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Improving Access to Human Rights of Older People in Serbia

In partnership with HelpAge International NGO from the UK the Red Cross of Serbia worked on the project entitled Improving Access to Human Rights of Older People in Serbia, which was financially supported by European Union through its IPA fund. The project started on 1 December 2013 and went on for two years focusing on two distinct areas of work. One was further development of self-help groups concept while the other was about advocacy for improvement of quality of life of older people through research on their human rights and education of older people on their rights. 


Self-help groups are active in 24 municipalities in Serbia with Red Cross assistance. 52 active groups involve 552 older persons in the following municipalities: Trstenik, Kragujevac, Velika Plana, Paraćin, Jagodina, Požarevac, Smederevo, Pirot, Palilula, Negotin, Boljevac, Loznica, Mionica, Vladimirci, Savski Venac, Kovin, Kikinda, Kanjiža, Bačka Topola, Ruma, Vrbas. Other HumanaS members assist the work of additional self-help groups: Amity assists a group in the municipalities of Bor, while Bread of Life assists those in Vračar and Stari Grad, with another four supported by Viktorija in Kragujevac.

These groups aim to motivate older people to be active members of the society, help themselves and other members of the group as well as contribute to the development of their community. They meet twice per month on the average. In order to improve the quality of life of older people and facilitate access to their human rights, it is very important to inform them on their rights, so the project featured education of self-help groups’ members on this topic.

The other focus of the project was about sensitising the public, decision makers and older people themselves on human rights through evidence based advocacy supported by research. The Red Cross of Serbia research results were published as “Introduction to ageing and human rights of older people – pilot research study on financial elder abuse”, a two part publication. The first part discusses the fundamental aspects of ageing and the need for inclusive policies while the second part discusses the results of the research related to financial elder abuse in Serbia. The research had two components: analysis of the legal framework related to protection of older people, as well as the exploratory research yielding preliminary results related to financial abuse and the risk of financial abuse in the family context. This research served to create recommendations for decision makers in order to come up with systematic solutions to prevent elder abuse. The project also produced a guide for human rights of older people as well as for examples of good practice and initiatives at community level.