Project title: The Protector of Citizens in the Context of EU Integrations
Project duration: May – December 2019
Donor: Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
About the project: The main goal of the project is to improve the efficiency of institutions and to increase the independence of the Ombudsman, which would facilitate citizens’ access to information related to the Ombudsman’s work, as well as equal access to justice.
In order to improve the legislative and normative framework in the field of protection and promotion of fundamental rights, and the work of the Ombudsman institution, Serbia is required to fulfill important activities from the Action Plan for Chapter 23 in the EU negotiation process. When we consider the state of fulfillment of the basic responsibilities of Serbia in this regard, the adoption of the Amendments to the Law on the Protector of Citizens has been delayed, which slows down the strengthening of independence and improvement of the efficiency of the work of this institution. In the field of prevention and suppression of torture and ill-treatment, Serbia is planning to strengthen the capacities of the Ombudsman institution, and, in particular, its role in carrying out the activities of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), bearing in mind that, since 2011, the Ombudsman has been assigned the competence to perform the duties of the NPM.
The progress on the implementation of measures in the Action Plan for Chapter 23 that relate to the position of the Protector of Citizens, as well as the Provincial and Local Ombudsman, will be monitored through analysis of documents and other research techniques. Additionally, by organizing a meeting of the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 23, a dialogue will be enabled with relevant stakeholders in the negotiation process, with the aim of providing recommendations and conclusions, as well as compiling reports. Further on in the project, a focus group is planned to exchange experiences and strengthen cooperation with the Protector of Citizens and the Provincial and Local Ombudsman, as well as the development mini-guides intended for citizens.
The project activities also encompass a pro and contra analysis of the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction related to judicial competencies, as well as research on the Ombudsman’s efficiency, modeled on the National Judicial Strategy.
The media campaign outlined in the project will be directed towards promoting the work of the Ombudsman institution and its role in society, in particular the role of the Local Ombudsman, which will increase awareness, understanding and the participation of citizens in their addressing to this institution.
The final conference, where the activities that will have been undertaken and the results that will have been achieved will be presented, is the final part of the project. Invitations will be sent to all those who participated in the Action, as well as to representatives of other human rights CSOs, journalists, members of the Government and relevant ministries and public institutions (such as the Ministry of Justice, the Bar Association of Serbia), independent bodies (the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Ombudsman) and international organizations (EU Delegation to Serbia, Council of Europe, OSCE, OHCHR etc.)