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The Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, said in Novi Pazar today that the position of national minorities in Serbia is good when it comes to laws, but that sometimes it takes more time to resolve certain problems.
During the third quarterly meeting with presidents of the national councils of national minorities, he said that minorities in Serbia mostly complain about their legal rights to use their native language, written and spoken, as well as in education.

“You know that we have corrected the problem of registering citizenship in travel documents for representatives of national minorities. When representatives of national minorities complain to us, we take their problems extremely seriously and in most cases resolve them”, said Zoran Pasalic.

Bosniak National Council (BNV) president, Jasmina Curic, said that as host of the rally, Pasalic would point out to the numerous unresolved issues of Bosniaks.

After the control visit to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis in May, when the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, while checking compliance with the previously made recommendations, in addition to the employees in the institution also talked to the persons deprived of their liberty, a large number of them subsequently complained to the institution, complaining, among other things, about inadequate prison conditions, insufficient number of medical staff and insufficient health care.

Guided by a large number of complaints of persons deprived of their liberty addressed at the institution, the Protector of Citizens, Zoran Pasalic, together with the representatives of the Department for urgent action, made an unannounced visit today to the Penal - Correctional Institution in Nis and the detention unit in Pirot. On that occasion, he conducted several direct conversations with persons deprived of their liberty, which was a way to become more familiar with the cases of complaints and to look at the on-site possibilities for overcoming them, but also to solve the identified problems and omissions in the work of the institution.

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.

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