The Protector of Citizens accentuated that the position of people with disabilities, who already face numerous difficulties, has been additionally exacerbated amid the pandemic and urged the national and local competent authorities to facilitate access to services, to ensure smooth operation of community support services and to secure full realization of people with disabilities’ rights.

“People with disabilities in Serbia are daily facing systemic problems in exercising their rights, with their position being additionally exacerbated amid the current pandemic. Thus, I call on all competent bodies to make additional efforts in the new circumstances so that people with disabilities have as few difficulties as possible to exercise their rights” the Protector of Citizens Mr. Zoran Pašalić said on 3 December - International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. Pašalić requested the competent state and local authorities to facilitate access to all services, and above all to ensure the smooth functioning of community support services, such as supported housing, personal assistant service, personal assistants of children and geronto-housewives.

In particular, the Protector of Citizens called on the officials in homes for the elderly and people with disabilities and in shelters to enable and provide adequate protection for all beneficiaries, as well as the homeless and all citizens who seek such help, amid the pandemic and the coming winter.

Mr. Pašalić reiterated that systemic problems hampering the exercise of people with disabilities’ rights are still present, and that in order to eliminate them, the new Bill on the Protector of Citizens drafted by the institution’s experts, specifies that the Protector of Citizens is tasked with the activities of the National Independent Mechanism for Monitoring the Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.