It is simple: Racist outbursts against Roma have no place in public space

A 11 – Initiative for Economic and Social Rights is deeply concerned about the column by Marko Vidojković, which was published in yesterday’s issue of the daily newspaper Danas, as well as the subsequent reactions of the editorial board of this paper.

This column insults members of the Roma national minority in the most brutal way. The column not only represents the continuation of a long series of cases of racism and discrimination against Roma, but also contributes to the deepening of stereotypes towards this national minority.

It is the subsequent non-apology of the editorial board that shows us how deeply rooted racism is towards the Roma, which, as a rule, is justified by irony, artistic freedoms and similar constructions. Apologies to the public and Roma that begin with “if” are simply not apologies, and the editorial board of the newspaper with many years of experience in “advocating for the rights of all people, regardless of religion, race and nation” should know that.

On the occasion of the publication of the mentioned column and the reaction of the editorial board, Initiative A 11 will take all available legal steps and will alert all institutions that are obliged to react in such cases – primarily the Commissioner for protection of Equality and the Press Council.

The fact is that the Roma are the most endangered and discriminated national minority in Serbia, and that due to living conditions their life expectancy is significantly shorter than the rest of the population, and that electricity, water and access to adequate housing are absolutely inaccessible for many Roma. This is also the case with the inhabitants of the settlement of Vuka Vrčevića. To solve such deep-rooted problems, from the lack of access to fundamental rights, to socially acceptable racism against the Roma, we need not only legal, but also other ways to fight.

That is why Initiative A 11 hereby invites the daily newspaper Danas and their editor-in-chief to withdraw the column by the author Marko Vidojković, and to send a sincere apology to the Roma community. Until the withdrawal of the column by Marko Vidojković and the sincere public apology of the editorial board, Initiative A 11 will not cooperate with this newspaper. That will be our small contribution to the fight against racism in Serbia.

Finally, we call on all individuals and associations that cooperate with this Danas to support the appeal and contribute to the fight against racism in public space through solidarity action.