MINISTRY OF FINANCE
Siniša Mali, Minister
Kneza Miloša 20
Dear Mr. Mali,
The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality was addressed by the National Organization of Persons with Disabilities of Serbia (NOOIS) with a request for help in solving a specific problem that numerous associations of persons with disabilities are currently facing.
Namely, NOOIS, as an organization representing the interests of a large number of persons with disabilities, their legal representatives and family members, gathered in 15 Associations of Persons with Disabilities, and a network with more than 450 local associations, pointed out that these associations in 2020 have not received funds for program activities, which have been regularly provided through tender procedures of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs for years, in order to protect the rights and improve the position of persons with disabilities in the entire Republic of Serbia. These funds are used for various activities related to the prevention of institutionalization and deinstitutionalization of persons with disabilities, such as stimulating and inclusive programs and support services for independent living of persons with disabilities – supplementary support, stimulation, integration and reintegration, inclusion, education, employment and psychosocial programs, as well as other activities aimed at improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. All these activities that were planned for January, February and the period until the introduction of the state of emergency (until March 15), as stated in the letter from NOOIS, were mostly realized. However, having in mind that the funds have not yet been remunerated by the competent ministry, debts are being made, and the persons engaged to work on the implementation of the mentioned activities, who are mostly people with disabilities, are facing serious financial and existential problems after full three and a half months, given that it is their only and basic source of funding.
In communication with the competent ministry, NOOIS learned that all obligations related to the proposal for payment have been completed, and points out that without funding of the work of organizations of persons with disabilities and their employees, they will not be able to effectively assist the state in implementing all measures prescribed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, i.e. to provide support and necessary assistance to its members in these conditions, through financing the work of translation services for the deaf, providing support services and other necessary services for its members, as well as their timely and adequate information, online psychological and other counseling support, which is especially necessary in these conditions.
Having in mind the above, we believe that it would be necessary to enable the payment of funds for already implemented activities and ensure further funding of activities of associations of persons with disabilities that meet the current conditions of emergency in continuity, in order to ensure their regular functioning and thus provide support to all persons with disabilities in overcoming the problems they face every day, prevent the cessation of activities that have been regularly implemented for a long time and represent the necessary services for members of these associations, and provide a source of funding to persons who are engaged to work.
The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, in accordance with the established competencies, monitors the situation and continuously points out serious problems the most vulnerable categories of citizens face and address to us, and which need to be taken into account when considering various measures to suppress the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY