The Ambassador of the US to BIH Patrick S. Moon, Head of the OSCE Mission to BIH Ambassador Fletcher Burton and the Representative of UNHCR to BIH Andrew Mayne visited yesterday the completed housing project for Roma families at Bišće Polje near Mostar.
After meeting with representatives and members of the Roma community, Ambassador Burton said that resolving the issue of accommodation for Roma people is crucial, but it is not the only problem that Roma people face.
“Other elements that are vital to resolve the situation in which Roma people find themselves are education and health and social care. Leadership at the local community is very important, as well as leadership at the state level. The next element is funds that should be collected at various levels within the county and among international partners’’, said Burton.
He added that it is difficult to resolve the issues of the Roma population because this is an activity that takes a long time, which is sometimes slow and has a lot of dimensions, but that they have to work on it.
“On behalf of the OSCE to BIH, I can say that we will stay and be further engaged in order to make progress’’, concluded Burton.
Mayne said that the UNHCR, when it comes to problems of the Roma population, is engaged on resolving the problems tied around the various documents that are required, given that today in BIH there are many children that do not have birth certificates, and many citizens that are not registered as citizens of BIH.
“It is important to solve these problems because when people have their documents, then this opens doors for them to exercise their rights in the country in which they live. We saw today that what is important for solving these and similar problems are partnership and teamwork. Partnership between us, the organizations that we represent, partnership between municipalities, ministries and donors that helped the realization of projects of housing for Roma families’’, said Mayne.
He added that it is vital to have dialogue with the Roma community in order to hear from their representatives whose decisions are important and what decisions have to be made in order to help them.
“The needs of the Roma population in BIH actually far exceed the resources that are currently available to solve the problem. Roma deserve respect as human beings. They deserve access to education, to jobs. What is necessary in solving these problems is an integrated approach to the Roma community and, of course, the help of local communities in which they live is necessary’’, said the Ambassador of the US to BIH Patrick S. Moon.
Ambassador Moon, Ambassador Burton and UNHCR Representative Mayne also visited members of the Roma community in Čapljina yesterday, where they also met with the Mayor Smiljan Vidić.