Praxis is a national non-governmental organization (NGO) established in 2004 in Belgrade, Serbia. We developed as an extension of the Civil Rights Project (CRP) that was implemented by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Serbia from 1997 to 2004. The goal of the project was to enhance the protection of the civil rights of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), both in their places of origin and of temporary residence/exile. Preceding the withdrawal of the NRC from the region, Praxis was registered as an NGO in June 2004 as a part of the NRC/CRP exit strategy. In September 2004, it started its work as an independent domestic NGO. The strategic partnerships with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) that were developed under the NRC have continued throughout Praxis development.

In the following years, in addition to providing free legal aid so that refugees and IDPs may exercise their status and property rights, Praxis also provided protection for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Praxis expanded its free legal aid services to other marginalized and socially excluded communities, particularly the Roma population. This legal aid helped these individuals to exercise their right to be recognized as a person before the law, the right to a nationality, the right to adequate housing, the right to health care, the right to social protection, the right to education and the right to employment. Praxis is especially focused on the prevention and reduction of statelessness. Praxis also took positive action to fight against discrimination, for respect for human rights and for the removal of systemic obstacles to access rights. Praxis also has been monitoring the public administration reform process, especially in the areas of accountability and transparency, and has been striving to improve the citizen’s participation in public policy-making and for openness in the work of public administration. In addition to providing free legal aid, Praxis has also monitored public policies, conducted research and analysis, advocated for the removal of systemic obstacles that prevent access to rights, and has been engaged in awareness raising campaigns about the problems faced by marginalized and socially excluded communities who are attempting to integrate. We have also participated in educational outreach, published reports and provided expert support for legal reform.


Ivanka Kostić is a senior lawyer with many years of experience in working in the civil sector, in the field of human rights and forced migration. She was a founder of Praxis and was its Executive Director from its foundation in 2004 until the end of 2020.

From 1997-2004, Ivanka worked with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on their legal aid project - the Civil Rights Project (CRP), from the very opening of the first NRC/CRP office in Serbia, until the departure of the Norwegian Refugee Council from Serbia and the Balkans. The project had two pillars or two basic types of activities, the provision of legal aid and advocacy in case of systemic obstacles in accessing rights.

Ivanka initially worked on the CRP as a Senior Legal Advisor, later she was leading the NRC/CRP office in Belgrade, and from 2002 she was managing the Civil Rights Project in Serbia.

As part of its exit strategy, the Norwegian Refugee Council offered the option of establishing an organization in Serbia that would continue working on the Project, which Ivanka agreed to implement, and together with a number of other colleagues from the Project, founded Praxis. In September 2004, Praxis began operating as a domestic NGO.

For more than 16 years, Ivanka led and developed the organization, with the aim of promoting the human rights of marginalized and socially excluded groups, displaced persons, members of the Roma national minority, residents of informal settlements, and other minority groups in Serbia through various activities. Amongst other things, these activities included free legal aid, advocacy for change of regulations or their application in practice, raising awareness of systemic problems in access to rights, research, monitoring of public policies, as well as through developing cross-border cooperation between civil society organizations operating in the Western Balkans and cooperation at the international level.

Ivanka was invited to become involved in the activities of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) from the very beginning in 2012, and Praxis then became a member of ENS and its Advisory Board. Ivanka is a member of the Board of Trusties of the European Network on Statelessness.

Praxis has become a recognizable and respected organization, primarily due to its capable, professional and dedicated staff and members of the legal team that provide legal assistance in Praxis’ offices, but also in the field throughout Serbia, especially to those who are most in need of assistance, residents of informal settlements, the majority belonging to the Roma national minority, many of whom are not registered in birth registry books, and who are therefore at risk of statelessness, and lacking access to rights. By providing free legal aid in numerous cases, Praxis also gathered solid evidence of systemic obstacles, which regulations and practices need to be changed, and has used this for its advocacy.

From 2021, Ivanka Kostic will be continuing to cooperate with Praxis as an independent consultant on statelessness issues and advocacy activities. Ivanka will always remain a part of Praxis, and a support to the organization and its team.


Praxis collaborates with both independent institutions, such as the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and the Ombudsperson institution, as well as with relevant ministries and government stakeholders. Through its activities and outreach, Praxis has also established very good cooperation with local government bodies and public services throughout Serbia, as well as with members of the Roma community themselves.

Strengthening cooperation through networking with relevant stakeholders is the goal and guiding principle in our work. Our striving to connect with all relevant stakeholders has also led to membership in several coalitions and networks at international, regional and national levels. Praxis is a member of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS), the Western Balkans Legal Aid Network (WeBLAN), the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS), the Coalition Against Discrimination, the NKEU Chapter 23, the National Coalition to End Child Marriage and the National Working Group for Monitoring of the Public Administration Reform (PAR).

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Praxis watch

Praxis watch




Praxis watch

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