Regarding the launching of the national event "Children’s Week”, the Protector of Citizens, Mr. Zoran Pašalić, reiterated today that it was necessary to amend the relevant legal and other regulations concerning child rights protection with a view to improving the position of the most vulnerable population category.

The Institution of the Protector of Citizens had been very successful in protecting the rights and best interests of the child since its establishment 13 years ago, and the new Law on the Protector of Citizens will significantly improve child rights protection in every sense, both in terms of prevention and protection, but also in terms of effectiveness of the protection implementation, Mr. Pašalić said.

Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights, Ms. Jelena Stojanović, highlighted that during this year majority of problems in child rights protection had occurred during the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

There had been problems because the competent Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs was not prompt in recognizing the needs of special categories of children, nor had it pointed out to other decision-makers the specific needs of e.g. children with autism; however, further to the urging by the Protector of Citizens, those omissions had been rectified, Ms. Stojanović said.

“We will continue to continuously and very carefully monitor the work of all competent state bodies and institutions tasked with protecting child rights and urgently react to all their omissions in the work in order to provide children with the highest degree of their rights and interests protection”, Ms. Stojanović stated.

On the occasion of "Children’s Week", the Protector of Citizens organized an online survey with the children from the Youth Panel of the Protector of Citizens as participants. The main impressions of the Youth Panel members regarding the state of emergency were the feeling of boundedness, isolation, fear, but also the acceptance of the new way of schooling, while most of the participants in the survey liked distance learning.

“I felt somehow closed, I can’t go anywhere when I would like to meet my friends”, “I felt closed, both physically and mentally, I was bored, I was listless and tired, deprived of freedom", "At the beginning of the state of emergency, I was a little nervous, everything that could be closed (schools, shopping malls, colleges, theaters ...) was closed,” - these were some of the inputs of the young about their experience regarding the state of emergency.

“The advantages are that they put less pressure on us, we may sleep longer, and as for the disadvantages I single out that it is harder to learn school subjects ", “It's an advantage that I don't have to study to get a mark and that we are at home ", "Distance learning can never be as good as in person learning," the representatives of the "Youth Panel" said.