|© UNICEF Serbia|
|Parliamentary Speaker Ms. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic and UNICEF Area Representative Ms. Judita Reichenberg signing Memorandum of Understanding between National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia and UNICEF Serbia|
Belgrade, 19 November 2008 - UNICEF Serbia signed an agreement with the Serbian Parliament for long term cooperation and partnership on 19 November 2008, whereby the Parliament will play a greater role in enhancing children’s rights. The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by the Parliamentary Speaker Ms. Slavica Djukic Dejanovic and UNICEF Area Representative Ms. Judita Reichenberg, makes a formal framework for the future specific cooperation and UNICEF’s support to the Parliament on capacity building of the MPs on the rights of the child regarding their three key roles: legislative , overseeing the government policies, budget approval and resource allocation.
At the signing ceremony, Ms. Djukic Dejanovic stated that the Parliament’s priority had to be legislative activities regarding child rights. "Of all human rights violations, those that 'hurt' most were those affecting children", she said.
UNICEF Area representative, Ms. Reichenberg, said that there were a number of reasons why children’s rights were violated, stressing poverty in particular. "Children ware still not respected as legal entities and negative disciplinary methods continue to be applied to them", she said, adding that children’s rights were also violated through discriminatory attitudes towards specific groups, such as children with disabilities or Roma children because of their ethnicity.
A parliamentary cross-sectoral Working Groups for Child Rights is established. It is chaired by the Parliamentary Speaker while six Vice-Presidents and Presidents of Poverty Reduction and for Social Affairs Committees make up the membership. The Working Group will be formalised as a cross-sectoral Committee for Children as soon as the new Law on the Parliament is passed, which is expected in quite near future.
UNICEF’s support will consist of:
- Awareness raising on the importance of child rights
- Equipping the MPs with knowledge on the principles and codes of child rights through providing them access to information and data from analysis and research, including from analytical reports derived from DevInfo system
- Providing expert support in analysis of relevant laws and the national budget in terms of their impact on children and families, as well as monitoring the implementation of national strategies, laws and the budget
- Assisting MPs in obtaining insight into the situation and initiatives in local self-governments with regard to the realisation, protection and violation of children’s rights
- Exposing the MPs to good international practices, establishing links with the parliamentarians from other countries and sharing experiences.