November 16, 2013

“I am a citizen of Europe, Macedonia, I am Roma, and I am here as an equal because of our children and the new generations, I hope for a better future for all of them with more tolerant and equal rights. All of us have that right and as citizens of Macedonia – we should fight for it.

The main imperative of the Universal declaration of human rights is “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

The Roma are citizens of this country, equal in dignity and rights, they are a constitutive nation, they are a part of the Macedonian identity, but they are still discriminated in a brutal way, and all legal and international documents are put to shame.

The constant violation of the right for a freedom of movement as a basic human right is evident, the humiliation endured by the Roma citizens on the borders is giving the feeling that they are not worthy of respect, that they are the problem, and it raises the question if every citizen has equal rights and freedom. This is just a reminder how stigmatization is made and how a community is pointed out as guilty for certain processes and how hate speech is stimulated.

This is only a part of the problems faced by the Roma community in the Macedonian society. We have the problem of enrolling the Roma children in special classes, the problems with housing, employment, healthcare, social inclusion, poverty, etc. All of this implies to a single thing – discrimination.

Today I have a strong need to promote the equality and tolerance, although I experience defeat and agitation on a daily basis when I see what is happening. I am here with all of you to promote diversity, which asks for dignity and respect.

I am often in European institutions, I represent Macedonia, I try to do it in a positive way, but unfortunately, under pressure, we allow violation of all rights and even of the rights of the Roma, and these violations grew into intolerance and racism. Macedonia doesn’t deserve this. It is a multicultural country and should develop as such. It is important for the country to return our love.

Video from the March for Tolerance: