No. 07-00-211/2017-02 Date: 7 September 2017
The present opinion was issued following a complaint procedure initiated upon a complaint lodged by a non-governmental organization P.B., against “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd. In its complaint, the complainant stated that a ticket inspector at the Main Railway Station in Belgrade had refused to allow two unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan to board a train traveling from Belgrade to Šid on 14 March 2017 (Timetable 2208), scheduled departure time 15:30 p.m. The same thing occurred on 24 April 2017 when three unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan as well as a dozen of other migrants, asylum seekers and refugees who tried to board a train, were prevented from doing so despite the fact that they were all in possession of a valid train ticket. In their declaration responding to allegations contained in the complaint, “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd stated that the incidents mentioned in the complaint had occurred before “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd had received the opinion and recommendation issued by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality No. 07-00-575/2016-02 dated 27 March 2017 and that the company had entirely complied with the issued recommendation; “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd also stated that, pursuant to the opinion and recommendation issued by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, amendments were made to the Instructions Regarding Procedures Involving Transportation of Migrants No. 17/2017-610 dated 25 May 2017; the company also stated that train staff members, who had participated in the reception and dispatching of travellers in cases to which the complaint pertains, were warned to behave accordingly; that the complainants, namely social workers, had also made an omission as minors who were foreign nationals and had no knowledge of the local language, belonged to a vulnerable category and should thus have been accompanied, in this particular case by a social worker. In the course of the complaint procedure it has been ascertained that the opinion and recommendation of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality dated 27 March 2017 pertained to the purchase of train tickets, not to the refusal to extend services to a person in possession of a valid train ticket. The analysis of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality dealt only with actions of “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd involving asylum seekers who were minors at the time, and for whom boarding the train on 14 March had been made difficult while on 24 April 2017 they were effectively prevented from boarding the train and with accounts of witnesses of these incidents. Allegations made in the complaint pertaining to a group of persons who were allegedly prevented from boarding the train, were not substantiated by evidence that would make it probable that members of these two groups were indeed in possession of valid train tickets and that despite this fact they had been prevented from boarding a train that was scheduled to depart at 15:30 p.m. In the course of the complaint procedure “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd has failed to offer justified reasons for making it difficult for asylum seekers who were minors at the time to board the train on 14 March, nor was “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd able to substantiate why on 24 April 2017 they were effectively prevented from boarding the train traveling from Belgrade to Šid with departure time scheduled for 15:30 p.m., namely they have failed to prove that actions of their employees were not driven by personal characteristics of passengers. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality issued its opinion stating that by imposing special conditions on asylum seekers, conditions which are otherwise not imposed on other clients using railroad transportation services, “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd had violated provisions of Article 6 in relation to Article 17 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. For this reason, a recommendation was issued to “Srbija voz” shareholders company Beograd to inform their employees providing railway transportation services about the Instructions Regarding Procedures Involving Transportation of Migrants, within a period of 15 days following the receipt of the present opinion containing recommendation and to refrain from violating anti-discrimination regulations when performing their regular work and activities in the future.
|COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY|