The participants of the conference
Friday, 14 May 2021
Presentation of Special Report on Discrimination Against Older Persons
Today, the National Assembly hosted a conference dedicated to the presentation of the Special Report on Discrimination against Older Persons s, co-organised by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and the National Assembly.
In his opening address, National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic said that the picture painted by the Report is nothing to be proud of, with complaints of age discrimination lodged with the Commissioner ranking second on the list of overall discrimination complaints received. That is why it is important that we have this Report in front of us as excellent material to help us make decisions that will truly improve the position of our oldest fellow citizens, said Dacic. He also referred to the numerous positive sides evident, primarily the work on improving the material position of pensioners through the constant increase in pensions that has been recorded for years back.
Pointing out that one in five people in Europe is older than 65, the Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic said that in terms of demographic structure, Serbia shares the same fate as Europe and the world. She stressed that during all the years of operation of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality age has been among the top three types of discrimination, adding that the position of the elderly is complex and unfavourable in many segments. "The Commissioner for Protection of Equality cannot be an observer of the situation he operates in, he has to be a proactive and credible partner to all state bodies and civil society organisations whose priority is to build an open and tolerant society governed by law, justice and respect for human rights", Brankica Jankovic concluded.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Ambassador Sem Fabrizi emphasised the importance of the topic on the agenda, one that concerns all of us. The role we want the elderly to have in society is that od a source of knowledge, experience, talent, someone who contributes to life, said Fabrizi, adding that a solution should be found to their position so that they are not subject to discrimination or compassion, but an active part of society. According to demographic data 20% of the EU population is over 65, which is our reality that will affect changes in EU policies, he pointed out, speaking about the latest EU document - the Green Paper on Aging.
In her video message, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director Alanna Armitage said that Serbia is a champion in dealing with demographic changes and praised today's launching of a dialogue on aging which puts this topic on the National Assembly’s agenda. She said that under the coronavirus pandemic, UNFPA coordinated the creation of a joint regional programme on aging in Europe and Central Asia to help the countries in the region implement aging programmes systematically and with the active participation of the elderly. Armitage pointed out that the Commissioner’s special report on discrimination against senior citizens is in line with this UN regional programme.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia Françoise Jacob said that the vulnerability of senior citizens has become especially visible during the coronavirus, adding that the world is going through changes as regards aging with the UN proclaiming 2021-2030 the Decade of Healthy Aging in December 2020. Jacob pointed out that the elderly are not a homogeneous population and that there is no one single solution that would be good for everyone as they have different interests, roles in society, health and financial situation, the area they live in, whether or not they accept digitalisation. This requires a coordinated approach, cross-sectoral cooperation and intergenerational solidarity, Françoise Jacob stressed, stating that this is exactly what the Commissioner’s Special Report demonstrates.
The Commissioner for Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic and associate Tatjana Prijic went on to present the most important data and recommendations from the Against Older Persons to the participants of the meeting. The Report was prepared by the institution of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality at its own initiative confronted with the fact that age discrimination ranked second on its list of discrimination complaints and the need to clarify numerous factors to find effective ways to prevent, protect and improve the position of senior citizens. Brankica Jankovic said that, based on the findings, recommendations were given regarding the social security of senior citizens, health protection and welfare systems, prevention of discrimination and violence and the social inclusion of senior citizens.
The Chairman of the National Assembly’s Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality of the Dr Muamer Bacevac, Minister of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs Darija Kisic Tepavcevic, Minister for Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue Gordana Comic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Zoran Radovanovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Family Welfare and Demography Milka Milovanovic Minic and UNFPA Director for Serbia John F. Kennedy Mosoti spoke at the panel on the state bodies’ inter-sectoral cooperation on improving the position of the elderly,
Special advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia Slavica Djukic Dejanovic and representatives of the Third Age Movement Andreja Savic, Serbian Red Cross Natasa Todorovic, HumanaS Organisation Network Nadezda Sataric and National Youth Council of Serbia Uros Savic Kain spoke at the panel dedicated to the role of the civil sector in improving the position of the elderly and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The participants of the conference also spoke about good practices for the future and were presented the UNFPA and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality campaign "Looking to the Future". Demir Mekic of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights presented youth program SOFA Comfort of Togetherness - a Step towards Intergenerational Cooperation, while the President of Help Net Gordana Milovanovic briefed the participants on project Strengthening Intergenerational Solidarity.
10.00 - public hearing on the Presentation of the Draft Trade Strategy of the Republic of Serbia by 2025 (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)
12.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Egyptian Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, diplomatic salon of Prince Pavle Karadjordjevic)
13.00 - continuation of the sitting of the Committee on the Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy (National Assembly Building, 14 Kralja Milana Street, Grand Hall)
14.00 - sitting of the Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)