Report on Good Practices in Combating Discrimination Against Roma

    Savelina Danova-Russinova

This report contains examples of good practices in Roma integration: decisions of judicial and other bodies on cases of discrimination against Roma citizens, as well as activities aimed at abolishing the systematic discrimination against Roma citizens.

Its aim is to focus the efforts of the national and European institutions on resolving these issues by showing functioning approaches and models for overcoming the existing obstacles before Roma integration in the sphere of:

- education,
- employment,
- housing and
- health care.

These practices correspond to the recommendations and expectations of the European partners of Bulgaria to counteract the systematic discrimination against Roma.

At the same time, the good practices described demonstrating the ineffectiveness of the state policy, insofar as in most cases they are isolated activities of non-governmental organisations with the cooperation of the local authorities and other local institutions financed by external donors. Some of the good practices in this report are activities from the state strategies for Roma integration, e.g., the activities aimed at the desegregation of education, regulation of the Roma neighbourhoods and legalising Roma homes and the activities to secure health care for women and children. Although the State made the commitment to find a solution to these issues back in 1999, no targeted actions have been undertaken to this moment to pursue a policy in this respect.

The report also illustrates the reasons for the absence of visible results in Roma integration. The deteriorated public environment, dominated by unpunished incitement to discrimination and violence against Roma individuals, including in the public speech of politicians and government officials, consolidates the systematic discrimination against Roma citizens. In that environment, acts that violate human rights, e.g., the demolition of Roma homes, corresponding to the public moods in favour of “deserved” punishment of the Roma. The strong stigmatisation of Roma people in society motivates the lack of resolute and consistent integration policies on the part of the State.