On the occasion of the upcoming census taking place in Serbia, Proud Roma Free Europe in collaboration with Opre Roma Serbia organized the panel discussion “Proud Roma throughout the History of Serbia“. The event took place on 5 July 2022, on the premises of ERIAC Serbia in Belgrade. The event was organized as part of the “Proud Roma, Free Serbia” campaign and explored the dynamics of the Roma movement in Serbia through the lens of history, academia, civil society, political activism, and arts and culture; conveying messages of Roma pride, and highlighting the importance of civic engagement among Roma, as a duty to ensure a better future for our communities.
The panel was comprised of Roma personalities coming from different professional backgrounds, including Dragoljub Acković, the late Bajram Haliti, Nataša Tasić Knežević, Zoran Tairović, Jelena Krivokapić Nikolić, and Slavica Vasic. Combining their professional knowledge on different social, political, and artistic spectrums, and united by their unanimous pride in their Roma identity, the panelists engaged in a fruitful discussion that touched upon all the main discourses affecting the Roma movement. The content of the discussion and the messages shared by the panelists will be used by Opre Roma Serbia as a basis for structuring the remaining census campaign.
The census in Serbia will take place between 1 and 31 October 2022. The last census in 2011 estimated the Roma population in Serbia to be 147,604.¹ The official statistics on Roma demographics are unanimously contested by the Roma civil society in Serbia, claiming that the official census numbers are subject to underestimation. The main reasons for this are the lack of proper methodology during the data collection process, lack of proper training among census takers, and the reluctance of Roma people to declare their ethnicity due to several factors, the most prominent one being fear of further exclusion. Opre Roma Serbia is actively working on tackling all these issues, by promoting the importance of the ethnicity declaration, preparing Roma census enumerators, and mobilizing local teams of activists to assist the Roma population during the census period.
Watch the full panel discussion below: