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NGO Civic Alliance congratulates International Roma Day to all members of the Roma community, inviting the authorities to finally take measures and improve the social status of the Roma, and preserve their culture, language and customs.
Unfortunately, many members of this population in Montenegro still face discrimination and social and economic exclusion, even though a large number of strategic documents and projects have been implemented in previous decades. Therefore, a thorough analysis and detection of wrong decisions and identification of responsibilities for that, is necessary. Negative stereotypes and prejudices are still very much present in our society. This is evidenced by CEDEM reports, which show that ethnic distance is mostly present towards this community. In addition, our long experience in working with the Roma population has resulted in a large number of complaints on work of state institutions and discrimination that these people suffer.

Respecting differences, and especially taking into account a difficult communication due to language barriers, it is necessary for this population to integrate and become a part of our society that will not be left on the margins. The enjoyment and access to guaranteed rights for this population is difficult, given that their legal status in Montenegro is often unresolved.

In these difficult times, we invite the competent institutions, the civil sector and all responsible actors of the social scene to contribute as much as possible to eliminate prejudices in education, employment and use of health care, so that members of this minority feel like full citizens of Montenegro. Positive and informative texts about this community are very rare, so we invite all the media to give their contribution to systemic reduction of ethnical distance and getting to know Roma population through their culture and customs. As an example of such reporting that contributes to getting to know Roma, you can see the award-winning journalistic stories at the following link, which were awarded within the Civic Alliance project: https://gamn.org/dodijeljene-nagrade-za-najbolje-novinarske-price/

The quality of a mature society can be achieved only if we accept each individual for life in the community and if we, as a society, do everything to enable them to live not next to each other, but with each other. Multiculturalism is one of our greatest assets, so let’s respect and accept differences.