In the case that reasonably raised doubt about illegal eavesdropping of journalists, a control conducted established there was no eavesdropping, but that the information about the (legitimate) intentions of certain journalists were obtained in a different , improper way, outside the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior. In order to eliminate irregularities the Ombudsman has sent a series of recommendations that the Ministry of the Interior thoroughly implemented, in accordance with the Law, and of which the Ombudsman was informed. This reduces the space for similar irregularities in the future and improves the work of the Ministry of Interior and the respect for citizens' rights.

Ombudsman Saša Janković calls on all participants of the election campaign, as well as the citizens who are being addressed in the elections, for maximum responsibility and tolerance, and respect for the letter and spirit of electoral legislation so that the electoral rights of citizens could be exercised in a truly democratic atmosphere.
The Ombudsman particularly condemns any form of violence, considering it dangerous and harmful in many ways and appeals to all electoral competitors, their members and sympathizers to demonstrate in every situation that political power is not won nor defended by fists and force, but arguments. The citizens of Serbia are entitled to, and deserve a dignified political competition, not unseemly and repulsive scenes.
The Ombudsman points out that the public should be truthfully, timely and comprehensively informed about events of public interest. That right of citizens, stipulated by the Constitution, should be respected by all who inform citizens about events using various means of communication - including the political parties, both those in power and those who aspire to power.
The Republican Ombudsman once again reminds us that the election campaign should not see the use of public services and resources, and that it should meet the health and social needs of citizens. There is no place for aggression in "door to door" campaigns , and the pre-election activities in schools and involving students, or in kindergartens, playrooms and similar spaces with children are illegal and utterly inappropriate. Any compulsion, intimidation or bribery of citizens to support or withdraw support to a certain political option is illicit and punishable.
Ombudsman has recently met with the Head of the election observation mission of the OSCE, Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, to discuss the implementation and protection of the rights of Serbian citizens in free, democratic elections.

The Ombudsman welcomes the activities of the Ministry of Health and the Directorate of Biomedicine in acting on all the recommendations of the Ombudsman in connection with the storage of stem cells and initiating changes in regulations.
Expert Commission of the Republic for transplantation of cells and tissues emphasized, at the instigation of the Directorate of Biomedicine, the advantages of storing stem cells collected from the umbilical cord blood of the newborn in the national banks, of which the Management Board informed the public.
As stated in the act of the Board, the attitude is formed based on the recommendations of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, which gives absolute priority to keeping stem cells to public (national) banks, while any other way of storing and donating stem cells is a personal right of each individual.
The Ministry of Health has submitted an initiative for amending the regulations to allocate part of the resources that parents of newborns pay into the budget of the Republic of Serbia as fee for obtaining approval for the export of cord blood to completion and opening of the public cord blood bank in Serbia at the Institute for Health Protection of Mother and Child of Serbia "Dr. Vukan Čupić".

The Ombudsman welcomes the efforts of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government and the Administrative Inspectorate to act on all recommendations of the Ombudsman, to remove the current flaws and enhance cooperation with citizens and this institution.
In the work to come there will be a timely consideration of all citizens’ addresses and of every complaint of the work of employees, and in accordance with the applicable regulations the applicant should be notified of the position and possible further actions , states the reply of the bodies on the acting on the recommendations of the Ombudsman.
The Chief Administrative Inspector, the Director of the Administrative Inspectorate, adopted a Directive dealing with complaints about the work of the inspectors in order to continue to remove the weaknesses in their work and improve the inspection process.

Strasbourg, 8 July 2015 – “Serbia has to show more resolve in addressing the legacy of the past, to improve the fight against discrimination and to establish a safer media environment” said Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, while releasing the report based on his visit to the country carried out from 16 to 20 March 2015.

The persistent impunity for certain serious human rights violations adversely affects justice and durable peace in the region. “Serbia should urgently address this situation, in particular by strengthening the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office, guaranteeing effective protection to witnesses and ensuring that all victims of serious human rights violations have effective access to justice and to full and effective reparations. Additional efforts are also needed to resolve the pending cases of missing persons in Serbia and in the region.”

Strasbourg, 5 June 2015 – “The current systems of oversight of national security services in Europe remain largely ineffective. Revelations over the last years about security operations which have violated human rights should have prompted reforms in this field, but progress has been disappointingly slow. European countries must now ensure more democratic and effective oversight of what their security services do and avoid future operations leading to new human rights violations,” said today Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights, while presenting a report on this topic.

The report intends to provide guidance to strengthen human rights protection in the field of security services. It sets forth a number of measures necessary for making national oversight systems more effective and the security services accountable and fully compliant with human rights standards.  “Security service activities impact a variety of human rights, including the right to life, to personal liberty and security, and the prohibition of torture or inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment. They also impinge on the right to privacy and family life, as well as the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and fair trial. It is therefore crucial that security services uphold the rule of law and human rights in undertaking their tasks.”

Protector of Citizens Saša Janković submitted on 14 March the Regular Annual Report of the Protector of Citizens for 2014 to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, in accordance with the law. The Report among other things concludes that the situation with regard to the rule of law and legal certainty, respect of the good governance principles, organization and capacity of public administration, implementation of laws and, above all, economic situation was such that it was not possible to guarantee a level of respect of citizens’ rights necessary for dignified life for everyone.

Improvements in certain issues in fields such as health care were not sufficient to change the overall evaluation, but they are praiseworthy. The fact that most of the public authorities respond positively to findings of the Protector of Citizens is also praiseworthy. In 90 percent of cases, those authorities rectified omissions in their operations which harmed citizens’ rights and which were identified by the Protector of Citizens in inspection procedures. A total of 23,340 citizens contacted the Protector of citizens in 2014.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Protector of Citizens expresses his satisfaction with the fact that along with the Bill on Amendments to the Criminal Code, which the Government sent to the National Assembly for adoption in urgent procedure, the Protector of Citizens’ initiative for reviewing the statute of limitations for the prosecution of criminal offence against sexual freedom committed against a child was also accepted. The Protector of Citizens proposed that in the cases of criminal offences against sexual freedom committed against a child, the statute of limitations should commence to run when the child reaches the age of majority.

The previous research and practice indicate that in the majority of these cases the time-limitation expires before the child victim comes of age. The perpetrators of such crimes are usually the individuals close to the child, or in a position of power over the child - warns Protector of Citizens and emphasises that the only fair and proper solution is to allow the child to decide whether to prosecute the perpetrator when he/she reaches the age of majority.

At the same time, the Working Group of the Ministry of Justice is expected to continue to work on improving and modernising the Criminal Code, as announced by this Ministry; it is also expected that all other proposals from the Initiative of the Protector of Citizens, referring to gender-based violence and child protection, will be accepted in the near future. Thus, the Criminal Code would be aligned with the National Strategy for Preventing and Combating Domestic and Partner Relationship Violence against Women, the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, and the standards established by the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which Serbia will, hopefully, accede to soon.

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