Izveštaji Praxisa

ponedeljak, 19. april 2021.

Praxis’ Contribution to the European Commission’s Serbia 2021 Annual Report Istaknut

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Praxis’ submission to the European Commission regarding Serbia 2021 Annual Report gives an overview, inputs and recommendations regarding Political Criteria and Rule of Law chapters, specifically state of civil society, pulic administration reform and rule of law and fundamental rights.

Space for civil society in Serbia is constantly shrinking. According to a research Praxis conducted in 5 local self-governments in Serbia in 2020, local civil society organizations are facing continuous weakening of their capacities, they are almost entirely dependent on funding from the local self-governments and are under constant pressure as they do not want to confront the authorities. There are more and more undemocratic practices which cause numerous irregularities in public calls for funding of civil society organizations. The space for civic participation is objectively small or practically does not exist.

As for public administration reform, respectively policy development and coordination and accountability of administration, Praxis findings show that the weaknesses of the system and insufficiently developed mechanisms for participation in the development of policies at the national level are even more pronounced at the level of local self-governments where there is almost no transparency and participation, except in exceptional cases. With reference to citizens’ free access to information of public importance, there is still no full implementation of the regulations relating to this right, while regarding openness towards the public, local self-governments are the most transparent in terms of information and data for which there is a clear legal obligation in terms of disclosure, which certainly does not mean that the local self-governments publish all legally prescribed information.

With regards to the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, Praxis’ focus was on the access to free legal aid and Roma inclusion. In addition to pointing to shortcomings of the Law itself, Praxis’ inputs show that an effective system of free legal aid, which will enable all socially vulnerable citizens to access justice through easily accessible and professional free legal aid has not been established yet. The experience of Praxis’ beneficiaries who tried to obtain legal aid in this way in the first year of application of the Law is extremely negative. Furthermore, there was no appropriate campaign at the beginning of the implementation of the Law, due to which most marginalised and socially vulnerable citizens still do not know that they have the right to free legal aid or where to seek assistance.

Regarding Roma inclusion, Praxis pointed out the shortcomings regarding access to personal documentation. The report identifies problems with timely birth registration, since, in cases when parents do not possess an ID card or a birth certificate, it is still not possible to register the new-born child with all the necessary data entered (including the child’s name) right upon birth. Furthermore, the inputs identify the latest challenges in the implementation of the procedure for determination of time and place of the birth, problems in acquisition of citizenship for otherwise stateless children born in Serbia, but also in residence registration.

When it comes to access of Roma to the right to social protection, Praxis inputs point to the challenges related to the Law on Financial Support to Families with Children and the Law on Social Protection. Regarding access to humanitarian aid during the state of emergency, Praxis pointed out that persons without documents, which are mostly members of Roma national minority, were denied systemic social support, because they are invisible to the system, while the consequences of the impact of the epidemic and the applied restrictive policy measures further worsened their situation.

A significant number of Roma children are still facing a series of obstacles in access to education. According to the research Praxis conducted, completion of primary education and transition into secondary education is recognized as the most critical point, since the drop out in this period is the most frequent. There are numerous reasons for this: stereotypes and discrimination inside the educational institutions that Roma students are facing, coverage of Roma children in pre-school activities is significantly lower than in majority population, lower coverage and lower level of completion of primary education, insufficient knowledge of a number of children of the language in which they are being educated, lower quality of knowledge acquired by Roma children and lower achievements, as well as segregation of Roma students. The already difficult position of Roma students was additionally aggravated since many Roma families lie in absolute poverty, without electricity, access to internet and without necessary devices needed for attending online schooling.

Discrimination against Roma is a problem addressed by institutions and public policies, but the persistence of discriminatory treatment and behaviour towards them indicates that it is necessary to strengthen existing resources and build new capacities through a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy. Employment, exercising the right to work, social protection and health care and education, spatial segregation and segregation in education, as well as hate speech, are forms of discrimination that, despite the established institutional protection, make exercising the rights of Roma more difficult.

Due to poor qualifications, marginalization and prejudices, the Roma face difficulties in finding employment. Access to work and sources of income is the key area in which the risks for Roma have increased during the restrictive measures and response of the State to the epidemic.

Finally, Praxis also specified the problem of child, early and forced marriages in Serbia that mostly affects the Roma population. Adequate addressing of child marriages by relevant government institutions is still missing, despite the domestic and international regulations that bind them, mainly because they still see child marriages just as a part of Roma culture and tradition, and not as a serious violation of the rights of children, particularly girls.

 

Praxis’ Contribution to the European Commission’s Serbia 2021 Annual Report can be found HERE

Pročitano 6705 puta Poslednji put izmenjeno ponedeljak, 19 april 2021 07:54
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action