February 21, 2008

Roma Rights in Macedonia

University of Chicago's Shayna Plaut is Amnesty International USA’s Macedonia country specialist. Amnesty recently released a report on discrimination against Romani women and girls in Macedonia. Shayna gave an overview of Macedonia’s ethnic landscape on Chicago Public Radio's Worldview.

Kosovo’s neighbor to the south is Macedonia. Macedonia has hosted a
substantial number of refugees from Kosovo. Today there are still more
than a thousand refugees in Macedonia. Some 95 percent of these are from
the Roma ethnic community.

Like most Balkan countries, Macedonia already had a considerable Roma
population. Roma are commonly called Gypsies. They have a history of
discrimination and marginalization throughout Europe.

Roma communities tend to be among the poorest, with low rates of education,
employment, and access to social services. Romani women and girls often
face discrimination based on ethnicity and gender. And some 70% report
experiencing some form of domestic violence.

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