Deputy Protectors of Citizens, Mr. Slobodan Tomić, Ms. Nataša Tanjević and Ms. Jelena Stojanović together with the Secretary General of the Secretariat of the Protector of Citizens, Ms. Olja Jovičić, participated today in a video conference attended by more than 20 EU member states Ombudsmen representatives as well as the Ombudsmen from the states in the EU accession process.

The main topic of the conference, organized by the European Union Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly, was related to the impacts of the health crisis caused by the coronavirus in the field of human and minority rights, especially in exercising and observing the rights of vulnerable groups (the elderly, migrants, persons deprived of liberty), and also to the repercussions for the healthcare and social system and further democratic and economic development of states.

Deputy Protector of Citizens, Nataša Tanjević, said that since the declaration of the state of emergency in Serbia (15 March 2020), the Protector of Citizens was paying special attention to the respect for and protection of human rights in Serbia. The institution was available to citizens seven days a week, through a large number of newly opened telephone lines, by filing complaints via e-mail and by going out on the field. In the protection of human rights, special attention was paid to vulnerable groups, the protection of the rights of children, women, national minorities, persons with disabilities, migrants and persons deprived of liberty.

Ms. Tanjević said that during that period, NPM representatives continued visiting the institutions for the enforcement of penal sanctions, in order to check how measures to contain coronavirus were implemented and how in those circumstances the exercise of fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty was ensured. In addition, several migrants and asylum seekers reception centers were visited, in order to monitor how they were treated. The NPM opened a special hotline that was available all 7 days a week from 8 am to 10 pm and responded to each complaint. The outcome of these activities were Recommendations issued to the authorities to rectify the identified shortcomings in the work.