Hindus want Serbia to urgently address the issue of statelessness of its many Roma people (Gypsies) who reportedly do not have identity cards and birth records and thus suffer rejection day after day.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that these stateless Roma needed to be protected from severe and continuous violation of their basic human rights. Access of stateless to health services, employment, education, property ownership and travel was usually severely restricted and they were vulnerable to trafficking.
In addition to statelessness issue, Republic of Serbia needed to do more for its frequently maltreated Roma populace who reportedly continued to suffer from human rights violations and brazen structural discrimination. They had been in the Balkans since 13th century and according to an estimate, number up to around 800,000, Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, noted.
Rajan Zed points out that many in this disenfranchised community reportedly live in Serbia in abject poverty in illegal settlements, lacking basic infrastructure such as plumbing and electricity. Roma faced problems in accessing the healthcare system and education and even media shows lack of interest in their issues. They are viewed as others and treated as lower class. Many Roma children do not attend school and those who do often face segregated schooling, reports suggest.
Zed urged President Boris Tadic and Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic to craft a well-defined, transparent and tangible Roma policy to break their cycle of poverty and exclusion; focusing on education, housing, employment, healthcare, etc.
Rajan Zed also requested His Holiness Patriarch Irinej Gavrilovic of majority Serbian Orthodox Church to come to the rescue of Serbian Roma. Instead of reportedly continuing to marginalize Roma socially, this country of prehistoric “Lady of Vinca”, Saint Sava, eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, 4-day Novi Sad EXIT music festival, composer Stevan Stojanovic Mokranjac, Miroslav Gospel, tranquil medieval monasteries, raspberries, energetic Belgrade, tennis player Novak Djokovic, painter Paja Jovanovic and “White Angel” should be more embracing of Roma brothers and sisters and work for their upliftment, Zed stressed.