Thursday, 17 December 2020

Fifth Sitting of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality

At the sitting held on 17 December, the members of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality considered the Commissioner for Protection of Equality 2019 Regular Annual Report, presented by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic.

The Commissioner said that this was the 10th Regular Report of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, focused chiefly on preventing and protecting against discrimination, as well as promoting equality in all fields and areas within its purview. In 2019, the Commissioner acted in 1,479 cases. In addition to opinions on complaints in individual cases, the Commissioner gave 686 recommendations for measures to achieve equality, sent 16 initiatives to amend regulations, 31 opinions on draft laws and other general acts. Six criminal charges and three requests for initiating misdemeanor proceedings were filed. In one case, it was proposed to initiate mediation or conciliation proceedings, one lawsuit for protection against discrimination and one proposal to the Constitutional Court for assessment of constitutionality.

16 initiatives for the amendment of regulations were issued in 2019, as well as 31 opinions on draft laws and other general acts. 23 public warnings and 34 press releases were issued as well. Opinions were issued in the proceedings on 70 complaints, 52 of which acknowledged a violation of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, accompanied by recommendation of measures, in four cases it was determined that there was no violation of the Law, but recommendations were given to ensure equality, and in 14 cases no violation of the provisions of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination was established.

Most complaints were filed due to discrimination on the basis of disability, followed by gender, health status, while the same number of complaints were filed on discrimination based on age and membership in political, trade union and other organizations. Complaints based on marital and family status, nationality and ethnicity, property status and sexual orientation follow. In terms of discrimination in social relations, work and employment came in first place in 2019 with a third of the total number of complaints. Proceedings before public authorities are a close second accounting for a fifth of complaints, followed by other areas such as education, provision of public services or the use of facilities and areas, social and health care. The trend of acting on the Commissioner's recommendations has continued - when it comes to the recommendations of measures for achieving equality addressed to public authorities and other persons, over 90% of cases have been acted upon, which is a total of 88.9% on average. There is an evident increase in acting on the Commissioner's recommendations, compared to last year, as well as all the previous years.

Also, as in previous years, the Commissioner continued with the practice of conducting various surveys in order to provide a comprehensive insight into the state of realization and protection of equality, and in 2019 it conducted the following surveys: Men and women’s attitudes toward discrimination in Serbia and Discrimination in the labor market, to assess the degree of involvement of young people under 30 in decision-making processes in their communities and the recognition of young people as special target groups whose improvement of status needs to be worked on.

The Committee considered the Commissioner for Protection of Equality 2019 Regular Annual Report and formulated a Conclusion Proposal to be submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and adoption.

The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Muamer Bacevac, and was attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Sandra Jokovic, Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic, Dejan Stosic, Vesna Nedovic, Vesna Stjepanovic, Dragana Brankovic Mincic, Dragana Radinovic, Nebojsa Bakarec, Jelena Mihailovic, Nikola Kozovic, Aleksandar Jovanovic and Selma Kucevic.

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