23rd April 2019

Maribor

Representatives of the Association EPEKA, Soc. Ent., took part in the aimed discussion and conference Together we’re more successful: Forced Marriage of Roma Children

As a part of the National Platform for Roma, the Office for National Minorities organized a regional conference on the topic of forced marriage of Roma children.

The Social Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia in 2014 published a research Forced Marriages of Roma Girls. Since its publishing and presentation of the findings more than four years have passed. In this time we have raised awareness of the competent institutions about the need of a balanced, coordinated and children-oriented action and decision-making, but numerous challenges remin in the area.

On the conference, that took place on 8th November 2018 in Ljubljana, we found out, that besides systematic addressing of the problems we laso have to form a regional and local web of key institutions so we can be more successful when it comes to prevention and intervention – both being clearly directed by the protocol. Every region and every environment with Roma has its specifics, so it’s of the outmost importance to know the actual situation and to look for solution out of that starting point. It is of key importance to establish a trust-worthy relationship between state institutions and NGO’s that are especially active on the field and are beneficial for the Roma community and who have, through their work, already gained trust of the inhabitants; the latter is the bare minimum for any sort of constructive cooperation.

NGO’s, police, some district courts and professionals in the field of social work all point to big problems in practice. Their warnings apply especially to the urgency of abolishing arguments and apologies of such practices under cover of Roma culture and tradition, to guarantee and put into effect children’s rights and respect existing laws and to put forth their decisions and actions as well as the need to strengthen the awareness and consequences of such practices among all the stakeholders.

– How institutions should act and how are the ysupposed to act when cultural practices impact children’s rights and existient laws in the area?

– How to act sensibly yet at the same time in accordance with law, to benefit children’s rights being realized and how to assure the conditions in which their full potential will be met?

–  What else is there to do in order to be more efficient in addressing of these occurences?

These are all questions that we have posed ourselves in the discussion. These were our guidelines when we have addressed the topic, identified challenges and exchanged experiences across institutions that were key for the appropriate addressing of the issues.

The Association EPEKA, Soc. Ent., is supported by: