Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Roma and the right to education
The Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina
of the number of Roma living in Bosnia and Herzegovina vary --
the most often quoted figure is of about 60,000 Roma out of population of
over four million. Forcible displacement of Roma during the 1992-1995 war
reduced the number of Roma in the Republika Srpska (RS), reportedly to fewer than 10,000. In the
other entity, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the biggest Romani communities are in the Tuzla,
and Zenica-Doboj Cantons.
is used by most Roma, although decreasingly so in younger generations.
have continued to face problems in returning to areas from which they were
displaced during the war, including as a result of discrimination.
significant proportion of Roma live in informal settlements,
often built without the necessary permits and have little if any access to
poverty rate for Roma is significantly higher than for the rest of the
population; 26 per cent of Roma are considered to live below the official
poverty line compared to 3 per cent of the rest of the population.
based on the number of Roma receiving social assistance suggest that
approximately 70 per cent of Roma are unemployed.
Legal framework and the national action plan on minority education
1995 General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina,
which forms the Constitution of the country contains a provision on
non-discrimination on the basis of “sex, race, colour,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
association with a national minority, property, birth or other status”.
right to education is included in the Constitution among the rights that
“all persons within the territory
of Bosnia and Herzegovina”
Framework Law on Elementary and Secondary Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina
includes the principle of free and compulsory elementary education for all
- The Law
on the Protection of Members of National Minorities provides that members
of national minorities can study language, literature, history and culture
also in their language.
Action Plan on the Educational Needs of Roma and Members of Other National
Minorities in Bosnia
and Herzegovina was adopted in 2004.
The Action Plan identifies a number of special measures to promote the
inclusion of Roma in education.
Exclusion from pre-school and primary education
Romani children have access to pre-school education.
information on attendance rates of Roma in primary schools is not
available; it is reported that the vast majority of Romani children do not
attend school or attend school intermittently.
drop-out rates; in the RS, for instance, the number of Romani children who
drop out is three times higher than the number of those who complete
to some estimates only 15 per cent of all Romani children complete
Main barriers in access to education
poverty; lack of adequate clothing; difficulties in travelling
from distant settlements; hunger; overcrowding in sub-standard
of the authorities to provide the necessary financial and other means to
make available textbooks, meals and transportation services for low-income
of the authorities to collect data on Roma included in education and to
ensure that Romani children are included in compulsory elementary
culture and traditions are not included in a systematic way in school
curricula; with rare exceptions, Romani language is not taught or used in
extremely small number of Roma attend pre-schooling programmes,
which are often not available on a free or subsidized basis.
- Lack of
Romani teachers and mediators.
- Lack of
training for teachers and Romani assistants.
The Tuzla Canton
In 2005/06, 711 Romani children attended elementary school, an increase from
641 in 2001/02. The authorities say that “only” about 120 Romani
children are now completely excluded from education and approximately 80 do not
attend school regularly. Such estimates however appear to be rather optimistic,
given that in 2002, when 641 Romani children were reported as attending school,
it was also estimated that 80 per cent of Romani children were excluded from
Tuzla Canton authorities informed Amnesty International that lack of resources
was preventing full implementation of the Action Plan on the Educational Needs
of Roma and Members of Other National Minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Recommendations to the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina include to:
that accurate data and statistical information are collected on the Romani
population, as well as on its inclusion in education, disaggregated by
gender and age.
steps to ensure that children from low-income Romani families are provided
with assistance in a timely and comprehensive manner, in order to overcome
barriers in access to education originating from their poor socio-economic
steps to ensure that Romani culture, history and traditions are included
in school curricula in all areas or schools with a significant Romani
steps to ensure that Romani children have access to pre-school programmes of a sufficient duration, which should
incorporate Romani culture, history, traditions and language, as well as
steps to ensure that Romani assistants and mediators are employed in a
systematic and comprehensive way in all schools and pre-schools with a
significant Romani population.
steps to ensure that teachers and other staff
working in schools, especially where they work with significant numbers of
Romani pupils, receive training on Romani culture, history, traditions and
language, with the involvement and cooperation of Romani organizations.
pedagogical and other relevant training to Romani assistants and
mediators, with a view to ensuring their full and meaningful participation
in the teaching process.
AI Index: EUR 63/014/2006
16 November 2006