When we established the institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, we proclaimed a vision that was our aim, which was legally defined in Article 4 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, provisioning that:
“All people are equal and enjoy equal position and legal protection, regardless of personal characteristics”.
In real life, it means that: “Serbia is an open and tolerant society of equal people that offers equal opportunities to everyone”.
I am deeply aware that when we talk about equality, we actually have to think of freedom, truth and perception of reality that every individual among us is living in. If we want to be a society with integrity, we have to bear in mind that the measure of integrity and dignity of the whole society depends on its relation to an individual. If we want to be a moral society, we have to be aware that the greatest value of every community and every society is an individual person. Our power to openly see each other, responsibly and respectfully, is the strength that will be left to our children as a heritage.
With reference to this, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality bears enormous responsibility for the whole society. That is why I believe it is important to say: the result of our work and efforts has to be and always is – a joint act of all of us.
In order to accomplish the goal that we defined – eradication of all forms of discrimination, we as society have to allow discrimination to become visible. Initiation of proceedings before the Commissioner is simple. Citizens do not have to know the provisions of law – it is enough that they come to the Commissioner’s office, make a phone call or write about their problem, whenever they feel discriminated on any grounds. All other necessary legal steps will be taken by the Commissioner.
We must have full understanding for differences among us, which can only contribute to our spiritual and every other development. We always must have compassion for those among us who are more vulnerable and sensitive. They need help and support in realization of common goals. Let me remind you: true equality and equivalence of all citizens.
In a society that wishes to be a society of equal people, like we want ours to be, there has to be awareness that nobody should be brave, but to have the right to be what he or she is.
I believe that we will not be denied support in our efforts to respond to any need of the most sensitive among us. I believe that all of us will always know how serious our duty is and I am sure that „if we all fulfill our obligations, the rights will be not hard to accomplish“.
As a Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, I would wish to say that, in spite of difficulties that we are experiencing as a society, I believe that we will know how to create mechanisms together, which will stand for justice and law and present investment for a better future of every one of us.
With gratitude and respect,