On the occasion of International Roma Day, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic 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“. The session was opened by the Committee president Meho Omerovic, who emphasized that entering children in early marriages presents the violation of basic human rights to choose partner, health, education, but also to childhood and added that those children may often be the victims of human trafficking and child beggary.
Commissioner Brankica Jankovic estimated that during the last couple of years there has been a visible improvement in perception of Roma population problems, through acting of state bodies, centers for the social work and greater inclusion of academic community. She emphasized the importance of strategic litigations, initiated because of discrimination by the institution of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality before courts throughout Serbia, out of which almost one half relate to the protection of rights of Roma men and women. We have to ensure that Roma children have the childhood, said Commissioner and stated that it is of outmost importance to solve the education problem and prevent Roma children to leave elementary schools, in order to break the vicious circle of poverty and inclusion. She stressed that the overcoming of prejudices is hard and long lasting process and that it requires us to live together, instead of ones next to others.
The session was also attended by the representatives of the Ministry for Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Issues, Coordination Body for Monitoring and Realization of the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma, Council of Europe, UNICEF, CARE International Sarajevo, National Council of Roma National Minority, Roma Women Center Bibia and Ethnography Institute of SANU.