After the new Serbian Cabinet was established in August, The Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS) decided to revive its initiative for Serbia to accede to EU Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020 (REC). In order to persuade Serbian officials to initiate the procedure for Serbia’s accession to REC, MODS launched an advocacy campaign. MODS has thus far issued press releases and prepared policy briefs which aimed to explain the significance that REC could have in supporting and complementing national efforts aimed at protecting women, children, and youth from violence. Furthermore, MODS held meetings with Mr. Michael Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, as well as with representatives of relevant government agencies.
MODS sent an appendix to the future Serbian Prime Minister Mr. Aleksandar Vučić regarding his exposé which is currently being created, in which it expressed its expectation that the child’s rights would rank high among the new Cabinet’s priorities. This annex contained several concrete measures that could help improve the situation of children in Serbia, which the new government should take into account.
Serbia still has issues to tackle when it comes to its children and their well-being. For instance, UNICEF data points to limited access to health and educational facilities for children with disabilities and their widespread presence in institutional care, the growing number of children separated from their parents, and the poor socio-economic situation of Roma individuals, a community that also presents numerous cases of early marriage. These are only a few aspects amongst many others that the new Cabinet ought to address on its way to realizing the rights of all children and help them enjoy a happy, healthy childhood with prospects for a better future. These are the reasons why MODS also pushed for the betterment of Serbia’s normative framework when it comes to protecting children, from urging the new Cabinet to adopt a National Action Plan for Children to urging the National Assembly to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the procedure of filing complaints to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Nonetheless, these measures need to be followed by de facto action in order to further prevent discrimination amongst children, provide better opportunities for all, better access to health care and various other services.