22.06.2022

Prime Minister Kurti talked to the representatives of Roma community

 

Prishtina, June the 22nd 2022

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, today talked to the representatives of the Roma community. At the opening of the roundtable organized by the Office for Community Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister, he thanked them for their contribution, commitment and role in building our country.

I have high hopes that in the future we will have even better cooperation with all of you, towards the execution of common goals for more equality and more well-being, said the Prime Minister.

Mentioning the positive developments for the community, the Prime Minister distinguished the Government’s decision to establish an inter-institutional team for the employment of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, the initiative of the Ministry of Local Government Administration together with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation to distribute 100 scholarships for students of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities for studying at the Faculty of Education, as well as the allocation of 500 additional scholarships by the Ministry of Education for students of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in other fields of study.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the program for 100 interns, with priority for communities, which are now engaged in ministries and municipalities. He said that later in the year we will have a conference, where they can share their experiences to encourage others from the communities, to contribute to institutions with their skills, knowledge and experience.

During the summer months, the Office for Community Affairs will announce the next call for grants on training and employment of communities, because this is a priority for both our Government and communities, said Prime Minister Kurti. The Office for Community Affairs has 1.5 million euros in grants for communities this year, and NGOs and Roma media have applied for funding in the Office’s latest call.

One achievement mentioned is the “Digital Platform for Protection against Discrimination for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities” launched by the Office for Good Governance at the Office of the Prime Minister.

I invite you to encourage other members of the community to use it, so that the institutions have a better picture of where the violations are taking place. We cannot have respect for the law for a citizen of one community and disrespect for another citizen of another community. Because the equality of citizens is guaranteed in the republic, said the Prime Minister.

It was said that all these measures, and many others, are included in the “Strategy for Roma and Ashkali Communities”, which was prepared by the Office for Good Governance, after consultations with the communities.

The joint roundtable was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Mr. Sejnur Veshall, Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Erxhan Galushi, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian issues, Mrs. Nurije Shala , Advisor to the Prime Minister on Community Affairs Ms. Elizabeth Gowning, political representatives, representatives of institutions and civil society.

Full speech of Prime Minister Kurti:

Honorable Member of the Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, Mr. Erxhan Galushi,
Honorable Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Mr. Sejnur Veshall,
Honorable representatives of politics and civil society,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Honorable present,

I had the pleasure to meet some of you who are here today on the occasion of International Roma Day, where I was also invited by the Roma community in Prizren, at the Cultural Center “Durmish Aslano” and radio “Romani Avazo”. There we celebrated together, in the presence of students learning in the Roma language and with very beautiful poetries. I promised you then that after the celebrations, we would take the opportunity to meet again with a larger group and talk about the challenges and opportunities you see for the community. I am very glad that we now have this opportunity.

Meanwhile, we have seen positive developments for the community. This month at the government meeting, we approved the decision to establish an inter-institutional team for the employment of the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities. This team will be represented by the Office of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Ministries and civil society. They take responsibility for promoting community employment, and among them, for the first time, collect and publish employment data for each community. Having this data, we can take the necessary measures to achieve the quota for employment in institutions, as provided by law.

We are interested in promoting the employment of the Roma community and we are working in that direction. The Ministry of Local Government Administration together with the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation have taken the initiative to provide 100 scholarships for students from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities to study at the Faculty of Education, with the aim that in the future in our classrooms we can have teachers from the Roma community throughout Kosovo. Therefore, their contribution should be distributed not only to Roma children, but also to all community children in Kosovo. Also, the Ministry of Education has allocated 500 additional scholarships for students from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in other fields of study. So, 100 go for the Faculty of Education and 500 for other fields.

We are grateful for the contribution of the citizens of the Roma community, in a number of positions within the ministries and municipalities. It is a pleasure that some of them are with us today, and we intend to increase this number. Therefore, this year we have the program for 100 interns, with priority for communities, who are now engaged in ministries and municipalities. Later this year we will hold a conference where they can share their experiences to encourage others from the communities, to contribute with their skills, knowledge and experience in institutions. However, it is also a good experience for institutions to understand how much diversity contributes to job productivity.

During the summer months, the Office for Community Affairs will announce the next call for community training and employment grants, as this is a priority for both our Government and the communities. The Office for Community Affairs has 1.5 million euros to allocate grants to communities this year, and I know that NGOs and Roma media have applied for funding in the Office’s last call, and the assessment of these applications is currently in the process. We have also made efforts to establish a transparent and fair system for allocating funds to communities. Therefore, I wish and hope that we will have many proper initiatives by the Roma community, in particular for the promotion and protection of their rights.

Municipal Offices for Communities and Returns throughout the municipalities of Kosovo are a necessary link in providing services to citizens at the local level. During the meeting I had in March with the officials of these offices, we discussed their concerns and identified other forms of cooperation with the outcome of collaboration. One of these was the conference for sharing good practice between Municipal Offices, which was organized last week by the Office for Community Affairs. We hope that such conversations and discussions will provide new ideas for better services for citizens.

A very valuable achievement that should be mentioned is the “Digital Platform for Protection against Discrimination for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities” which was launched by the Office for Good Governance in the Office of the Prime Minister. It is now possible to use this digital platform in addition to municipal offices, another way we can understand the needs of specific cases, where violations of community rights are identified. A considerable part of discrimination, of exploitation, happens and is repeated just because it is not understood, because it happens in silence, it happens in the dark. And we, through this digital platform, fight it through publishing, because we believe that people in general are good. People do not want to see discrimination and exploitation and oppression. But, they do not know. And when they hear it, they surely oppose it and fight it. I invite you to encourage other members of the community to use it, so that the institutions have a better picture of where the violat
ions are taking place. We cannot have respect for the law for a citizen of one community and disrespect for another citizen of another community. Because the equality of citizens is guaranteed in the republic. So this data, for our institutions as a mirror through this digital platform, would facilitate the journey to provide solutions to the raised issues.

All these, and many other measures, are included in the “Strategy for Roma and Ashkali Communities”, which was prepared by the Office for Good Governance, after consultations with the communities. The strategy is currently in the final stage of the internal process and is planned to be presented soon for consideration and approval at one of the Government meetings.

My participation here today is more to hear from you, so I will not continue further.

Let me thank you once again for your contribution, commitment, role in building our country. I am very hopeful that we will have even better collaborations with all of you in the future, towards the execution of common goals for more equality and more well-being.

Thank you.