Education & Training

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Public Discussion for the Members of Roma Community Held in Kragujevac

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 Kragujevac on 9 April 2013. The aim of the public discussion was to raise awareness of the Roma community about the concept of discrimination and human rights protection mechanisms, and to empower this socially vulnerable group to combat all forms of discriminatory behaviour. The public discussion was attended by representatives of organizations whose activities are directed at protection of and assistance to the marginalized and socially excluded groups, primarily members of Roma community.

Through their presentation, the representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality emphasised the facts that point to existence of obvious social distance between the Roma and non-Roma population. They also pointed to manifestation and negative effects of discrimination, as well as the importance of raising awareness about equality, available mechanisms for protection of rights and strengthening the belief that these mechanisms are accessible and useful. It was stated that the number of filed complaints for protection against discrimination by the members of Roma minority was disconcertingly small. The importance of taking an active role in combat against discrimination by the members of this vulnerable group was stressed. It was also pointed out that the procedure upon the complaint was free of charge, that it was expeditious, with minimum requests referring to formality of the complaint and, thus, the present participants were suggested to use this available and simple mechanism as an instrument for protection against discrimination. The representatives of the Commissioner acquainted the participants with basic facts and circumstances of some procedures conducted before this institution that related to discrimination of Roma, as well as with the most significant characteristics of the procedures initiated before a competent court.

Presenting the problems and obstacles encountered in practice in protection of basic human rights against discriminatory behaviour of individuals or groups, representative of Praxis contributed to further explaining the phenomenon of discrimination and incited active discussion of the participants on their observations and experience in this field. Based on the comments and expressed standpoints of the participants, it can be concluded that the awareness of prohibition of discrimination does not exist among the members of Roma community. However, the need for undertaking active measures to further motivate Roma population was noticeable, both in terms of learning about available protection mechanisms and in terms of readiness to take actual steps towards improvement of life of the entire Roma community.

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