Shadow Report submitted to CEDAW on the Situation of Romani Women
01 February 2006
In October 2005, the European Roma Rights Centre together with the Roma Centre of Skopje, and the Network Women's Program, with the support of the UNIFEM regional office in Bratislava, jointly submitted a shadow report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. The submission commented on the initial, second and third periodic reports submitted to the Committee by the government of Macedonia and provided documentation on the human rights situation of Romani women, based on field research undertaken throughout 2005.
The research findings revealed that lack of desegregated data by gender and ethnicity in Macedonia prevents the government from defining the real problems faced by Romani women in Macedonia and consequently from formulating effective policies aimed at addressing the discrimination encountered by this vulnerable group. Furthermore, existing data about the size of the Romani community are frequently misused in the media to encourage alarmist conclusions and deepen prejudices and racial hatred about Roma in Macedonia.
The report continues in scrutinizing the National Action Plan for Gender Equality Promotion (adopted in 1999) for not prioritising the needs of minority women. Although the Action Plan mentions low levels of school attendance by Romani and Albanian girls as a concern, the report points out the lack of concrete measures to address the multiple barriers faced by minority women in their access to all fields covered by the Convention. The research findings confirm that the majority of Romani women in Macedonia are at present de facto excluded from a range of protections guaranteed by the Convention, especially in the fields of education, employment, health and participation in public and political life. Lack of registration of Romani newborns and lack of access to citizenship as a basic precondition for practising all guaranteed rights is a serious issue in need of special attention. The full text of the shadow report is available at: http://www.errc.org.
(ERRC, Network Women's Program, Roma Centre of Skopje)