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Montenegro steps up efforts to fight against racism

March 21st 2016

On Sunday 13 March, Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms (Ombudsman) of Montenegro published a press release about starting an anti-discrimination campaign on the occasion of the European Action Week against Racism.

The institution’s officers symbolically marked the beginning of the campaign by taking a group photo with messages on the fight against discrimination. They set up slogans promoting tolerance, without their faces being seen. They wanted to send a message that skin color should not be a reason for denying any of the guaranteed human rights.

During the campaign, the deputy Protector Sinisa Bjekovic met with the head of the Directorate for Refugees, Zeljko Sofranac. After the meeting they visited two Roma camps in Konik. Bjekovic pointed out that the social distance towards Roma people was still very pronounced. According to surveys by independent agencies and civil society in Montenegro, Roma people are the most marginalized social group.
According to Sofranac, one of the Konik camps will be closed this year, in line with the strategic documents of the government of Montenegro and the coordination of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

He highlighted that five buildings had been constructed late last year for 48 Roma families. Through the regional housing programme, 120 additional flats will be built for internally displaced people living in the camp. After that, the second Konik camp will be closed. “It will significantly improve the accommodation conditions and quality of life of Roma people”, Sofranac said.

During this week, representatives of the office of the Protector gave several press releases about the campaign and how to fight against racism.

Until 21 March, the Montenegrin Ombudsman Mr. Sucko Bakovic will have meetings with state representatives about preparations for a possible migrant crisis.

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Background: European Action Week against Racism

Every year, UNITED for intercultural action (European Network against nationalism, racism, fascism, in support of migrants and refugees) run the European Action Week against Racism. This year, the campaign will start on 12th March and finish on 21st March.
Considering the proliferation of racism against migrants and refugees at the moment, Equinet wants to do its part to highlight initiatives carried out by its members to fight racism across Europe.