“If we dream alone, this is only a dream. If we dream together, it is the start of new reality. Let us jointly create this new reality for the most vulnerable Roma.”
Over 80 representatives of the local authorities, NGOs and international organisations participated in the 4th Seminar on Roma integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The seminar, which took place today in Sarajevo. was jointly organized by BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees and the European Commission.
BiH has seen some progress of Roma integration in areas of housing and civil registration, but still much remains to be done on education, employment and healthcare, adviser on Roma policy at the Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) Marta Garcia Fidalgo emphasized.
“We all need to work together for Roma integration. If we dream alone it is just a dream but if we dream together it is the start of new reality. The progress towards Roma inclusion will represent also a progress on the EU path”, Garcia Fidalgo said.
BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Semiha Borovac said that Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion, which calls for action and that BAM 21.6 million from the state budget has been ensured by the end of 2017 for tackling Roma issues.
The problems of the Roma community have now became even more visible, thanking to significant resources allocated by EU Delegation and relevant BiH institutions, Mujo Fafulic, Chairperson of Roma Committee within BiH Council of Ministers stated.
“It is important to provide more financial support to the Roma community with an aim to help its full integration into the society and ensure for the Roma community the same starting position as for all the other citizens of BiH. We want nothing more than what others already have”, he said.
Since 2007, the EU has provided over € 7,5 million to Bosnia and Herzegovina to support the socio-economic inclusion and integration of the Roma in BiH, including through housing.
Garcia Fidalgo will visit Roma families who are benefiting from EU assistance in Kakanj, Zenica and Zavidovici. Within the EU-funded ‘Roma Action II’ project, some 140 Roma families in 9 BiH municipalities were provided with better housing conditions.