Human Rights Action (HRA) urged the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Predrag Bošković, to reconsider his decision to redirect 400,000 euros of the Ministry’s budget to the National Tourism Organization and consider using the amount for funding shelters for homeless and soup kitchens, providing care for people who are forced to live in the psychiatric hospital in Dobrota and increasing social benefits for the poorest citizens.
HRA assumes that redirecting these 400,000 euros was enabled by reducing the number of beneficiaries of social benefits at the end of 2014 and expects that savings of planned resources are yet to be made, due to introduction of the information system (“social cards”), which will further reduce abuse of social security rights currently prevailing.
Tea Gorjanc Prelević, executive director of HRA, recommended the Ministry to establish a system of priorities according to which savings made by preventing social aid abuse would be reassigned to the most vulnerable citizens and meet the recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to Montenegro from December 2014.
HRA is disturbed and disappointed by the decision of the Ministry to give up on this amount, bearing in mind that the social benefits for families with five or more members amount to only 121 euro per month, that there are no shelters for homeless, that soup kitchens and social support for single parents are lacking, that a number of socially vulnerable families still have housing issues, and that people continue to live in a psychiatric hospitals due to lack of alternative accommodation.
In December 2014 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights urged Montenegro to increase the amount of social benefits and provide an adequate standard of living for socially disadvantaged, especially the unemployed, the elderly and persons with disabilities, to establish shelters for the homeless and properly solve the problem of people living in the psychiatric clinic due to lack of alternative accommodation.
The letter to the Minister is available in Montenegrin language.