A group of civil society organisations is contesting the Draft Law on amendments on the Law on social protection in Serbia, after a non-transparent process of consultation by the Serbian government and several paragraphs that could undermine the rights of workers and the social welfare system in the country.
The ECF, through its member organisation Initiative for Development and Cooperation, is sharing the open letter addressed to EU decision-makers (Serbian below)
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The group of civil society organizations consisting of Trag Foundation, A11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights, European Movement in Serbia, Astra, Autonomous Women’s Center, Civic Initiatives, Foundation Center for Democracy, Initiative for Development and Cooperation, National Coalition for Decentralization, SeCons – Development Initiative Group and CRTA have launched the Initiative for withdrawal from the procedure of the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Social Protection, demanding from the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs  to include key domestic and international actors in a discussion on the priorities of the reform of the social protection system. By 5th August, the date of the end of the public discussion, the initiative had been supported by 506 signatures, among which 115 of CSOs from Serbia.

As representatives of civil society in Serbia we are concerned about human rights violation and undermining of interests of beneficiaries which could be the consequence of the introduced changes of the Draft Law. The Draft Law inadequately regulates the legal matter and it is inconsistent with other relevant national regulations and obligations that Republic of Serbia has undertaken by the ratification of international treaties guaranteeing fundamental human rights. Furthermore, overall social protection system is being more centralised, which is contrary to the recommendations of the European Commission on the decentralization of the social protection system. We wish to remind that the overall process of drafting legislative proposal is non-transparent and without involvement of relevant actors including civil society organizations dealing with social protection issues. The most concerning elements of the Draft Law are:

  • Forced Labour. The Draft Law prescribes that the right on social support can only be granted to the person capable to work, if that person has not refused to work or  take part even in direct job creation measures. Contrary to the Article 20 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, it undermines level of achieved rights and violates international obligations of the Republic of Serbia for prevention of forced labour and discrimination prescribed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Labour Convention C 29 from 1930.
  • Centralisation of the social protection system. The possibility that a number of by-laws are brought by the Minister without defining basic terms and conditions is contrary to the fundamental principles of legal certainty and it can lead to the subsequent reduction of the rights of beneficiaries within social protection system. Additionally, contrary to the recommendations of the European Commission on the decentralization of the social protection system, the local self-government could not appoint or dismiss the director of the Center for Social Welfare without prior approval of the Ministry.
  • Conditioning of the financial support. The Draft Law stipulates that financial assistance is conditioned by regular education and achieving success within the education system. Conditioning financial assistance is in contradiction with the regulations governing the education system, and contrary to the principle of the best interests of the child referred to in Article 3, Paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Wide range of authority of the Centers for Social Welfare. Centers for Social Welfare are given widen range of authority in terms of collecting user data, which creates the risk of disproportionate interference with citizens’ rights and violation of the right to respect for private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We call for the support from the European institutions and the international community in influencing the Government of Serbia and the Ministry of Labor to withdraw the existing Draft Law and to initiate new process of legislative changes based on national laws, taking care of protection and promotion of the highest level of human rights.


 

ORGANIZACIJE GRAĐANSKOG DRUŠTVA ZAHTEVAJU POVLAČENJE NACRTA ZAKONA O IZMENAMA i DOPUNAMA ZAKONA O SOCIJALNOJ ZAŠTITI

Grupa organizacija civilnog društva koju čine Trag fondacija, A 11 – Inicijativa za ekonomska i socijalna prava, Evropski pokret u Srbiji, Astra, Autonomni ženski centar, Građanske inicijative, Fondacija Centar za demokratiju, Inicijativa za razvoj i saradnju, Nacionalna koalicija za decentralizacijuSeCons – Grupa za razvojnu inicijativu i CRTA u toku prošle nedelje pokrenula je Inicijativu za povlačenje iz procedure Nacrta zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o socijalnoj zaštiti, zahtevajući od Ministarstva za rad, zapošljavanje, boračka i socijalna pitanja da se otvori javna diskusija sa ključnim domaćim i međunarodnim akterima o prioritetima reforme sistema socijalne zaštite. Do 5. avgusta kada je bio rok za javnu raspravu, putem platforme, Ministarstvu je upućeno ukupno 506 zahteva za povlačenje Nacrta zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o socijalnoj zaštiti, a od toga 115 zahteva od strane organizacija civilnog društva (OCD).

Kao predstavnici civilnog društva u Srbiji, duboko smo zabrinuti zbog posledica koje bi Nacrt zakona proizveo imajući u vidu da se predloženim zakonskim izmenama ozbiljno ograničavaju osnovna ljudska prava, ugrožavaju interesi korisnika i korisnica usluga socijalne zaštite, a sistem socijalne zaštite se centralizuje suprotno preporukama Evropske komisije o decentralizaciji sistema socijalne zaštite. Nacrt zakona na neadekvatan način reguliše zakonsku materiju, neusaglašen je sa drugim propisima, kao i sa obavezama koje je Republika Srbija preuzela ratifikacijom međunarodnih ugovora kojima se garantuju osnovna ljudska prava.

Navedenim Nacrtom zakona, između ostalog,  predviđa se:

  • Prinudni rad. Tekstom je definisano da pravo na novčanu socijalnu pomoć može ostvariti radno sposoban pojedinac, ukoliko u poslednjih šest meseci nije odbio, između ostalog, učešće u javnim radovima. Predloženim nacrtom zakonskog teksta se, suprotno garancijama iz člana 20. Ustava Republike Srbije umanjuje dostignuti nivo ljudskih prava i krše međunarodne obaveze Republike Srbije u vezi sa sprečavanjem prinudnog rada i diskriminacije.
  • Centralizacija sistema socijalne zaštite. Mogućnost da brojne podzakonske akte propisuje ministar bez prethodnog propisivanja osnovnih pojmova i uslova u suprotnosti je sa osnovnim načelima pravne sigurnosti i može dovesti do naknadnog umanjenja prava korisnika novčane socijalne pomoći. Dodatno, suprotno preporukama Evropske komisije o decentralizaciji sistema socijalne zaštite, lokalna samouprava neće smeti ni da postavi ni da smeni direktora centra za socijalni rad bez prethodne saglasnosti nadležnog ministarstva.
  • Uslovljavanje novčane socijalne pomoći. Nacrtom Zakona propisano je da se novčana socijalna pomoć uslovljava redovnim školovanjem i ostvarivanjem uspeha u obrazovnom sistemu. Ovakvo propisivanje uslova za ostvarivanje novčane socijalne pomoći u suprotnosti je sa propisima kojima se uređuje sistem obrazovanja i vaspitanja, ali i u suprotnosti sa principom najboljeg interesa deteta iz člana 3. stav 1 Konvencije o pravima deteta.
  • Preširoka ovlašćenja centara za socijalni rad. Centrima za socijalni rad data su preširoka ovlašćenja u pogledu prikupljanja podataka o korisnicima, što stvara rizik od neproporcionalnog zadiranja u prava građana i kršenja prava na privatnost iz člana 8. Evropske konvencije o ljudskim pravima.

Zbog gore navedenih argumenata, ovom prilikom pozivamo Evropske institucije i međunarodnu zajednicu da nas podrže u ovom zahtevu kako bi zajedno uticali na Vladu Republike Srbije i Ministarstvo za rad, zapošljavanje, boračka i socijalna pitanja  da povuku postojeći Nacrt zakona i pokrenu novi proces izrade zakonskih izmena poštujući pozitivne propise i međunarodne konvencije i vodeći računa o poštovanju, zaštiti i promociji osnovnih ljudskih prava.