Yugoslav Roma asking for national minority status

05 January 1999

The assembly of Roma organisations in Yugoslavia asked the Yugoslav government to grant Roma the status of a national minority as soon as possible, according to the Beta news agency on October 13, 1998. This initiative had its beginning in the form of a petition launched by the Romani Congress Party (Romska kongresna partija) and the Association of Roma in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in March 1998, with the hope that the change of the official status of Roma would improve their overall condition. In their request, the assembly further asked that a representative of each Roma organisation in Yugoslavia take part in the preparation and adoption of the Roma national program in Yugoslavia, as a starting point for obtaining national minority status in the constitutions of the Federation and each of its republics respectively. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia does not acknowledge the existence of Roma — it recognises only Hungarians, Albanians, Ruthenians and Slovaks in the category of national minorities. On the other hand, the Constitution of Montenegro makes no differentiation between the terms "national minority" and "ethnic group", the latter applying to Roma, and therefore endows Roma with equal rights and obligations. (AIM, Beta)


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