Roma uprising of in Bulgaria
Yesterday, 35 Roma activists walked out of a meeting with the Bulgarian government, among whom Integro, Amalipe, Agency Drom Dromendar, that aimed to discuss the plans to implement the National Roma Integration Strategy (NRIS) in Bulgaria.
For 7 months, Roma Civil Society was asking for a meeting with Zinaida Zlatanova, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, responsible for the Roma issues. At the EU Roma platform meeting in June, a letter was handed over to Commissioner Reding to push for this meeting. When the meeting was finally settled, Minister Zlatanova did not show up, but send a desk officer instead who could not respond to the questions of the NGOs nor their concerns.
For the first time in Bulgaria, different Roma NGOs organized themselves quickly and occupied the building of the Council of Minsters demanding a meeting with Minster Zlatanova. After kept waiting a few hours, the minster invited a number of representatives for a meeting where they expressed their concerns. After all these efforts, the response of the minister was disappointing. On the request how to ensure to make Roma respected stakeholder in the policy process, fi by allowing Roma to take positions in the governmental bodies and policy structures. The minster refused further communication unless Roma NGOs return to the National Council on Ethnic and Integration Issues, which does not have any political leverage.
The good thing of the happenings at the Bulgarian Government is that it mobilised the Bulgarian Roma Civil Society to act together and to keep demanding from the Bulgarian Government to make efforts to implement the National Strategy for Integration of Roma.