Special Report on discrimination against children
Belgrade, 19 November 2013 - Discrimination against children, especially against Roma and children with disabilities, is still present in Serbia, reveals a Special report on discrimination against children prepared by the Serbian Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in cooperation with UNICEF.
“The aim of this Report is raising awareness of the Members of the Parliament and the public at large on the fact that discrimination against children in Serbia is still widespread. The Report also shows the presence of discriminatory attitudes, stereotypes and prejudices among children and adolescents”, said Ms. Nevena Petrusic, the Commissioner. She stressed the importance of the education system in teaching children about not only definitions of discrimination but also on how to practice tolerance.
Parliamentary Speaker and Chair of the Committee on Child Rights, Mr. Nebojsa Stefanovic, said that the Serbian Parliament had adopted an Anti-discrimination Law and that the “strategic goal of the state is the creation of a sound society that will have zero tolerance to discrimination of any kind”.
Key findings of the Report were presented by members of the Commissioner’s Youth Panel – the so-called “Discrimination Busters”. They talked about the cases of discrimination against their peers in school and concluded that the “absence of reaction to discrimination is equal to discrimination”.
Addressing the gathering, UNICEF Serbia Representative, Mr. Michel Saint-Lot, recalled that the Convention on the Rights of the Child clearly obliged states to respect and ensure the rights of each and every child, without discrimination of any kind. “The fulfilment and protection of the rights of all children, particularly those who are marginalized and excluded, lies in the heart of UNICEF’s country programme of cooperation in Serbia”, he said, and reconfirmed UNICEF’s commitment to support Serbia efforts aimed at achieving an inclusive and non-discriminatory environment for every child in the country.