How did animals and nature find their place in the Draft of the Law on Children’s Rights

Every child in Serbia has the right to obtain knowledge of the environment, flora and animal welfare and participate in its preservation – as stated in the Draft of the Law on Children’s Rights and the Protector of the Children’s Rights, which was discussed in June 2019.

The Draft of the Law on Children’s Rights and the Protector of Children’s Rights is unique for its structure and content in legal practice.  This law comprehensively determines and regulates all children’s rights. In addition to this, it provides mechanisms for the protection, promotion and improvement of children’s rights…

“ORCA participated in drafting the Law on Children’s Rights in parts where it referred to the welfare of animals and protection of nature and that is why we are proud of this success.  ORCA actively contributes to exercising children’s rights through the Children’s Club ORkidCA where children between ages 6 and 12 learn to take care of animals and nature. Recognizing the connection between animal protection and nature with the realization of children’s rights is very important, especially in light of the many global challenges facing today’s generations, such as climate change, industrial animal breeding, etc. Thanks to this law, children will be able to exercise their right to participate in protection of nature and animal welfare and thus contribute to creation of healthy and safe world for all people and animals!, stated Elvir Burazerović, ORCA Director, on this occasion.

Animals and nature found their place in two Articles of the Draft of the Law on Children’s Rights:

Article 16: Right to healthy environment                                                                  

Every child shall be entitled to life and development in a healthy and safe environment.

A child shall have the right to acquire knowledge about the environment, flora and animal welfare and participate in its preservation.

A child shall have the right to be informed about protection of the environment in an understandable way and to actively participate in creation and preservation of healthy environment in accordance with its developmental possibilities.

Public authorities shall have an obligation to provide their children with protection from air, water, and food pollution, as well as protection from inadequate sanitation, toxic agents, transmitters, ultraviolet and other harmful radiation and from degraded eco-systems, including flora and fauna, regardless of their personal characteristics and the different environments in which they live.

Article 68: Goals of education

Public authorities shall be obliged to ensure that children’s education is focused on:  development of respect for the environment, including respect for flora and fauna.

In addition to animal welfare and protection of nature, the Draft also contains important items which have drawn the greatest attention of the public: High school shall become compulsory, any type of corporal punishment and any violence against children shall be  strictly prohibited, and the Protector of the Children’s Rights shall be introduced, as a special Ombudsman who, with his assistants, shall control the implementation and independently apply this law.