Opinion was issued in the proceeding upon complaint filed by civil society organization against Center for social work in P. because of discrimination against group of persons of Roma nationality who are internally displaced persons. It was stated in the complaint that the Center for social work in P. refused to accept a welfare application from three internally displaced persons of Roma nationality, together with the evidence – statements of these persons. In their statement, Center for social work denied the proclamations from the complaint and submitted their evidences – records of the hearing of persons who were proposed as witnesses by the claimant. Claimant extended the complaint to this event also, stating that it was an act of witness victimization. After the conducted proceeding, Commissioner for Protection of Equality observed that due to all circumstances of this case, it may not be determined if the Center for social work had discriminatory practice against the persons in whose name the complaint was filed during the procedure related to the exercising of their rights. On the other hand, during the analysis of facts, it was determined that the witnesses proposed by claimant were at hearing before the Center for social work upon the Center’s request, after they have been proposed as witnesses, i.e. persons who have asked for protection and who offered relevant evidence. It is indisputable, as it was read from the record of these persons hearing, that the statements were not taken within administrative procedure, which is within the authority of the Center for social work, related to the fact determining process needed for exercising of right from the area of social protection, but the statements were given after Commissioner for Protection of Equality requested the statement from the Center of social work in the proceeding for protection against discrimination. Therefore, Commissioner for Protection of Equality gave opinion that the Center for social work in P. violated provision of Article 9. of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination – prohibition of calling to account, by inviting and hearing three persons who were proposed as witnesses by claimant in the proceeding for protection against discrimination. Commissioner for Protection of Equality recommended to the Center for social work in P. not to call to account persons who offered or intend to offer evidence about discriminatory acting or who asked for protection against discrimination anymore, to send written apology to witnesses who were put to hearing by them and to implement a training for their employees about recognizing of discrimination, with special accent on discrimination of members of Roma national minority who are internally displaced persons.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY