Child rights

Friday, 22 December 2017

Praxis Held a Conference „STOP to Child Marriages and Statelessness“

On 13 December 2017, Praxis held a conference „STOP to Child Marriages and Statelessness“, accompanied by the exhibition of children’s drawings on the topic of prevention and elimination of child marriages. The conference was attended by more than 100 people including a large number of the authors of presented drawings. 

The conference was opened by Ivanka Kostić, Praxis’ Executive Director, who welcomed the attendees and gave a brief overview of the activities implemented by Praxis in the field of preventing statelessness and child marriages with the financial support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The attendees were then addressed by Hans Friedrich Schodder, the UNHCR chief in Serbia, who pointed out that child marriages aggravated the problem of statelessness, constituted a violation of human rights and increased the risk of violence and abuse. He also expressed his satisfaction for continuing the cooperation with Praxis and his expectation that a common goal would be achieved, i.e. that every child in Serbia would be registered in birth registry books.

Milan Radojev, Praxis’ Status and Socioeconomic Rights Programme Coordinator, presented the results achieved over the past years in the field of preventing statelessness and exercising the right to registration into civil registry books. He pointed to the fact that after many years of neglecting the problem of legally invisible persons by the competent authorities, a significant progress had been made in this field since 2012.  In this regard, he particularly stressed the importance of amendments to the relevant legislation and established cooperation among stakeholders in resolving the problem, which resulted in the fact that a significant number of people obtained personal documents for the first time in their lives. Nevertheless, he emphasised that the problem of legally invisible persons in Serbia had not been fully resolved and that it was necessary to amend the by-laws that kept preventing children whose mothers did not possess personal documents from being registered at birth.

Jelena Petrović, Praxis’ Child Rights Programme Coordinator, briefly presented the activities implemented by Praxis for the third consecutive year in the field of prevention and elimination of child marriages. She focused on the activities aimed at preventing and eliminating child marriages and targeting school children, which were implemented by Praxis in 2017. Discussing about why some children dropped out of school, what marital duties were and why child marriages should be prevented, the children were empowered to continue their education and thus stand against child marriages. The children gave their answers in the form of drawings, some of which were presented in the exhibition that the conference attendees had the opportunity to see. Jelena also presented the leaflet „STOP to Child Marriages“, which summarised the experiences acquired by Praxis while working on the prevention and elimination of child marriages, included recommendations for further work and presented some of the children's drawings created in the workshops with more than 140 boys and girls from four primary schools in Serbia.

At the very end, Jasmina Miković, Praxis’ Deputy Executive Director, presented two girls from the Primary School "Jovan Cvijić" from Kostolac and their Roma language teacher, who took part in Praxis’ workshops on the prevention and elimination of child marriages. One of the girls presented her impressions from the workshops and said that it was not good for children to marry early and that it was very important for them to complete education. 

Finally, the conference attendees, including the authors of drawings and their teachers, had the opportunity to view the exhibition and socialise.

Radio Belgrade I broadcast on the conference here.

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