News archive


30. March 2015.

Bujanovac – Amet Arifi, the Leader of the United Party of Roma in Bujanovac, said that the process of integration of Roma “hadn’t yet knocked on the door of Roma in Bujanovac” and that fewer Roma worked in state institutions in the city at that moment than 10 years before.

Mr. Arifi, who is also the Vice President of the Roma National Council in Serbia, said that, over the previous ten years, the greatest progress in Bujanovac had been made in education, with a far larger number of children enrolled in secondary schools and universities than before.

“Since 2000, the retired Roma persons that worked in state institutions weren’t replaced by some other Roma persons, so that, now, there are far fewer Roma working in state institutions than 15 to 20 years ago, and the integration process is generally implemented on paper,” said Mr. Arifi.

According to him, the position of Roma in Bujanovac improved only when it comes to the field of education. A major success is the fact that over 70 Roma children from Bujanovac attend secondary school this school year.  

“Until ten or so years ago, there were only about ten Roma children that attended secondary  school, while there are over 70 Roma children going to secondary school this year. That isn’t a great success compared to the number of children who start attending the first grade, there should have been many more of them, but, in any case, a major step in a positive direction has been made,” said Mr. Arifi.   

He also said that the largest number of Roma children from Bujanovac drop out from the fourth to the eighth grade because “the parents don’t realize the importance of education, but also because of the difficult economic position, since it is the period when children, along with their parents, begin to collect secondary raw materials or do seasonal jobs on the farms in Vojvodina.”   

“According to the latest census, there are over 4, 300 Roma in Bujanovac, but it is estimated that there are between 5,000 and 6, 000 of them. All Roma persons live in the city.  There are no rural Roma households, so that Bujanovac is a specific environment, since three populations, the Serbs, the Albanians and the Roma, make up each one third of the population”, Mr. Arifi said.  

According to him, the United Party of Roma doesn’t have its representatives in the local self-government or its councilors in the Municipal Assembly of Bujanovac, while the greatest success of the party was in 2006, when it had two councilors in the local assembly.

Mr. Arifi said that Bujanovac was also a specific town for the Roma community for being the first city in Serbia where Roma persons had their own mosque, where the service took place in the Romany language.

Source: “Beta” news agency and Coordination Body