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The City of Bijeljina

New homes for six Roma families

As part of the implementation of the project Housing for Roma 2020-2021 in the City of Bijeljina, Mayor Ljubiša Petrović and the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sevlid Hurtić, today handed over the keys to new homes for six Roma families from Bijeljina.
Commenting on the fact that by today's key handover, or the provision of housing units for use, the City Administration continues the practice of addressing the most important issues of the Roma in Semberija, Mayor Ljubiša Petrović emphasized that all of this is the result of a highly successful cooperation between the City Administration, the Ministry, and Caritas in the previous period.
“In March 2021, an Agreement on Mutual Relations was signed between Caritas Switzerland and the City of Bijeljina for the implementation of the project Housing for Roma 2020-2021 in the City of Bijeljina. The goal of this project is to support the implementation of the Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina addressing the issues of the Roma related to the housing improvement, as well as to enhance their status, living conditions, and social inclusion through the construction of six apartments with the right of use. This will be defined by a separate Usage Agreement for residential units,” explained Petrović, adding that in the future, the City of Bijeljina will continue to be a pillar of support for such and similar projects, in accordance with its financial possibilities.
Highlighting that Bijeljina, as a city of diversity, has two major national minorities, Slovak and Roma, the mayor emphasized that societal progress stems from respecting each individual, regardless of their national or other affiliation, and their rights. He stated that the City of Bijeljina remains committed to advocating for everyone's right to a resolved housing issues, education, employment, and social security.
Sevlid Hurtić, the Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed satisfaction with the exceptional cooperation with the City Administration led by Mayor Petrović. He added that the ultimate goal of projects like this one is the integration of the Roma population into the society in which they live. Furthermore, he mentioned that a significant amount of financial resources will be allocated from the budget during the current year for new housing units for Roma families.
Daniel Bronkal, director of the Caritas Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized his pride in the collaboration with the City Administration, stating that Bijeljina sets an example of good cooperation among different actors united in the same task - to positively influence the quality of life for relevant social groups in a local community. He announced the construction of new homes for Roma families in the future, by the fall of 2025.
Bronkal expressed special gratitude to the donors - the governments of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which enabled the participation and contribution of Caritas in this project. The primary beneficiaries of the project are Roma who reside on the territory of the City of Bijeljina and do not have resolved housing issues and/or live in inadequate housing units.
This project will strengthen the capacities within the institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the local community - the City, the Social Welfare Centre, and Roma non-governmental organizations in implementing projects, all with the aim of addressing the pressing issues of the Roma population.
By resolving the housing problem for six Roma families, crucial conditions are created for their education and employment, which the City of Bijeljina will work on in the coming period. This will enable these families to be integrated into the broader social community.
The total value of the project is BAM 500,000.00, with the Ministry contributing BAM 100,000, and Caritas Switzerland and the City of Bijeljina each contributing BAM 200,000.