The United States has committed to a variety of tools in promoting the success of Roma.
One such tool is development assistance, and we currently undertake Roma-focused programs across Central and Eastern Europe.
- For example, our Roma education program in Macedonia provides preschool education for 250 children each year and has provided tutoring and out-of-school support to 1,500 primary school students. So far, 95 percent of these students have remained in school.
- In Slovakia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, and Serbia, we provide Romani communities and leaders with training to help them more effectively take part in elections and political processes.
- This summer, we will be launching a new initiative to provide Roma with better access to legal services in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia.
Another way we work to promote Roma rights is through international visitor programs, which have provided Roma from across Europe opportunities to visit and study in the U.S. to gain a firsthand view of how the rights of every individual can be ensured both in law and in practice.
- Recent programs have focused on social, political and economic empowerment for Roma from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania.
- In August, we welcomed 24 Romani high school students for a month-long exchange emphasizing self-respect, community development and minority advocacy, and we will soon be embarking on a similar exchange for Romani political leaders from countries including Italy and Slovakia.
One further aspect of promoting Roma rights is helping to facilitate constructive interaction between law enforcement and minority communities.
· At the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, we provide training and assistance to police to help them more effectively investigate and prosecute crimes against Roma.
· Following a string of unsolved killings of Roma in Hungary last year, the Hungarian government asked for investigative support from the F.B.I., which we were pleased to provide.
The U.S. Government stands ready to explore similar forms of assistance to governments in the future.
Further information on U.S. efforts to assist Roma can be found on the State Department’s website at http://www.state.gov/g/drl/hr/race/index.htm.