Podgorica, PR press service – Discrimination in the field of labor and employment among the RE population is one of the most serious problems in Montenegro, which is why it is necessary to network all institutions that contribute to the improvement of their overall socio-economic position and thus increase the awareness of the majority population about them.
This was announced at the final press conference organized by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) within the project “Towards Social Security and Equality, Through Economic Security and Equality for All”, supported by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.
CEDEM project coordinator, Matija Miljanić, explained that ethnic distancing from the minority population is not only socio-psychological in nature, but that it is also a significant social and political statement, and that the fight against discrimination requires social and above all political will and determination.
“Discrimination in the field of labor and employment among the Roma and Egyptian populations is one of the most serious problems in Montenegro, and the latest research on discrimination indicates that we measure the highest level of discrimination exactly in the field of employment,” said Miljanić.
According to his words, there are three key aspects that prevent members of the RE population from being equally involved in work.
“The first concerns the members of the RE population, i.e. their competencies for work, which are usually characterized by inadequate education, lack of knowledge or work experience, difficulties in adjusting, motivation, and low level of social support. The second aspect concerns insufficiently effective institutional support. The third aspect, no less important, concerns the employers themselves, which is reflected in the lack of information about the existing measures – benefits and subsidies in the case of employment of this population,” Miljanić explained.
He said that networking of all institutions that contribute to improving the overall socio-economic position of the RE population in Montenegro is necessary, as well as the improvement of professional knowledge and skills of officials in the Employment Service of Montenegro, social work centers and local labor offices.
“It is necessary to create socially responsible behavior of companies towards members of the RE population by breaking existing stereotypes, providing theoretical and practical knowledge to members of the RE population about their rights, and increasing the awareness of the majority population towards the RE population,” said Miljanić.
The highest level of discrimination in Montenegro (36.2 percent) is towards Roma population, according to a CEDEM survey on patterns and levels of discrimination in Montenegro, conducted in co-operation with the European Union and the Council of Europe.
“The Strategy for Social Inclusion of Roma and Egyptians 2016-2020 shows that 83 percent of the RE population is unemployed, while 33 percent of them are not interested in employment,” said Miljanić.
The President of the Judicial Council, Vesna Simović Zvicer, reminded that the new Labor Code entered into force in January this year, and that a significant novelty is envisaged in terms of the burden of proof.
“Namely, in the event that we have a person who is a candidate for employment or, an employed person, or a person whose employment was terminated, and this person initiates protection proceedings because they believe that the termination of employment was due to discrimination, we envisaged that the burden of proof will be on the employer”, explained Simović Zvicer.
The obligation of the person initiating the protection procedure is to present the facts that may indicate that they are a potential victim of discrimination.
“It is, in fact, the most important novelty. The current Law on Prohibition of Discrimination is not harmonized with this directive, but according to the information I have, amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination are underway, so it will be harmonized as well. Prior to January 7 this year, in the case of discrimination, a person should have made it likely that they are a potential victim of discrimination. “To make it likely” implies that the person, however, takes certain evidentiary actions. Now, they only state the facts “, explained Simović Zvicer.
CEDEM representative, Dijana Bošković, said that the project expanded the list of existing members of the network of local coordinators for the fight against domestic violence, child begging and forced marriages.
“Also, the Guide on Doing Business in the Spirit of Non-Discrimination was prepared, the author of which is Ms. Simović-Zvicer. A two-day training was held for representatives of the Employment Service of Montenegro, social work centers and representatives of local governments from Herceg Novi, Nikšić and Bijelo Polje. “Given the importance of involving employers, a one-day training was held for employers from the mentioned municipalities, and about the importance of combating stereotypical behavior towards vulnerable groups,” Bošković said.
She added that three workshops were organized for unemployed persons listed in the records of the Employment Bureau of Montenegro, as well as for the victims of domestic violence.