Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




The State of Roma Human Rights in the Balkans

This program was held virtually on Zoom and YouTube Live.

Please join the Harriman Institute, the Roma Peoples Project at Columbia University, and the Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College, CUNY for a conference on the state of Roma human rights in the Balkans.

The aim of this conference is to review the contemporary state of human rights and the challenges that confront Roma people in the six Western Balkan countries seeking European Union membership. Following centuries of persecution, Roma exclusion continues to exist in social, legal, and political spheres throughout Europe. Though frequently overlooked, Roma are considered the largest minority ethnic group in Europe with an estimated 12 to 15 million living on the continent, the vast majority in Central and Eastern Europe. Many Roma, including those who may have lived in a country for decades, are numbered among the stateless in Europe—living in Europe yet denied personal identity documents from birth to adulthood, effectively blocking their access to critical social services, health care, and education and participation in the political decision-making of their communities.

This conference brings together top Roma scholars in the academy, advocates, and practitioners who are working to advance the human rights and dignity of Roma people throughout the Balkans.

Read about the conference in Balkandiskurs.


Note: All times in EST. Each panel requires individual registration.


9:00-9:25 AM—Opening Remarks

Welcome by Professor Tanya Domi, Columbia School of International and Public Affairs and Faculty Affiliate of the Harriman Institute

Remarks by Cristiana Grigore, founder of the Roma Peoples Project at Columbia University

An International Roma Day video message from Dunja Mijatovic, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe

9:25-10:30 AM—A Conversation about Roma Human Rights in Europe

Ethel Brooks, Associate Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University

Margareta Matache, Director of the Roma Program at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University

Moderator: Tanya Domi

Event Video


11:00 AM-12:15 PM—Panel Discussion: A Roma Educational Project in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Miloš Bogičević, Head of Human Rights, OSCE Mission to BiH

Mirko Pincelli, photographer and filmmaker documenting the lives of Roma communities in BiH

Velma Saric, President of the Post Conflict Research Center, BiH

Dalibor Tanić, Roma activist and Editor-in-Chief of UDAR, a regional Roma multimedia portal

Moderator: Dr. Laura Cohen, Executive Director of The Kupferberg Holocaust Center


12:45-1:30 PM—Panel Discussion: What is Going on in Europe and the Balkans?

Ðorđe Jovanović, President of the European Roma Rights Centre

Goran Miletic, Europe Director, Civil Rights Defenders

Anikó Orsós, Women’s Rights Officer at the European Roma Rights Centre

Deniz Selmani, Co-Founder and Program Director of Romalitico Skopje; Obama Foundation Leader, Europe Program

Moderator: Tanya Domi

1:30-1:40 PM—Closing Remarks by Tanya Domi