21 March 2013 Participants of the public hearing

21 March 2013 Participants of the public hearing

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Public Hearing on Position of War Veterans in Serbia

Today, the National Assembly House hosted a public hearing on the Position of War Veterans in Serbia, organised by the Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction and the Subcommittee on the Issues of War Veterans and Victims of the Wars from 1991-1999.


Opening the public hearing, the Chairperson of the Committee on Labour, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction, Milica Dronjak, said that disabled war veterans are an endangered category of population, adding that the society and the National Assembly are greatly responsible for them. Passing a new law which would enable the improvement of their rights to social welfare and health care is the basis for the improvement of the position of disabled war veterans.
As the initiator of the public hearing, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Issues of War Veterans and Victims of the Wars from 1991-1999, Sasa Dujovic, stressed that disabled war veterans should not be considered welfare cases and pointed out the need to pass new legislation which would eliminate the war veterans' status as such.
The participants were also addressed by Negovan Stankovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy, and Vladimir Djukic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Health. They spoke of the laws and by-laws regulating the position of disabled war veterans, the scope and content of the was veterans’ rights, pointing out the need to define which persons should be the beneficiaries of these rights in future and determine the exact number of war veterans in Serbia.
The representative of the Ministry of Defence in charge of war veteran issues said that it was necessary to pass amendments and modifications to the Law on Ex-Servicemen’s Disability Welfare which would regulate such issues as military health insurance, low standard of living and difficult financial position of war veterans and the improvement of the rights of the families of disabled war veterans.
The President of the Association of Disabled War Veterans and Families of Fallen Soldiers of Serbia, Radisa Milivojevic stressed the need to remove administrative obstacles so as to ensure disabled war veterans unimpeded access to healthcare. Dragomir Vasic of the Union of War Veterans and Disabled believes that war disabled should be given their due for their contributions in past wars and that it would be fitting if some streets or squares bore their names.
Executive Director of the Novi Sad War Trauma Centre Branislava Vajagic said that, to date, 8.8% of former servicemen suffer from post traumatic syndrome, a condition which results in rising numbers of suicides and addicts. MPs Aleksandar Pejcic and Milorad Stosic and Deputy Ombudsman Goran Basic commended the organisation of the public hearing, highlighting the need to include the new law on ex-servicemen’s disability welfare into the National Assembly’s agenda as soon as possible.
MP Janko Veselinovic stressed that the problem of marginalisation of war disabled in Serbian society should receive more attention, adding that monetary compensation is not enough if they are social outcasts.
Many of the war veterans who took part in the public hearing shared the problems they face in everyday life and when attempting to exercise their rights, and agreed that their status and position need to be clearly defined and the exact number of war disabled in Serbia needs to be ascertained and recorded.
The public hearing was organised with the support of the United Nations Development Programme.


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