A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social rights has submitted comments regarding follow- up document that Serbia has submitted on January 2019 to the UN Human Rights Committee in relation to the Concluding observations on the Third periodic report of Serbia.
A 11 Initiative has stated, in comments submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee, that in relation to executing non – discriminatory access to opportunities and services in all fields to Roma, the Republic of Serbia has sent uncorroborated response and that forthcoming amendments to the Anti-Discrimination Law will deteriorate the institutional position of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and will have the negative effect on the protection from discrimination of persons from most marginalized groups.
Additionally, State follow-up report does not contain any mention of the Law on Amendments to the Law on Financial Support to the Families with Children nor the Draft Law on the Amendments to the Law on Social Protection, even though the amendments of those Laws are of the immense importance for the assessment of State’s compliance with the Committee’s recommendation 15 (a) on Roma inclusion. In the report of the A 11 Initiative it is stated that these two documents are in direct contradiction with the abovementioned Committee’s recommendation, as well as that Decree on measures of social inclusion of beneficiaries of financial social assistance and the Draft Law on the Amendments to the Law on Social Protection are contrary to the prohibition of forced labour and discrimination.
In regards to Roma housing, it was stated in the comments that Republic of Serbia failed to adopt the National Housing Strategy despite its legal obligation, as well as that it failed to set up the effective system of the protection of the rights of especially vulnerable population in access to housing and other basic services. In addition, the first case of relocation of Roma communities under the new procedure for relocation and resettlement of informal settlements proved that there is still need for the improvement of the legal framework and the administrative practice in cases of relocations of Roma communities.
Therefore, A 11 Initiative has urged the UN Human Rights Committee to continue the dialogue with the Republic of Serbia and to, after reviewing the information received from State and other actors, recommend to the State to:
- Amend its Law on Financial Support to the Family with Children so as to remove discriminatory Article 25 which excludes marginalized Roma children and prevents them from exercising the right to parental allowance.
- Increase its efforts to ensure access to social protection on non-discriminatory basis, especially for members of marginalized population and to withdraw the Draft Law on the Amendments to the Law on Social Protection.
- Improve the local integration of internally displaced Roma by adopting specific, tailor-made measures for the improvement of their access to basic services and human rights, especially in the area of housing and social protection.
The entire text of comments regarding follow- up document that Serbia has submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee can be found here.