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As one of the final activities of this year's Month of Roma Women Activism campaign, the meeting between members of Roma Women Network and the Commissioner for Equality, Brankica Janković, was held on April 6, 2016 in the premises of the Commissioner for Equality.



This was an opportunity to talk about discrimination against Roma women, especially the "hidden" one, that we believe is systemic and difficult to prove. The most urgent area for taking an action is employment: for Roma women and men, even after completing their education, is difficult to find work in their professions, and the state, within the framework of the Decade of Roma Inclusion and the processes of social inclusion, employ members of Roma people based on projects and on jobs that are exclusively related to Roma people, which continues to segregate Roma community and sends the message that Roma women and men can not represent the interests of all citizens. The desire of those who are educated is to do jobs for which they gained qualifications but that is, unfortunately, hardly feasible, especially for members of marginalized social groups.

We talked about the problems in documenting discrimination and the reasons why the Roma population, although one of the most discriminated in our society, usually don’t report discrimination. Although, every year since the establishment of the Office of the Commissioner for Equality, the largest number of complaints are related with discrimination of Roma national minority on basis of nationality, almost every other, there is still a high level of tolerance towards discrimination against the Roma community. Special attention was paid on cooperation and mutual support of the Commissioner for Equality and activists of Roma Women Network in response to cases of discrimination.




The Commissioner implied that the attitude of some representatives of public authorities towards Roma people is particularly concerning, and added that the frequent complaints for discrimination are for those whose support the Roma minority need to account.

Roma Women Network activists spoke about the need for urgent adoption of local action plans for improving the situation of Roma people, and that is essential that their adoption is the obligation of every local government in Serbia.

Labour rights in our society are declining, and Roma people who are employed part-time and by projects experience violations of labor rights at various levels. Some examples are the cases that have been recorded by the organizations of Roma Women Network, which are related to the uncertainty of the right to pregnancy and maternity of the health mediators, coordinators in municipalities and pedagogic assistants. Recommendations from this meeting for Republic of Serbia is systematization of mediators in health, coordinators and pedagogic assistants jobs, and activists received supported by the Commissioner for decreasing discrimination against Roma people in this way.



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