Children’s rights in Serbia: from legislation to action

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

 Press release, 21 March, 2017

ChildPact (Regional Coalition for Child Protection) and the Network of Organizations for Children (Mods) from Serbia have launched cross-comparison study between the Child Protection Index results and the European Union’s progress report for Serbia, highlighting a number of actions that Serbia must take to enhance its capability for protecting the rights of the children.

The EU’s Progress Report and the Child Protection Index both highlight that actual implementation of Serbia’s legal framework on child rights should be a key government priority.

Key issues:

  • Serbia’s legal framework on child rights needs adjustments in order to be fully compliant with the UNCRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) commitments and EU requirements
  • The main issue remains the large gap between policy and implementation: it is important to have the right legal framework in place, but these rights must alsoexist in the lives of real children in need
  • The EU’s Progress Report and the Child Protection Index both highlight that actual implementation of Serbia’s legal framework on child rights should be a key government priority
  • Serbia still has to put more efforts in tackling child trafficking and child labour issues
  • Serbia needs to intensify efforts to deinstitutionalise children with disability and further develop community services and support to families of children with disability to prevent institutionalisation
  • Serbia should ensure capacity and funding to collect relevant data and monitor the child protection system

EU Progress Report and CPI highlight key weaknesses in the child protection system

Serbia has gone a long way towards achieving the principles set by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Nevertheless, authorities have the responsibility to do more to protect the most vulnerable children. The European Union’s progress report for Serbia highlights some of these shortcomings, and outlines key reforms that need to be implemented. Reading the sections of the progress report that deal with child protection issues in conjunction with the Serbia Country report based on the Child Protection Index allows to highlight sectors where more reforms are needed by Serbia’s authorities in order for them to comply with their international commitments, both as part of the integration process with the EU and as a signatory of the UNCRC.

The present report follows the outline of the EU Progress Report on child-related issues as it intersects with those Index indicators where Serbia scored a negative result (score 0 – not complying at all with envisaged standards).

The Child Protection Index in Serbia

The Child Protection Index is an instrument created jointly by World Vision and ChildPact that measures a country’s child protection system against a common set of indicators. The Index is based on the prescriptions of a set of articles from the UNCRC as well as on the principles of a systems approach to child protection. The results from each country illustrate the government’s actions towards child protection through the lens of policy, service delivery, capacity, accountability and coordination. The Child Protection Index has been piloted in 9 countries through the work of more than 70 experts involved in data collection and analysis, the use of more than 600 indicators, and the issue of more than 100 policy recommendations. In Serbia, the Child Protection Index has been implemented by the Network of Organizations for Children (Mods).

The recently launched cross-comparison study between the EU Progress Report and the Child Protection Index “Serbia: EU Progress Report and CPI highlight key weaknesses in the child protection system includes information on how other countries in the region introduced key reforms in areas where Serbia’s current policies do not comply with the UNCRC.

You can download the paper here.

You can download the Child Protection Index report here.