Project: Mapping (Non)Discrimination Discourse in Military Education

We research what future officers are taught about discrimination and vulnerable groups

The Centre initiated the project ‘Mapping non discrimination discourse in military education in the Republic of Serbia’. The proposed project aims to analyze the knowledge Serbia’s military system of training and education produces about one of key second generation Security Sector Reform issues – human rights protection and non-discrimination. The project focuses on the presence, context and relevance the following issues are given in the textbooks and handbooks for professional soldiers and officers within the system of military education in Serbia: non-discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion. The project is supported by the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces (DCAF) and Open Society Foundation.

The legislative framework for anti-discrimination in Serbia has been established and upgraded since 2009 with the introduction of key laws and establishment of the institutions entitled to protect individual and collective rights. However, legislative and institutional set-up does not guarantee that anti-discrimination norms will be embodied into the political and social life. The Commissioner for Protection of Equality has already stressed that there are discriminatory norms reproduced throughout system of primary and high education. At the same time numerous organizations for the protection of vulnerable groups’ rights point that there is institutional discrimination.

The Centre’s team will carry out analysis of attitudes toward human rights protection and vulnerable group protection by context analysis of text book materials and additional research throughout focus group and interviews. The purpose of the project is to offer preliminary conclusions on the value system which is promoted in the military education system specifically when it comes to the groups frequently treated in discriminatory manner in the society: women, LGBT, Roma and other ethnic minorities, as well as different religious groups. Our intention is to contribute democratic governance of the security sector by providing independent and external analysis of value system promoted in the military educational system.

We found motives for the project in our previous research on relations between LGBT population and security institutions, but also in ongoing reforms in the defence sector whose important element is the reform of military educational system and its adjustment to the processes in civilian educational system.

Project Team consists of: Svetlana Djurdjevic Lukic, Jelena Radoman, Marija Radoman, Marina Tadic and Aleksandar Njegovan.

The research results will be published in July 2013.