Announcement on the occasion of the International Roma Day

On the occasion of the International Roma Day, 8 April, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic congratulates to all Roma men and women their holiday and notes that, beside positive improvements during the previous years, the poverty, difficult access to health care, unemployment and significant social distance, unfortunately, still shape the reality for many of our Roma citizens.

Stressing that Roma national minority is one of groups that is mostly exposed to discrimination, Commissioner says that more than half of the complaints on ground of nationality, which were submitted to Commissioner in 2017, was related to discrimination of Roma population. The greatest number of these complaints correlated to proceeding before public authorities and in the employment process or at work. She particularly stresses the significance of strategic litigations, initiated by Commissioner before courts across Serbia, which are aimed to protect the rights of Roma people.

Institution of Commissioner continues active cooperation with state bodies and civil society organizations that are dealing with the protection of rights of Roma national minority. Commissioner took part at the session of Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality of the National Parliament of Serbia, titled „The Right to Choose Partner and Drawing Attention to Children Marriages in Roma Population“, where she emphasized that we must ensure that Roma children have the childhood and that in order to overcome prejudices we have to live together, instead of ones next to others. During the Month of Roma Women Activism, Commissioner Jankovic took part in the walk for rights of Roma women, aimed to draw attention to juvenile marriages problem, and it is planned to visit Roma settlement where she would discuss with residents about their problems and how to resolve them.

Commissioner stresses that greater inclusion of Roma children in the education system and preventing them from leaving the school are crucial for the improvement of the position of Roma national minority. In such way, the circle of poverty and exclusion would be broken, which would ensure for a long term that Roma citizens in Serbia become equal members of our society, concludes Commissioner.

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