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June 2017

Closing conference of the project “Roma housing rights for sustainable urban development”



Organized by Habitat Macedonia and ROMA S.O.S. today the closing conference of the project “Roma housing rights for sustainable urban development” was held.

As part of the series of activities that were carried out within the framework of this project, was preparation of Initial Studies on the status of Roma housing in the Municipalities of Prilep, Shtip and Chair. The data should help in the preparation of policies by the competent authorities, as well as to strengthen the Roma community in the processes of social inclusion. The basis of these initial studies was a field survey covering 1,672 inhabitants of Roma settlements in the cities and obtained data on the conditions in the home, in the local community and determined the basic priorities for local development and the need to improve the conditions in housing. After that was prepared Study for sustainable urban development of substandard settlements in cooperation with the Faculty of Architecture – Skopje, which was promoted for the first time today.

What did the speakers say?

Zoran Kostov (Habitat Macedonia) – This is just one of the many projects dedicated to improving the housing conditions of the Roma, which we have been implementing since 2008. With this project we defined the main problems and priorities for local urban development. The urbanization of substandard settlements is an area in which we remain to act, and I hope that in the realization of future projects we will have the support of all relevant stakeholders.

Aleksandra Savevska (Habitat Macedonia) – In addition to the preparation of the Initial Studies, three local leadership groups with representatives from the local population from the targeted municipalities have been established within this project, and we have held over 17 workshops wherein through a participatory process involving all stakeholders,ways were found to urgently resolve the problemswith housing of Roma and urban development.

Nesime Salioska (ROMA S.O.S.) – The joint recommendations for improving the situation of Roma housing from all three municipalities are as follows: it is necessary to invest in residential buildings or individual objects for living outside the surroundings, for families at risk ; placing public containers through the settlements, with the priority of the main streets; providing affordable financial instruments through which homes can be renovated and will provide a decent place to live without moisture in the premises, leaking roof or narrow space.

Divna Penchikj (Faculty of Architecture – Skopje) – We have resources, we have a large number of students and it is very important for them to start their education by helping these vulnerable groups of citizens.

Mabera Kamberi (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy) – There is still much work to be done to improve Roma housing. It is essential to prepare the Law on Social Housing because we believe that it will adopt certain measures that will enable the most vulnerable social categories to get a decent place of living.

Samka Ibraimoski (Minister without Portfolio) – A complete analysis of what has been achieved by the Roma Decade in 2005-2015 will be done, after which my Cabinet, in cooperation with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, will come up with a plan that we will submit to the Government of the Republic of Macedonia about what needs to be done in the coming period. Our goal is to implement the recommendations given in the initial studies as soon as possible and to improve the situation of Roma housing.

The project started on December 15, 2015 and is being implemented by July 2017. The final beneficiaries of the project are the Roma inhabitants in the municipalities of Prilep, Shtip and Chair, as well as other socially excluded people in the domain of housing. The beneficiaries of this project are also the civil society organizations working with Roma and other socially excluded groups at local level, especially grass root organizations that provide direct help to citizens for realization of their human and civil rights, as well as local and central government, especially the departments which work on the preparation of action plans for housing and urban and local development.

The aim of the project is to increase the involvement and participation of the local community in the processes of social inclusion in housing, thereby further developing and implementing the human rights and EU priorities for housing, health, education, employment, legal and social protection .

*Read more about the finding of the three Initial studies: http://romasosprilep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Prezentacija-30.06.2017.pdf

ANOUNCEMENT: “Reorganization of social benefits for children is needed in order for them to be more accessible for the most vulnerable categories of families”



Association ROMA S.O.S., financially supported by UNICEF, today held an event in Skopje to promote a publication on the utilization of financial benefits and the factors that limit the access of the Roma community to the right to child allowance, special allowance, parental allowance and one-off financial allowance for a newborn, before representatives of 6 Centers for Social Work and local associations from the municipalities of Prilep, Bitola, Shtip, Kumanovo, Gjorce Petrov and Shuto Orizari, which were covered with the research in the period from November 2016 to February 2017.

May 2017

WHAT MARK WILL WE LEAVE? YOU CHOOSE! – Public campaign in Roma communities


RОMA-SOS-BANER-ANG_01In order to influence the party’s electoral agendas in the wake of the local elections and to prioritize the needs of the Roma communities, association ROMA S.O.S. with the support of the National Democratic Institute in the period July-November, 2016, realized 8 public tribunes (Prilep, Bitola, Shtip, Kochani, Veles, Karposh, Tetovo and Kavadarci) for scanning the real problems of the community.

In summary, the conclusions from the tribunes were presented in Municipal profiles, followed by the realization of public gatherings for their presentation to the political parties, LSGUs and the enterprises / institutions competent for resolving the key priorities:

Housing situation of Roma in Municipality of Prilep

05.11.2017, Prilep

Nastan, 11.05.2017Today was held an event for the presentation of the priority issues in the field of housing in the Roma settlement “Trizla”, based on the survey and extensive consultation with all relevant parties, where potential solutions were elaborated. The event was organized in partnership between the association ROMA S.O.S, Habitat Macedonia [1] and the National Democratic Institute [2], and was attended by the Mayor and representatives of local government, public utility companies, associations, councilors from various political parties, relevant local institutions and Roma.

Introduction. Prilep is the second municipality in Macedonia in number of Roma population, and locally up to 6.0% of the total population according to official statistics. However unofficial number exceeds 8,000 Roma.

Settlement. In “Trizla” which is located on the peripheral part of the city, nearly 90% of the population are Roma. The settlement is divided into 4 areas, according to locals, with its separate parts: Novo Selo, Dabnichka (Tri Bagremi), Meksiko (with Debarca) and Deboj.

What are the identified problems?

1. Parts out of GUP and DUP. Tri Bagremi and part of Debarca are not included in the construction area because of which the residents are facing a series of challenges in access to all public services.

2. Legalization. Soon most of the homes in “Trizla” will be legalized. But there is a section of homes whose status has not been regulated since the houses were built outside the construction zone that is located in Tri Bagremi and Debarca.

3. Moisture in the homes. Homes built in the higher rocky areas face moisture and damage on the walls, especially due to natural influences. Above all, those are the houses located beside the storm water drain channel in Debarca.

4. Electricity. Dabnichka faces major obstacles in terms of connection to the power grid as a consequence the Tri Bagremi has no suitable and legal access to the network, and residents from across the region access to electricity through the same substation.

5. Street lighting. The order and speed of setting or replacing the street lights and power lines around the neighborhood is inappropriate and untimely because of which the movement at night is more difficult.

6. Hygiene. The collection of waste is generally unsatisfactory because there are no street containers placed around the neighborhood. Once a week PUC “Komunalec” takes the waste from homes, but the families are unable to provide bins for sorting of waste as they are not free.

7. Health and safety of residents.

-Unregulated traffic. The movement of pedestrians is in danger because of the increased number of negligent drivers of motor vehicles without proper documentation and age. Parallel to this the situation is exacerbated by the absence of marked pedestrian crossings, lack of sidewalks or usurpation of the existing by the local residents / businesses.

DSC_0366-Unregulated riverbed on “Dabnichki zavoj.” In the past years there have been cases of death and injuries to children living along the river bank. There is continuous generating of waste in the riverbed that turns into a landfill, and through different periods of the year, emerging epidemics of infectious diseases among nearby residents.

-Uncontrolled usurpation of streets. The whole settlement in last year has turned into “platz” to dissipate useless, old, corroded motor vehicles by individual local residents, as the whole population is directly exposed to noise, environmental pollution from various chemicals, bacterial infections and blockages in traffic.

What are the recommended solutions?

⇒ To “de-ghettoize” neighborhood “Trizla” that is to invest in construction of residential buildings or individual objects for living of Roma families at risk in areas where the municipality has created conditions for housing and access to public services (or out of the settlement).

⇒ To lay public containers around the neighborhood with a focus on the main streets, which will provide better sanitation for residents.

⇒ To rebuild and further regulate bypass channel storm water drains in Debarca and to take measures to protect nearby homes from moisture.

⇒ To determine the need for replacement of street lights around the neighborhood and to proportionally lay power lines to allow normal and safe movement of residents at night.

⇒ To lay artificial bumps (“lying policeman”) and traffic signs for notifying the main streets, and to mark pedestrian crossings to move around the neighborhood.

⇒ To prepare a plan for coordinated regular audits and field actions in the settlement by the Police Station Prilep in cooperation with public utility companies and LSG, and to take immediate measures to remove obstacles from sidewalks and streets that usurp public space or pose a risk to the health and safety of residents.

⇒ To put a fence for protection around the riverbed on “Dabnichki zavoj” to clean waste from the riverbed and lay public containers beside the fence. Paving on the same street to be part of the solution.


A joint effort is required to provide: better overall picture of the city, better health for the population and better ecological and safer environment for all citizens.


[1] Promotion of Initial study for housing – result of the project “Housing rights of Roma for sustainable urban development”, funded by European Union and implemented by Habitat in cooperation with association ROMA S.O.S. from Prilep, Cherenja from Shtip and Sumnal from Skopje. 

[2] Presentation of Municipal profile – result of the project “Strengthening of Roma participation in the democratic process”, implemented by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), in cooperation with the association ROMA S.O.S., funded by National Endowment for Democracy (NED ), which includes total of 8 municipalities. 



April 2017

Annual Assembly of the Roma Civic Parliament – Prilep and Bitola on “LEADERSHIP – OPPORTUNITY AND THREAT!”

10-11 April, 2017

godisno sobranie

Aimed to mutual informing on the actions taken in 2016, reviewing the progress and challenges in implementation of the agreed activities and define next steps for achieving the set goals an Annual Assembly of the Roma Civic Parliament – Prilep and Bitola was held  in Hotel Sileks – Ohrid on April 10 and 11, 2017, attended by 35 members.

The first day was reserved for promotion of Newsletter No. 4 ‘LEADERSHIP – OPPORTUNITY AND THREAT’ before the two groups in order to provide an open discussion and exchange of opinions and experiences.

The second  day was reserved for work with each of the two groups separately, in order to prepare methods for work in 2017, as well as choose persons with concrete roles/obligations for the municipality were they work.


    The following conclusions were brought:

  1. It is necessary to redefine the membership and precise the concrete obligations and tasks of everyone , as well as opening the discussions wider before the Roma community.
  2. It is necessary to organize Public gatherings for presentation of the priority problems and requests before the local direct and indirect decision makers.


The annual assembly ended up with definition of the following messages:

  • Commitment to change in the Roma communities is for the benefit of all residents – that’s why it takes the time of EVERYONE (regardless of personal desires, feelings and interests).
  • LEADERSHIP means “to give” to your community, and not “to take”!
  • For “better tomorrow” it is necessary to have mutual patience, honesty, trust, and most important of all, solidarity and strict adherence for the agreed roles/tasks.



»Photos of the meeting

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Download Newsletter no.4

March 2017

“Let’s not allow children to give birth and raise children” – International day of women’s activism

08.03.2017, Prilep

24As part of the Campaign for actualization of child marriages, supported by UNICEF, an educational event was realized aimed for socializing and discussion with Roma women about inter-generational discrimination. This creates barriers for young girls to properly understand marriage and make mature decisions that will enable proper integration into society.

The event was held in the evening in the presence of 150 girls and women from the Roma community (mothers, mothers-in-law, daughters, daughters-in-law). It was consisted of two parts: an education on the causes and harmful effects of child marriages, as well as an education on family planning as a way to preserve the reproductive health of young girls.

Informal part (party) followed in parallel in order to celebrate the historical commitment to gender equality. In this respect, the Mayor of Prilep – Marjan Risteski welcomed the present women by giving them carnations.

The following conclusions and recommendations were drawn from the discussion:

  • If the mother had a hard life and married early, daughter does not have to do the same because “that’s the way things go”. We have to understand that girls under 18 years are children!
  • If the mother-in-law was harassed as a bride, she does not have to harass her son’s wife too because “that’s how it has to be”. The mother-in-law should protect the bride because she is a woman too!
  • If the girl had married early, she does not have to immediately become pregnant, bear children uncontrollably and leave education. She should continue to invest in herself to achieve conditions for mature life!
  • If the bride wants to protect herself against abortion, her mother-in-law does not have to scare her with “medical advises” that she herself does not know what they mean. They should listen to the recommendations of doctors who know best how the body evolves and reacts!


8th of march 2017-en.

The message that was subsequently sent is:

Let’s enable young girls to realize that apart from the life goal – to get married, there are other goals that they need to think about, and that’s education, employment, good health and non-violence!



Photos from the event on the following link

Video of opening speech on the following link

February 2017

A positive example of case law: application of the European Convention on Human Rights in Bitola judiciary

Announcement, 10.02.2017: The woman in labor wasn’t given her deceased baby to bury but was removed as medical waste – a case that was documented for violation of the right to health that is violation of personal rights of Roma patients in Bitola hospital.

         Association ROMA SOS Prilep welcomed the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Bitola (No-881/16 of 30.08.2016) in the case of A.J. and E.Kj. as a positive example of extreme importance to the case law, given that the plaintiffs relied on jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

It is a case of a 20-year-old mother who in 2012 gave birth to a male child at the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at PHI Clinical Hospital “Dr. Trifun Panovski” Bitola. Two days later, the child was spotted discoloration of the body and was placed in an incubator. Parents were not allowed to see the baby and were not given information about the health condition. The next morning they received information that the child had died of unknown causes. The body hadn’t been returned to the parents.

In 2015 was filed a lawsuit before Primary Court Bitola against PHI Clinical Hospital “Dr. Trifun Panovski” Bitola for compensation for violation of personal rights or due to suffering mental anguish because of treating the body of the dead child as medical waste without parental permission. Plaintiffs were represented by the lawyer Blagoj Dimovski, LL.M. from the law firm “Petlichkovski” from Bitola. [1]

In 2016 after held 5 hearings was reached a judgment rejected the lawsuit, after which was filed an appeal to the Court of appeal in Bitola.

         The Court of Appeal-Bitola acting on the appeal has reached a judgment partially adopting the claim and obliging the defendant to pay the parents, on the grounds of violation of their personal rights, the amount of 30.000,00 denars, with penalty interest.

Namely, The Court of Appeal-Bitola upheld the arguments of the plaintiffs that in this concrete case with the health institution not notifying the parents about the possibility of raising the body of their deceased child (although it was requested prior to the autopsy), and after the autopsy acting with the body as medical waste and denying the parents their right to know the resting place and to perform religious duties, was committed a violation of the right to privacy of personal and family life which right is subject to protection and security in accordance with article 8 of the European Convention on human rights.

 An audit was filed before The Supreme Court of the Republic of Macedonia because it is considered that the awarded compensation is too small given the violation of the rights of the plaintiffs, though it is more than certain that no amount will correct failures and mistakes made by the health institution.

         We believe that the application of the European Convention on Human Rights in Macedonia’s judiciary will have an impact in the future to undertake some general and specific measures in terms of legal regulation of such situations and preventing them to recur in the future.

[1] The case was supported within the project Roma Health – basic human right, funded by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia.


January 2017

THE NARRATIVE of the Roma health: The habits can change if the perception of the problems changes in the relation patient – health worker!


Picture1The access to health services for Roma can improve trough change in attitudes and quality of mutual communication in the relation patient-health worker, and that is by stressing out the fact that both sides are right holders as well as duty bearers.

At the same time, promoting the free-of-charge services that Ministry if health provides through Preventive and curative programs, can contribute to mutual understanding and engaging in joint activities, where the institutions within their duty will implement them and thus protect the health of families or persons at risk, while the duty of the Roma as a vulnerable category of population will be actualized in the aim of improving and monitoring.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Hate speech in the primary school ”Gjorgji Sugarev” in Bitola


16176894_1395206133832569_850566487_nInformal group of citizens – representatives of the Roma community in Bitola, as well as the civic associations that work on advocacy of the rights of Roma express their concern towards the scrawled swastikas and written graffiti ‘Death for Gypsies’ and ‘Die Gypsies’ on the walls of P.S. Gjorgji Sugarev – Bitola.

Namely, the graffiti were noticed on 19.01.2017 and they call for violence towards the Roma community i.e. represent hate speech, which is a felony according to the Criminal code of Republic of Macedonia.

These graffiti scrawled on the walls of the primary school are especially concerning giving the fact that majority of the students in this school (about 80%) are Roma, who will start the second half of the school year on Monday (23.01.2017) and will face this massages.

Therefore, we ask the primary school to start immediately with removing the graffiti from the school walls. At the same time, in the manner of preventing such situations in the future, we seek to strengthen supervision over the school in order to guarantee protection of the safety of the children who attend this school as well as identify the perpetrators of these or similar activities.

The concerned persons and civic associations will also file criminal charges for this event. At the same time, we call on the relevant state institutions, the Ministry of Interior and the Public Prosecutor’s Office to take urgent measures against hate speech, because impunity of spreading and promoting hate speech in public space is tolerance and justification for hate speech which can result in acts of hatred.

By writing the text, the offender fulfilled the characteristics of the crimes of “inciting hatred, discord or intolerance on nationality, religion or other discriminatory grounds” under Article 319, “Racial and other discrimination” under Article 417, as well as “Threatening the security” under Article 144.

The offender despite causing damage to the dignity of Roma, wishing for their disappearance as a community, endangers the security of many people, and attempts to provoke violence between communities in the society. The offender with such messages caused emotional and psychological pain of the Roma community, which has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of communities in the country.

Our interest is to build coexistence and mutual respect regardless of ethnic or religious affiliation, and for any contrary behavior or conduct of any person we seek liability in accordance with legal norms.

                                 govor na omraza                   16174505_727152060781156_8555404612932556690_n

The announcement is supported by:

  1. Roma Civic Parliament” – Bitola
  2. Association ROMA S.O.S. – Prilep
  3. CDRC Bairska Svetlina – Bitola
  4. Helsinki comitee for human rights of RM
  5. European Roma Rights Centre – Budapest
  6. Association Romano Avazi – Tetovo

December 2016

“Roma Civic Parliament” – a positive practice of legal empowerment of the community


Picture1The increasing number of cases in which a violation of health care among Roma and medical errors are observed, as well as lack of public support in seeking access to justice, in December 2015 resulted with formation of two informal groups named “Roma Civic Parliament “(RCP), one in Prilep and one in Bitola [1].