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b_280_0_16777215_00_images_Milica.jpegIn order to promote and affirm child rights in our country within the event "Children's Week” scheduled this year from 5 to 11 October in altered circumstances due to the epidemiological concerns, the Protector of Citizens made a video featuring celebrities who addressed the children from Serbia and extended their support.

Famous basketball player Milica Dabović, actor Miloš Petrović and "YouTube" performer Vuk Vukašinović addressed the children about the protection from bad influences, the need to pursue their dreams and not give up what they love, as well as about all their rights.

The video may be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaDGz8chkw4.

 

Citizens' appeals to the inspection bodies in the city of Belgrade regarding smoke, steam and odors coming from catering facilities, especially those operating within residential buildings, indicate not only the frequency of such situations, but also the need for more precise legal regulations, as further requirements for performing such activities are not specified.

Therefore, in the Opinion issued to the City of Belgrade, the Protector of Citizens indicates to the necessity to regulate additionally the requirements for equipping catering facilities, relevant to smoke, steam and odor exhaustion, taking into account, above all, the efficient environmental protection against these harmful influences, in accordance with the powers delegated to local self-government units by the Law on Hospitality.

Accessibility of the environment, services and information is a prerequisite for establishing social contacts, independence and inclusion of persons with disabilities in everyday life. At the online panel, Secretary General of the Protector of Citizens’ Secretariat, Ms. Olja Jovičić added that the existence of different types of barriers in the environment, however, prevented a large number of public space beneficiaries from exercising those rights.

Four years ago, the Protector of Citizens, in cooperation with the Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, established the local self-government units award for contributing to the development of all forms of accessibility in their territory with a view to raising awareness on the importance of accessibility. Ms. Jovičić reminded that for the fourth time in a row, the Protector of Citizens announced a public call this year for awards to cities, municipalities and city municipalities that in 2018 had contributed the most to the development of all forms of accessibility in their territory, and that the decision on awarded initiatives was underway.

The Accessibility Award was set up as an expression of a need to achieve a more inclusive society in Serbia, to point out the breakthroughs of individuals or institutions in creating good practice examples, which contribute to improving the quality of life of all persons and to promote such examples of good practice in order to achieve their broad application. We strive for a society where each and every person will be enabled to live independently and participate in every walk of life on an equal footing as all the others and accessibility is a prerequisite for everybody’s full participation in the society, Ms. Jovičić has pointed out.

In addition to Secretary General Ms. Olja Jovičić, the panelists were the representatives of the US Agency for International Development, Team for Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Serbian Philanthropic Forum, Eurobank, as well as the representatives of city municipalities and institutions from Serbia.

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_Panel.jpegThe return to school desks, regular classes and meeting peers during the breaks are principal wishes of elementary and secondary school students all over Serbia expressed by the Institution’s Youth Advisory Panel members in a discussion with Ms. Jelena Stojanović, the Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights.

“We wish to attend school daily and have regular classes. Those of us who enrolled in high schools this year have not yet met the other half of the class. If cafes and clubs are allowed to work, then we may attend school normally as well", states one of the participants in a meeting held via Zoom due to the current epidemiological concerns.

Most of the participants in the meeting confirmed that they missed going to school daily, in-person teaching, as well as the opportunity to immediately ask the teachers anything they were interested in. They also complained about the online classes’ organization, particularly the fact that in some schools, students from one group sent to friends from another group what had been taught at school that day, so the omissions occurred.

Another disadvantage is the fact that they have to prepare on their own for tests in different subjects scheduled in the same week.

Youth Advisory Panel representatives told the Protector of Citizens’ expert associates that due to the organization of classes via the Internet, they had little spare time for socializing and free activities. In their words, they mostly miss socializing at school.

Today, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić pointed out that domestic violence was not a problem of an individual family but of the whole society, and he advocated that victims of domestic violence, most frequently women and children, be provided with an urgent examination by forensic doctors to establish evidence of the committed act and determine a cause-and-effect link between the act and the consequences of the violence.

“We demand that domestic violence victims be enabled to immediately and properly record what happened before going to court, so that it does not happen, what happens in a vast majority of cases, that the victim changes his/her statement during the court procedure” Mr. Pašalić said on the occasion of presenting “Protector of Citizens’ Special Report on the Work of Groups for Coordination and Cooperation in the City of Belgrade territory " in the Palace of Serbia which was attended in-person by nearly 30 representatives of prosecutor's offices, courts, social welfare centers, misdemeanor courts, other state authorities and NGOs, while around 70 participants followed the presentation of the special report via Zoom.

Mr. Pašalić highlighted that check-ups of the domestic violence victims should be carried out at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Belgrade, but also in other major centers in Serbia, so that even if the victim later changed his/her statement and denied experiencing violence, the perpetrator of the violence would be appropriately punished.

At present, we have a situation where a domestic violence victim goes to the Emergency Center where traumas are identified, but the cause-and-effect link of violence is not established, thus leaving room for the perpetrator not to be punished for the committed acts, Mr. Pašalić added.

The Protector of Citizens stated that such examinations would be affordable and emphasized that he would ask local self-governments, courts, prosecutor's offices and the police to uphold the project, and forensic medicine professors to organize trainings for addressing domestic violence cases.

The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. Gilles Beschoor Plug, stated that domestic violence still existed not only in Serbia but also in all countries, including the Netherlands, and expressed satisfaction that the Dutch Embassy could support such initiatives in our country.

A member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Ms. Genoveva Tisheva, joined the presentation via Zoom application and pointed out that paying attention to violence against women at the time of the pandemics was of critical importance, and that the Committee did not wish for the impunity of the perpetrators to be continued.

She also drew attention to a case pending before the CEDAW Committee based on an application filed by a civil society organization v. Moldova related to domestic violence against a woman with a disability resulting in tragic consequences due to the failure of the competent authorities to take measures. In addition to monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in the Convention member states and issuing concluding comments and recommendations to the states, the Committee is drafting a Guide for the Implementation of Committee General Comment No. 35 on Gender-Based Violence against Women.

Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights and Gender Equality, Ms. Jelena Stojanović stated that in order to achieve success in preventing domestic violence, in addition to the existing sound normative framework, there was a need for continuous education of employees handling domestic violence cases paired with sufficient number of professional staff in Social Welfare Centers, which the Protector of Citizens has frequently pointed out and required the Ministry of Labor to ensure it.

During the presentation of the report, Ms. Stojanović stated that it was necessary to work on improving the knowledge of all citizens to recognize violence and to react when they notice it, emphasizing that although the report referred to cases in the City of Belgrade, we must reach out to every citizen of Serbia in every part of Serbia.

During the event, Ms. Stojanović and the representatives of the Autonomous Women's Center, Ms. Vanja Macanović and Ms. Tanja Ignjatović, presented the gathered data, conclusions and recommendations.

The special report is the starting point for the project "Effective Policies and Unified Practices in Support to and Protection of Domestic Violence Survivors ", implemented by the Autonomous Women's Center, in cooperation with the Protector of Citizens and the Forum of Judges of Serbia, with the financial support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Protector of Citizens and the NGO Autonomous Women’s Center, with the support of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, drafted the report.

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