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Strategy Document for Roman Citizens and 1st Stage Action Plan waited for years was published in the official gazette.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP Özcan Purçu, Hacer Foggo from Roman Rights Forum, Roman Rights Association President Yücel Tutal have stated that the strategy document and action plan establishes the problems but doesn’t present solid solution offers as to these problems.
Nevertheless, Foggo and Tutal have drawn attention to importance of a strategy as to the Romans becoming a state policy for the first time.
It was being waited for six years
The European Commission formed “Integration with the Romans Frame Agreement” to close the gap between Romans and non-Romans in 2011.
The agreement valid thru 2020 has asked the member countries to prepare National Strategy Document and Action Plan as to the Romans, and advised the non-member countries to do so.
Runner of this document is Ministry of Family and Social Policies. For the inspection of the activities in question, Monitor and Assessment Council consisting half of which is from ministries and the other half from NGOs, trade bodies and academics.
In the 19-page document, Roman’s problems and solution offers under the chapters of education, employment, shelter, health, social service and social aids have been listed.
Dropout rate is very high
In the education chapter, Roman children dropping out at early ages, absenteeism, receiving education at separate schools and the discrimination they are being exposed to have been drawn attention.
As solution offer, having Roman children be included in school libraries and assemblies, raising awareness in the families has been proposed.
Traditional occupations disappeared
In the employment chapter, it has been stated that since Romans’ level of education and professional training are low, they work in insecure and unqualified works.
It has been expressed that Romans’ traditional occupations such as musicianship, forging, basketry, making mat, horticultural, and package making face extinction.
As solution offer, opening courses for occupation and commercializing products of Roman citizens have been proposed.
Urban transformation increases the problems
In the shelter chapter, it has been noted that the Romans live in physically inadequate barracks.
It has been stated that the urban transformation causes the Romans to live remote from the city, which creates problem of integration with society and employment.
As solution offer, it has been expressed that Romans’ demands will be taken into consideration in practices regarding urban transformation and that single-floor separate houses suitable for garden agriculture will be built.
Lack of awareness in health and social service
In the health chapter, it has been stated that there is lack of awareness in Romans benefiting medical services. Furthermore, it has been noted that courses will be given to raise awareness towards the Romans for them to benefit social service and social aids.
Purçu: There is no solid activity
CHP İzmir MP Özcan Purçu: They have been keeping waiting for six years for 19 pages. It is not holistic, and equipped with universal knowledge. There is not a single solution-oriented detail. 2016-2018 has been spared for preparation activity, there is no solid activity. The preparation hasn’t been finished in six years, and there is another three years of preparation phase. For instance, they speak of occupation courses as to employment but associations are already doing that. This document has been announced silently. The goal was to take a step to obtain visa exemption. I don’t think it is a sincere document to affect Romans’ daily life right away.
Foggo: It is important that it is a state policy now
Hacer Foggo from Roman Rights Forum: Firstly, I want to say that it is very important that the Roman issue has become a state policy because the governments come and go but state policy remains. However, the draft sent to us was much more longer, detailed and including or solution-oriented suggestions. This document is largely shortened; the suggestions are taken out of it.
On the other hand, the positive side is about the urban transformation. Departing from the Sulukule case, not implementing in-situ transformation is causing the Romans to live a deeper poverty. Including this issue in the strategy plan is going to be a ray of hope for future urban transformation projects.
Tutal: There should have been state budget
Roman Rights Association President Yücel Tutar: It was a thing we were waiting for years. Even though it is delayed, having it now is pleasing. In general terms, it explains the problems of the Romans but it is not clear where the budget and action plan are. There is no numeric data. The draft sent to us was comprehensive and detailed. It seems as no state budget will be spared, it looks as it will proceed over an existing EU project. It is sustainable if that is the case but state budget should have been spared.
Besides, it mentions the issues as touching discrimination at a few points but this emphasis is insufficient. One might conclude that all problems arise because of Romans’ life style. For instance, in the problems as to education it has been stated that Roman children are being taught at different schools but no solution has been proposed about the problem”. (NV/TK)