On the occasion of the Month of Roma Women’s Activism, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will support the campaign of Roma women’s network “Success”, Mission announced.
Every year from 8 March to 8 April, the Roma women’s network “Success” marks the Month of Roma Women’s Activism. The network brings together a group of seven Roma organizations dedicated to improving the legal, social and economic status of Roma women and children. This year’s slogan is: “It is my right, not a privilege”. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of citizens about the importance of Roma culture and identity as well the authorities’ obligation to protect and fulfil the rights of Roma as the largest and most marginalized national minority in BiH.
Despite the progress achieved, Roma women in BiH and the Western Balkans experience double discrimination: as members of the Roma minority and as women.
“Roma women still face widespread marginalization and exclusion from decision-making processes – at home, in the community, as well as at the political level. They can be leaders of social change, but they have to be given the opportunity. There is a need to create equal opportunities that allow Roma women and girls to achieve their full potential,” said Kathleen Kavalec, Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH. “For this reason, I welcome this campaign and call on everyone to join our efforts to reject stereotypes and prejudice and to support the inclusion of Roma as equal members of society.”
The OSCE Mission to BiH remains committed to working with national minorities and authorities in BiH to ensure increased national minority inclusion and greater realization of their human rights.
In 2010, Roma women’s organizations in BiH formed and joined the first Roma women’s network in BiH. The network currently brings together five Roma women’s organizations and three prominent Roma women activists from the territory of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Srpska. In 2011, the network launched an initiative to organize and implement the month of female Roma activism. This is celebrated every year from the 8th of March (International women’s day) until the 8th of April (International Roma day), with the goal of shedding light not only on the position of women, especially Roma women, through a series of actions, but also on the importance of involving Roma women in decision-making processes. /ibna