Education & Training

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Public Discussion for the Members of Roma Community Held in Novi Pazar

As part of the Project “Equal Opportunity for Better Perspectives, Strengthening Roma People to Combat Discrimination,” implemented by the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality of the Republic of Serbia, in cooperation with Praxis a public discussion was held for members of the Roma community in Novi Pazar. Organization of the discussion is a part of the information and education campaign of the Commissioner aimed at raising awareness and strengthening vulnerable social groups to combat discrimination.

The discussion gathered Roma activists, local Roma population and representatives of organizations the activities of which are directed at protection and assistance to marginalized and excluded social groups, primarily members of Roma community.

Bearing in mind the extent of discrimination the Roma are exposed to, the number of complaints filed last year by the members of Roma community and the associations working on the protection of the rights of Roma is relatively small. This information was particularly emphasised by the representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality who used the opportunity to invite the participants to respond to occurrences of violation of the right to equality by filing complaints to the Commissioner, pointing out that the procedure is free and that the complaint can be filed by mail. Furthermore, they distributed the printed edition of the 2011 Regular Annual Report of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality to the participants, as well as the complaint form in the Romani language.

In addition to presenting the work of the institution and its competence, the representatives of the Commissioner strived to bring closer to the participants the general notion of discrimination, to provide detailed information about the manner of filing the complaint and the course of the procedure, as well as the significance and effects of the Commissioner’s decisions on complaints. Representative of Praxis gave an overview of access to basic rights and the most frequent problems and obstacles hindering the exercise of those rights.

On the other hand, the participants of the discussion were provided with an opportunity to present their observations and experience with regard to exercise of rights. Thus, they pointed to the difficulty and often the impossibility to access the rights at all. Besides, they stated that they often felt socially excluded, giving examples from everyday life that testified of the extent of deprivation of rights of the members of Roma community.

With an aim to achieve factual equality of rights, it was concluded that it was necessary to create social, political, economic and other prerequisites to secure effective enjoyment of rights and freedoms for the members of the vulnerable and marginalized social groups. The fact is that it is necessary to build a tolerant environment and work on reduction of social distance to minority groups if we are to successfully combat discrimination. Until the above-mentioned has been secured, the procedure upon complaints filed for discrimination, which is conducted by the Commissioner for Protection of Equality, undoubtedly represents important contribution to combat against discrimination. For this reason, it is essential to make this institution more available to citizens and to enable them to protect their right to equality through the procedure before the Commissioner for Protection of Equality.

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Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action
Praxis means action