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Statements

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Protector of Citizens has established errors in work of the city administrations of Niš, Vrаnje and Јаgоdina consisting of the failure to perform tasks within their competences.

The Directorate for Civil Status and General Affairs of the City of Niš, the Secretariat for General Administration of the City of Vrаnje – Registry Office Gnjilаnе and the City Administration of Јаgоdina – Department for Administration – Registry Office for the Municipalities of Đаkоvicа and Dеčаni,  upon having registered the citizens into birth registry books, failed to send their birth certificates to the competent authority, in accordance with the law, for the purpose of determining the citizen’s unique personal number, and referred citizens to submit a request to police stations by themselves, in order to exercise that right. Such conduct not only represents an extremely inappropriate behavior towards the citizens, but to a large extent it complicated an already complex procedure of exercising the right to personal documents.

The Protector of Citizens ordered to these city administrations to fulfil their obligations, in these particular and all future cases, specified under the Law on Citizen’s Unique Personal Number, i. e. to officially address the competent authority for the purpose of determining the citizen’s unique personal number.  In addition, the Protector of Citizens believes that it is necessary that the heads of city administrations ensure the application of those provisions of the Law on Citizen’s Unique Personal Number that stipulate the obligations of the competent authority responsible for administering civil registry books, in order to prevent possible future violations of the citizens’ right to obtain a citizen’s unique personal number.

These city administrations are obliged to inform the Protector of Citizens, within 60 days, about the implementation of received recommendations.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Protector of Citizens has sent to the Government of the Republic of Serbia an Initiative for amending the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure in order to allow the persons whose civil status has never been institutionally recognise and who have never been registered into birth registry books to be registered also before the court within a reasonable time and without the obstacles that they have been facing in practice.

According to the estimates of the UNHCR and experts, there are some 6,500 individuals in Serbia who are not registered into birth registry books, do not possess personal documents and do not exercise their civil rights, which may potentially lead to a massive statelessness in the country. In cooperation with the NGOs Praxis and the Centre for Advanced Legal Studies, on the basis of citizens’ complaints and monitoring of the work of competent authorities that handled the requests of “legally invisible” persons for subsequent registration into birth registry books, the Protector of Citizens has gathered the facts and believes that the adoption of the amendments to the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure will provide the solution to this prоblеm in the citizens’ best interest.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

In the procedure of controlling the work of the Institute for the Advancement of Education, the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Education Council, the Protector of Citizens has established a series of irregularities in giving their expert assessment on primary school textbooks, at the request of a publishing company from Belgrade.

The Protector of Citizens points out that the procedure of assessing the quality of draft textbooks and approving them for use is burdened with numerous irregularities, including the absence of rules for the procedure of assessing the quality of drafts and arbitrary actions of the management that is responsible for ensuring correct, unbiased and above all, expert assessment of the textbook that will be used by primary school pupils and secondary school students in Serbia. Arbitrary and biased conduct of administration authority, along with the failure to comply with the legally prescribed procedure did not only violate  the principles of legality and regularity, but also challenged the credibility and professional integrity of the experts who provided assessments and bodies that made decisions based on these assessments.

It has been recommended to the Institute for the Advancement of Education, the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Education Council to adopt regulation that will regulate the manner and procedure of expert assessment of the quality of draft textbooks, to establish responsibility for committed errors, return money to the publisher and adjust future actions to the principles of legality, fairness and correct administrative behaviour.

These state institutions are obliged to inform the Protector of Citizens, within 60 days, about the implementation of received recommendations.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Strategy for Improvement of the Status of Roma in the Republic of Serbia, adopted by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, introduced Roma teaching assistants in order to improve school achievements of Roma pupils.  However, based on complaints, the investigation of the implementation of the Strategy for Improvement of the Status of Roma and a meeting held with teaching assistants, the Protector of Citizens believes that there is an insufficient number of teaching assistants in schools, that their employment status is not adequately solved, that the job description and work tasks of teaching assistants are not clearly defined, and that there are no criteria of optimum and maximum number of Roma pupils per one assistant that can ensure quality work.

Hence, the Protector of Citizens referred to the Ministry of Education and Science a recommendation expecting this authority to take necessary measures to ensure the engagement of a larger number of Roma teaching assistants, allow more complete exercise of the right to equal access to education and create permanent, sustainable and systemic conditions for the inclusion of Rоmа in the system of education.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Protector of Citizens has identified a series of irregularities in the district prisons and penitentiary-correctional institutions related to living conditions of prisoners. The control conducted in the Penitentiary-Correctional Institute in Niš has shown that the bathrooms in the Pavilion "C" are ruined, humid, with inadequate sanitary installations and insufficient privacy. The toilets and bathrooms in the closed wards of the District Prison in Novi Sad and the District Prison in Leskovac are also ruined, humid and without sufficient privacy.

Based on the state established during the control, the Protector of Citizens referred the recommendations requiring from the district prison and penitentiary-correctional institutions to renovate toilets and bathrooms and provide clean and dry rooms with appropriate sanitation, in which privacy is ensured.

The control carried out by the Protector of Citizens in the Penitentiary-Correctional Institution Požarevac-Zabela showed the violation of detainees’ rights to health care in the Pavilion VII, because their contact with a physician is rendered difficult, which prevents them from accessing timely medical examination and getting adequate treatment.

The Recommendation given by the Protector of Citizens after completed control stated that a medical doctor should once a month visit all persons deprived of liberty accommodated in the Pavilion VII, enter each room and bedroom and in a conversation with detainees determine whether they need medical examination or not.

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