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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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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.

 

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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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