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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Roma in Serbia

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Date(s) Item
May 10, 1990 Yugoslav Roma Rajko Djurie is elected president of the World Union of Romanies.
Aug 23, 1990 The Romani Democratic Political Party is not among the 15 newly legalized parties in Serbia but its application for registration is still being considered.
1992 The Roma fail to win even one seat in parliament in federal elections.
Mar 4, 1992 A Group of Roma intellectuals ask the Provincial Secretariat for Kosovo-Metohija that from the beginning of the next academic year, the education of Roma should be in their mother tongue.
1993 The Yugoslav Democratic Party of Gypsies complains that police harassed and beat Gypsies in the village of Strazilo, resulting in one death.
Dec 23, 1993 Regarding the situation of the Yugoslav Roma for 1992 the US Department of State notes that while Gypsy population has the right to vote and there is no legal discrimination against it in the country traditional societal prejudice remain while local authorities condone and even participate in harassment and intimidation of Gypsies. The Roma population also suffers the bad organization of the Yugoslav Democratic Party of Gypsies which does not play a role in political life commensurate with its numbers. (US Department of State)
Mar 1995 The US State Department report on the situation of the Yugoslav Roma for 1994 does not differ substantially from the 1992 report (see 23 December 1993). It is only observed that the two Roma parties in Yugoslavia are not well organized and do not play a role in the political life of the country commensurate with their number.(US Department of State)
Mar 1996 The US State Department reports that Romani children are not taught in their own language and often cannot afford to buy school materials. According to the Helsinki Committee of Serbia, only 20 percent of them complete an elementary education. (Department of State)
Jan 1997 Observers report a dramatic rise in skinhead violence against Roma in Yugoslavia in recent months. RFE/RL reported that skinheads severely beated two Roma in Belgrade on October 27 (Associated Press, RFL/RL) (ERRC - Fall Newsletter)
Oct 18, 1997 A group of Serb skinheads beats to death a 14 year old Romani boy named Dusan Jovanovic. The boy dies on the street as a result of the beating. The police arrests two persons involved in the attack. ERRC investigation reveals that the two suspects, both of whom are minors, are charged with murder according to Article 47 para 2 point 4 of the Serbian Penal Code on January 15 (1998), and that the trial proceedings against them will start shortly.(ERRC - Winter 1998 Newsletter)
Dec 1997 Less than two months after the beating to death of a 14-year-old Romani boy by a group of skinheads in central Belgrade the Belgrade based NGO Romani Information and Documentation Center headed by Dragoljub Ackovic publishes a 600-page book entitled "They Killed His Eyes". The book focuses both on the events of the killing, as well as the protests which followed it and the press coverage it received in the Yugoslav and international media.(ERRC - Winter 1998 Newsletter)
1998 The conflict in Kosovo which intensifies in the Summer of 1998 makes many local Roma flee the area and go to other parts of Serbia, to Vojvodina in particular, or alternatively to Montenegro. Everywhere in Serbia Kosovar Roma are considered internally displaced people, not refugees which prevents them from enjoying some basic rights and benefits. In Vojvodina the Kosovar Roma are received reservedly by the hosts who are concerned about the future of both, themselves and the newcomers. Montenegro stands out as a striking exception of a refugee host which organizes camps for the displaced people with the help of the UNHCR. As a result large number of refugees head for Montenegro. Only by mid-August of 1998 in the capital of Podgorica alone there have arrived around 1,700 Roma.(European Roma Right Center, - Summer Newsletter)
1998 The European Roma Right Center reports of the existence of a Committee for the protection of Roma Rights in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as well as of a Romani Congress Party. (European Roma Right Center, - Summer Newsletter)
Mar 17 - 18, 2004 Riots broke out in Kosovo between ethnic Albanians and minority groups including Roma, Serbs and Ashkali resulting in 19 casualties, 900 homes burnt and 4,000 homeless. The attacks were initially between the Albanians and the Serbs, but the Roma and Ashkali were included in the attacks. (United Press International, 4/29/2004, “UN: March Kosovo violence ‘huge setback’”; US Department of State. 2/28/2005. "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices-2004: Serbia and Montenegro." Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.)
May 19, 2005 The mass repatriation of Roma back to Kosovo from Germany has begun. Germany plans to deport approximately 50,000 Roma. (Howden, Daniel and Eva Kuehnen, 05/19/2005, "Germany is Accused of Racism as 50,000 Roma are Deported," Belfast Telegraph)
Jun 17, 2005 Several hundred Roma protested UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo's (UNMIK) agreement with Western European nations to return thousands of Roma refugees to Kosovo. (BBC Monitoring Europe, 6/17/2005, "Romanies in divided Kosovo town protest against deportation from EU countries")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010