Compared to the previous years, there is a progress and hope for a better life for the Roma in Kosovo, however, the fight is still ahead, says for KosovaPress, Gazmend Salijevic, the newly appointed Deputy Minister for Communities and Returns who is also a representative of the Roma Initiative.
In his first interview since taking office, on World Roma Day, Salijevic said that the members of his community across Europe, the Balkans and Kosovo continued to fight for the goals set half a century ago at a general congress held in 1971, to improve the position of Roma in society around the world.
He emphasizes that the life of Roma in Kosovo has improved in the education segment, but that much work still needs to be done to improve the quality of life of this community.
“Within the Roma community, it is a progress that we have a larger number of students in both state and private universities, which is a positive step. We still have a problem with children leaving school early due to socio-economic problems, this problem is still present, but when we analyze it, we can freely say that it is a positive change in the field of education,” Salijevic said.
The Deputy Minister for Communities and Returns says that what has not changed over the years are the infrastructure problems in Roma settlements, which are mainly in rural areas, where they lack water, sewerage and other supporting infrastructure.
Salijevic adds that it is inevitable that Roma become participants in political life in Kosovo.
“In addition to fighting for a better life for you and your compatriots, at some point you realize that it is important to participate in decision-making, in political life or where politics are made. So, day by day, the Roma in Kosovo, in the region, and in Europe are trying to get involved and fight for a better standard for the Roma through various political programs and projects. Today, you even have Roma representatives in the European Parliament,” he said.
Salijevic promises to work and advocate for a better life for all citizens, regardless of which community they belong to.
“It is the duty of all of us, especially people like me who come from the Roma community, to work and fight for better conditions for all people. I have a moral obligation to try a little harder and speak up, to talk about the problems, so that the generations to come will live in better conditions than the ones in which we live today,” said Salijevic.
He believes in partnership with central institutions, while his message on the occasion of International Roma Day is for the Roma to preserve their health and that of their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.