Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic spoke at the opening of national conference “10 Years Since the Entry into Force of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – the Road towards full Implementation”, organized by the United Nations Team and Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues. The goal of the conference was to accent the importance and effects of the Convention, to demonstrate implementation priorities overview and to give opportunity for representatives of state institutions, UN and civil society organizations to exchange attitudes and sum up impressions about Convention implementation and further steps that need be taken.
Having in mind that Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities foresees the improvement, protection and ensuring of full and equal enjoying of all basic human rights and freedoms for all persons with disabilities and the improvement of respecting their inherent right to dignity, Commissioner stressed the significance that the role of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has in its implementation. She stated that the number of complaints because of discrimination on grounds of disability is in the very top for years now, and that it has been growing constantly, reaching 18% of all complaints in 2017. Increasing number of complaints indicates that persons with disabilities are more empowered to recognize and report discrimination, estimated Commissioner and stressed that the greatest number of complaints was related to discrimination in providing services or using of objects and surfaces (architectural barriers), followed by proceedings in front of authorities, area of labor and employment, education and professional specialization. Institution of Commissioner has also initiated a strategic litigation, within its competences, because of discrimination of woman who was cancelled a job contract due to disability that she has grown. Commissioner emphasized the importance of expansion of judicial practice in this area, because in such way courts send a strong message to the widest public that something is not allowed. Every particular successfully solved discrimination case leads to the improvement of the position of whole social group, stressed Commissioner.
On ground of data received in the proceedings upon complaints and other relevant available sources, Commissioner formulated recommendations to all public authority holders, aimed to the improvement of equality and achievement of full inclusion of persons with disabilities that are published in the Regular Annual Report for 2017. Some of the major recommendations are creation of new strategic document and action plans, adoption of the Law on Free Legal Aid, intensifying of architectural and informational availability with aim to enable access to public objects and surfaces, transport, information, communication and services, extension of deinstitutionalization process and providing of adequate support for independent life, extension of work on inclusive education and active policy for employment of persons with disabilities. These recommendations will be presented to MP in the National Parliament of Serbia, stressed Commissioner.
Conference was opened by Minster for Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues Zoran Djordjevic, while speakers in the introductory part were also Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations in the Republic of Serbia Steliana Nedera, State Secretary in the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues Stana Bozovic and director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights Suzana Paunovic.