Serbian CSOs working on child rights protection write letter to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Source: The Network of Civil Society Organizations for Children (Mods) from Serbia

Dear Ladies and Gentleman of the Committee on the Rights of the Child,

We write to you on behalf of the Center for Youth Integration (CIM) and the Network of Organizations for Children of Serbia (MODS), which are Serbian CSOs working on child rights protection.  In regard to the recent session held by the Committee on children’s rights in Serbia, we would like to bring your attention to some incorrect and inaccurate assertions made to the Committee by the Serbian Government in response to your List of issues.

Our primary concern relates to the response of the Serbian Government to question 11 about the drop-in shelter for “street children” in Belgrade.[1] Regrettably, we must inform the Committee that is has been wrongly informed by the Serbian Government.

Firstly, we would like to inform you that the drop-in shelter for children involved in the life and work on the street, which is accessed regularly by over 250 street-involved children, is recognized as a social care service by the Law on Social Protection (Republic of Serbia, 2011) and the Rulebook on the Social Services Standards (Republic of Serbia 2014). Additionally, until April 2014, the drop-in shelter was included in the Decision on the Rights and Services of the City of Belgrade. In April 2014 the city authorities adopted amendments to the Decision in order to remove the drop-in shelter from the list of social services provided by the city. The reasons for this have never been clarified. The result of this action is that the City is no longer obliged to provide financial support for the provision of the drop-in shelter service.   

The fact that the drop-in shelter service has not abolished is due to the efforts of Center for Youth Integration, which has managed to find donors to support the continued functioning of the shelter. Since 2015 the work of drop-in shelter in Belgrade has been financed entirely by donors such as The EU Delegation to Serbia. However, this does not mean that the future provision of the service is viable as financial support is guaranteed only until the end of 2017. Unless the City of Belgrade decides support the drop-in shelter service, the future provision of this vital service will remain uncertain.

With this in mind, we kindly ask the Committee to urge the City of Belgrade to re-introduce the service of drop-in shelter service into the Decision on the Rights and Services and to provide appropriate funding for its provision in the city budget.

We are at the Committee’s disposal if any further information about the current situation is required.

Yours Faithfully,

Saša Stefanović                                                                                                              Marko Tošić

Director                                                                                                                Executive Director

The Network of Organizations                                          The Center for Youth Integration (CIM)

for Children of Serbia (MODS)

 

[1] Please inform the Committee of any steps taken to follow up on the recommendations outlined in the Protector of Citizen’s report Prevention of Exploitation of Children in South-East Europe: Child Begging in the Republic of Serbia. Please also explain the reasons behind the decision taken by the City of Belgrade to discontinue support for the drop-in centre for street children in 2014.