OSCE and activists discuss challenges of Roma in South East Europe

Press Release | 19.03.2015
Improving living conditions of the Roma in focus of the 10th Regional Meeting of OSCE Roma Focal Points held in Sarajevo (OSCE/V.Pribilovic) Improving living conditions of the Roma in focus of the 10th Regional Meeting of OSCE Roma Focal Points held in Sarajevo (OSCE/V.Pribilovic)

SARAJEVO, 19 March 2015 – Improving living standards of Roma and ensuring their full access to social, economic and political life throughout South East Europe was in focus at the 10th Regional Meeting of Focal Points on Roma in OSCE Field Operations, held today in Sarajevo. 

The event was hosted by the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina in co-operation with the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and gathered representatives of OSCE field operations in South East Europe.

OSCE and ODIHR representatives also met with several Roma activists from Bosnia and Herzegovina to discuss the status and pressing needs of Roma throughout the country. 

The Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ambassador Jonathan Moore, said: “Although the efforts and activities undertaken to improve the position of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina are commendable, especially in housing, much remains to be done. Not only do the governmental authorities need to ensure the allocation of sufficient financial resources to increase Roma access to housing, education, health and employment, they also need to mainstream Roma communities into decision-making processes.”

Roma activist Aldijana Dedić said: “Young Roma, particularly Roma women, face discrimination deriving from a lack of will of institutions and relevant bodies to ensure better access for Roma in all aspects of life. This often leads to Roma seeking a better future outside Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

OSCE/ODIHR Senior Advisor on Roma and Sinti Issues Mirjam Karoly said: “In the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the constitutional barriers to ensuring full civil rights and meaningful participation of Roma should be removed. Roma are the largest national minority group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet their participation in public institutions and offices is disproportionately low.” 

In line with the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area, the OSCE provides ongoing support to governments to improve the situation of Roma in their countries. The OSCE actively promotes co-operation between Roma communities, OSCE field operations and ODIHR. 

Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently the Chair of the Decade for Roma Inclusion initiative aimed at eliminating discrimination against Roma in Europe. 

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For more information please contact Zeljka Sulc, Chief of Press and Public Information, OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, at + 387 (0)33 752 238 or + 387 (0)61 131 625.