Social & Economic rights

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens – Negative Response from the MoI

On 4 February 2011, Praxis again submitted a request for accessing information of public importance to the Ministry of Interior. By this request, the Ministry of Interior was asked to deliver to Praxis the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens and information about the possible public hearing on this Draft Law.  

Praxis had already addressed this Ministry twice, on 24 May and 30 November 2010, with requests for accessing information of public importance related to the text of the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens. Based on the requests submitted, the Ministry of Interior answered that the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens did not exist yet. 

However, in December 2010, the Government of Serbia passed a Conclusion adopting the Action plan for fulfillment of priorities under the European Commission 2010 Progress Report, with the aim of accelerating the achievement of candidate country status. On the page 14 of the above-mentioned Action Plan, it is stressed that the Ministry of Interior has prepared the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens. Thus, Praxis again submitted the request for accessing information of public importance to the Ministry of Interior, this time enclosing the above-mentioned Conclusion adopting the Action Plan, as well as the part of the Action Plan containing information on existence of the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens.

Nevertheless, the Ministry of Interior delivered the response to Praxis dated 11 March 2011, again claiming that they did not possess the text of the Draft Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens, despite the fact that it is clearly stated in the above-mentioned Action Plan that Ministry had prepared the Draft Law. Ministry’s response also stated that Praxis would be informed about the possible public hearing related to the Draft Law at the same time as the general public, through the media.

From such actions of the Ministry of Interior, it can be concluded that the Ministry intends to table this Draft Law before the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia for adoption without a public hearing being held. In that case, expert public and relevant civil society organizations will not have an opportunity to give their suggestions and recommendations to make the Law better in comparison to the existing Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens which does not provide a possibility for persons without legal basis for residence to register their permanent or temporary residence. The concern remains that the Draft Law will not include all categories of persons and that the most vulnerable ones, especially inhabitants of informal settlements, will be denied the possibility to register permanent or temporary residence. As a consequence, they will not be able to obtain ID card, to get employed, to receive social welfare benefits, to register births of their children in birth registry books and to access the right to health care without difficulties. In other words, there is fear that these persons will stay on the margins of society, excluded from the current social trends, without a possibility to do anything for themselves and get out of the vicious circle of poverty.

The Action plan for fulfillment of priorities under the European Commission 2010 Progress Report, with the aim of accelerating the achievement of candidate country status can be downloaded at the website of the EU Integration Office.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action