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The Summary of the Special Report on Discrimination Against Older Persons

Discrimination is a complex and socially dangerous phenomenon, unlawful behaviour, unwarranted discrimination or unequal treatment, and/or omission, exclusion, limitation or preferential treatment in relation to individuals or groups or persons close to them on the grounds of any real or presumed personal characteristics. Discrimination may be aimed against different categories of persons or groups of persons, having in mind their personal characteristics, and may occur in all areas of social life. If discrimination is not adequately and timely prevented, it may seriously impact the development of the society as a whole. The right to equality, as a basic human right, enjoys special protection because of the magnitude of the social danger and the importance of the good which is being protected. 

Realising the importance of the respect for human rights and the respect for the principle of equality, the Republic of Serbia has in the recent years developed an adequate anti-discrimination framework and ratified the most important universal and regional agreements in the areas of human rights and prohibition of discrimination. 

The Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination proscribes that it is forbidden to discriminate against individuals on the grounds of age, and that older persons shall have the right to dignified living conditions without discrimination, especially the right to equal access and protection from neglect and harassment in the course of receiving health services and other public services.

In analysing the practice of the Commissioner through filed complaints and other actions, and considering the situation regarding the enforcement of equality of older persons through numerous reports and studies by domestic and international bodies and organisations, it may be concluded that discrimination against older persons is present in today’s society and that it is caused by many factors which need to be brought to light in order to find efficient ways to improve the situation and upgrade the position of older persons. These are also the basic reasons for the drafting of this report which was implemented along with the study Position of Older Persons in Serbia – Social Context, Data Overview and Research Results by the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality with support from the UNFPA.

This report gives an overview of the position of older persons mostly through the practice and actions of the Commissioner, considering all activities taken to improve and protect the equality of older persons, with the aim of providing a comprehensive insight into the situation in this area. The Commissioner’s practice includes acting on filed complaints, based on which it is possible to analyse the degree of identified discrimination, its characteristics and forms, usual victims and perpetrators of discrimination, enforcement and protection of equality. The report also gives examples of recommended measures for the implementation of equality, initiatives, announcements, and lists other activities implemented in order to point to the position of the older persons and improve of their position, such as the competition for the best essay, artwork and photograph for students of the final grades of primary schools entitled The Bridge of Understanding – Intergenerational Solidarity. Photographs, drawings and short essays presented in this report were made by the participants in this competition.