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Situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina under International Scrutiny

25 May 2005

Council of Europe Minorities Monitoring Body Concerned at "Serious Problems" of Discrimination


The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) welcomes the publication this week of the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ERRC particularly welcomes the fact that the Committee has identified the very troubling situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a matter of the highest concern.

The Committee's opinion states, among other things, that "[s]erious problems remain in the application of the Framework Convention with regard to the Roma. Full and effective equality has not been secured for Roma, who continue to be exposed to discrimination and face particular difficulties in fields such as housing, health care, employment and education."

With respect to housing, the Committee notes problems that Roma face because of residing in settlements which have not been legalised, and thus being vulnerable to forced eviction without the provision of alternate accommodation. The Committee also expressed particular concern at the fact that "Roma encounter serious obstacles to exercise their right to return to their pre-war homes and to enjoy other related property rights."

The Committee additionally notes problems posed by a lack of identity documents, such as "birth certificates, personal identity documents, documents related to State-provided health insurance and social welfare as well as documents attesting citizenship." The Committee observes that "limiting the scope of the term national minority to citizens only may have a negative impact for example on the protection of those Roma or other persons whose citizenship status following the break-up of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has not been regularised."

The Committee also observes that Roma, including those who have been displaced, who have been repatriated from abroad or who came as refugees from Kosovo, "are in the most difficult situation and exposed to widespread discrimination."

As to law enforcement, the Committee expresses concern about reports indicating that "some law-enforcement officials have prejudices against persons not belonging to the dominant constituent people, including Roma." The Committee further criticises the attitude of the media towards Roma, the access of Romani children to education, and Roma representation within public authorities.

The Committee urges that "[a] comprehensive national strategy is needed to improve their situation, drawing on the experience gained in the recent elaboration of an Action Plan on their educational needs. In this context, particular attention should be paid to ensuring improved participation of Roma in public affairs." The Committee also observes that the lack of reliable data constitute a matter of concern related to the implementation of the Framework Convention.

The Advisory Committee received Bosnia and Herzegovina's initial report under the Framework Convention in February 2004, and subsequently visited the country in order to seek further information on the implementation of the Convention. The Committee's opinion was made public on May 11, 2005.

"The Non-Constituents: Rights Deprivation of Roma in Post-Genocide Bosnia and Herzegovina", an ERRC Country Report published in February 2004, can be found at: http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=112.

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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