Monday, 2 January 2012 00:00 |

Citizens are concerned about bad administration

Vеčеrnjе nоvоsti, 2 January 2012

V. C. Spаsојеvić

In 2011, the office of the Protector of Citizens received 9,000 complaints and was contacted by 30,000 citizens. In 700 cases, the problem was solved just by sending a notification about the citizen’s complaint filed with the Protector of Citizens. Citizens often complain about unreasonable administrative procedures.

This is how the Protector of Citizens, Sаšа Јаnkоvić, summarises the past year for Novosti. He adds that in such an administrative environment many rights remain unfulfilled: access to personal identification documents, health care, inviolability of property, healthy environment ... Also, he says, there are still a lot of complaints about the work of courts, which are excluded from the control of the Protector of Citizens, but citizens keep complaining.

- In Serbia, so many violations of citizen rights occur on a daily basis as a consequence of errors in the work of administration, that no individual could rectify them in a whole year. The administration too often sees citizens as redundant cases, while they see the administration staff as a privileged and corrupt group of slackers – says Janković, adding that such a relationship exists because the administration bodies sometimes employ those who should not be in such position. As he points out, the employment in public sector is a "tool of social policy and a part of political party loot" and not the way to perform public work as effectively as possible.


- However, the Protector of Citizens has succeeded in showing that not only in the highly developed countries is it possible to change the way the authorities treat their citizens even without an executive power, through recommendations. In more than 700 cases, it was sufficient to notify about the citizen’s complaint and the initiation of control procedure, in order to rectify the errors. In hundreds of other procedures, the control was conducted completely and concluded by issuing recommendations that were implemented ​​- says Janković.

Nevertheless, he adds that the Protector of Citizens should not be the first instance addressed by citizens. They should first try to rectify injustice in the authority in which they encounter problems or in the authorities supervising the authority in question. Only when they face the administrative barrier should they address the Protector of Citizens.

- The problem in Serbia is that too often there is no solution in the place where the problem occurs, so that too many cases end up with the Protector of Citizens – concludes the Protector of Citizens and announces that for the first half of 2012, until the expiry of his term, he has prepared with his associates a series of measures to demonstrate that the relationship between citizens and administration does not need be hostile:

- If in 2012 we move in that direction and begin to return smiles to the faces of people on both sides of the counter, it will be a good year.

DUTIES AND AWARDS – Apart from being assigned new duties in 2011, to work on the prevention of violation of rights and freedoms in addition to his control related tasks, the Protector of Citizens was also granted the highest, “A” status in the international environment of national human rights institutions under the auspices of the UN.

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