With this press release, we would like to address the tragic death of a one-year-old baby in an informal settlement in Belgrade.

Unfortunately, this is one of a series of such tragic events that resulted in the death of children without us witnessing an adequate reaction that would have prevented such accidents.

The atmosphere in which an entire community is stigmatized and blamed, instead of focusing on protecting children and increasing their safety, is even more disturbing.

The issue of informal settlements and the people who live in them is complex and difficult to solve. It requires understanding, solidarity, support, resources, cooperation, taking responsibility and a sincere will to change something.

It is not enough to enroll a child in school, if he does not have sneakers, books, does not know the language and does not have a winter jacket to go to that school when it is cold.

It is not enough to have an apartment if you do not have personal documents, employment and a source of income that will allow you to eat and pay the bills.

This is a question for all of us, living in informal settlements is not a matter of choice, and as long as people live like this – tragic accidents will happen.

The Center for Youth Integration believes that we are all equal citizens of this city, this country, and that the life of every child is equally important. Instead of repeating the pattern that blames the most vulnerable, we need to immediately, all together, start working to improve their position.

Center for Youth Integration