UNHCR and Roma Community Look To the Future

unhcr_logoOn the occasion of International Roma Day, the UNHCR is meeting this week with members of the Roma Community in order to jointly assess the progress for the third year in a row in ensuring the basic documents for Roma who are at risk of statelessness and the anticipation of future activities.

Last Thursday, 11 Roma mediators, who represent more than 70 Roma communities or are in regular contact with these communities, met with the staff of the UNHCR Office for Protection and partner NGO’s, Association of Your Rights of BIH and the BiH Women’s Initiative.

The goal of the meeting was to see in what way to contribute to more than 214 communities that are considered to be at risk of statelessness.

Through the UNHCR’s Program for Registration of Roma that is supported by Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the mediators successfully managed to establish the trust of the Roma communities, and in a robust legal and administrative procedure verified the citizenship of more than 700 people who previously did not have a birth certificate.

Dialogue will continue today, when UNHCR representative Andrew Mayne will meet with Hedin Tahirović-Sijerčić, Coordinator for Roma in the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH in order to seek the full participation of the Roma community in solving problems related to the lack of documents and to prevent its recurrence.

“International Day of Roma reminds us that real progress can be made when the voice of the community is at the center of decision-making”, said Mayne.

More events to mark the International Day of Roma will be held this week in Sarajevo and Prijedor with the support of UNHCR. In addition to the benefits with registration and possession of documents, these events will draw attention to the negative aspects of early marriage and the importance of education.

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