Border officials declined Roma citizens owing full traveling documentation passing the border without any explanation
Hundreds of Roma citizens were declined passing the border by the border officials in the past few months. A small part of them were said that they cannot pass the border, because there is the possibility for them to go to a European country without seeking asylum, but the greatest part of them were declined without any explanation.
D.V, from Kumanovo has been continually traveling in the region with his music band for already two decades. He says, he never faced with this kind of problem until now. He was unpleasantly surprised when at the end of last year on one of the borders he was declined passing without any explanation.
“I’m constantly traveling. Since 1996 I have been traveling as a musician. I’m living from that, that’s how I’m feeding my family. I have never had problems before. I have been going there but I have also always returned. Now, after all this time, I was denied passing the border, with the reason that I was supposedly going to become an asylum seeker. I was denied passing for the first time on our border, on Tabanovce. Without any explanation” says D.V.
He reckons that it is not correctly at all for the officials to deny passing to people without any reason and without any explanation.
“I really don’t understand why I was denied. Is the problem the fact that we are Roma people?! I can’t understand that kind of behavior. Only the Roma people are being denied by the border officials. We were supposed to go on a wedding ceremony, we were traveling together with the other members of the band and we were denied passing the border for the first time even though we had the appropriate documentation. That has financial consequences on us, and on the reputation of our music band. The wedding ceremony was also postponed because of that. I’m completely sure that we were denied passing because we are Roma people! Aren’t we equal with other communities in this country? If I were an Albanian or Macedonian I was going to pass the border without any problems”, he says.
D.V. informs that this is a problem other Roma people also faced with, before all on the border line in Tabanovce. There are no similar problems on the other borders.
“We realized that because many Roma people are supposedly seeking asylum in the member states of the European Union, we Roma people are now being denied passing the border”, he says..
The issue of possible discrimination towards Roma people by the border officials was also part of the parliamentary discussion on one of the last assembly sessions. Member of Parliament Oliver Spasovski, from the opposition party SDSM directly asked the Minister of internal affairs, Gordana Jankuloska – why are citizens from the Roma community not allowed to go out of the country?
“One family that was not allowed to go to Bujanovac, in order to visit their relatives, was said that that is an order from the Minister of internal affairs, Gordana Jankuloska. I want to ask under the auspices of what law did you gave the order that a person a bit darker than the others cannot pass the state border? And do you feel that in that way you are discriminating a whole category of citizens?”, asked Spasovski.
Minister Jankuloska answered that the thing is not about discrimination but the activities on the borders are intensified and that will provide better control and sanctions for the ones who misuse the visa liberalization.
“Based on the data we got from several countries and analyzes we made this year 2888 persons were not allowed to go out from Macedonia. However I must say that we are not discriminating, because not a document witnesses about their ethnical belonging”, said Jankuloska.
However numerous complaints from Roma people with complete documentation were denied passing the borders without any explanation obviously show that something is wrong. Up until now there was no explanation or data about the percentage of the people who were denied passing and were not part of the Roma community.