Child rights

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Praxis Held a Consultative Meeting with the Representatives of Institutions in Novi Pazar on the Prevention and Elimination of Child, Early and Forced Marriages

At the end of May 2018, Praxis held a consultative meeting with the representatives of institutions in Novi Pazar on the prevention and elimination of child, early and forced marriages (CEFM), as part of the activities performed within the project “Legal Assistance to Persons at Risk of Statelessness in Serbia”, funded by UNHCR.

The meeting was aimed at gathering the representatives of all relevant institutions in Novi Pazar to draft policies for the eradication of CEFM. The meeting was attended by the representatives of social welfare centre, police, school, health centre and civil society. At the beginning, the participants were thoroughly introduced into the CEFM problem and through a brief introduction into the activities performed by Praxis in the field of prevention and elimination of CEFM, they were acquainted with the main findings gained so far. Afterwards, Praxis’ representative gave a brief presentation about national and international legislation governing the area of CEFM with a reference to the responsibilities of the government in the prevention and elimination of CEFM. A special contribution was given by National Anti-Trafficking Coordinator at Republic of Serbia Mitar Djuraskovic, who talked about CEFM problem in the context of human trafficking. During the following discussion when case studies were analysed, the participants talked about what each of us can and have to do, and what we expect from other relevant actors, so as to prevent CEFM as a statelessness related issue. In that regard, the participants were introduced into the Statelessness Index, which gives an overview of how different countries in Europe protect stateless persons and what they do in order to prevent and reduce statelessness.

One of the conclusions of the discussion is that competent institutions do not cooperate sufficiently and in a coordinated manner. Moreover, they usually transfer their responsibilities to another institution. Even though the professionals are aware that CEFM represent the violation of children’s rights and gender based violence, they are still insufficiently sensitive to the problems of Roma population. In addition, due to stereotypical acting led by prejudices, the CEFM problem is still considered as part of Roma cultural tradition. According to the present professionals, teaching staff fail to report the CEFM problem because they do not want to hold against their acquaintances, i.e. parents of those children. The final conclusion of the discussion was that more coherent cooperation of competent institutions is a necessity, as well as constant awareness-raising among all relevant stakeholders – parents, children, professionals and general public, and active presence of media as key actors. It is necessary to continue with educations, both through group discussion and individual interviews with professional and potential victims of child, early and forced marriages and their parents.  

By the end of 2018, Praxis will organize three consultative meetings, one in Pozarevac and two in Belgrade.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action