The Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) conducted a two-day training on “Inclusion of members of the RE population in the labor market” aimed at training and strengthening the capacity and skills of officials in relevant state institutions on the issue of inclusion hard-to-employ persons on the labor market, ie members of the RE population, as well as enhanced cooperation of these institutions with members of the Network of Local Coordinators for Combating Domestic Violence, Child Begging and Forced Marriages.
The training was held on September 29 and 30, 2020 at the Bianca Hotel in Kolašin, and was attended by officials and professionals from the Employment Bureau, social work centers and local government representatives from the municipalities of Herceg Novi , Nikšić and Bijelo Polje and members of the Network of Local Coordinators.
Lecturers at the academy were Dr. Vesna Simović Zvicer, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science, University of Montenegro and President of the Judicial Council, Elvis Beriša, Executive Director of the NGO “Walk with us – Phiren amenca”, Marta Perković, project coordinator at the Red Cross of Montenegro and Snežana Radenović, project coordinator in the Red Cross of Montenegro.
In his introductory speech, CEDEM project coordinator Matija Miljanić explained that ethnic distancing from the minority population is not only a socio-psychological, but also a significant social and political issue, and the fight against discrimination requires social and above all political will and determination, given that it takes a lot of time and commitment to deconstruct discriminatory attitudes and behaviors. Discrimination in the field of labor and employment among the Roma and Egyptian populations is one of the most serious problems in Montenegro, and recent research on discrimination indicates that we measure the highest level of discrimination in the field of employment.
On the first day, Dr. Vesna Simović Zvicer started the lecture by looking at relevant statistics on discrimination in employment and work, which according to the European Commission report from 2008: 60-70% of RE population aged 16-24 does not attend school while 72- 80% illiterate (of which 74% women and 26% men). In addition, the National Strategy for Employment and Human Resources Development 2011-2015 states that over 90% of members of the RE population are persons without occupations and qualifications. She added that the EU Report from 2017 says that the Roma minority is still the most endangered and most discriminated against in Montenegro. Simović Zvicer added to this data with data from the Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptians 2016-2020, which shows that 83% of the RE population is unemployed, while 33% of them are not interested in employment (mostly women who are housewives). In addition, she introduced the participants to the current strategic documents as well as their goals and implementation (National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030. Strategic Goal: 4.1; Minority Policy Strategy (2019-2023); National Strategy for Employment and Human Resources Development (2016-2020) ). Simovic Zvicer believes that one of the solutions to help marginalized groups lies in the development of social entrepreneurship.
During the second lecture, Elvis Berisha showed parts from Nikola Vukčević’s film “Stop Child Begging”. The documentary directly raised awareness of the problem of child begging and exploitation of street victims and addressed key recommendations for addressing it. Special attention in the film is paid to identifying shortcomings in the process of solving the problem of child begging, which particularly affects Roma and Egyptian children. Berisha’s historical-anthropological analysis of the RE population raised the level of participants’ knowledge of the Roma language and culture, as well as the importance of calling this population by its proper name – Roma and Egyptians, in order to deconstruct stereotypes and better integrate them into society.
On the second day, the lecture was given by Marta Perković and Snežana Radenović. The lecture began with general information about the Red Cross of Montenegro – CCCG is a humanitarian organization with the status of an auxiliary body of the state in humanitarian activities. Their role is based on building cooperation with users, trust, reducing prejudice and accelerating the quality of interventions. They also mentioned that working with users brings with it both good and bad sides – good, where there is a sense of security because there is constant care for users and bad, where users too often rely on the work of CKCG. Perković and Radenović also mentioned some current problems related to the RE population, such as: illiteracy, dropping out of regular primary schooling, lack of appropriate qualifications and social skills, high unemployment rate, inability of parents to feed their children, begging, early marriages / trade children, domestic violence, abuse of psychoactive substances and alcohol, closedness of the collective – segregation, discrimination, the impact of bad traditions, etc. Some of these problems, such as lack of education, concluded Perkovic and Radenovic, directly affect the inability to solve other problems. By including the RE population, both children and adults, in the education system, it can be a basis that will contribute to a faster and more efficient solution of the complete problem.