Summer School “The Roma: Legal and Political Dimensions”
In the period from 21-27 September 2009, summer school entitled “The Roma – Legal and Political Dimension” was held at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade. The Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade organized the summer school in cooperation with the Faculty of Law and International Institute for Human Rights and Peace (Institut international des droits de l’Homme et de la Paix – 2IDHP) from Caen, France, with the support of the Fund for Open Society and the OSCE. Thus, the Faculty of Law started continuous engagement in the issue of improving the legal position of the Roma.
The Summer school was carried out in form of sessions on different issues: contemporary socio-political position of Roma; international and European standards of protection of the Roma (minorities); legal-political position of Roma / what is discrimination?; State and civil society in combat against discrimination of Roma; national legal and strategic framework for protection of the Roma (fields of education, employment, health care and housing care); discrimination of Roma in practice – abuse of women and children; discrimination of Roma in practice – problems of readmission and internally displaced persons; establishment of the Legal clinic for legal protection of Roma. The summer school also included numerous workshops within the above-mentioned sessions covering the following issues: What shapes me as a citizen?; Roma identity through art – inclusion or exclusion; case studies in Serbia; stereotypes and prejudices – unveiling the discrimination – analyses of newspaper articles about Roma, etc.
Invited by the Faculty of Law, Praxis took an active part in this summer school. Within the workshop “Case studies in Serbia”, Praxis’ legal advisors Ivana Dimic and Jelena Milonjic presented the organization’s experience in relation to the issues “Legally invisible persons” and “The right to citizenship, permanent and temporary residence”.
Opening speeches were held by Ph.D. Mirko Vasiljević, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, Ph.D. Neda Bokan, Vice Rector for Study Affairs at the University of Belgrade, Sanja Jasarević-Kuzić, Assistant Minister of Human and Minority Rights, Daiana Serafina Falloni, Head of the Democratization Department at the OSCE Mission to Serbia and Ph.D. Jadranka Jelinčić, Executive Director at the Fund for an Open Society Serbia.
As a contribution to the summer school, the lectures were given by the professors of the University of Belgrade – from The Faculty of Law, The Faculty of Philosophy, The Faculty of Political Sciences, the representatives of the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Ministry of Education, Ministry for Kosovo-Metohija, representatives of the Faculty of Law from Caen, France, representatives of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, representatives of Serbian judiciary, the Society for Improving the Roma Settlements, Ombudsperson office, Academy of Criminalistic and Police Studies, Readmission Office at the Airport Nikola Tesla, UNHCR, etc.
Organizing the summer school is of significant importance to the fulfilment of goals defined by the Strategy for Improvement of the Position of Roma and Action Plan for implementation of the Strategy. The goals refer to establishing human resources to be engaged in improving the position of Roma, acquainting and sensitizing the professional public about the position of Roma in Serbia, raising the issues of discrimination among the experts, etc.
The students involved in the school also had the opportunity to work practically on the protection of the rights of Roma and, thus, to become acquainted with the position of Roma, obstacles impeding the fulfilment of their human and minority rights, and also to exchange experience and knowledge with the colleagues from countries in the region and France.