Bulgarian Roma Rights Organizations Demand New Body for Minority Integration Issues
Representatives of a number of Roma rights organizations left Monday a sitting of Bulgaria's National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues, stressing the inefficiency of the structure.
The representatives of the Roma rights organizations demanded changes to the articles of association of the entity so that it could start fulfilling its functions.
They insisted that the Council had to be restructured or replaced by a new entity.
After leaving the sitting of the Council, they told journalists that they had stated four demands in an open letter to the Council of Ministers last week, adding that they were to be fulfilled during the term in office of the caretaker government.
They said that they had asked the government to establish a structure with clear-cut administrative and institutional functions which would be tasked with implementing the Roma Integration Strategy.
They called for an agency which would launch real steps for Roma integration rather than merely reporting progress on paper.
The organizations also demanded that the competent authorities watch out for racist behavior and guarantee the protection of human rights.
The representatives of the Roma rights organizations voiced their discontent over the lack of an expert of Roma origin in the secretariat of the Council.
Caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov agreed on the proposal for establishing a working group to prepare the demanded administrative structure.
He made clear that the working group was to come up with concrete proposals for the new body by April 22, when the next session of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues was to take place.
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