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Opinions and Statements

The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pašalić, was given public thanks from Bosnia and Herzegovina Ombudspersons Mr. Ljubinko Mitrović, Ms. Jasminka Džumhur and Ms. Nives Jukić due to his engagement on creating opportunities for those who do not hold the citizenship of the Republic of Serbia, and particularly for the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to get Covid-19 vaccines in our country.

“We are certain that there has been huge personal influence, as well as the influence of the Institutions they head, on the competent Institutions’ decision to provide vaccines to all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who expressed their interest, on the territory of the entire Republic of Serbia," reads the public statement of gratitude of Bosnia and Herzegovina Ombudspersons posted on the Institution’s official web site.

Bosnia and Herzegovina Ombudspersons underscored that more than 22,000 non-citizens of the Republic of Serbia were vaccinated in Serbia in the previous period.

"The decision of the competent institutions to enable all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to get vaccinated on the territory of the Republic of Serbia from 3 June 2021, is an example of humanism, good neighborly relations and further strengthening of mutual cooperation and trust between our countries", said the Ombudspersons of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Today, at the Institution’s seat, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, within the Open Doors practice, talked in-person to citizens who have faced problems with various state bodies’ work, and such meetings are to be organized in cities throughout Serbia in the coming period.

Citizens coming to the Institution of the Protector of Citizens today mostly complained about competent authorities’ inertia in cases of illegal construction, violation of rights regarding work experience recording, communal inspection work and social welfare centers.

The practice of direct interviews in-person with citizens, which Pašalić introduced since his arrival at the head of the Institution, has lasted continuously for three years, and was suspended only temporarily during the state of emergency. After that, direct interviews with citizens were organized depending on the epidemiological situation related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Upon being informed about the alleged ruining of citizens’ health and threating the environment by emitting unpleasant odors by Priboj plastic incineration plant, the Protector of Citizens initiated an investigation to control work legality and regularity of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

In their complaint to the Protector of Citizens, the citizens from Priboj stated that the foul odor from plastic incineration plant, located near hospital, kindergarten and school, could be felt between 10pm and 3am.

The Protector of Citizens has requested the competent ministry to notify him within 15 days whether it has been acquainted with the case, as well as what activities in this regard have been undertaken.

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_Zoran_Paali_foto.jpegToday, on 1 June - the International Children’s Day, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, the Protector of Citizens has stated that Covid-19 pandemic has altered the way people live in the entire world and impacted the exercise of child rights.

"At the onset of the state of emergency, imposed in Serbia due to the pandemic the needs of children with specific necessities were not recognized, including children with autism, children who do not live with both parents, or suffer from specific illnesses, but, these omissions have been rectified or mitigated following the Protector of Citizens’ intervention”, Pašalić emphasized.

Mr. Pašalić stated that for years, he had been pointing out to problems faced by children, as a particularly vulnerable group, especially violence and neglect; but also to problems faced by “street children” or Roma children regarding child marriages and difficulties in accessing education.

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_ENOK_1.jpegAt the online seminar of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) whose regular spring event coincided with International Children’s Day, Ms. Jelena Stojanović, the Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights, estimated that all Members of the Network were facing identical challenges regarding child rights.

“I cannot say that one right of children was more endangered than another one, but I believe that Covid-19 pandemic touched upon every segment of our lives, affected all rights of children and highlighted the weaknesses that were existent before the crisis”, Ms. Stojanović said.

"Therefore, I believe that the role of Ombudspersons is extremely important because they have an important role to point out the potential dangers to the realization of child rights, but also to rectify the omissions that occur", Stojanović said.

b_280_0_16777215_00_images_Zatitnik_graana_3.jpegFurther to the information from the media that in a village near Vlasotince a husband forced his wife into the car which he then let downhill, the Protector of Citizens launched own-initiative investigation into the work legality and regularity of the local Social Welfare Center and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

The Protector of Citizens has requested SWC Vlasotince to submit within 15 days a report on whether the family has been on the Center’s records and whether domestic violence has been previously reported, as well as what measures the Center may have taken to provide adequate support and protection to the family.

The Protector of Citizens has requested the Ministry of the Interior to submit a report on the activities carried out, focusing on the measures and activities the police carried out with a view to providing adequate support and protection to the victims.

Further to media reports that senior class pupils of "Slavko Rodić" Elementary School from Bački Jarak sexually abused a junior class special needs pupil, the Protector of Citizens initiated own-initiative investigation to control work regularity and legality of the educational facility.

The Protector of Citizens has requested the school to submit within 15 days a report and documentation on the measures and activities undertaken, as well as data on cooperation with the police and the guardianship authority in this case.

The school administration is also to submit to the Protector of Citizens a report on any activities, focusing on the perpetrators, as well as on the pupil victim, which are being undertaken.

Upon learning from the media that the family from Lebane whose child was found dead in the family home has been on the competent authorities’ records and that two older children were previously removed to foster families, the Protector of Citizens launched own-initiative investigation to control work legality and regularity of Lebane Social Welfare Center and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia.

The Protector of Citizens has requested Lebane Social Welfare Center to provide data on all activities undertaken in this case, particularly including possible domestic violence reports, within 15 days.

Given the media information that the police had already searched for the father due to the criminal acts he had committed earlier, the Protector of Citizens has requested the Ministry of the Interior to notify the Institution, within the same deadline, whether the MOI had acted on possible violence reports in the deceased child’s family.

The Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, extended his greetings to all Islamic religion citizens of the Republic of Serbia for Ramadan Bayram wishing them to celebrate it in health and joy surrounded by their families, neighbors and friends.

“I wish to extend my best wishes on this great holiday to all the citizens of the Republic of Serbia of the Islamic religion. In these challenging times of our lives, support, tolerance and solidarity stay as crucial values to be nurtured, while mutual respect and appreciation are the guidelines to be followed”, reads Mr. Pašalić’s congratulatory note.

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