On 2 June 2020, Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child Rights and Gender Equality Ms. Jelena Stojanović and the associates from Child Rights Sector participated in the online meeting of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC) with the aim of exchanging experiences on the challenges that the institutions have been facing during the state caused by the COVID-19 virus.
At the meeting, the Ombudspersons stated that they had organized their work remotely and that all the countries had been facing identical challenges in exercising child rights.
Ms. Jelena Stojanović pointed out to the conference participants that the institution of the Protector of Citizens in Serbia worked with higher intensity and that the activities were primarily aimed at solving specific pandemic-caused problems.
Citizens' addresses and media reports provided information about the problems that children and parents encountered which were responded to immediately, by directly addressing the competent authorities in order to rectify omissions, as well as by issuing initiatives to amend regulations that endangered the rights of parents and children.
Regarding the communication with citizens, counseling and psychological assistance were provided daily through five new telephone lines. The help of a psychologist from the Child Rights Sector was unique among the members of the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children. A mobile team of the Protector of Citizens Institution amid the state of emergency worked intensively and round the clock, and they monitored on field the respect for the rights of citizens, particularly children.
Also, the Deputy Protector of Citizens emphasized that a large number of parents turned to the Protector of Citizens, which confirmed that the parents recognized the Protector of Citizens as an institution they trust and can turn to for help.