The Commissioner for Protection of Equality is an independent, autonomous and specialized state authority established on the basis of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination from 2009.
The first Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Nevena Petrusic PhD, was appointed on May 5th 2010 by means of a Decision of the National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia. The second Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Brankica Jankovic, was appointed on May 26th 2015 by means of a Decision of the National Parliament of the Republic of Serbia. The normative framework for the work of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality consists of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the relevant international documents, and the general and the special antidiscrimination laws of the Republic of Serbia.
The task of this state authority is to prevent all forms, types and cases of discrimination, to protect the equality of natural persons and legal entities in all spheres of social relations, to oversee the enforcement of antidiscrimination regulations, and to improve realization and protection of equality.
In line with the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, the Commissioner has the Professional Service which helps her to perform her duties. The Professional Service is established on the basis of the Act on Internal Organization and Job Systematization, which was approved by the National Assembly. The Professional Service consists of sectors, as the basic organizational units, the Commissioner’s Office as a separate internal unit, departments and groups.
The Commissioner for Protection of Equality is competent to carry out the procedure based on complaints in cases of discrimination against persons or groups of persons connected by the same personal characteristic. The Commissioner is competent to receive and consider complaints of discrimination, to issue opinions and recommendations in concrete discrimination cases, and to stipulate measures defined by the Law.
In addition, the Commissioner is obliged to inform the complainant about his or her rights and possibilities to initiate a court procedure or another protection measure, including the reconciliation procedure. The Commissioner is also authorized to file complaints for protection from discrimination, with approval of the discriminated person.
The Commissioner is also competent to file offence reports against discrimination acts prohibited by the antidiscrimination regulations.
The Commissioner is authorized to warn the public about the most common, typical and severe cases of discrimination, to monitor the enforcement of laws and other regulations, to initiate adoption or amendments of regulations with the aim of making them more enforceable and improving protection from discrimination, and to recommend measures for achieving equality to public authorities and other parties concerned.
A part of the Commissioner’s competences is to monitor the situation related to protection of equality. This is also the topic of the Commissioner’s Annual report, submitted to the National Parliament.
In her work, the Commissioner has the obligation to establish and maintain collaboration with authorities competent for achievement of equality and human rights protection on the territories of the Autonomous Province and local self-governments.