MINELRES: ERRC: UN CEDAWs Concluding Comments on Womens Rights in Serbia Prioritizes Situation of Roma

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jun 15 16:12:42 2007

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

UN CEDAW’s Concluding Comments on Women’s Rights in Serbia Prioritizes
Situation of Roma  

13 June 2007, Budapest, Belgrade: The European Roma Rights Centre
(ERRC), in partnership with the Serbian non-governmental organisations
Bibija, Eureka, and Women’s Space, today welcomed the concluding
comments of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW) in their review of Serbia’s compliance with the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women. CEDAW’s comments address Serbia’s initial
report on its progress in eliminating sex and gender discrimination
since becoming party to the Convention. The ERRC, Bibija, Eureka and
Women’s Space had previously submitted a report to the Committee
bringing attention to the critical situation for Romani women in Serbia.

CEDAW’s comments highlighted the particularly vulnerable position of
Romani women in Serbian society, who face multifarious barriers to
education, political representation, and legal justice due to the
combination of sexual and racial discrimination. The Committee requested
that Serbia take immediate action in a number of areas:

- Domestic violence 

The Committee cautioned that admission criteria for safe houses may
represent “de facto discrimination against Roma women threatened by
domestic violence.” It urged Serbia to “review and monitor the
application of admission criteria used by safe houses for victims of
domestic violence in order to ensure that these do not exclude Roma

- Education 

Questioning the “lack of current sex-disaggregated data and information
in regard to education,” the Committee showed particular concern in
regards to “Roma women and girls and other marginalized groups,” amongst
whom rates of literacy and education are alarmingly high. It recommended
that “special attention be paid to achieving equal access [to education]
for marginalized groups of women and girl, in particular of the Roma
minority…the Committee also recommends that literacy and vocation
programmes be provided to Roma women, in particular those who are
elderly and illiterate.” 

- Health care 

The Committee noted concern about “the limited access to adequate
health-care services for women, especially for women in rural areas and
Roma women,” and called on Serbia to “increase its efforts to improve
the availability of sexual and reproductive health services, including
family planning.” It extended this concern to the area of early
marriage, “particularly within the Roma population,” due to the
“negative effects of early marriage on women’s enjoyment of their human
rights, especially their rights to health and education,” and as such
urged Serbia “to enforce the legal minimum age of marriage, which is set
at 18.”

The ERRC, Bibija, Eureka, and Women’s Space are pleased that the
Committee included such detailed recommendations to the Serbian
government to improve the dire situation of Romani women, and they urge
Serbia to take immediate, strong action to implement the Committee’s

For further information, please contact:

Ostalinda Maya Ovalle (ERRC): ostalinda.maya@errc.org 
Vera Kurtic (Women's Space): catz@bankerinter.net 
Tatjana Peric (ERRC consultant): peric@panline.net 
Ilona Kovacs, Piroska Kovacs (Eureka): ilonasu2000@yahoo.com 
Svetlana Ilic (Bibija): bibija@eunet.yu 

The full text of the CEDAW Committee’s concluding comments on Serbia are
available at:

The ERRC/Bibija/Eureka/Women’s Space parallel report on the situation of
Romani women in Serbia is available in English and Serbian at:


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

This message was sent using Endymion MailMan.
http://www.endymion.com/products/mailman/ http://www.microlink.com/