Roma Discriminated Against in Access to Social Services in Serbia and Montenegro
01 February 2006
According to the testimony of 53-year-old Ms. Razeta Silistarevic to the ERRC and its Belgrade- based partner Minority Rights Center (MRC), in May 2005, Ms. Silistarevic, who is unemployed and suffers from diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure, visited the Center for Social Work in Vranje, Serbia with all necessary documents to apply for social benefits but was turned away by her social worker. Ms. Silistarevic reported that the social worker told her "Gypsy, get out, there is no material security for you." Ms. Silistarevic left and made a complaint to the regional Roma office in Vranje. Rozeta then returned to the office with the secretary of the Roma office, Ms. Altena Asanovic, at 1 p.m. the same day. Ms. Asanovic attempted to explain to the social worker that Ms. Silistarevic had all the required documents and that she met all of the conditions for social benefits. Ms. Asanovic reported that the social worker responded, "Get out, these Gypsies are so boring."