International Roma Day marked across Balkans

Europe's 'most marginalized' ethnic minorty hears promises on education and inclusion.

International Roma Day marked across Balkans

World Bulletin / News Desk

Countries across the Balkan have marked International Roma Day, calling for greater social inclusion for "the most marginalized ethnic minority in Europe."

According to Joan Kok, a Roma community representative in Serbia, this group suffered historical persecution which lead to Roma people concealing the identity. As Kok says, this is why they are now "the most marginalized ethnic community in Europe."

The Serbian capital, Belgrade, featured an exhibition of photographs of Hollywood actors Michael Caine and Rita Hayworth, Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood, Charlie Chaplin, singer Elvis Presley and footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- all with reported Roma ancestry.

Minister of Justice Nikola Selakovic supported the Roma event, stressing the importance of social inclusion and the fight against discrimination.

"By strengthening the rule of law we contribute to the integration of Roma into society as well as better standard of living while preserving their traditions, culture and language," said Selakovic.

A government conference in the Kosovo's capital, Pristina, heard how the biggest problem for the Roma community in the territory today is education.

Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci said that Kosovo -- which has decided to offer education in the Romani language -- provides equal rights to all communities but that the Roma community still faced difficulties in education and employment and that the government is working hard to overcome this problem.

"Kosovo has national strategy for the integration of the Roma community into society and the aim of this strategy is not only to adopt it as a legal act, but to provide better living conditions for the Roma population," said Kuci.

Montenegro's minister for human and minority rights, Suad Numanovic, on Tuesday pointed out that the number of Roma children in schools is four times higher than it was a decade ago and that "the education of young Roma can be a key step towards integration into society."

The Council of the Roma National Minority of Zagreb, Croatia today handed a letter of gratitude to city mayor Milan Bandic for his help to their association.

At the first World Congress of Roma held in London in 1971, 8th April was picked as International Roma Day.

Last Mod: 09 Nisan 2014, 12:01
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