The Roma population in Serbia faces widespread, open, and frequent use of hate speech; as well as physical assaults. There are schools which segregate Roma pre-school and school children in separate facilities from other children, while swastikas and hate-grafitti are sprayed on the walls in many cities.
It is disturbing that almost 70% of the high-schoolers in Serbia have racist and chauvinistic attitudes towards Roma, while almost every third pupil believes Roma persons are dirty, according to a 2011 survey. Youth with such attitudes will be tomorrow’s decision makers, which makes these survey results thought provoking.
It is necessary to increase efforts to improve the position of the Roma population and to fight the discrimination they face in education, employment, health care, and habitat. Roma are probably the group most discriminated against. Only by making such efforts it is possible to bring change.
These actions are not only important to Roma, but for society as whole, if we really want to become a society that respects human rights and the principles of social justice.
April 8, International Rom Day, is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. The day was officially declared in 1990 in honor of the first major international meeting of Romani representatives in 1971, in London.