A number of citizens deprived of liberty and serving their prison sentences in Serbian penitentiaries contacted the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights since 15 May, asking for assistance in exercising their right to one-off financial aid the state is granting to dampen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that they did not have ID cards at all or that their ID cards had expired and that they were unable to obtain personal documents whilst in prison.
Under the Serbian Government Decree on one-off financial aid to Serbian nationals adopted on 24 April 2020, all adult nationals of Serbia with valid ID cards are entitled to such aid. The Decree, however, does not address exercise of this right by citizens who do not have valid personal documents. The deadline for applying for the financial aid expires on 5 June 2020.
We therefore appeal to the Serbian Government to as soon as possible amend the Decree to enable a large number of Serbian nationals without personal documents (who are living, e.g. in closed institutions or informal Roma settlements), as well as citizens who do not have phones or the Internet, to exercise their right to one-off financial aid. We also urge the Government to extend the deadline for applying for the aid.