On June 2nd 2014 the Igman Initiative organized a round on the topic Civil Monitoring of the Regional Housing Program with a Special Emphasis on Care for Roma Population in Podgorica, with support from the Foundation Open Society Institute from Budapest. Participants of the event were representatives of the Government institutions engaged in the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme, local self-governments, international community, civic society organizations, Roma institutions and media.
Introductory addresses were given by Branko Lukovac, Co-president of Igman Initiative for Montenegro, Željko Sofranac, Director of the Montenegrin Directorate for the Care of Refugees, Aleksandar Cadjenovic, representative of the UNHCR in Montenegro and Radomir Sovljanski, representative of the Open Society Foundations from Budapest.
At the second panel the moderators were Aleksandar Popov, Co-president of Igman Initiative for Serbia, Tanja Bakalbašić, Project Coordinator for Montenegro and Milan Radović, Igman Initiative expert for Montenegro.
After a heated discussion among the participants the following issues have been pointed out as the conclusions of the round table:
- The issue of the sustainability of the RHP
- The involvement of the representatives of Roma population and Roma CSOs in monitoring and mediation between Roma community and the Government during the implementation of housing projects,
- The regulation of legal status in Montenegro and issues that will arise due to the fact that a large number of immigrants have not applied for the status of internally displaced persons hence might become illegal aliens and therefore will not be in the position to apply for housing under the RHP,
- The issues of segregation and ghettoization through already approved projects which will be implemented within the RHP,
- Subsequent integration of Roma in other areas: employment, education, health insurance, etc. Roma experts should be involved in this process,
- The housing units should not be built around landfills. Local CSOs should issue a warning to the local authorities in cases where locations are inadequate or would lead towards segregation,
- The issues of local self-governments standing for the owners of newly constructed housing units as stipulated by the Law on Social Housing,
- Using the examples of good practice local programs of social housing as well as the initiatives aimed at influencing public policies in the area of Roma integration should be developed
- The EU Delegation to Montenegro should be engaged as it is the major partner in the implementation of the RHP,
- It has been suggested that aside from housing units parcels of lands should be secured and used for auxiliary facilities, for example for stabling as most of Roma use horses and carriages to collect secondary raw materials,
- Members of Roma community should be introduced to their rights and obligations under the contracts on housing,
- Members of Roma community should be informed about their rights according to the Law on Social Housing,
- The expert team should provide recommendations for outlining a guidebook and criteria for the selections of beneficiaries so as to prevent discrimination of Roma within the RHP.
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