Roma and Persons Perceived to be Romani Denied Access to Public Places in Macedonia

13 November 2006

According to research conducted by the ERRC and the Kumanovo-based National Roma Centrum (NRC), on 22 June 2006, three Romani men were denied entrance to a public swimming pool in the northern Macedonian town of Bitola. Twenty-yearold Mr Tefik Jasarovski testified to the ERRC/NRC that, on the date in question, he, his friend Mr Demir Ibraimov and his father Mr Severdzan Jasarovski went to the "Olimpiski" swimming pool in Bitola. The men reportedly paid the entrance fee and the doorman allowed them to enter the pool area. However, once inside, Mr Jasarovski reported, a security guard told the three men that they had to leave. Mr Jasarovski told the ERRC/NRC that they asked the guard why they had to leave and he responded that the owner of the pool ordered him to do so. At that point, the three Romani men left the swimming pool.

In other news, according to the testimony of 27-year-old Mr V.P. to the ERRC/NRC, he and several friends perceived to be Romani were refused entrance to Hotel Biser in Skopje. Mr V.P. informed the ERRC/NRC that, the night before, he and his friends, a racially mixed family visiting Macedonia from abroad, had dinner at the Hotel Biser. Because they had had such a good time, they decided to return the following evening for coffee, during which time the children would swim. However, when Mr V.P. and his friends arrived at the hotel, they were blocked by one of the employees, who reportedly stared at the dark skinned children. Mr V.P. told the ERRC/NRC that he asked why they could not enter and the employee stated, "No Gypsies or Shiptars (an offensive term for Albanians in Macedonia) will ever use this pool".

According to Mr V.P., he told the employee that they had been at the hotel the day before and no one had cared about their presence. The employee, however, replied that he did not care what had happened the day before and reiterated that no "Gypsies" or "Shiptars" would ever enter the hotel. Mr V.P.'s friends then attempted to reason with the employee, but he would not listen and ordered them to leave. The group then left the hotel and went somewhere else.



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