Despite its numbers, Roma and Egyptian community (RE community) is the only minority community in Montenegro whose members do not participate in the workings of the national and local parliaments, and a community that is exposed to multidimensional, gender, and intergenerational nature of social exclusion which is not solely a consequence of economic problems but instead, of a long-standing inequality in different social spheres like education, labor market, and access to health and social protection.

In relation to this, the backbone of the project is the social inclusion of the members of the RE community through strengthening of their civic and political participation. This was also recognized in the key strategic document in the area of inclusion of the RE minority, as well as in the national and international reports, because of which the purpose of this project is to contribute to the fulfillment of the obligations stemming from the Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process, through which Montenegro took upon itself to establish formal channels and mechanisms for joint inclusion of the local governments and the Roma communities in the processes of formulating policies, decision-making, and implementation and monitoring of the efforts undertaken in reaching the goals of this Declaration.

In accordance with the above-mentioned, the overall goal of the project is the promotion of equality and social inclusion of the members of the Roma and Egyptian population on the national and the local level through improvement of the existing legislative and through strengthening of the capacities for protection and access to rights of the RE community. The contribution to the fulfillment of the overall goal will be realized through development of the specific goals which are: strengthening of the capacities of Roma and Egyptian organizations and organizations dealing with the questions of protection and promotion of the rights of the members of this community in the area of civic and political participation, as well as in the area of improvement of the normative framework for political participation of the representatives of the RE community.

In relation to these goals, the envisioned activities are related to building of the capacities in the area of civic and political participation through securing of the guidelines for involvement in the decision-making processes with a particular emphasis on the local level, as well as to the implementation of the “empty chair” institute in the local parliaments in Nikšić and Podgorica according to the Law on Local Government. With the aim that the application of the institute of an “empty chair” should be substantial, in addition to the mentioned activities, the attention will be directed towards mentoring of different organizations in applying initiatives/comments/proposals for the improvement of the policies of inclusion, as well as for protection and access to rights of the members of the Roma and Egyptian community. Furthermore, due to the lack of authentic representatives of these communities in the local and national parliaments, the project will, through the activities of creation of a national platform for improvement of the political participation of RE community, initiate the development of a necessary consensus and 2/3 majority for the amendments to the Law on Election of Councilors and Members of the Parliament through the process of advocacy which will include: meetings with the relevant Committee of the national Parliament, a Conference with the representatives of the national and international institutions and organizations, and a accompanying media campaign.

The project activities will be realized in the area of municipalities where there is the largest representation of the members of the RE community, namely in Podgorica and Nikšić, while the budget for their realization is 17.200,00 euros. The project is supported by the Ministry of Justice, Human, and Minority Rights.

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