10 Jun CSOs from Southern Serbia: Covid-19 response

Belgrade, June 10, 2020

Due to the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus and after the Decision on declaring Covid-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus an infectious disease and the Order banning indoor gatherings in the Republic of Serbia, a state of emergency was imposed in Serbia on March 15, 2020. The decision to introduce a state of emergency was made with the co-signature of the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly, and the Prime Minister, without a formal written explanation. The adoption of this decision also enabled the adoption of measures that prescribe the derogation of certain human and minority rights. With the introduction of the state of emergency, as well as the declaration of a coronavirus pandemic, it had a great impact on the work of civil society organizations. Most of them had to react quickly and adjust their activities to the new situation. Unfortunately, a small number of them had to suspend some of their activities or completely stop working during the state of emergency. In addition to the focus on humanitarian work, other areas in which the activities of organizations can be classified as: monitoring, information, psychosocial support and advocacy. It is especially important to emphasize the activities of organizations that work with the most vulnerable groups, through information on the poor current situation and possible consequences of the pandemic on the groups they deal with, namely people with disabilities, women, children and the elderly, as well as migrants and the homeless. Although the state of emergency was lifted in Serbia on May 6, most organizations continued to operate in emergency circumstances and continue to focus their work on the needs arising from the declaration of a pandemic.

The report includes monitoring of civil society organizations in three municipalities in southern Serbia: Bujanovac, Presevo and Vranje. Information is collected in cooperation with local organizations from these three municipalities. Local organizations collect information based on desk research as well as direct contact with other organizations and media in these three municipalities. The information that will be presented in the report refers to general information about the municipality itself, general information about civil society organizations, information about local media, general information related to Covid-19 as well as the response of civil society during the crisis caused by the Covid-19 virus.

These three municipalities are multiethnic communities in southern Serbia, with Albanian, Serb and Roma populations. Since the Albanian national community boycotted the 2011 census, there is no official number of members of the Albanian national minority, but it is estimated that more than 100,000 of them live in southern Serbia. That is why the National Council for the Albanian National Minority is located in Bujanovac.

The report covering the period from mid-March to early June can be downloaded below.

CSOs from Southern Serbia: Covid-19 response



The rest of the reports are available here: 2, 3, 4 and 5.

The report was prepared with the support of  Peaceful Change initiative.