Brankica Janković, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality opened an international Conference on Child Rights organized by the Center for Advanced Legal Studies in cooperation with the AIRE Center from London and held at the Belgrade Media Center.
The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality stressed the significance of the commitment expressed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development to become more actively and effectively involved in combating discrimination against children. With this agenda in mind, Minister Šarčević made his first official visit to the Institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality following his appointment. During this meeting an agreement was reached to organize discrimination detection and suppression skills training for all educators including education inspectors.
The Commissioner said that “Based on complaints filed with the institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and according to numerous relevant surveys, it would be safe to say that Roma children and children with disabilities are those most exposed to discrimination.” She also added that segregation of Roma children in schools as well as misconceptions about and resistance to inclusive education are two most severe problems our society faces in this particular area.
Brankica Janković underlined that children living with disabilities in Serbia lack adequate assistance, such as transportation, services provided by personal assistants and teaching assistants while stressing that the root of the problem is in delegating authority on these matters to local self-government units. This is the reason the quality of such services is uneven as in different local self-government units there are different views on the issue and the budget also differs from one municipality to another.
The conference participants gained an insight into general legal standards on the respect and protection of child rights, international standards including those developed in the course of implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as on the position of children in view of anti-discrimination legislation.
Apart from the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, “General Legal Standards of Child Rights” and “Position of Children in Terms of Criminal Law” panels saw the participation of Professor Dr Nevena Vučković Šahović and Professor Slađana Jovanović both teaching at the Union University Law School, Nuola Moll from AIRE Center and Assistant Professor Dr Milica Pejović-Milovančević of the Belgrade University Medical School.