Third meeting of the Committee on labor, social issues, social inclusion and poverty reduction

The Committee on Labor, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction held its third sitting on October 12, 2016. The agenda of the sitting included discussion of the state-of-play concerning the asylum-seekers/migrants’ welfare, setting up Working Group for the Political Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, and proposals on how to process the civic petitions received.

In addition to the Committee members, representatives of Ministries, Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, UNHCR, UNICEF, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, and Child Rights Center, the sitting was also attended by representative of MODS Jelena Hrnjak, programme manager of NGO Atina.

On that occasion, and while discussing the current state-of-play concerning the asylum seekers/migrants’ welfare, Jelena Hrnjak has, from the perspective of NGO Atina, presented the issue that has been frequently occurring recently, and refers to violence against women and children refugees who are currently in our territory. There are different ways in which these persons are being exploited on their journey from their countries of origin, and the identification of victims of human trafficking should be carried out regardless of the where the person is located. She also added that there are recorded testimonies about abuse occurring in asylum and reception centers in Serbia, however the problem lies in the fact that the existing system of protection cannot provide them with adequate protection. Atina is, within its program, currently running four shelters, which provide support for 44 persons who have suffered violence. Each asylum center reports incidents of violence that occur either inside or outside of the centers, but there is no space in the current shelters for women refugees, victims of violence. Jelena has stressed that representatives of the police are in need of support as well, so they can respond in an adequate manner in situations when it is necessary to provide protection for the victims.

The report in its entirety can be found here: