On August 8, 2023, the Autonomous Women's Center submitted comments on the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Persons with Mental Disabilities, pointing out that it is disputable that it is unclear who were the members of the working group for drafting the amendments (first of all, whether it included representatives of other relevant ministries, experts and citizens' associations dealing with the protection of children's rights), as well as the fact that the changes violate children's rights.
The complete neglect of the rights of children in Serbia, both as perpetrators and as victims/witnesses of criminal acts (non-compliance of the Law on juvenile offenders and criminal protection of minors with the Code of Criminal Procedure) was pointed out. AWC's key complaint is that the proposal establishes stricter rules for a child than for an adult who is placed in a psychiatric facility by court decision. At the same time, the appointment of a representative - a lawyer ex officio (independent of the child's legal representative/guardian) is not guaranteed. Also, the complete denial of the right of a child placed in a psychiatric institution to have contact with family members violates the basic rights of the child, especially bearing in mind that there are technological possibilities for the contact to be controlled and not to be direct (in physical space). Specific suggestions for additions to the proponent were also given. The report on the public hearing does not contain information about which proposals were received during the public hearing, which were accepted and why, and which were not and why (which it should contain).
The Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on the Protection of Persons with Mental Disabilities can be seen HERE.
The Autonomous Women's Center comments can be seen HERE.
The Report on the conducted public discussion can be seen HERE.