Initiative for assessing the constitutionality of the Law on Financial Support for Families with Children

Due to discrimination and violation of the unity of the legal order, another initiative for assessing the constitutionality of the Law on Financial Support for Families with Children was submitted

The A 11 - Initiative for Economic and Social Rights submitted an initiative for the initiation of the assessment of the constitutionality of article 25, paragraphs 1-6 of the Law on Financial Support for Families with Children to the Constitutional Court of Serbia. The contested articles prescribe the abolition of the right to parental allowance if even one child in the household has not received all necessary vaccinations or does not attend elementary school or preschool regularly.

Considering numerous researches and statistical data provided by various government bodies and international organizations, it is apparent that the said provisions have a disproportional effect on children from the most vulnerable Roma families. There are drastic inequalities in the Republic of Serbia regarding the scope of compulsory immunization between Roma and non-Roma children. The percentages of children that drop out of elementary schools or are not enrolled in preschool programs are much higher among Roma children. The reasons for that lie in numerous and specific difficulties that members of the Roma national minority face and they cannot be resolved by additionally punishing particularly vulnerable children, but rather by prescribing measures that will address these problems.

Regarding this issue, the A 11 Initiative senior legal coordinator Milijana Trifković states that “the contested provisions violate the unity of the legal order as specific regulations already sanction non-vaccination and non-enrollment of children in elementary or preschool programs. On the other hand, this issue is also addressed via measures envisioned by public policies that the state is implementing and that are related to the resolution of this problem among children coming from the most vulnerable Roma families. The contested legal solutions completely undermine the particularly difficult position of the Roma national minority and the difficulties they face, specifically in area of health care and education.” Due to all of the disproportionally negative effects the contested provisions have on the rights of children coming from the most vulnerable Roma families, they are contrary to the guarantees of non-discrimination stipulated by the European Convention on Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Trifković adds.

Bearing in mind the difficult and incorrigible consequences that the application of article 25, paragraphs 1 - 6 have on the rights of children coming from the most vulnerable categories of the population, the A 11 Initiative - beside submitting the initiative for the assessment of the constitutionality of the provisions - gave a recommendation to the Constitutional Court to immediately discontinue the application of the contested provisions in line with its powers and practice in similar cases until it reaches a verdict on their unconstitutionality.