International Romani Day is a day to celebrate Romani Culture and raise Awareness on their Rights

The International Romani Day (April 8) is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people.

According to the census of 2013, 12,583 Roma live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, of whom 10,036 live in the Federation of BiH, 2,057 in Republika Srpska and 490 in Brcko District.

A special report on the status of Roma Institutions of the BiH Human Rights Ombudsman and the OSCE Mission to BiH estimates that around 50,000 Roma live in the territory of BiH.

Relevant institutions call one the adequate housing, which is commonly understood to include the following elements; legal security of tenure, availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy. International and European human rights standards establish firmly the right to adequate housing as a fundamental right. Widespread reports concerning abuses of the housing rights of Roma across Europe indicate pervasive discrimination. Many Roma continue to live in segregated areas lacking basic security of tenure with highly substandard conditions.

Such settlements are characterised by inadequate infrastructure and limited access to public services. In most cases, it is in addition to these inadequate and degrading conditions that Roma are subjected to forced eviction, abusive police raids and destruction of their property.

International Roma Day was officially declared in 1990 in Poland, during the fourth World Romani Congress in honour of the first major international meeting of Roma representatives, 7-12 of April, 1971 in London, UK. International Roma Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. It is worrying to note how little progress has been achieved since 1990 in improving the living conditions of Roma.

The international community must utilise this day and remember its obligations to provide and implement legal/social/political instruments, which enable Roma to free themselves from precarious situation in which they live.

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