This study explores the efficacy of Serbia’s legal framework on equality, identifying the key factors that are preventing the framework on equality from providing effective protection in practice and proposing recommendations for increasing its effectiveness. The study forms part of a two-year project between the Equal Rights Trust, the Association of Citizens Praxis (Praxis) and Sandžak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms (Sandžak Committee), which seeks to increase protection from all forms of discrimination in Serbia through legal and policy reform.
On 26 March 2009, the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on the Prohibition on Discrimination (LPD). This represented a significant move towards bringing Serbia’s framework on equality and non-discrimination into compliance with international and European standards. Adding to other important equality laws (Law on the Prevention of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities 2006 and Law on Gender Equality 2009), and underpinned by a Constitutional protection for equality, the LPD establishes an almost comprehensive regime for the protection of the rights to equality and non-discrimination in Serbia.
Despite this, evident inequality and discrimination persists in all areas of Serbian life. Just short of the LPD’s tenth anniversary, this study finds evidence of serious flaws in the administration and implementation of Serbia’s equality and non-discrimination framework. These flaws are limiting the effective realisation of the rights to equality and non-discrimination in practice. The study identifies and explores a lack of public awareness, high court costs, fragmented legal aid provision, physical and structural barriers preventing access to courts, procedural delays, and mistrust in the judiciary, alongside some identified weaknesses in the current legislative framework. All of these issues can be resolved and the study makes a series of recommendations to the state to this end. Amongst these recommendations, it is particularly urgent that equality-sensitive legal aid legislation is passed, and that training on the equality framework and monitoring of its implementation is rolled out among public and private service providers, and those responsible for enforcing the LPD, including the judiciary.
You can find the english version here.