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The Protection of Roma Rights in Serbia and Montenegro

24 April 2003

The Protection of Roma Rights in Serbia and Montenegro
 

A memorandum prepared by the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) in association with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Field Operation in Serbia and Montenegro (UN OHCHR)

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Human Rights Field Operation in Serbia and Montenegro (UN OHCHR) today publish jointly \223The Protection of Roma Rights in Serbia and Montenegro\224, a memorandum prepared in support of the Serbian and Montenegrin government's Strategy for Integration and Empowerment of Roma, and the Poverty Reduction Strategy in Serbia and Montenegro.

The new state union of Serbia and Montenegro has undertaken a number of important preliminary steps to address the deeply unsatisfactory human rights situation of Roma in the country. Serbia and Montenegro is now member of the Council of Europe, party to the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. Roma are also officially recognised as a national minority under the federal Law on the Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities. In addition, in March 2003, a Charter on Human and Minority Rights and Civil Freedoms was adopted. However, despite these positive developments, the authorities in Serbia and Montenegro face considerable challenges to implement measures that will address the very serious human rights situation of Roma in Serbia and Montenegro.

The joint ERRC/UN OHCHR memorandum offers a detailed series of recommendations to the government of Serbia and Montenegro aimed at the improvement of the human rights situation of Roma in the country, including recommendations in the context of large-scale expulsions of Roma from Western Europe.

The memorandum details a number of areas of concern, including:

  • Current deficiencies in domestic anti-discrimination law
  • Physical abuse of Roma by police officers and other members of the public authority
  • Violence against Roma by racist "skinheads" and other non-state actors
  • Discrimination and racial segregation in the school system
  • Forced eviction, threats of forced eviction, and other violations of the right to adequate housing, including extremely substandard housing and failure to provide services
  • Discrimination against Roma in access to health care services
  • Discrimination in access to employment
  • Discrimination in the allocation of state social assistance
  • Discrimination in access to public places
  • Threats to the exercise of fundamental rights caused by a lack of personal documents/statelessness among Roma in Serbia and Montenegro
  • Issues particular to the large-scale forced return of Roma from Germany and other Western European countries.

Paper copies of the memorandum are available by contacting the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR) Human Rights Field Operation in Serbia and Montenegro or the European Roma Rights Center.

The Joint Memorandum:

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Joint submission to UN CRC on Slovakia (April 2016)

18 April 2016

Written comments by the European Roma Rights Centre and Center for Civil and Human Rights concerning Slovakia for consideration by the Committee on the Rights of the Child at the 72nd Session (17 May 2016 – 03 June 2016)

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ERRC Seeks Lawyer or Legal Trainee

3 May 2016

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) seeks qualified applicants for the position of lawyer or legal trainee (depending on the selected candidate’s level of experience). This position is for a career activist with legal skills (as opposed to a career lawyer interested in activism). The lawyer or legal trainee will play a crucial role in the ERRC’s cutting-edge work of bringing innovative, strategic legal cases to further the cause of Roma emancipation. 

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Combating Hate Crime and Hate Speech in France and Italy

4 February 2016

Introduction

For years, the ERRC has been documenting hate crime and hate speech in various countries. With support from the Open Society Initiative for Europe, the ERRC is carrying out a project designed to expose the extent of anti-Roma hate crime and hate speech in France and Italy and improve the authorities' response to these problems. The purpose of this project is to introduce a new methodology for this work and apply it in these two Western European countries, where the extent of anti-Roma hate speech and hate crime is largely recognised, but poorly documented or addressed. 

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