The Deputy Protector of Citizens for Gender Equality, Jelena Stojanović, has underscored today that this Institution is mandated to launch initiatives to amend the regulations and called on the elderly women from Ivanjica and neighboring villages to approach the Protector of Citizens if they believe that their rights were violated.

Photo: Protector of Citizens

“It is important that elderly people, especially rural women, be empowered to report all kinds of violence to the authorities, and recognize various forms of discrimination that they are exposed to. The Protector of Citizens can initiate changes to applicable regulations that would improve the position of the elderly " said Stojanović at the gathering "Prevention of violence against the elderly women in pandemic and challenges in accessing social and health care services".

At the gathering organized by the Associations "Laris" and "Snaga Prijateljstva - Amity”, Stojanović reiterated that in addition to poverty, discrimination, and violence, the main problems faced by rural women were the lack of special services, support services, and difficult access to health facilities.

The representative of the Association "Snaga Prijateljstva - Amity" Nadežda Satarić has pointed out that it is essential that elderly women discuss various forms of violence, neglect, and abuse of the elderly, and be informed about it, bearing in mind that four women were killed in Serbia in the last seven days, three of whom were over 60.

“Violence, neglect of the needs of the elderly and their economic exploitation (in cases when someone disposes of the entire pension of the elderly and neglects their needs for food, medicine, orthopedic aids) should be reported, " said Satarić and added that, after two years of the pandemic, the elderly should be freed from fear and try to return to their lives and regular activities.

The participants have stated that during the pandemic, access to health services was difficult for elderly patients who did not have Covid, that the ambulance in the suburbs of Ivanjica and the surrounding villages is not working and that the pharmacies in the villages have not been working for six months. All the participants of the meeting believe that the biggest problem in the suburbs of Ivanjica and the surrounding mountain villages is local transport and very bad, inaccessible roads.

The forum was held within the project “Promotion of indiscrimination and protection from violence against the elderly women amid pandemic” supported by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue, within the program “Implementation of Anti-Discrimination Policies in the Republic of Serbia for 2021”, funded from the budget of the Republic of Serbia.