Open letter to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Vulnerability of the right to security, freedom of movement and right to education of Roma in the village of Jabuka

Dear Sir,

It's been over a month in Jabuka village when it came to escalation of violence against the Roma minority when a group of villagers from Jabuka, under the excuse of mourning for the lost life of a young man, for days without the timely reaction of the state stoned houses belonging to Roma minority in the village around Pancevo destroying property of Methodist church. In fact, after the assassination of D.S. (17) from Jabuka, for which is suspected B.J. (17) also from Jabuka, protests began that turned violent and spread hatred and intolerance against Roma and a small religious community.

As a result of the spread of racial and national hatred and intolerance towards the Roma minority, the Roma from the village of Jabuka have been more than a month locked up in their homes for fear for their safety, so their freedom of movement was limited.
As evidence of increased risk of recurrent conflicts we induce the fact that in the village are still needed intensified police forces.
The most difficult burden of these situation suffer children of Roma families, we remind you that in Jabuka live 106 Roma families, who do not go out of their homes. As sempetember 1st aproaches and the beginning of the new school year, there is a risk that one more of the fundamental and constitutionally guaranteed rights, the right to education, will also be denied. We wish to remind you that the Serbian Constitution guarantees the rights that are denied to members of the Roma national minority in the village of Jabuka:

Article 27.
Everyone has the right to personal liberty and safety. Deprivation of liberty shall be allowed only on the grounds and procedure stipulated by law.

It is prohibited and punishable inciting of racial, ethnic, religious and other inequality, hatred and intolerance.

Article 76.
Members of national minorities shall be guaranteed equality before the law and equal legal protection.
It is prohibited any discrimination because of national minority.

Article 39.
Everyone has the right of free movement and residence in the Republic of Serbia, to leave and return to it.

Article 71.
Everyone has the right to education.

Unfortunately, in Serbia this is not an isolated case of violation of fundamental human rights of the Roma national minority. We were witnesses of violence and intolerance against Roma in Zemun Polje, Surcin, New Belgrade, Ovci, Kraljevo and other places, which were strongly criticized by international organizations and numerous non-governmental organizations in Serbia.
As the recently adopted set of laws regulating the field of education, we believe that the legal framework was created that all children, especially children from the Roma minority communities be included in the education system.
Therefore, we request that you, as representatives of the Ministry should take concrete steps to primarily provide security and freedom of movement, and thus enable and uninterrupted schooling for Roma children.
In addition, we expect that you inform the public about measures that will be implemented in this area in Serbia, which will lead to that Roma children from the village of Jabuka on September 1st are going to go to school.

In Belgrade, July 26, 2010.

Lawyers Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM

Network of Women in Black

Banat Roma Women Network

Copyright, Committee for human rights Negotin