The principle of equality constitutes the basic value of every democratic society, while the suppression of all forms of discrimination is one of the most important tasks of any government, said Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality at the conference on judicial and quasi-judicial implementation of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination organized by the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights.
At the conference which saw the presentation of the Study on the Implementation of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination in Serbia, the Commissioner emphasized that the institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in its everyday work encounters challenges presented by this Law and its shortcomings, as well as problems related to the lack of harmonization between different pieces of legislation and interpretation of certain anti-discrimination provisions, something the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has continuously pointed out in its Annual Reports which contain recommendations how to resolve such issues.
Stressing that the need to amend the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination is part of commitments assumed under Action Plan for 23 and 24 negotiation chapters, the Commissioner added that the institution of the Commissioner had thoroughly analyzed up to date implementation of the Law. The findings served as a basis for preparing amendments to the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. This was done in consultation with representatives of ministries, leading professors, judges, experts in the field of anti-discrimination, as well as representatives of civil society organizations.
In order to improve anti-discrimination legal framework and comply with EU regulations, in addition to the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, it would be necessary to adopt or upgrade other regulations that may influence the achievement of equality and the improvement of the status of certain marginalized groups. This includes the adoption of the Law on Free-of-charge Legal Aid, amendments to the Law on Non-contentious Proceedings, Family Law, Social Welfare Law, etc., said the Commissioner.
Dr. Mario Reljanović, professor at the Belgrade Union University Law School presented the Study on the Implementation of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination in Serbia. Apart from the Commissioner, other speakers included Milan Antonijević, Director of the Committee of Lawyers for Human Rights, Natalija Šolić, lawyer with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights , Dr Nevena Petrušić, Professor at the Niš University Law School and Lidija Đukić, Judge of the Supreme Court of Cassation.