The Protector of Citizens accepts to carry out the tasks of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism for the Implementation of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as specified in the working version of the new Law on the Protector of Citizens, drafted in this institution, the Deputy Protector of Citizens Jelena Stojanović said.

States parties to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are committed to establish and facilitate the functioning of such a mechanism, which should be established within a national institution operating in compliance with the UN Paris Principles on National Human Rights Institutions, said Ms. Stojanovic in the address opening the initial discussion at the UN House in Belgrade organized on the establishment of such a mechanism.

Long term experience in the field of protection and promotion of the position of persons with disabilities, the elderly, women, children, LGBTI persons, national minorities and persons deprived of liberty can positively impact the Protector of Citizens’ successful implementation of the Independent Monitoring Mechanism, said Ms. Stojanović.

Deputy Protector of Citizens Mr. Slobodan Tomić emphasized that systemic problems that prevented the exercise of persons with disabilities’ rights were still present in Serbia, and singled out as the most noticeable ones: underdeveloped accessibility of public facilities, underdeveloped system of services and support services, the practice of complete deprivation of legal capacity, poverty and social exclusion, as well as employment problems.

Mr. Tomić added that the process of developing indicators for monitoring the UN Convention implementation, i.e. adjusting existing global level indicators to the national context, was underway, and that available experiences and practices should be used in the best way in this process.

The Deputy Protector of Citizens and the head of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), Ms. Natasa Tanjević PhD, stated that this mechanism monitored all places where persons were deprived of liberty (prisons, psychiatric hospitals, police stations, social welfare residential institutions); therefore it was designated to monitor the implementation of several Articles of that UN Convention in the Model Methodology for Independent Monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Ms. Tanjević stated that the NPM already had experience in monitoring individual articles of the Convention, insight into the situation in this area and the need to improve it, adopted a methodology and developed questionnaires that would be improved pursuant to the new needs in terms of easier and broader monitoring of the Convention.