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On this day, when organizations dealing with minority rights and the rights of the Roma are trying to be louder in the struggle for their rights throughout Europe, we feel a special need to emphasize the need for further intensive and more dedicated work of all social groups and especially institutions in the implementation of reforms and strategic policies.

In recent years, certain improvements are evident with concrete results, but there are still a number of areas that are key in which the situation is unsatisfactory. We still have a major problem with Roma education in Montenegro, employment is still characterized by a high degree of discrimination, while not enough was done to promote the employment of Roma and many of them still live in informal settlements without constructed infrastructure.

Montenegro has established a framework for the implementation of the program of political inclusion of Roma, who constitute legal regulations and Government mechanisms that are supposed to carry out the tasks of planning and coordinating the implementation of this program policy, however, many challenges are identified in that direction.

Limited budgetary funds represent a significant obstacle to the successful implementation of policies in the field of Roma inclusion. The total amount of funds allocated from the state budget by opting to implement the NIAS depends on the amount of funds defined by the annual budget laws, but also on the capacity to attract resources from the IPA funds. Although these figures are unknown for now, it is evident that the resources allocated to existing annual budget cycle are much lower compared to the scope of the objectives defined by NIAS infection. Financing of local inclusion strategies is also limited by fiscal deficit of local governments.

Although there is anti-discriminatory legal framework, its effective implementation is lacking. There have been no enforceable judgment in discrimination cases, as well as accurate records of registered and processed cases of discrimination.
Political representation of Roma constitutes one of the biggest problems in protecting the rights of minority communities. Roma and Egyptians have authentic representatives in the Parliament or in local assemblies. This right, however, has been provided to all other national communities. Despite the amendments to the Law on Minority Rights and Freedoms and the Law on Election of Councillors and Members of Parliament, the electoral system does not provide for representation of the Roma minority through guaranteed mandates, as is the case with the Croatian national minority, and consequently no possibility of influencing the legislative power.

As part of this year’s Roma Pride, Civic Alliance conducts workshops to empower and strengthen the capacity of Roma prisoners with shorter prison sentences, with the aim of creating a predisposition for better inclusion of these additional vulnerable groups. The activities involved are aimed at re-socialization, literacy, verbal and nonverbal communication, creating a CV and so on.

Edin Koljenović
Program Coordinator