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Back Concept of Antigypsyism presented to seven partner municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo 19 January 2023
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Concept of Antigypsyism presented to seven partner municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Antigypsyism is a special form of racism directed towards the Roma people and is a relatively new phenomenon that is aiming to raise awareness on discrimination and exclusion of Roma. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, antigypsyism manifests itself in different ways, mainly through a series of systematic problems related to limited access to basic human rights as a most pronounced form of exclusion.

In order to bring the attention of the local authorities to antigypsyism, the Council of Europe`s Roma and Traveller Team and its the ROMACTED programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in close co-operation with the local pro-Roma NGO Otaharin, organised a series of educational sessions on antigypsyism for 63 municipal officials and Roma community members. The concept of antigypsyism, based on ECRI Policy Recommendation No.13 on combating antigypsyism and discrimination against Roma, was introduced to seven BiH municipalities for the very first time. The sessions focused not only on attitudes, the expression of negative stereotypes in the public sphere and hate speech, but also included a much wider range of discriminatory expressions and practices, including many implicit or hidden manifestations through structural discrimination.

The participants were presented with various examples confirming that the key cause of the marginalisation of and discrimination against Roma women and men is precisely antigypsyism, as a specific racial intolerance. Even though the Roma participants were not previously familiar with the term, they confirmed that Roma women and men in Bosnia and Herzegovina are exposed to antigypsyism on a daily basis.  

The Council of Europe has produced two important resources in this regard: Mirrors - Manual on combating antigypsyism through human rights education and WE CAN! Taking Action against Hate Speech through Counter and Alternative Narratives.

The topic of antigypsyism will stay high on the agenda in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the upcoming period, as it is now included in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion of Roma 2020-2025, GOAL 1: Strengthening of support system, coordination and monitoring of APIRBiH 21-25, and reduction of discrimination of Roma and elimination of antigypsyism. The ROMACTED Programme will directly contribute towards this goal through its activities at the local level.