OSCE urges efforts for greater inclusion of Roma

OSCE urges efforts for greater inclusion of Roma

BELGRADE -- OSCE Mission head Peter Burkhard has underlined the need for further efforts to ensure the greater inclusion of Roma in the public and socio-economic life.

He made the remarks on the occasion of International Roma Day.

Burkhard encouraged the new government, once formed, to build on the progress achieved through the National Strategy for Roma Inclusion in 2009 and to lay down concrete priorities to improve access to housing, healthcare, better employment and education.

“International Roma Day presents a great opportunity to celebrate and recognize a rich cultural heritage. It is also an occasion to take stock of current policies, note past successes and consider the challenges the Roma community continues to face in Serbia”, Burkhard said.

“Making a tangible difference in the daily lives of the Roma people requires long-term commitments, adequate resources, and joint action by the ministries, local service providers, and civil society,” the ambassador said.

“However, full participation in Serbia's socio-economic life can only advance as far as society's attitudes towards the Roma community allow. Too often, stereotypes lead to prejudice, discrimination and sadly, even violence,” the ambassador noted.

“Promoting the greater involvement of Roma women in the process and improving school retention rates is especially important for the Roma community to realize its full potential,” explained Burkhard.

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