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Child Pact invited, and MODS contributed to the progress of Serbia in the field of child rights

The regional organization Child Pact submitted a written contribution to the Directorate-General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations for the of the European Union on the progress in the area of child protection system in the countries of the region.

The contribution was made for the purpose of the 2018 Enlargement Package prepared by the European Commission, which includes the reports of candidate countries and potential candidates for accession to the European Union. The report submitted by Child Pact contains a description of the state of the child protection system in 6 countries of the region: Bosnia and Herzegovina; Albania, Kosovo*, the Republic of Serbia, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

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At the invitation of the European Commission, the Child Pact, of which MODS is a member, invited MODS to submit its written report on Serbia’s progress in the field of the rights of the child and the position of children from vulnerable groups, monitoring the situation in this field as of September 2016.

On this occasion, the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS) pointed to the situation in the area of child protection system in Serbia. The main units to which the MODS responded are positive outcomes regarding the development of the child protection system in Serbia; recommendations for improving the situation in the child protection system and the position and the importance and the role of civil society organizations dealing with the protection of the rights of the child in reform processes.

MODS emphasized the importance of the role of the Children’s Rights Council, noting that this body of government should grow from an advisory to inter-ministerial coordination body that will have essential powers in the child protection system. To strengthen the role of the Children’s Rights Council, the Government of the Republic of Serbia committed itself to the Action Plan for Chapter 23. The Government appointed the President of the MODS Steering Committee Jasmina Miković a member of the Council for the Rights of the Child.

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Furthermore, it was pointed out that the normative framework in the field of child rights should be improved. In that sense, MODS pointed to the necessity of drafting and adopting a new National Action Plan for Children and the Law on the Rights of the Child. The adoption of the National Strategy for the Prevention and Protection of Children against Violence is underway, and together with it, it is necessary to adopt an Action Plan for its implementation with a mechanism for efficient monitoring of the implementation of the Strategy.

MODS pointed that the position of children in Serbia is not good enough, drawing attention to vulnerable groups of children. The problems that children in Serbia most often face are poverty and violence against and among children, with children of ethnic minorities being at a higher risk – children of Roma nationality, children with disabilities, children on the move and without accompanying adults, children without parental care, etc. Violence against children of various forms has frequently been reported and, in addition to domestic violence, there has been an increase in cases of peer violence and digital violence.

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Regarding the deinstitutionalization process in Serbia, it is noted that this process in Serbia is taking place rather slowly and that further steps and efforts are needed in the field of transformation of residential care institutions and development of services in the community to support children and the family.

Regarding the importance and the role of civil society organizations in the reform process of the child care system, it was emphasized that NGOs play a significant role in the implementation of advocacy activities for a better position of children, and in addition, the current Social Protection Law recognizes NGOs as authorized providers of social protection services, which is of great importance in support of the deinstitutionalization process. On the other hand, NGOs face the problems of achieving standards for the provision of individual services, as well as the problem of the sustainability of services themselves.

Contribution to the report for the EU 2018 Accession Package is followed by a communication on the implementation of the Accession Strategy, the adoption of which is planned for April 2018.

You can find the contribution of Child Pact on the status of the child protection system in the countries of the region HERE.