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Secretary general of the professional service of the Protector of Citizens, Olja Jovicic, participated in the conference of the highest representatives of the European institutions for equality “Towards effective equality – new responses to racism and intolerance” in Paris on the occassion of the 25th anniversary of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance of the Council of Europe (ECRI). The conference was held on September 26-27, 2019, within the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Council of Europe.

The main topics of the conference were mutual cooperation in the field of equality protection, the most effective ways to build an inclusive society, the benefits and risks of using new technologies, as well as the future of the idea of equality and combating racism and intolerance.

The aim of the conference was to formulate a common strategy and plan activities that will meet the biggest challenges in Europe in these areas.

Assistant secretary general, Natasa Jovic, and the Head of the Cabinet of the Protector of Citizens, Marija Podunavac, participated in the regular annual conference of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, held in Belfast from 25 to 27 September.

The theme of this year's conference were the rights of the child in the digital environment, both from the point of view of protecting children on the Internet and from the point of view of promoting the rights of the child to information, participation, expression, association and the exercise of other rights and freedoms of the child through the use of information technology (IT). A significant part of the conference was dedicated to the participation of children, through the European Network of Young Advisers, which is made up of children, who gave their own assessment of the rights of the child in the digital environment, their perceptions of the risks they are exposed to and their views on how children can be provided with knowledge and skills for responsible and secure use of IT. Particularly significant is the fact that children indicate that adult attention is predominantly focused on the risks to children's safety when using IT, and less on the benefits that children undoubtedly derive from information technology.

Assistant secretary general, Natasa Jovic, presented experiences, achievements and challenges in Serbia at a workshop dedicated to safeguards and strategic documents in the field of child protection in the digital environment. She emphasized that Serbia has ratified all key international treaties that are important for the protection of children in the digital environment, and that it has a national legal framework that provides a very good basis for establishing and developing mechanisms for protecting children in the digital environment.

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, met with representatives of the media associations of Serbia today in order to jointly determine all details regarding the proposal for a Cooperation Agreement in the area of establishing a Platform for the protection and improvement of security of journalists in Serbia. The meeting was initiated by the Coalition of journalists' and media associations due to certain ambiguities in the text of the proposal of the Agreement, according to which the first online platform in Serbia for recording all cases of security threats and pressures on journalists and media workers will be launched.

At today's meeting, the coalition representatives suggested that relevant professional associations, which have the “name, membership and work experience behind them”, should participate in the development of the online platform. It was also proposed that the existing databases of NUNS, UNS and the Permanent working group for the security of journalists should be used, which contain recorded cases of attacks and pressures on journalists and media workers. This would be an opportunity to unite these databases in order to obtain as accurate a record as possible of the journalists and media workers at risk, said the meeting participants. In order to operate the online platform as efficiently as possible – as explained by the coalition's representatives – it is first necessary to define the term pressure and what can be considered as pressure. Therefore, every application must be thoroughly checked in order to avoid any possible misuse. The next meeting will be held later this month.

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, submitted to the media associations at the end of July a proposal for a Cooperation Agreement in the area of establishing a Platform for the protection and improvement of security of journalists between the Protector of Citizens and Partners, which was drawn up after a series of meetings with journalists from all over Serbia.

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, said in Novi Pazar today that the position of national minorities in Serbia is good when it comes to laws, but that sometimes it takes more time to resolve certain problems.
During the third quarterly meeting with presidents of the national councils of national minorities, he said that minorities in Serbia mostly complain about their legal rights to use their native language, written and spoken, as well as in education.

“You know that we have corrected the problem of registering citizenship in travel documents for representatives of national minorities. When representatives of national minorities complain to us, we take their problems extremely seriously and in most cases resolve them”, said Zoran Pasalic.

Bosniak National Council (BNV) president, Jasmina Curic, said that as host of the rally, Pasalic would point out to the numerous unresolved issues of Bosniaks.

After the control visit to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis in May, when the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, while checking compliance with the previously made recommendations, in addition to the employees in the institution also talked to the persons deprived of their liberty, a large number of them subsequently complained to the institution, complaining, among other things, about inadequate prison conditions, insufficient number of medical staff and insufficient health care.

Guided by a large number of complaints of persons deprived of their liberty addressed at the institution, the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, together with the representatives of the Department for urgent action, made an unannounced visit today to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis and the detention unit in Pirot. On that occasion, he conducted several direct conversations with persons deprived of their liberty, which was a way to become more familiar with the cases of complaints and to look at the on-site possibilities for overcoming them, but also to solve the identified problems and omissions in the work of the institution.

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