CEDEM Representative Elvis Berisha attended a two-day regional roundtable in Tirana on 26-27 February, where the OSCE / ODIHR presented a regional report on housing legalization, housing improvement and social housing of Roma in the Western Balkans region.
The round table brought together more than 100 participants from municipalities and NGOs who were acquainted with good practices of housing legalization, improvement of settlements and social housing of Roma, as well as with recommendations on their implementation contained in the report.
Namely, despite many years of activities in the field of housing, the available data presented at the round table and the regional report confirm that the living conditions of Roma and Egyptians in Montenegro are below standard. Whether they are permanent residents, displaced or internally displaced persons, almost half of Roma and Egyptian families live in communal housing, similar to military barracks. The living conditions of these families are additionally affected by the location, ie the proximity of landfills, where there are frequent floods of wastewater, and the air quality is poor. Families live in ethnically homogeneous settlements that have been illegally built in the suburbs of cities.
The head of the OSCE in Albania, Ambassador Florian Raunig, said that Roma and Egyptians, like all other citizens, have the right to access social housing and the right to enjoy decent living conditions, adding that improving Roma living conditions should not be seen as a financial burden on the state budget. , but as a key investment of a country that is for the benefit of its citizens.
Paul Rabe, one of the authors of the regional report, pointed out that political will is crucial for improving the living conditions of Roma.
BPRI is a regional project funded by the European Union, with the support of OSCE participating States, and implemented by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).