Many Roma issued documents, "some still legally invisible"
Over the past seven years Serbia issued 107,000 personal identification documents to Roma citizens, but some are still "legally invisible."Source: Tanjug
This was heard during a meeting in Belgrade dedicated to the problems faced by this minority.
Executive Director of the non-governmental organisation Praxis Ivana Kostić stressed that her organizsation had provided legal assistance in issuing 13,580 personal identification cards, around 1,500 residence registrations and almost 3,000 late registrations in the birth registry.
"'The invisible people' are growing fewer in number, but we are left with pretty difficult cases, those people who have not been agile enough to seek assistance on their own," she underscored.
State Secretary for State Administration and Local Government Ivan Bošnjak said his ministry, UNHCR, ombudsman and non-governmental organizations had worked together to solve the issues related to the "legally invisible people," that is those without identification papers.
"The number of the legally invisible persons has been brought down to a sensible level in the past two years. We received a positive opinion in the European Commission's latest report when it comes to establishing the legal framework and we are a good example for the region, where these issues have not been resolved as well as in Serbia," Bosnjak stated.
The initiative will continue, he emphasized.
UNHCR representative in Serbia Davor Rako pointed out that 10 million people around the world had no citizenship, and that half of them were children.
No one could specify the remaining number of people with that problem in Serbia, but it is significantly lower than 7 years ago.
"As legally invisible persons, they cannot exercise their rights or fulfill their obligations," Rako noted.
Deputy Ombudsman Robert Sepi said the activities so far had yielded results, and that the efforts would continue with visits to Roma settlements and invitations to those without identification documents to get listed in the birth registry and provide them with free legal assistance to that end.