizens in decision-making processes at all levels of governance. The three main areas on which the organization focuses are women and youth program, good governance and inter-ethnic dialogue program.