Education & Training

Friday, 8 November 2013

Panel Discussion for Members of Roma Community Held in Surdulica

On 8 November 2013, a panel discussion for members of Roma communities was held in Surdulica within the project “Equal Chances for Better Prospects – Strengthening Roma in Combating Discrimination” implemented by the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality in cooperation with Praxis.

At the extremely attended panel discussion, the competences of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality and anti-discrimination protection mechanisms in Serbia were presented. Through an interactive discussion, the concrete cases of discriminatory behaviour towards the Roma were presented, while the representatives of the Roma national minority and non-governmental organizations dealing with protection of their rights were encouraged to file a complaint against discrimination with the Commissioner.

The participants stated that they are often the victims of discriminatory acting, particularly in relation to exercise of the right to social protection, that is to say that administration is silent towards their requests or unequal treatment. The field of labour and employment was identified as the key area in which discrimination appears. The presents were thoroughly acquainted with the procedure conducted before the Commissioner and the manner for filing a complaint. The representatives of the Office of Commissioner for Protection of Equality pointed at distinct social distance between the Roma population and non-Roma population, and the fact that Roma are often discriminated for their national affiliation. Despite that, it was stated that the number of complaints for the protection from discrimination filed by members of Roma national minority is worryingly small. Therefore, it was stressed how important it is to take active roles in fight against discrimination by the members of the vulnerable group. In addition, the present said that the procedure upon complaint is free of charge, it is efficient and requests are minimal in regard to the form and therefore the present were referred to availability and simplicity of the procedure upon the complaint, and the instrument for protection from discrimination. The representatives of the Office of Commissioner for Protection of Equality acquainted the present with the course of some procedures conducted before this institution for discrimination against the Roma, and with the most important features of the procedures initiated before the competent court.

By presenting the problems and impediments encountered in practice in relation to access to basic human rights, Praxis’ representative contributed to presenting the concerned issue and initiated a discussion of the participants on observations and experience in this area. Based on the comments and opinions of the participants, it could be concluded that members of Roma community were aware of the prohibition of discrimination and the need to take active measures aimed at additional motivating of the Roma community – both in terms of acquainting with available mechanisms for protection of their rights and in terms of willingness to take concrete steps for improving the living conditions of the whole Roma community. It was also concluded that much needs yet to be done on the elimination of stereotypes and prejudices that still exist towards the Roma.

At the end of the panel discussion, the representatives of the Commissioner and Praxis visited the Roma settlement Gornja mahala whose youngest residents participated in the film project “The Equal” – an omnibus consisting of 8 short films on child rights and problems the children face, supported by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality.

Read 19428 times
Tagged under
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action