18. 11. 2019.

Growing awareness on unacceptability of discrimination in Serbia

Belgrade, 18 November 2019

Two thirds of citizens (69%) believe the level of discrimination in Serbia is significant, whereas 50% believe Roma are the ones most exposed to discrimination, followed by women (33%), LGBT population (33%), persons with intellectual disabilities and mental disorders (33%) and the poor (31%) – as illustrated by results of the Citizens’ Attitudes on Discrimination in Serbia.

The survey report, promoted and printed with support of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) within the framework of German Development Cooperation, was presented at the annual conference of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, held today on the occasion of the Tolerance Day at the MP’s Club.

The comparison of data from the current survey, and data from the 2016 survey shows that the number of citizens acknowledging the presence of discrimination increased by 3%. Also, a quarter of respondents said that based on their opinion, the discrimination had increased.

“Said data do not necessarily indicate that discrimination in Serbia is more prevalent than before, but can be interpreted as an indication that Serbian citizens are becoming more aware of it, especially when it comes to specific groups, and that is the first and also the most important step in combating this phenomenon,” said Aleksandra Dimić Ugrinaj, Project Leader for “Inclusion of Roma and other marginalised groups”, a project implemented by GIZ.

“The effectiveness and sustainability of anti-discrimination measures depend heavily on the support, that is, the attitude of citizens and their views towards marginalised groups. In this respect, it is significant that 79% of survey participants believe there should be no discrimination regardless of the population category or group. Also, as many as 46% of participants believe that employers must hire a certain number of discriminated groups’ members, while 38% support the introduction of measures that imply a more favourable position when enrolling in secondary schools,” Dimić Ugrinaj explained.

The survey participants also assessed that discrimination is most often manifested in the area of work and employment (74%), social protection (30%), health care (29%) and education (20%). A concerning information from the report suggests a rise in number of people who, when faced with discrimination, would not turn to any institution for help (41%). As main reason most of them mention the lack of trust in institutions, whereas as many as 22% of them said they would address the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality for help.

“Reports on perceptions, attitudes and experiences of citizens towards discrimination in Serbia are an important source of information for all actors tasked with preventing and combating discrimination and promoting human rights. In that sense, our project cooperates with the office of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and other partners in a series of research, programmes and education activities, which, among others, deal with employment, health and social protection and rights to education of Roma and other marginalised groups”, Dimić Ugrinaj concluded.

Project “Inclusion of Roma and other marginalised groups” was launched in 2018 with the aim to support the activities undertaken or planned to be undertaken by the state within the framework of the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma in the Republic of Serbia for the period 2016 – 2025.

The survey Citizens’ Attitudes on Discrimination in Serbia, conducted by Faktor plus, involved 1200 people over the age of 15. The survey report shows that citizens mostly see the media as instigators or causes of discrimination (59%), while 84% believe the media, as an institution, can reduce discrimination. Next in line in terms of ability to reduce discrimination, participants see family (78%), schools, Government, and citizens themselves.