Prejudices, customs and habits stronger than the law

The institution of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality has marked its 10th anniversary. At the ceremony, Commissioner Brankica Janković said the following:” A lot has been done in the previous period, but there is still no real equality, while prejudices, customs and habits are stronger than the law.”

The first decade of the Commissioner’s work was marked by thousands of resolved cases. Some of them were quite memorable, the Commissioner said.

“I could mention a blind girl, actually a few blind children, who were given transportation after our recommendation. There are also dozens of kidney patients, who could not be treated in one hospital before we stepped in. Polling stations are now, in most cases, accessible to of our citizens with disabilities, but not all of them as yet, “said Brankica Janković, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.

She adds that the Commissioner’s office is only halfway there. People who were involved in the establishment of this institution also reminisced about the first half of ‘the road’.

Nevena Petrušić, the former Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, says that in 2010, the Commissioner’s office started with virtually nothing.

“I would like to remind all of you that in 2010, we had only one solved case – that of anti-discrimination, the so-called Krsmanovača case. That is why we had to rely on the practices of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as of other equality organizations in Europe. We learned and built our practices thanks to them “, says Ms Petrušić.

“Imagine if you did excellently in a job interview but you were not given a job only because you are a person with disabilities. Imagine if you are paid less than your male co-worker who does the same job during the same working hours only because you are a woman. This was precisely the main reason why the office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality was founded,” said the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway to Serbia, H.E. Jern Gjelstad.

He also said that the results and achievements of the commissioners accomplished during the past ten years showed that it was worth supporting the Commissioner’s office.

The ambassador also reminded that only 15% of Serbian citizens sent their complaints to the Commissioner about discrimination on any grounds.


He added that that should be the main task in the coming period, so by the time the institution celebrated its the next jubilee, all people in Serbia would have felt free to address the Commissioner when necessary.

Video by RTS:


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