Help and the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights have presented a new project to the Montenegrin public – “Social inclusion of Roma and Egyptians through mediation”.
This means that in practice, Help will organize training and work for inclusion associates that will facilitate access to public services for citizens of the Roma and Egyptian communities in 11 Montenegrin municipalities, and thus raise their quality of life.
Tatjana Anđelić, head of the Department for European Integration, Programming and Implementation of EU Funds in the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, said that the project is very important for the Roma and Egyptian population in Montenegro.
“First of all, I would like to emphasize that we are presenting this project today, on November 5, the World Roma Language Day, and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all members of the Roma population in our country and beyond, for the desire to preserve, cultivate and promote their language as their heritage, because language is an important cultural quality of every nation” said Anđelić.
“The project will contribute to the improvement of knowledge and implementation of anti-discrimination policy by competent institutions and services – especially at the local level, through activities that strengthen administrative capacity as well as coordination, mentoring and networking of associates in social inclusion” the government representative added.
As she has said, the Government is committed to creating and implementing policies for faster and full social inclusion, as well as to improving the economic position of the RE population.
“These policies certainly contain measures and activities that, through the joint work of all relevant institutions, aim to provide assistance to the individual and their families, because in this way we accelerate the integration of the Roma and Egyptian communities as a whole. You know that we have adopted a Strategy for Roma Social Inclusion and Egyptians in Montenegro for the period 2016-2020, which is based on the principles of equality, non-discrimination and equal opportunities. Montenegro is a signatory state to the Poznan Declaration, which defines the continued integration of Roma and Egyptian communities in our country as a goal. It is the obligation of all of us to implement antidiscrimination policies through respect for the human rights of all citizens. At the same time, good coordination of all relevant institutions is necessary, especially those at the local level. ”
The regional coordinator of Help, Klaus Mock, has assessed that some improvements have been made but that there is still a long way to go to in order to achieve real equality for Roma and Egyptians.
“Marginalisation persists, and many Roma and Egyptians continue to face a combination of disproportionate discrimination and socioeconomic exclusion in their daily lives. We from Help have – together with local and international partners – worked for the last 20 years in Montenegro to improve the situation of Roma and Egyptians in the areas of equality, inclusion, participation, education, employment, health, and housing. With the start of this new project we are intensifying our efforts to advance the access of Roma and Egyptians to their rights. It is our experience – which is supported by the experience in other countries in the Balkans – that special support systems for Roma and Egyptians are required to bring about a substantive improvement of their situation.”
Dijamant Pajazitaj, who is a RE mediator for social inclusion and employment and who has gained his experience in Help, has emphasized that his experience showed that mediators for access to social services are extremely important for overcoming the barriers that this community faces.
“It is important to establish contact and gain the trust of the community, which we help to overcome various barriers in dealing with everyday problems and in accessing public institutions. Our role is especially important when it comes to education, employment, social and health care, especially for elderly citizens, as well as for overcoming the language barrier. Cooperation with the institutions became good from the moment when our role in mediation got recognized. I would invite all interested members of the RE community to apply for this training. It is an opportunity to work on improving their own position, but also position of the entire RE community” Pajazitaj stated.
The Regional coordinator has proudly pointed out that Help brought this instrument back in 2014 as part of the assistance program for Roma and Egyptians living in Konik, Montenegro.
“As you can see it has taken already quite some time – but eventually the standardization of the RE Mediators has been completed and they are now a recognized instrument ready to be introduced to all municipalities with sizable populations of Roma and Egyptians. I believe that with the training of some 60 Roma and Egyptians and eventual recruitment of 40 RE Mediators in the areas of health, social affairs and employment real progress can be achieved in the lives of the Roma and Egyptian population in Montenegro.” said Klaus Mock.
“The social inclusion of the Roma and Egyptian communities in Montenegro will be improved by an approach that includes the expansion of the network of qualified associates and it will enable training and work of associates in social inclusion of RE men and women in the sectors of health, employment and social protection in 11 municipalities in Montenegro: Bar, Berane, Bijelo Polje, Budva, Cetinje, Herceg Novi, Nikšić, Pljevlja, Podgorica, Tivat and Ulcinj” said project coordinator Dijana Anđelić, , while presenting the project.
The project is being implemented within the joint Program of the European Union and Montenegro for employment, education and social protection, has a budget of half a million euros, and is financed by the European Commission.
Tatjana Anđelić, the head of the Department for European Integration, has said that the Government of Montenegro is fully committed to the creation and implementation of policies for faster and full social inclusion, as well as to improving the economic position of Roma and Egyptians in our country.
The press conference has been organized in full accordance with the issued measures for protection against the pandemic caused by the COVID19 virus.