Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Roma: Bosnia and Herzegovina presides over Decade of Roma inclusion, OSCE plays an important role

Source: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

SARAJEVO, 29 September 2014 – The 27th International Steering Committee meeting of the Decade of Roma inclusion 2005 - 2015, the first event organized under the Decade Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, started today in Sarajevo.

The meeting will primarily focus on the priority areas of the Decade Presidency of BiH: education to employment, integrated programs for housing and employment and the security and health of Roma women.

“The OSCE Mission has had an on-going, active commitment to assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina in this important initiative. In close co-operation with the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, we have engaged directly in putting forth Roma Action Plans for BiH”, Ambassador Jonathan Moore, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, said in his opening address.

“Substantial strides have been made towards improving the situation of Roma communities. But, there is still much to be done,” Moore said. “Not only do appropriate financial resources need to be budgeted for such efforts, but governmental authorities need to mainstream Roma communities into the decision making process. Government – from the lowest community levels to the highest state levels – must work for all of its citizens, including minorities and the marginalized”.

Damir Ljubic, Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, said: “We are implementing many projects at a local level. Municipalities are allocating funds to address issues of Roma communities, often together with state-level budgets as to achieve better results. Our plans envisage further engagement at the local level to foster the development of action plans.”

Through implementation of the Roma Action Plan on Housing – in which the OSCE plays an important role, especially in mediating between municipalities, Roma communities and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees – the BiH government has allocated significant funds over the past years, that has resulting in the reconstruction of over 600 housing units.

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