Child rights

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Children Without Identity for One Year

After one year, administrative procedures of subsequent birth registration for three children have finally been solved in their favour before the Registry Office in Kraljevo. 

Due to unlawful conduct and non-compliance with the rules of procedure, the competent authority unjustifiably rejected the requests three times, which is why the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government adopted complaints and returned the cases for repeated procedure each time. Among other things, the competent authority rejected the requests considering them contrary to the Constitution because the submitted documents were not written in Cyrillic but in Latin script. It also considered that the Praxis’ activities of informing and advising the party were unconstitutional. The competent authority has failed to take care that illiteracy and ignorance of the party to the procedure should not prejudice the rights to which the party is entitled, which is an obligation of the authority conducting the administrative procedure that must be fulfilled ex officio. On the contrary, the authority abused its position and powers and used the illiteracy and ignorance of the submitter of request to her detriment, preventing her from exercising her statutory rights.

Thus, the competent authority has repeatedly requested from the submitter of request, a Roma woman who cannot speak Serbian, to provide the services of an interpreter, although the authority conducting the procedure has that obligation pursuant to the Law on the Official Use of Languages and Scripts. Considering that the Registry Office in Kraljevo had committed discrimination, denying the submitter of request the participation in the procedure due to lack of knowledge of the language, Praxis filed a complaint with the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, and the decision is pending.

After initiating a procedure for determining discrimination, requests for birth registration of three children were granted. It is paradoxical that this was done on the basis of the same evidence and statements of the same witnesses submitted at the time of the initiation of procedure.

The Registry Office in Kraljevo did not apply the statutory measures to facilitate the participation of members of vulnerable groups in the procedure, but by ignoring these affirmative measures, rendered their position and participation in the procedure even more difficult. Particularly disconcerting is the fact that such conduct occurred in the case where this authority was deciding on the children’s right to be recognised as persons before the law, which is completely contrary to the basic principle that everyone must be guided by the best interests of the child.

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