Ahead of the International Roma Day, Brankica Janković, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, met with the representatives of Roma women center Bibia and women from Roma settlements.
Experience of the Commissioner, together with numerous surveys, indicates that the position of Roma population is still difficult and that they are more exposed to discrimination and unacceptable behavior, based on stereotypes and prejudices, said the Commissioner and added that, according to number of complaints, nationality has been one of the most common grounds of discrimination for years now.
Commissioner accented that discrimination is something that people are reluctant to discuss, that these topics are extremely sensitive and accompanied by fear of reporting and that is precisely why Roma women, as well as other women, need support. She said that every solved case is important and that it has the power to improve the quality of life of the whole community.
Media frequently report about Roma national minority in an inadequate manner, while the journalists often succumb to prejudices and stereotypes. On the other hand, media are one of our most important partners that have the ability to suppress discrimination. That is why we need to use this power in the process of building a more open and tolerant society, said the Commissioner.
Slavica Vasić from Roma women center Bibia, presented the campaign “A month of Roma female activism” lasting from 8 March – 8 April and said that starting from this year the campaign has become regional. Main topics of the campaign are economy empowerment of women, presence of Roma women in political and public life and combatting gender based violence.
Women from Roma settlements discussed with the Commissioner and employees of this Institution, problems that they face most often, discriminatory behavior of civil servants working in public authorities, schools and other institutions.
Commissioner conveyed the message from yesterday’s meeting with Claude Cahn, Human Rights Adviser at OHCHR in Serbia, with whom she discussed improvement of Roma people position and also announced a meeting of Roma students with Mladen Šarcević, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology development, which will be dedicated to implementation of affirmative measures in the education system.