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ponedeljak, 24. septembar 2018.

The Commissioner Initiated a Misdemeanour Procedure for Service Delivery Discrimination against an 18-Month-Old Girl on the Ground of Disability

Following a complaint for service delivery discrimination on the grounds of disability lodged by Praxis, the Commissioner for Protection of Equality initiated a misdemeanour procedure before the Basic Court in Kraljevo against the owner of the children’s playroom “Maša i Medved” from Kraljevo for committing the misdemeanour referred to in Article 52, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. 

In fact, the playroom owner committed discrimination and misdemeanour by refusing to provide the service of using playroom to an 18-month-old girl because of her disability, i.e. by imposing conditions that were not imposed on other persons.   

Since such conduct of the playroom owner is contrary to the Constitution, the provisions of anti-discrimination legislation and international conventions, which are directly guaranteed by the Constitution, and given that such conduct undoubtedly constitutes an act of discrimination that violates the right to equality motivated by the physical disability of a minor, Praxis lodged a complaint requesting from the Commissioner to establish discrimination and recommend measures to eliminate the consequences of such conduct. The Commissioner initiated a misdemeanour procedure against the responsible person, which is an option envisaged by the institution's mandate, i.e. a measure of responding to discrimination and the prevention of discrimination. 

In addition to protecting the victims of discrimination, we believe that the Commissioner’s decision and the outcome of the initiated misdemeanour procedure will significantly contribute to raising the capacity and knowledge of service providers, both in the public and private sector, about the obligations they must comply with in accordance with anti-discrimination regulations. We also hope that it will empower potential victims of discrimination to seek more protection of the right to equality.     

It should be emphasised that Serbian anti-discrimination legislation has been criticised for the lack of legal remedies addressing the cause of discrimination and it has been pointed out that the remedies are largely focused on the victims of discrimination. The Commissioner’s decision to initiate a misdemeanour procedure is also very important from that aspect since international good practice stresses the need for structural remedies that are beyond the provision of individual damage compensation to victims. 

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