SRSG celebrates Roma Day in Slovenia and calls for an end to discrimination and for better living conditions for children and their community

Trebnje (Slovenia) 8 April 2014 - SRSG Santos Pais joined the celebration of the International Roma Day participating in an event organized with the Roma community in Trebnje, in Slovenia.

The event in which Roma young children and their families took active part, marked the launch of the process of regularization of housing for the members of this community.

The event also served to recall that the Roma community remains victim of exclusion and discrimination, often lacking access to basic social services of quality, including pre-schooling and education, health, safe drinking water, sanitation and adequate housing.

“Today we celebrate the resilience and courage of a community that has been facing marginalization for far too long. Around the world, the Roma community endures isolation, distrust from society and is exposed to poor living conditions and violence. It is time to end discrimination, invest in social protection and provide security of tenure to Roma communities. The protection of children's rights needs to be at the heart of these efforts", said Ms. Santos Pais.

In a dialogue with SRSG Santos Pais and members of the Government, Roma Community Representatives asked for more effective social protection policies to promote children's healthy development and ensure adequate living conditions of Roma communities.

These should include housing, safe drinking water and sanitation, regardless of the legal status of the land on which they live.

Slovenia is home to close to 8000 Roma people. Since 1971, April 8th is celebrated as the International Day of the Roma. It marks the first international meeting of Roma in Orpingtion, on the outskirts of London and has become a celebration of Roma culture and an opportunity to raise awareness of the difficulties and social stigma that this community has suffered for centuries.