At the invitation of the Swedish Ombudsman, the Protector of Citizens Zoran Pašalić visited the Parliamentary Ombudsman of the Kingdom of Sweden. The two institutions have so far cooperated on the exchange of experiences through the organization of study visits, and the meeting of the two ombudsmen of this type was organized for the first time with the aim of agreeing on all possible forms of cooperation. This visit was especially important for the Protector of Citizens of the Republic of Serbia in the light of legal changes, that is, the adoption of the new Law on the Protector of Citizens, whose working version was recently prepared by the institution of the Protector of Citizens.

Cooperation with the Swedish Ombudsman is also significant due to the fact that 120,000 Serbian citizens live and work in Sweden and the problems they encounter can most effectively be solved through direct communication and cooperation between the two institutions and the two ombudsmen.

The Protector of Citizens Zoran Pašalić and his associates met today with a representative of the regional ERA organization and members of the ERA association from Serbia – organizations dealing with the rights of LGBTI persons (Go out Association, Rainbow Association, Geten, CRPC, Let it be known, Glic, Egal), with whom he discussed current problems faced by LGBTI persons, opportunities and ways of joint cooperation and activities aimed at improving the position of these persons in the Republic of Serbia.

The meeting concluded that the status of LGBTI persons and the degree of enjoyment of their rights need to be significantly improved, first of all, by adopting laws that regulate unresolved, and for the LGBTI community, very important issues, concerning same-sex partnerships and the gender identity of trans persons.

Adoption of the Law on Same-Sex Partnerships is a way to regulate the legal-property rights of same-sex partners, which would significantly improve the position of LGBTI persons, said the Protector of Citizens, adding that the institution would always support such an activity.

The Protector of Citizens Zoran Pašalić and members of the NPM team met yesterday with the president of the Commission for the Implementation of Standards for Police Conduct in the Field of Torture Prevention, Milivoj Nedimović, and his associates. The meeting was held in order to establish regular and continuous cooperation between the NPM and the MIA Commission in the field of torture prevention and with the aim of mutual identification of problems that the NPM and the Commission perceive in the course of their visits to the Police Directorates and police stations regarding the position of persons in police detention and the conditions in which they reside.

The task of the Commission, which was established within the Ministry of the Interior by the Minister in 2014, is to work on the execution and implementation of the recommendations of international treaty bodies in the ministry's practice and to contribute to the improvement of position of persons deprived of their liberty. To this end, members of the Commission visit police departments and stations within their constituency, have unrestricted access to all premises, and upon completion of the visit, they report to organizational units and issue binding orders to remedy the identified deficiencies. This year, as they pointed out at a meeting with the Protector of Citizens, they visited 13 Police Directorates and 25 police stations within them, and in their practice so far, they recorded the handling of all orders that have been sent through the reports.

The NPM representatives briefed members of the MIA Commission about their this year's results achieved in 13 visits to Police Directorates and police stations. The NPM visits, one of which was nightly, are realized without prior notice, a practice established by the NPM this year. Also, in a number of cases, except for visiting the police stations, the NPM team members also visited detention units within institutions for the enforcement of criminal sanctions.

Establishing cooperation with the MIA Commission is important for the NPM, as, among other things, they agreed to hold regular quarterly meetings, which will at the same time be an opportunity to consider implementing the recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), since this is an obligation of the Republic of Serbia stipulated by the action plans for Chapters 23 and 24.

By visiting the “Major Milan Tepić” barracks in Jakovo, the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture started the practice of visiting barracks in which a disciplinary sanction is imposed banning the abandonment of special premises in a military facility.

Seeing how special premises for disciplinary sanctions are places where the persons deprived of their liberty are or may be, in this case the members of the Army, the NPM also introduces visits to barracks in its regular activities in order to strengthen the protection, if necessary, against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of such persons and the protection of their position. The NPM derives such mandate and authority from domestic and international regulations, which provide, among other things, that the Protector of Citizens, together with the National Assembly and other state bodies, also exercises civilian control of the military.

The first visit was realized with a positive response from the Ministry of Defense and the establishment of the necessary cooperation between the institution and the state body. The NPM team members received the requested information during the visit, the barracks commander and other members of the Serbian Armed Forces answered all questions from the NPM team and allowed them to visit special premises where disciplinary sanctions preventing the abandonment of the facility are being enforced, as well as access to records.

The visit to the Jakovo barracks is the first of 15 planned visits to the barracks with special premises for the execution of disciplinary sanctions, which will be implemented by the NPM by the end of the year and after that a summary, comprehensive report will be made on the position of persons who have been imposed disciplinary sanctions and the conditions found in the premises where that sanction is enforced.

The NPM team visited today Police Station Velika Plana, which is a part of the Police Administration in Smederevo.

During the unannounced, the NPM team members accomplished successful cooperation with police officers, who provided the insight into the requested documentation in the files on detention of persons and in the files referring to the application of the means of coercion. They were also provided with the conversation with police officers as well as the visit to the premises for detention of persons, there are two of them at the station and during this visit NPM team members did not find any person in detention.

In compliance with the established practice, NPM shall make a report on the paid visit and issue to the competent persons corresponding recommendation.

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