The Network for protection of consumers’ rights was formed today by signing Memorandum of Cooperation of 13 non-governmental organization, which will provide legal advices and free legal aid to those whose rights were violated.
Memorandum of Cooperation was signed by organizations Centre for Monitoring and Research of Public Policies (CeMI); Centre for Consumers’ Protection (CEZAP); Queer Montenegro; Network for the Affirmation of European Integration Processes (MAEIP); Association of Youth with Disabilities of Montenegro; Young Roma; Association of Blind of Montenegro; Association of Parents; Educational, Cultural, Social and Informative Initiative (OKSI); Spona; Juventas; Montenegrin Female Lobby and Centre for the Support of Local and Regional development.
The Memorandum was signed within the project “Improving capacities of CSOs and the system of consumer protection in Montenegro PROTECT.ME”, which is being implemented by CeMI in cooperation with CEZAP, Queer Montenegro and MAEIP, and is financed by the European Union.
Executive director of CeMI, Nikoleta Tomovic, evaluated that consumers’ protection in Montenegro still hasn’t reached acceptable level, although she thinks there have been few improvements in that field in the last couple of years.
According to that, the project aims to build capacity of civil society organizations in the development of policies and receiving of services in the field of consumers’ rights.
“Project activities will provide support for protection of consumers’ rights; increase consumers’ and business sector members’ awareness regarding their duties and responsibilities, but also enhance the participation of state and local government structures and citizens in creating suitable system for consumers’ protection”, said Tomovic.
She explained that the first mobile application in Montenegro was developed within the project, aiming to increase business leaders’ and citizens’ awareness regarding their rights/responsibilities, with the possibility for consumers to report violation of their rights.
“In order to attract more citizens, especially those of younger generation that owns smartphones, we developed first mobile application of that kind in Montenegro. The application allows citizens to report cases of violation of consumers’ protection, as well as photographs, audio records, and similar evidences of such cases”, Tomovic said.
According to her words, main goal of this application is to measure level of respect of consumers’ rights in Montenegro, to determine which businesses, owners and/or workers are least aware or prone to violation of consumers’ rights, but also to raise awareness of employers and citizens regarding negative consequences of such behavior.
“Such application would also enable managers and directors of specific corporations to have insight in opinions and comments of citizens and to take adequate measures against those workers who are accused of violating the Law on Consumers’ Protection”, said Tomovic.
President of Governing Board of CeMI, Zlatko Vujovic, said that consumers in Montenegro aren’t protected in an adequate way, explaining that it is the reason they planned activities that are supposed to strengthen civil society that is engaged in the protection of consumers’ rights.
“We are planning to allocate 60 000€ to organizations that will be chosen on the basis of public tender during the second phase of the project. Public announcement will be open, not only for Network members, but also for other non-governmental organizations. Such activities will be realized during next year”, Vujovic explained.
Lawyer Irena Korac, who is going to provide free legal aid within the project, stated that marginalized groups are mostly affected by the violation of consumers’ rights, which is why better informing and introducing to legal provisions in that field is necessary.
“We invite citizens to call us if they need legal advice, opinion or advocacy within this field framework”, Korac said.
Lawyer Tijana Zivkovic, invited citizens to call them if they have a problem in the field of consumers’ rights.
“We hope we will have good cooperation with authorized state institutions during the next period of time, as we will give our best to provide quality, continuous and efficient free legal aid to citizens”, Zivkovic explained.