Today, the representatives of the City of Kruševac and Belgrade municipality of Vračar have been presented the prizes that the Protector of Citizens awards to cities, municipalities and city municipalities in the Republic of Serbia that in 2020 contributed the most to developing accessibility on their own territory in order to form the preconditions for an equal participation of people with disabilities in social life.
The City of Kruševac has been awarded for improving the accessibility of urban environment, i.e. for planning and removing barriers, reconstructing public facilities and constructing accessible ones while Vračar municipality was awarded for improving the accessibility to information in times of Covid-19 epidemic.
The awards of recognition by the Protector of Citizens for contribution to the development of accessibility were given to the representatives of the City Administrations of Kragujevac and Sombor and the Municipalities of Svilajnac and Čajetina, while acknowledgements were given to the representatives of Leskovac, Loznica and Smederevo, as well as the municipalities of Bela Palanka, Gornji Milanovac and Knić.
The Deputy Protector of Citizens, Ms. Jelena Stojanović, stated that for two years the Institution had been issuing recommendations to local self-governments to make facilities, areas and transport in public use fully accessible to people with various forms of disabilities and that despite some progress, accessibility in Serbia was still underdeveloped.
She said that local self-governments highlighted the removal of architectural barriers, while information barriers still existed, and stated that tactile boards for informing blind persons, fire alarms with both audio and visual alerts, and Braille brochures or tactile paths that facilitate movement through the facility were very rarely available to citizens in local institutions.
The manager of Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ms. Dragana Jovanović Arijas, reiterated that information barriers existed and added that the reasons why regulations guaranteeing accessibility were not properly applied should be identified.
The Secretary General of the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, Mr. Djordje Staničić, emphasized the necessity of promoting awards for the contribution to the development of accessibility in local self-governments because it meant making steps forward in creating good practice examples.
The Protector of Citizens has been awarding the prize for contribution to the development of all forms of accessibility at the local level for five years in cooperation with the Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction Unit of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.