Protection against discrimination “on hold”

A group of nongovernmental organizations expresses deep concern about the current non-functioning of the anti-discrimination system in Serbia, as the institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is completely blocked due to the failure to timely elect a new Commissioner.

Numerous organizations that have filed complaints for protection against discrimination have been informed during the past week that these processes will not continue until “the election of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality”. The mandate of the previous Commissioner expired on May 27, 2020, and as stated in the memos, “this independent body has no deputies with a legal authority to act on its behalf”.

It can be expected that the citizens of Serbia will be without adequate protection against discrimination for months to come, given that the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality must be elected by the majority of members of the National Assembly, on the proposal of the committee competent for constitutional issues, and that Serbia is about to have parliamentary elections which will be followed by constituting National Assembly and competent committees. 

Such a situation further victimizes all those who have suffered discrimination, and increases the risk of continuing or recurring discrimination. Also, the question arises as to how the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality will take procedural actions in ongoing anti-discrimination processes, which further contributes to the uncertainty of legal protection against discrimination.

Non-functioning of this mechanism of protection against discrimination will primarily affect citizens who belong to multiple vulnerable and marginalized groups, particularly those who do not have enough money and resources to turn to the courts in Serbia for protection against discrimination.

Bearing in mind that Serbia strives to become a state which respects the rule of law, equality and human rights, current position of an institution such as the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is absolutely unacceptable, and is also a reminder of how easily institutions established to protect human rights in Serbia can collapse.

Thus, we call on all relevant actors to initiate the procedure of electing a new Commissioner for the Protection of Equality immediately after the constitution of the National Assembly.


  1. A 11 – Inicijativa za ekonomska i socijalna prava;
  2. Udruženje građanki FemPlatz;
  4. Impuls Tutin;
  5. Haver, Srbija;
  6. Befem – feministički kulturni centar;
  7. Inicijativa za prava osoba sa mentalnim invaliditetom MDRI-S;
  8. Romski ženski centar Bibija;
  9. Iz kruga Beograd;
  10. International Aid Network;
  11. Yucom – Komitet pravnika za ljudska prava;
  12. ERA;
  13. Centar za samostalni život osoba sa invaliditetom Srbije;
  14. Centar za prava deteta;
  15. Beogradski centar za ljudska prava;
  16. Organizacija za promociju aktivizma OPA, projekat Femix;
  17. Užički centar za prava deteta;
  18. Grupa 484;
  19. Amity – snaga prijateljstva;
  20. Dečiji centar – Mali princ;
  21. Sandžački odbor za zaštitu ljudskih prava i sloboda;
  22. Odbor za ljudska prava Vranje;
  23. Kolektiv mladih zena – FEMIX;
  24. Mlado srce i portal W press;
  25. Centar za rad sa decom, mladima i porodicom “Vrdničak” Vrdnik;
  26. Centar za podršku ženama;
  27. Mreža SoS Vojvodina;
  28. Geten;
  29. Astra – anti trafficking action;
  30. Ženske studije istraživanja, Novi Sad i Subotica;
  31. Centar za istraživanja javnih politika;
  32. Gej strejt alijansa;
  33. Ženski istraživački centar za edukaciju i komunikaciju;
  34. Ženski centar Užice;
  35. Dr Zorica Mršević;
  36. Iz kruga Vojvodina;
  37. Atina;
  38. Alternativni centar za devojke;
  39. Rekonstrukcija ženski fond;
  40. Centar za ženske studije Beograd;
  41. Viktimološko društvo Srbije;
  42. Gender Knowledge Hub;
  43. Nacionalna organizacija osoba sa invaliditetom;
  44. Beogradski centar za bezbednosnu politiku;
  45. Prijatelji dece Srbije;
  46. Grupa budi jedan;
  47. Peščanik, Kruševac;
  48. Konsultacije za lezbejke;
  49. SoS ženski centar;
  50. SOS Vlasotince;
  51. Oaza sigurnosti;
  52. Ženska alternativa;
  53. Žene za mir, Leskovac;
  54. Ekumenska humanitarna organizacija.