On June 12th, two students beat up their Roma classmate at Belgrade’s primary school “Karadjordje”. As the media emphasize, the two boys said they did it because a Roma child has no right to wear a Serbian flag,seeing how he is not Serbian.
This is not an isolated case of violence against Roma students within our educational institutions, we are also faced with frequent attacks, of which the mentioned incident came to the media. In addition to the apparent physicalmaltreatment, a psychological one is more common, which involves insulting and cursing with the rise of racist speech. This is at the same time one of the reasons why Roma children give up schooling and are unable to,at least for a while, leave the vicious circle of poverty and discrimination.
Such a state of society in which intolerance towards Roma childrengrows each day, as well as towards Roma men and women, is caused by discriminatory and racist tendencies that manifest all the time. The reasons for this, among other things, lie in a high degree of cumulative discrimination, in the general impoverishment of citizens throughout Serbia and in the high unemployment rate that is most alarmingnot just inthe case of Roma, but in the case of the general population as well. Thus, the frameworkof more than a Decade of Roma Inclusion,has been set up on very unrealistic and contradictory grounds. The very anti-discriminatory legal framework and individual strategies aimed at improving the social and economic situation of the Roma population, can not have any real effect in the situation when the regime privatizes and reduces the scope of public services, reduces labor costs, raises food prices, and replaces social welfare institutions with repressive apparatus. On the contrary, the way in which inclusion policy has been implemented has merely contributed to national intolerance and has further divided the already impoverished and oppressed people, forming a prejudice that the Roma people can never be integrated.
The Serbian Roma Forum, organized by the members of the Left Summit of Serbia, strongly condemns such events and policies that all previous political elites have implemented not just against the most marginalized national minority, but also against all citizens of the Republic of Serbia. The Serbian Roma Forum stands for the absolute equality of national minorities in all spheres of society, but also supports the fight against all forms of discrimination and anti-civilian attitude in society.