Within the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), human rights activists presented the current state of human rights in the Republic of Serbia at the pre-session held in Geneva, in Palais des Nations, from 12 to 14 December 2017. Apart from the representatives of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from Burundi, Mali, Botswana, Israel, United Arab Emirates, France and Romania also participated in the pre-session.
The UPR is a unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council aimed at improvement of the human rights situation on the ground of each of the United Nations Member States. The result of each review is reflected in the Final Report of the Working Group which lists the recommendations for improvement of human rights in the State under review. As the States are requested to comment on each of the recommendation, they are also responsible for further implementation of the accepted recommendations, which leads to a continued national and international oversight of their implementation on the ground.
NGOs have an important role in securing that all relevant information will be provided in the UPR since the pre-session for civil society organisations represents a platform for their active participation in the process. Representatives of national and international NGOs provided their suggested recommendations that should be made to the Republic of Serbia in the forthcoming third cycle of the UPR that will be held in January 2018.
Various human rights issues were discussed during the pre-session, and six out of seven panels were related to the rights of the child and trafficking in human beings.
Child Rights Centre participated in the pre-session as a member of the Coalition for monitoring child rights. Director of the Centre for Child Rights, Ms. Ines Cerović, presented the key aspects that need to be taken into account in implementation of the rights of the child in the Republic of Serbia. Ms. Cerović urged that improvement of the rights of the child should be made a prominent issue in the upcoming UPR process, which would imply, inter alia, the following: a) adoption of the Law on child rights, b) establishment of an ombudsperson for children, c) improvement of the rights of children in conflict with the law, and d) improvement of the rights of asylum seeking children.
The Coalition advocates for the implementation of all the rights stipulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is consisted of five civil society organizations highly profiled in monitoring and reporting in different areas of the rights of the child: Uzice Child Rights Centre, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action, Centre for Social Policy and Child Rights Centre.
The Coalition and its participation in the UPR process is supported through the project “Child Rights in Policy and Practice”, implemented in partnership with the Save the Children International, financed by the Government of Sweden.