Status Rights

Thursday, 15 October 2020

European Commission calls on Serbia again to amend regulations preventing birth registration of children of undocumented parents

In the recently published Serbia 2020 Report, the European Commission reiterated that all births need to be registered immediately after children are born, regardless of their parents’ status. At the same time, the European Commission called on Serbia to amend the related implementing legislation.

The European Commission put forward this recommendation to Serbia in the last year's progress report, but the disputed provisions are still in effect. Thus, there are still new cases of children born in Serbia who cannot be registered in the birth registry book immediately after birth because their parents do not possess ID cards. Although UNICEF has taken the position that registration immediately after birth implies a period of a few days after birth, in Serbia, these children remain deprived of many rights in the first months, and sometimes in the first years of their lives, since these cannot be exercised without birth registration. These are, most often, Roma children, who generally encounter more difficulties in accessing rights and services than non-Roma children.

Serbia 2020 Report also highlights that the Law on Permanent and Temporary Residence of Citizens needs to be applied consistently to allow Roma IDPs living in informal settlements to obtain registered residence and access to basic socio-economic rights. Although the law stipulates that citizens who do not have a legal basis of housing must be allowed to register their residence at the addresses of social welfare centres, Praxis’ beneficiaries are increasingly facing problems with exercising this right, and, in some municipalities, it has become almost impossible to register residence at the address of a social welfare centre.

The European Commission also points to other problems faced by the members of the Roma national minority in Serbia. Thus, it is indicated that although child marriages are not common in the general population, almost 60% of girls from Roma settlements are married at an early age. It is also stated that there is still a very low coverage of Roma children in preschool education, that school drop-out rates remain high, that the percentage of those completing tertiary education is extremely low, and that the problem of segregation in education needs to be addressed.

Additionally, the report draws attention to the problems that Roma have in relation to employment, inadequate housing conditions, and states that, in terms of social and economic inclusion, Roma returnees under the readmission agreement are in a particularly difficult position.

In Belgrade, 15 October 2020

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