Human Rights the Central Topic at the Regional Roma Summit

The Regional Roma Summit kicked off on November 23, in the Kosovar capital Prishtina with an opening speech by Ulrike Lunacek, the Vice President of the European Parliament. The event organised by Civil Rights Defenders will last two days and sees human rights defenders from across Europe gather to discuss and analyse current trends and topics relevant to the Roma community especially when it comes to human rights.

The aim of the Roma Summit is to draw attention to human rights violations experienced by the Roma community in the Western Balkans and to urge governments there to fully implement international human rights standards.

Throughout the Western Balkans as well as in many parts of Europe, life for the Roma community remains very difficult. The community faces persistent and ongoing discrimination, exclusion and destitution in many of the societies they live in.

“I am pessimistic that the strategies and laws adopted by the governments will yield the expected results in current political circles. The burden lies on us, human rights defenders and civil society to insist on and advocate for full respect for the rights of the Roma community. We need to be vocal and speak out against the violence and discrimination that the Roma community is experiencing in a regular basis,” said Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans at Civil Rights Defenders.

Civil Rights Defenders and the Kosovo Ombudsperson Mr Hilmi Jashari will also host a reception to honour the occasion where local Kosovo Roma musicians the Jimmy Mustafa Band will perform.