Discrimination

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Request for removal of shortcomings of anti-discrimination laws

Civil society organizations demand from the competent authorities to remove the shortcomings contained in the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination and the draft Law on Same-Sex Unions, in accordance with the recommendations of civil society and the issued opinion of the Protector of Citizens.

During and after the public debate on the amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue has, without providing any justification and contrary to the recommendations of civil society organizations, formulated provisions that deviate from the legal standards of the Council of Europe, and in particular the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance. It has also deviated from European Union standards regarding the prohibition of discrimination in the field of labour and employment. Shortcomings have also been identified in the other provisions of the draft law, including those that are not in line with other systemic laws, such as the Law on General Administrative Procedure and the Law on Personal Data Protection.

The Government of the Republic of Serbia adopted the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination on April 22, 2021. This text is burdened with the same shortcomings as the draft Law. 

In the draft Law on Same-Sex Unions the Ministry included provisions that are not based on the recommendations of LGBT organizations regarding obstacles to the registration of same-sex unions, the relationship between a partner and a child of another partner and their mutual subsistence, as well as conditions for the recognition of an unregistered union. In addition, the draft law is burdened with numerous other flaws.

As the body responsible for the protection of human rights on the basis of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the Protector of Citizens also informed the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue about the above-mentioned shortcomings in the opinion he issued.

Human rights organizations demand that the Ministry take into account the recommendations of the Protector of Citizens and civil society and remove the shortcomings of the draft Law on Same-Sex Unions. We expect the Government of Serbia to ensure that the above-mentioned shortcomings are removed before making any final decision on the text of the draft law. We appeal to the members of the National Assembly (MPs) to remove the identified shortcomings of the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination through the submission of amendments. 

This request has been supported by: Center for Advanced Legal Studies (CUPS), Civil Rights Defenders, Praxis, Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (IJAS), Independent Journalists’ Association of Vojvodina (IJAV), Heartefuct fund, Pride Society, Association of Students with Handicap, Geten, Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), Humanitarian Law Center, Sandzak Committee for Protection of Human Rights, CHRIS Network of Human Rights Committees in Serbia, Labris, Child Rights Centre, Standing Conference of the Roma Associations of the Citizens (60 orgnisations), The Network of Organisations for Children of Serbia (103 organisations).

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