Legally Invisible Persons

Friday, 23 November 2012

Technical Group Formed for the Purpose of Providing Assistance to Members of Roma Community Who are not Registered in Birth Registry Book and Do not Possess Personal Documents

As a result of the need for implementation of coordinated activities that would be directed at provision of assistance to members of Roma community who are not registered in birth registry book and do not possess personal documents, in April 2012 the Agreement of Understanding was signed, thus setting basis for closer cooperation in solving the existing problems between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ombudsman of the Republic of Serbia and the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia (the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration as of July 2012). In October 2012, in accordance with the Agreement, a Management Board was formed that should suggest necessary measures and activities and review achieved results. At the first meeting of the Management Board, the plan of activities for the upcoming period was adopted and the Technical Group, as the working body of the Board, was formed.

Non-governmental organization Praxis is a member of the Technical Group that also gathers representatives of other relevant institutions – Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Republic Secretariat for Legislation, Office for Cooperation with Civil Society and the Belgrade City Secretariat for Administration, in addition to the parties in the agreement. As an introduction into the upcoming activities, members of the Technical Group visited two informal settlements in the territory of Belgrade with the aim to gain better insight into the living conditions in the settlements, but also to get directly acquainted with the problems of persons who are not registered in birth registry book. During the visit, by presenting actual cases from practice, Praxis legal staff pointed to the impossibility of registration in birth registry books, regulation of the citizenship status, registration of permanent residence and obtaining of ID card, that are all consequences of inadequate legal framework, tardiness of the bodies in proceeding, etc. In that respect, provision of assistance in solving of the above-described problems has been defined as one of the priority tasks of the representatives of the competent institutions. Besides, during 2013, the Technical Group will implement activities referring to training of judges in relation to implementation of the Law on Non-Contentious Procedure that regulates determination of place and date of birth for persons who cannot prove that fact in the administrative procedure. The activities of the Technical Group will also refer to training of registrars in relation to implementation of laws and by-laws that regulate registration of facts and data in birth registry book. Finally, the activities will also be directed at implementation of a campaign aimed at acquainting members of the Roma minority with the manner of exercising the right to registration in birth registry book and provision of free legal assistance in the procedures of subsequent registration.

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