The Protector of Citizens has requested the City of Zaječar to establish immediately a personal assistant service for all children with disabilities in that city who need it, as well as to notify the Institution about acting on the recommendations by the beginning of the 2021/2022 school year.
In the investigation to control competent authorities’ work legality and regularity initiated upon the complaint of the foster parent of a child with disabilities, the Protector of Citizens determined that the authorities of the City of Zaječar made an omission in their work to the detriment of children with disabilities’ right to additional assistance and support in education, because neither in the last year nor in the first months of this year did they establish a personal assistant service for all children with disabilities in that city.
The Protector of Citizens determined as well that the City Administration of Zaječar made an omission in its work to the detriment of the child with disabilities regarding the right to additional support and assistance in education because the child had not been granted the service of personal assistant despite the opinion of the Interdepartmental Commission of that city.
In the response to the Protector of Citizens, the City Administration of Zaječar stated that the outbreak of a pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus had made the procedure of creating preconditions for providing the personal assistant services to children more difficult, that it had created other priorities in the work and that according to the opinion of the relevant factors of that city, the introduction of a new service was not recommended at a time when public health was endangered.
The Protector of Citizens has pointed out that, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the law and bylaws, the authorities of local self-government units and all other authorities, institutions and services have an obligation to provide assistance and support to children with disabilities in their daily life and in particular during the educational process.
Quality education of a child must not depend on shortcomings or omissions in the work of city authorities, and administrative authorities are obliged to timely, efficiently and fully undertake all actions and activities prescribed by law in order to ensure that children exercise the right to various services, measures and forms of assistance and support in education, the Protector of Citizens has emphasized.
The Protector of Citizens has also underscored that the existing epidemic must not be an excuse for not taking action to provide support in education to a child with disabilities because the rights of the child cannot be limited, as well as because they are the most vulnerable and endangered category that is stricken harder than the others by the consequences and untimely actions.