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].




Total of 71 Application was signed defining the membership and providing a credible and responsible ongoing efforts within these groups by the Roma, with acceptance of the principles of the association ROMA S.O.S.

RCP is constituted of informal leaders / authoritative people from the community and users of the services of the association (with different political, religious, economic and social background), with commitment to, rather for the individual to show care for the collective rights, rather than victims to be defenders of rights.

Through preparation of a Newsletter for every three months for:

– informing the public about the realized activities,

– illustration of the progress made quarterly,

– education of the Roma community on issues of interest and encourage them to engage in promotion and protection of rights

in 2016 were organized 6 meetings with members, simultaneously in Prilep and Bitola, whereby the Newsletter was a tool for initiating discussion and successive reactions to the public and institutions.

In this way the following activities were realized and the following results were achieved:

 24.03.2016 – Second meeting of “Roma Civic Parliament” – Prilep 

Prepared and reviewed Newsletter No.1 on topic Individual vs collective rights [2], and discussed other activities and conditions for which the association stands.

The discussion resulted with the following conclusions:

  • Suspended sentences in cases of proven medical error, not allowing access to full justice given that it is about committed crime and human life. Additionally, the revocation of the operating license should be a way of preventing future cases and it is necessary to alert the Doctors’ Chamber of Macedonia for it.
  • It is necessary to arrange a meeting with the competent institutions that act or could act to overcome the identified problems.

For the case of 3-year-old Aneta Nedjiposka (death of unknown cause or due to alleged food poisoning, October 2015) to submit a joint intervention to Forensic and medical expertise board at the Medical Faculty – Skopje to expedite  the proceedings and finally determine the cause of death (since the documentation of the investigation has been already submitted for analysis by the Public Prosecutor’s Office – Prilep).

The discussion continued answering the question “Does everyone have the right to do what they want in the community?” due to which the following message was stressed: “Everyone has the right to do what they want, as long as they do not endanger exercising the rights of others.

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04.04.2016 – Constitutional meeting of “Roma Civic Parliament” – Bitola

In the presence of representatives of the Roma community Bair from Bitola, Newsletter no.1 was promoted as well as the background of the activity i.e. the necessity of existence of this group.

The discussion resulted in the following conclusions:

  • There are landfills in settlement Bair. It is necessary to eliminate them because they affect negatively the health and especially the
  • There is an advance payment for opening history of disease in need of hospital treatment, and non-issuing of discharge letters after hospital treatment because of inability to cover costs at the same time. This action of the Clinical Hospital is illegal, and it directly affects Roma to not be able to access the hospital and use the prescribed therapy continuously to preserve their health,
  • Reactions regarding the two conclusions will be prepared and submitted to the competent authorities/institutions (LSGU – Bitola, Clinical Hospital – Bitola, Ministry of Health and the Ombudsman) in order to examine the situation and to find solutions.
  • CDRC “Bairska Svetlina” will be included as local partner for coordination and organization of ongoing activities as well as directing RCP towards the set goals.

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12.07.2016 – Third meeting of “Roma Civic Parliament” – Prilep

Proactive role – need of the community and institutions in exercising the rights was the topic of the Newsletter No. 2 [3] for the discussion in the presence of: Minister without portfolio in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia Mr. Nezhdet Mustafa and representatives of local government and public institutions: Director of General hospital “Borka Taleski”, director of PI Center for Social Work and Head of the Office for Management of registers.

At the meeting were reviewed and discussed 12 challenges faced by the Roma and institutions in implementing the procedures for exercising the rights, and identified by daily offering of free legal aid:

  • Marital vs. extramarital community
  • Regular vs. additional birth registration
  • One vs. two parents
  • ID card vs. ownership of Property list
  • Registered gynecologist vs. private gynecological examination
  • Preventive vs. regular health services
  • Death of infants vs. normal birth delivery
  • Opening a history of disease vs. advance payment for hospital treatment
  • Issuing discharge letters vs. payment for hospital services
  • Actual place of residence vs. ID address of living
  • Parental allowance vs. enrollment in primary education
  • Right to social security allowance vs. income through money transfer.

The discussion resulted in the following conclusion:

»Minister without portfolio Mr. Mustafa

– Employment of a Roma-person in the Center for Social Work in order to facilitate communication and enhance confidence for social services, given that the majority of users are people from the Roma community,

– It is necessary to strengthen the role of the Roma Information Centers in the promotion of the rights of the Roma community, as well as their greater recognition, since their main task is to monitor developments and be present on the field to share informations with Roma,

»Director of General Hospital Mr Ristevski

– It is necessary to stop the practice with the advance payment for opening the history of disease in the hospital, given the fact that it can seriously affect the health of Roma who are not always able to provide funds before receiving the necessary service, it could result in negative and serious consequences for their lives,

»Director of Center for Social Work Jovanoska

– It takes more regular information meetings between SWC and the Roma community with the aim of bringing amendments in the procedures / regulations related to the rights to social protection, given the fact that they are carried in the short term and not followed up between users which result in termination of rights ,

»Head of Department for keeping the registry Mr Jordanoski

– Promotion of the new Manual for keeping the registry is needed in the Roma community, given the still obvious problem associated with non-timely registration of newborns, non-recognition of paternity and non-conclusion of marriage, which directly affects issuing of personal documents and access to rights / services.

MESSAGE: Being proactive means being self-initiated, that is, taking action before something happens. Being reactive means acting only in response to a situation after it happens.

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15.07.2016 – Second meeting of the “Roma Civic Parliament” – Bitola

Through discussion initiated by the topic of the Newsletter No.2, the members were informed about the progress regarding the identified problem with prepayment by patients when opening a history of disease for hospital treatment, as well as the non-issuance of discharge letters by the Clinical Hospital – Bitola after completing of the hospital treatment. A potential solution for landfills in the Bair settlement, which seriously affects the health of the population, was also discussed.

The following conclusions arose from the discussion:

The practice of advance payment for hospital treatment is terminated, as well as the non-issuance of discharge letters to patients who are unable to immediately pay the participation in the Clinical Hospital “Dr. Trifun Panovski” Bitola, based on the RCP Reaction.

Namely, in addition to the response from the Hospital where the practice and the reason for this was explained, the Deputy Ombudsman initiated a procedure and determined the following:

  • It is not disputed the patient’s obligation to pay the participation for hospital treatment, but the method of payment. It is not allowed, because of non-payment of the obligation, the citizen to suffer further consequences for their health (provision of therapy),
  • The advance payment for a health service as an instrument of insurance that the health service will be charged and regulated by internal acts of the hospital, is contrary to the law and must not be applied,
  • The manager of the hospital confirms that the practice of advance payment will be terminated, as well as the condition for issuing a discharge letter, with prior regulation of the manner of payment of participation for hospital treatment.

The discussion continued in the direction of finding a potential solution for landfills in the settlement Bair and the following was decided:

  • A 4-person working group will commit in the following months to reconsider the situation on the field and make proposals for solution,
  • environmental action will be implemented as an introductory start in the long-term disposal of the landfill,
  • At the next meeting, the Director of PC Komunalec Bitola will be invited and through a joint consultation a final solution will be found on the way to overcome the issue systematically.

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01.09.2016 – Held a special meeting of “Roma Civic Parliament” – Prilep entitled Traffic safety in settlement Trizla

Concern arose from unregulated traffic on the streets Dabnichka, Dojranska, Trizla, Mice Kozar, Berovska and Erdovan Shabanosk, caused by negligent “drivers” of motor vehicles, not registered and in defective condition, and often managed by minors without proper documentation, which are potential causes of life-threatening consequences. This situation is worsening because of the inaction of members of the Ministry of Interior and the non-implementation of field actions and controls to regulate traffic on the roads, and control of vehicles and drivers on the roads.

From the discussion arose the need for filling a REACTION to the Ministry of Interior, Department of Interior – Bitola, Police Station – Prilep, Local Government – Prilep in order to:

  1. URGENTLY prepare a plan for coordinated regular controls, field actions and to undertake as well as implement special security measures around the streets in a settlement Trizla, by the competent authorities.
  2. To act on marking the pedestrian crossings, setting the appropriate technical means so-called “lying policemen” and traffic signs at the busiest places in order to increase security of environment of the road, and to remove obstacles on the sidewalks that usurpate the surface defined for movement of pedestrians.

Response from the Ministry of Interior and Local Self-Government – Prilep was received in November 2016. Traffic signs were put up for the first time in the settlement Trizla in order to regulate the traffic and improve the safety in the surroundings.

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30.11.2016 – “Roma Civic Parliament” – Prilep and “Roma Civic Parliament” – Bitola at a joint meeting and mutual acquaintance

Sharing the achieved results, sharing experiences from this activity, defining the next steps, as well as access to justice for documented cases on suspicion of committed medical errors, by referring Reaction to the public in the case of the three year old Aneta Nedjiposka, was the occasion for organizing joint final meeting.

At the meeting held in h.Milenium in Bitola, members of RCP Prilep and Bitola were present, and Newsletter No. 3 entitled Obligations vs. Rights [4] was presented.

From the discussion the following conclusions were reached:

  • Access to justice for the Roma community is either completely disabled, and in situation when it is enabled, it is ignored for so long, that ultimately ends with more injustice than justice. One year has passed since the death of the three-year-old Aneta Nedjiposka from Prilep without established cause of death, and there is still no expertise by the Forensic and medical expertise board of the Medical faculty Skopje.
  • There is a great interest in continuing the discussions in 2017 within the “Roma Civic Parliament” because of the great number of challenges, problems that the Roma face daily, whose overcoming requires a mutual commitment, which will show an example of Each other’s respect, because mutual friendship and support will provide a better future.

The meeting was finalized by defining the need to respect both the rights and the obligations, since no right can be accomplished without fulfilling the conditions for enjoying this right, as follows:

  • By the citizens, through submitting requests and following the procedures,
  • By the state/institutions, through informing and acting in the foreseen deadlines.

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[1] http://romasosprilep.org/language/en/roma-civil-paralment/

[2] http://romasosprilep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Roma_SOS_Bilten_EN_Mart_A4-za-web.pdf

[3] http://romasosprilep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Roma_SOS_Bilten_Juli_ANG_01.pdf

[4] http://romasosprilep.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Roma_SOS_Bilten_noemvri-2016-ANG.pdf