Belgrade, June 26 (SerbiaToday) – A great majority of Roma population in Serbia, 80 %, see no benefit at all of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, unique European Governments commitment to improve social-economic status of Roma in the countries, showed on Wednesday research conducted by pool agency “Argument” and Roma Democratic Centre (RDC) from Valjevo, 100 km south-west from the capital Belgrade.
Roma expects by the end of Decade issues of their employment and residence would be resolved, want their children finish school, while health is not the priority. Only 4, 7 % of the examined are focused to medical treatment and health insurance, told Tanja Dimitrijevic of RDC reporters.
The Decade focuses on education, employment, health, and housing, and commits governments to take into account the other core issues of poverty, discrimination.
According to Census 2002, some 108.000 Roma live in Serbia and they have status of national minority. Human rights organizations however estimate there are around 640.000 Roma in the country.
So far, 11 Central European countries and Spain take part in the Decade: Serbia, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Macedonia and Montenegro. Slovenia has observer status.
Roma activist say society is weighted by xenophobia and national stereotypes, which is “perfect fertile soil” for growing violent behaviour against young Roma (9-15 years) and other vulnerable groups.
Ljuan Koka is high ranking official in the Ministry for Human Rights’ Department for Roma national strategy. According to him, lack of money due to global crisis sharply affects projects dealing with Roma issue, but despite negative trends, things are moving forward. “We succeeded from the beginning of Decade that Roma children signing for high school and presently there are 420 Roma students in Serbia”, said Koka, Roma from Prizren, Kosovo, on Wednesday.
Roma community in Serbia has minimum of confidence in private companies, trade unions and political parties, but Serbian Orthodox Church, military and President Boris Tadic enjoy its greatest trust, shows the research.