Summary Conclusions and Recommendations from the Petrovac Seminar
19-20 April 2007
Organized by the Council of Europe and UNHCR
The Petrovac Seminar brought together key members of Montenegro’s Government and civil society – including Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptian associations – alongside experts from the Council of Europe, UNHCR, and other international organizations and NGOs. Participants discussed the situation faced by Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptians in Montenegro, focusing on the ability of the displaced persons within these communities to access social and economic rights.
Displaced persons face a number of obstacles to realizing key rights – both in their countries of origin, and in Montenegro itself – and these obstacles have been particularly damaging to uprooted Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptians. At a time when these communities are still far from achieving economic and socio-cultural equality in their places of domicile throughout Europe, displaced Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptians effectively face two hurdles in Montenegro: one based on their ethnicity, and the other based on their condition of displacement. These communities remain in a state of limbo, uprooted from their homes without having yet found durable solutions. Their situation is further complicated by their frequent lack of documents, which makes it more difficult for them to access government services and places them at a high risk of statelessness.
The Petrovac Seminar examined these hurdles, as well as the similar obstacles faced by Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptian domiciliaries of Montenegro. In addition to presentations on the current situation in Montenegro and recommendations for the future, topics included the continued international protection needs of Roma, Ashkaelia, and Egyptians from Kosovo, as well as international and European standards relating to statelessness, social and minority rights, and discrimination.
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