Areas of Work

Citizens are human rights owners and the state is obliged to ensure that the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws are not violated but respected. Human and minority rights and liberties are the basic foundation values of the Republic of Serbia, along with rule of law and social justice, principles of civil democracy and commitment to European principles and values.

This tentative commitment of the Constitution is confirmed by many normative and practical measures that the Republic of Serbia undertakes for the promotion and protection of human and minority rights and liberties. One of them is the establishment of Ombudsman institution with clearly expressed function of protection and promotion of human and minority liberties and rights.

The child’s rights concept, whose introduction into the normative system of Serbia began after 2000, either through total or partial elaboration in most laws concerning children, was confirmed with the new Constitution adopted in 2006. As regards its institutional establishment, the concept was implemented by setting up the Child’s Rights Council within the Government of the Republic of Serbia (2002) and by developing the Working Group for Child Rights of the National Assembly (2009) that will, in accordance with the new Rules of Procedure of the National Assembly, become a permanent body as of the next parliamentary convocation. The progress was also the establishment of the Protector of Citizens’ institution and the Deputy Protector of Citizens for Child’s Rights in October 2008. Thus, the state of Serbia implemented the recommendation given by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in June 2008.

The violation of child’s rights in Serbia is especially expressed among certain social categories: poor children, children with disabilities and children with developmental challenges, children without parental care, particularly institutionalized children, children living on the streets, working children. Within most categories of especially vulnerable children, the rights of Roma children are most often violated. Violence against children continues to be very present – from neglecting and different forms of exploitation, to physical and sexual abuse, both in the family, which is least visible, and among peers, but also by other unknown adults.

Prioritizing the Protector of Citizens’ engagement in advocating for the respect of rights of persons with disabilities has proven to be more than justifiable. By performing specific activities within the scope of its legally determined competences, the Protector of Citizens has reacted publicly to the violation of rights of persons with disabilities, warning the competent authorities about the failure to respect regulations and about the violation of human rights.

Persons with disabilities are systematically excluded from the sphere of education, employment, politics, culture, leisure and recreation. The measures and practice of political and legal system, economic structures, official services etc. often pose barriers to participation of persons with disabilities.

In spite of being deprived of liberty by a state body, citizens sentenced to imprisonment are entitled to a series of rights and liberties that are not taken away and the state is obliged to respect and protect those rights and liberties. The position of persons deprived of liberty is determined by the Constitution, numerous laws and other regulations and general acts, as well as ratified international treaties and generally accepted rules of international law.

The complaints concerning the treatment in the institution mainly refer to inadequate health protection, rejection of request for transfer to other institution within the Administration for the Execution of Penitentiary Sanctions, while one of them is related to illegal solitary confinement.

The principle of gender equality and non-discrimination is one of the basic principles of human rights. However, gender inequality is still very present in a huge majority of social life aspects.

Even though the representation of women in the National Assembly doubled after the 2007 elections, women in Serbia continue to be unequal and the issue of achieving gender equality is yet to be tackled in its different forms. There is still a widely socially accepted domestic violence to which state authorities do not have adequate response (qualitatively and quantitatively). On a daily basis we can witness non-proportional representation of women in political decision-making positions, stereotypical and discriminatory presentation of women in media, but also in public and political speeches, even in school curricula. There is still a strong presence of institutional disrespect of equal opportunities in economic and social relations as well as significantly higher unemployment rate among women. Serbia still lacks gender sensitive official statistics; the use of female grammatical gender is not officially verified.

Good administration

Citizens pay for and rightfully expect good administration.

Good administration:

  • Acts only in accordance with law
  • Professionally and efficiently responds to citizen requests
  • Oriented to citizens’ needs and their fulfillment
  • Open and easily accessible to citizens
  • Treats citizens with respect and due attention
  • Accepts and corrects its own mistakes
  • Does not cause damage to citizens
  • Treats citizens equally in the same or similar situations
  • Does not discriminate against citizens (regardless of nationality, sex, race, skin color, ethnic or social background, language, religious beliefs, attitude and opinion, political affiliation, belonging to national minority, property, age, sexual orientation, place of birth, ability)
  • Does not misuse its authority
  • Is independent and unbiased
  • Protects citizens’ privacy regarding their data
  • Acts upon citizens’ requests in a timely manner

Poor administration

Poor administration does not respect dignity and rights of citizens.

Poor administration:

  • Does not respect the law
  • Does not respect prescribed procedures
  • Carries out unreasonably long procedures
  • Does not execute decisions made
  • Misuses authority or rights
  • Persistently denies the possibility of own mistakes (does not recognize own mistakes)
  • Treats citizens unequally (discriminates against citizens)
  • Is closed to public and citizens
  • Is “elusive”
  • Makes citizens feel helpless and unable to exercise and protect their rights
  • Avoids to accept it competences and transfers them to others
  • Does not coordinate its work with other administrative bodies
  • Makes citizens “knock on numerous doors”
  • Creates discomfort, confusion and additional financial expenses for citizens
  • Unjustifiably sets new requirements to citizens for exercising their rights
  • Does not allow citizens to follow the course of procedure

The Protector of Citizens receives a large number of complaints against the bodies whose work the Protector of Citizens is not authorized to control according to the Constitution and laws. The Office of the Protector of Citizens also receives a large number of complaints, which, after having examined them, the Protector of Citizens cannot react upon, in accordance with his/her authority, due to their untimely submission or lack of necessary data. In case of rejection of complaints, the Protector of Citizens does not provide free legal assistance but advisory assistance in accordance with the Constitution and law.

Legal Counselling Department instructs complainants about adequate procedures before competent bodies through which they can protect their rights and interests.

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