Part I. Executive Summary  

    Following the General Framework Agreement for Peace signed at the end of the war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina has divided education, legal and administration systems and policies within a multiple government structure. Ethnic tensions remain severe in large parts of the country. A remarkable number of people are still displaced in and outside of Bosnia Herzegovina (BiH), and a majority of the young population wishes to leave the country if given an opportunity. Due to the destruction of the war and ongoing privatization in the post-war transition period, large-scale state factories are either closed or operational with an extremely low capacity. Lack of necessary investment and legal system as well as introduction of European Union (EU) standards hampers efficient production and marketing also in the agricultural sector. In such complex and unstable conditions, it is not attractive for foreign investors to enter the market in BiH.

    As a consequence, more than a third of the labour force population is unemployed, without including those who are on the “waiting-listed”, in the laid off category. In addition, more than a third of the employed population is in economically unsustainable jobs. The country's economy heavily depends on the international support and the grey economy, increasing such problems as poverty, corruption, poor social welfare, and inequality in gender and crimes. Approximately 20 % of the population live below the general poverty line of 900Euro per year1. The situation is much severer for marginalized population such as returnees, women, the elderly and minorities without any income, adequate education as well as integration into the social welfare system and the community. A majority of them also face serious discrimination due to the negative stereotyping and prejudice.

    The information gathered through research support the assumption that the unemployment rate of Roma is much higher than unemployment in general and reaches figures of 99%. However, Roma do find occasional jobs through public works and scrape an income together in the grey economy, mainly through recycling of raw materials. Nevertheless it is alarming that government officials seem to be unaware of the extremely high unemployment rates of Roma and have not taken any action to address this issue. As an excuse they mention the overall high unemployment rate (42% is the official figure) and the low education levels of Roma population.

    The Roma themselves see as a reason for their unemployment – mostly, if not always - their ethnic background, secondly they mention the grave economic situation in the country and finally their education and qualification capacity, which they can see is insufficient.

    Beside the discrimination on the labour market there is another facet which is hampering the employment opportunities of Roma, which is competition. In view of the new market economy competition is becoming more severe and employers are not willing to take any risks and employ workers with the highest educational levels and best qualifications. In a market with a surplus of qualified labour force, the Roma will be the last in line.

    In order to prevent further marginalisation of Roma, registration (for personal identification documents) of Roma should take place, free of charge, so that Roma are at least entitled to basic benefits in the field of social and health security. The government should also include target Romani Women and Youth in future employment programmes.

    Traditional Roma occupations are disappearing. In the current BiH society there is no longer a demand for these specific, usually hand-made products. With a market overflowing with cheap Chinese and otherwise imported goods, the Roma products are too expensive for the local buyers. Revitalisation of these products could only be an option if there would be a market elsewhere and export channels secured. The employment opportunities created this way are hardly sufficient.

    Some important legislation on labour exists but due to the lack of a coherent strategy and policies on specific employment of equality issues, this legislation is far from adequate and guarantees only a minimum of securities.
    Also a Strategy on Roma issues is very underdeveloped and needs to be elaborated, as well as adequate policies for employment at sectoral and municipal level. Due to the lack of legal instruments and strategies/policies no effective implementation and monitoring can be carried out. The key role of Employment Agencies and Labour Inspectorates – even though clearly defined by law – cannot be carried out due to lack of capacity and resources. The role of the social partners is not very strong in a society where the government is trying to adapt to its changing role in a market economy. It seems there is not a clear vision on the role of the government in this changing environment, which paralyses progress.

    The Legislative Framework seems more than sufficient to prevent and address discrimination issues. However, the complex government system and – often lengthy - court proceedings do not make it easy for people to lodge an official complaint about discrimination at the work place. Discrimination in access to employment is extremely difficult to proof and not well defined by law. Besides all appropriate legislation being in place, it is still quite easy for employers to reign according to their own rules in a market where there is an obvious surplus of labour. Those who found employment are keen to keep their jobs even when the working conditions are not in accordance with the law. Roma are of course an easy target and may even hide their identity to remain employed.

    Equality principles and prohibition of discrimination in BiH are guaranteed and conform the international human rights standards. Also many international agreements which prohibit all forms of discrimination as laid down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention and European Convention on Human Rights have been signed. However, no priority is given to equality issues as the government is barely able to handle all the employment issues caused by the transition phase the country finds itself in.

    There are very few complaints lodged by Roma about discrimination at work, because very few Roma have found (regular) employment. The reason for not having obtained regular employment comes from discrimination, as Roma will hide their identity when they are offered a job for fear of losing the job. Also the numbers of Roma found in regular employment – even taking into account lower education levels – are still far from representative (less than 0% compared to 38% of majority population). Most shocking, however, is the fact that the BiH constitution will not allow Roma – and other national minority groups for that matter – to be elected in the presidency of the state nor as the president of the national assembly.

    Employment projects do exist, but are not targeting the unemployed who live below the poverty line, including the majority of Roma population. In addition Employment Agencies have not even contemplated providing credits or grants to initiatives of Roma because they are not in contact with this part of the population in BiH. Both Roma NGOs and Employment Agencies might consider need to be more pro-active in initiating an exchange to see how they can cooperate. It is necessary to create new employment opportunities and a more favourable economic environment focussing also on Roma.

    There is a clear need for vocational trainings to be more market oriented. However, certain activities of upgrading the vocational trainings are ongoing. Vocational training should include Roma population and other disadvantaged groups, because of their socio-economic circumstances and provide wavers for tuition fees and travel cost

    Despite the fact that Romani Women are extremely marginalized, by society and their own community, they manage to contribute to some extent to the family income. Education is again key to reaching higher, obtaining more regular employment and improve the status of Romani women. Their issues should be integrated and mainstreamed into the programs of the Gender Center.

    Roma Youth are disadvantaged in accessing the labour market and/or vocational training due to insufficient education levels. Existing programmes targeting Youth should include Roma youth. This requires a pro-active approach from Roma Youth groups/NGOs, but also from the existing government bodies dealing with Youth issues. Improvements could be made in dissemination of information, specifically targeting Roma Youth, lifting barriers and/or disadvantages and establishing dialogue, to discuss these issues. It appears there might be an awareness to focus more on youth employment in general (considering also the large number of youth currently employed in the informal economy).

    The position of urban Roma is slightly better then Roma settled in rural areas. Both categories do not have access to financial and production resources but urban Roma have more options to survive.

    Even though Roma present quite a substantial minority group in BiH, political representation of Roma is not yet in place. This is partly due to the fact that the Roma themselves show little interest in political representation, but also because the establishment of political parties along ethnic lines, such as can be seen to emerge in other Balkan countries, is only occurring amongst the constituent peoples in BiH. Also the Constitution prevents minority groups in holding the highest political positions, which may not serve as an incentive to become politically active. However, it is mainly through political decision making and lobby that Roma can influence the government system and prioritize their own socio-economic situation. It might be advisable therefore even to join mainstream parties to give a voice to Roma issues.

    It is obvious that Roma in BiH are severely hampered in all aspects of life whereby insufficient support from one sector leads to restrictions in another sector. For instance low level of education prevents Roma from legal registration of self-employment or inclusion in public sector jobs, bad living/housing conditions prevents them from going to school, unhealthy environments can hamper both education and employment opportunities and without unemployment registration no access to health insurance is ensured. In addition social assistance is not sufficient for basic survival. This leaves few options for Roma people for a decent livelihood.

    In order to overcome the problems described above it is important to create more equitable opportunities for Roma to participate in existing programs; to overcome the barriers, preventing Roma from participating (see recommendations) and to strengthen and support existing initiatives, such as the establishment of cooperation between Employment Agencies, companies and schools, to address better the labour market needs. Only in creating better cooperation mechanisms between the existing employment structures (Employment Agencies, schools, etc.) and Roma communities and/or Roma NGOs the employment situation of Roma will improve.

Part II Introduction  


    The exact number of the Roma population in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) at the moment is not known. According to the official statistic data from the 1991 consensus there were 8.8642 Roma living in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Data collected at the same time by Roma NGOs give estimates between 60.000 - 80.0003 Roma living in BiH. It can be assumed that the truth lies somewhere in the middle, an estimate of some 50,000 Roma in BiH in 1991 could be appropriate. This would mean that the Roma in BiH are the largest ethnic minority group.

    The main reason for this discrepancy lies is in the fact that during the population census, Roma declared to be Yugoslavs, Muslims or Others. One explanation for this could be the ability of Roma people to adjust to the community in which they live, to accept its customs, religion and language and even to accept their national identification. During the war, but also afterwards and even today, many Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina, depending on their place of residence, still declare themselves members of Bosnjac (Muslim) population.

    Before the war, the Roma in BiH lived just like the Roma in other parts of Yugoslavia. During the time of the previous – united – Yugoslavia the minority rights of the Roma were respected. They describe the period of Tito's rule therefore as their "Golden Age".
    However, with the outbreak of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation for Roma has significantly worsened. The consequences of the war (high rates of unemployment, destruction of property and so on) have pushed them to the margins of society.

    Scope of action:

    During the research the consultant focused on all Roma groups with a special focus on Romani woman and youth. 90% of interviewed Roma were citizens of BiH and the other 10% were refugees and IDPs. These groups can be categorized according to their:

  • Place of residence
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Citizenship
  • Education
  • Employment status / Source of income

    During the research the consultant visited Roma settlements in Doboj - Stara Carsija (RS), Zenica - Blatusa, Sarajevo - Gorica and Cigansko brdo and Tuzla - Crvene njive.
    In these five Roma settlements 167 families or 847 persons live. Most of these people earn their living by collecting raw or recyclable material, by the sale of textile and plastic goods, by the sale of vegetables on the green market and - very few of them – earn their living by begging. According to the information received from Roma NGO representatives from all four towns only 32 Roma persons have regular jobs in the public sector and of these 32 people five are women.

    Table: 1


JKP “Park” and KJKP”RAD”

JKP “Alba” and
City Cemetery

No employees

Communal company




Tuzla Canton





    In general housing conditions are very poor, with the exception of the newly built settlements in Gorica (Sarajevo) and Stara Carsija (Doboj).

    The level of education in all these communities is very low, so only very few of these Roma persons have (finished) secondary education, most of them have unfinished primary school (third or fourth grade only). A large number of the Roma in BiH are illiterate.

    A significant number of the Roma families have not regulated their marital status and their children are not registered with the local authorities.

    All inhabitants declare themselves citizens of BiH.

    Purpose of the study:

    The purpose of this report is to gather information with regard to Roma access to employment. The report will show the actual situation of Roma in BiH and the problems and needs which Roma people face every day. Another reason for writing this report is the widespread discrimination against Roma in all sectors of life especially regarding employment. It is deemed necessary to investigate if this discrimination is based on circumstances and single incidences or if it is systemic and the largest obstacle for Roma in trying to obtain employment. The report will focus on recently adopted legislation and its implementation as well as ratification of international instruments and the BiH government’s compliance with these international standards.

    Data collection

    The information in this report is gathered from various sources and by using different methods which could be described as follows:

    research was conducted in 4 towns in both entities (3 in the Federation of BiH and 1 in Republica Srpska (RS)) and its findings based on two field visits to each town.

    the research in all 4 towns the following groups were interviewed


    woman organizations

    youth NGOs

    individual job seekers

    IDPs and Refugees in camps (collective centres)

    with public and private employers

    with Employment bureaus

    officials at all levels (local, cantonal, federal, state)

    and local NGO sector

    with individual Roma aged between 15-65 years based on random sample

    1. Women 63
    2. Youth 20

      3. Men 55

    All interviewed people could be placed in 4 groups:

  • Domicile (Roma who born in BiH and who, during the war did not leave the country and still live in BiH.)
  • Roma returnees (ones who during the war fled to Western-European countries, mostly Germany and now returned to BiH)
  • Internally Displaced (IDPs), Roma expelled from Republica Srpska
  • Roma refugees from Kosovo and Serbia who came to BiH during the NATO intervention in 1999.

      During the project research the local consultant used different sources of information, which could be classified as follows:

  • Official governmental bulletins
  • Reports by Human rights organisations
  • Official gazettes
  • Local and international NGO reports
  • Statistics
  • Official census data
  • Direct contacts with all project parties mentioned in Draft working plan44
  • Internet/relevant websites

    All information collected was based on reliable and recent materials.

Part III Roma employment situation  

    Number of Roma:

    The Roma population in BiH tends to operate in an invisible way. They believe it is safer not to take part in public life and refrain from getting involved in politics. They merely exist and survive as they have done for generations as unobtrusively as possible. They think they can avoid problems by not declaring themselves Roma. However, Roma have recently been recognised by the Government of BiH, at state and entity level, as a genuine national ethnic minority and legal conditions have been created for the protection of their rights, such as anti-discrimination legislation. The Roma now have the same rights as other minorities in the multicultural society of BiH.

    The fact that Roma do not openly declare themselves Roma makes it very difficult to establish the number of Roma people actually residing in BiH. In the absence of post–war census, no one really knows how many Roma people there are.

    There are estimates, but these vary significantly. Also when looking at the total BiH population differences can be observed. Professor Ilijas Bosnjakovic estimates the population of BiH in 2001 as 3.364,324 people compared to 4. 377,033 people in 1991, signifying a loss of nearly one million. This is also quite different from the official figure of 3.756,806 inhabitants in 2000. A third estimate has recently been made through the Living Standards Measurements Survey (LSMS), which found the population to be 3.514,945, (250.000 less then official figures, and 150,000 higher than Bosnjakovic’s calculation).5

    According to the 1991 census 4.377,033 people lived in BiH including the following national minorities:

  • Albanians 4.925
  • Czechs 590
  • Italians 732
  • Jews 426
  • Hungarians 893
  • Germans 470
  • Polish 526
  • Rumanians 162
  • Russians 297
  • Rusins and Slovaks 297
  • Turkish 267
  • Ukrainians 3.929
  • Unknown 35.670
  • Not nationally proclaimed 14.585
  • Others 17.592
  • Regional belongings 224

    Today, according to estimates of the current population (30.06.2002), the number of inhabitants of BiH is 3.828.397.6

    During the census in 1991 a large number of the BiH population – including Roma - proclaimed themselves Yugoslavs or Muslims (today as Bosniaks), Croats or Serbs. This even occurs today and can be explained as follows:

  • Indifference (not understanding the relevance of) towards the census
  • No proper sense of self-identification
  • Adoption to the surrounding living conditions (acceptation of habits, culture, language, religion and even national identification)
  • Roma with secondary education (or higher), who managed to obtain jobs do not necessarily proclaim themselves Roma (for fear of dismissal – stated by both Roma and confirmed by non-Roma).7

    During the census there were 14,585 people who proclaimed themselves as Yugoslavs, for 35.670 it was not possible to determine which identity they belonged to. This presents the considerable number of 50.255 people which cannot be identified according to ethnic group.

    Development of the labour market:

    The labour market in BiH is burdened with a number of problems. Besides a post-war economic collapse, BiH is also struggling with a transition from the centralised planned economy (“communist”) towards market economy. These two major factors have an enormous impact on the organisation of employment and on the needs and the demands of the labour market and on how these can best be met.
    The current workforce has been educated in a way inappropriate to the contemporary demands of the labour market. Also there is an inertness or inflexibility in the workforce – a dislike among individuals to move from one profession to another. In the previous economic system one obtained a job for life.

    Workforce mobility
    Above all, the labour market is still fragmented and does not provide workforce mobility. Markets in both entities are geographically very restricted, and employers focus primarily on local labour markets. The fragmented state of the BiH economy and the existence of a number of isolated local economies inside each of the two entities are causes for concern; because local markets offer little opportunity for building an economy with the scope and capacity for specialized production and the promotion of comparative advantages of BiH. The smaller the market is, the greater the likelihood of an unstable demand. Local markets offer little opportunity for expanding businesses, and at the same time, for increasing employment. With very low labour mobility, many workers are unlikely to have access to the best job opportunities and employers are unlikely to have the opportunity to recruit the most efficient workforce. The government at all levels does not support the geographic mobility of workers both within each entity and across entities. The low mobility of workers is a result of serious obstacles to returns to properties and jobs. The mobility is conditioned by poor economy and low level of demand. The Entities and regions are closed and burdened with a high unemployment rate. The development planning is fragmented and carried out spontaneously, without any major planning, which would contribute to reducing the unemployment rate and increasing economic growth in the country. In view of such a situation, the chances of the workers trying to increase their salaries and remunerations are limited. There is also lack of information about job and training opportunities outside the local area and across both entities. The low level of the general security situation – there is still widespread discrimination based on ethnic and religious grounds - does not encourage individuals to look for jobs elsewhere.
    In addition there is no workforce mobility in the Balkan region. For fear of terrorism8 borders are more strictly controlled. It is felt that people from FBiH have more opportunities to travel in the region than people from RS.

    Labour legislation
    The existing labour legislation is suited to the demands of a market economy. The labour legislation is mostly harmonised with EU standards. However, the existing labour legislation de jure protects against discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, age, and sex, which de facto is frequently violated.

    Political constraints
    Political divisions impede the mobility of the workforce. A key factor influencing the labour-market situation in the BiH economy is its institutional framework. This includes especially the political system (along constituent people’s lines), which has created a very complex government system and its institutions, but is also reflected in society and its organisations. Both (government and political system) act on the basis of their political preferences and the influence they have, and this gives rise to a social environment marked by certain constellations of power and interests.

    Informal sector
    Large numbers of people are employed in the informal sector, especially the young.

    Employers are not involved in collective decision making over contracts, and as a result the minimum wage is a disincentive to the employment of younger, highly productive workers (especially in the Federation). BiH and the Federation still have no set minimum wage.
    According to Džana Kadribegović, Assistant Minister of Labour and Social Policy, the minimum wage is 500 KM gross, 300 KM net (150 Euro) on a monthly basis.

    Employment Agencies
    Employment agencies have a very narrow scope of activity.
    As far as active employment programs go, the Federal Employment Agency issues credits, while its RS counterpart provides non-repayable grants9, as assistance to companies that present programs for new employment, and organize or issue financing for the pre-training of potential recruits or continued education of employees. Formally, employment agencies are charged with tracking/monitoring the situation on the labour market, and mediating the job search (between potential employers and employees on the job market/acting as mediators). In practice, however, these activities are largely neglected.

    Public procurement

    There is a disparity in the regulations concerning the legal requirement to publish Calls for Tender for work contracts and public procurement. Often such announcements are only made in the local media. This problem is especially visible in FBiH, but is also present at national level.

    Employment / Unemployment indicators
    It is very difficult to get a reliable picture of ethnicity and employment indicators because the employment agencies do not keep statistics along ethnic lines. This can be observed in the official bulletins issued by the employment agencies. On the other hand, the representatives of employment agencies recognize Roma people when they are looking for a job. Unfortunately they do not keep specific records.
    However, in a conversation with a manager of an employment agency in Zenica it became clear that the agencies keep track of the job-seekers ethnic affiliation, in these records Roma are defined as “Others”. A similar situation could be observed in other parts of the country so it appears that the Employment Agency Officers – unofficially - can provide accurate numbers of Roma people who are registered as job-seekers.
    According to the information collected during the consultant’s field visits and interviews carried out with all project parties, the information about employment / unemployment could be classified as follows:
    Federation of BiH (FBiH):
    The data presented below presents an example, which could apply to the whole country.
    The data for registered unemployment numbers according to the nationality was only available in Ze-Do Canton.10

    Table 2.













Total for Canton






















    In an interview with the Employment Agency in Zenica the consultant learned that there are more than 300 Roma people registered, who are looking for jobs through the Employment Agency. Not all of them proclaim themselves Roma. The Employment Agency defined 300 Roma without qualification, 4 Roma are qualified (with secondary education) and at the moment 5 of the registered Roma are employed in Zenica.

    Traditional Roma Occupations:

    It is impossible to do more than generalize about the traditional occupations of the Roma because they have shown themselves to be remarkably adaptable to the changing conditions in different countries. Roma are flexible and earn their living by various means.

    There are a number of occupations, which can be considered traditional or typical Roma occupations, such as, metalworking, dealing in scrap metal, and selling of vegetables or fruits in the green market. In earning a living Roma women are equal to men. It is often the women who sell their wares from door to door and as a specific trade they sometimes offer fortune telling. Generally, Roma occupations are strictly gender divided. Men are the masterminds while women offer services, such as fortune telling, and selling what the men produce.

    Roma have traditionally sought work that could be done while moving around, work which required small and light equipment, as well as work that did not require year-round attention. Because of this, agriculture, which would have required permanent residence, has never interested them until recent times, when Roma began to take on occasional seasonal/ summer jobs as travelling farm workers.

    Roma vendors sell such items as baskets, plastic goods, fabrics, floor brushes, rakes, and cooking utensils.

    Specific Roma occupations could be found, such as:
    Roma have been known as metalworkers from the beginning of their history on the Balkans. They are known to have made nails, tools, arms, and cooking equipment. They were skilled at plating objects with tin, or decoration and engraving jewellery. The Roma have been experts in all forms of metalwork, whether as tinsmiths, coppersmiths – one Roma from BiH exhibits his art works in France – or as silversmiths.
    Roma have not only been master metalworkers, but they have also shown great creativity in devising relatively light equipment, such as forges and hammers. These tools are necessary to their work and are specifically designed to be easily transportable. Knife grinding, umbrella repairs or blade sharpening, was a common occupation for many Roma. Today they cannot be frequently seen sharpening scissors and knives with their portable whet-stone wheels on street corners, as these jobs are disappearing.
    Most of these traditional occupations in metalworking have been transferred to mending of stoves and metal pots, gutter making, automobile body repair, and welding.

    Roma are also famous as entertainers, especially as musicians and singers. Roma musicians and singers have made genuine contributions to the surrounding society and a wedding is not complete without a Roma music band. The instruments traditionally preferred by Roma musicians in Bosnia are the guitar, the accordion, percussion instruments such as the cymbal and drums, trumpets, the violin and contrabass. But today in BiH even Roma musicians are no longer employed. Roma music is performed by local musicians at a higher cost.

  • Fortune Telling

    The occupation for which the Roma have always been most famous is the woman's activity of fortune telling. This is a relatively easy way of earning money.
    This is still a very common practice in BiH. It is being done in special ways, with beans (hunting-game) but also reading from the cup of coffee and reading from hands/cards. This activity is carried out at the Roma woman’s house or in the street.

    There are many reasons why Roma are not making use of self-employment programmes. One of the main reasons is the lack of identity documents. This very often leads to an inability to access employment in other ways such as working as a street vendor (you need a work permit), start-up capital for self-employment or a small business (no access to bank loans without identity documents), etc.
    Another problem is lack of financial resources for starting any kind of small business as this usually requires collateral. Roma very often have nothing to put up as collateral. Even if they may have been house owners, the war very often destroyed their house, and they have not managed to repossess their property due to lack of (valid) papers.
    A low level of education also blocks them from running a legitimate business. In order to run a private business one should have completed secondary school.

    The government also does not consider Roma a priority group for providing them with public locations for starting a business. All the different government levels prioritise war invalids and war veterans in this respect and these groups are very often financed and assisted.
    In principle public locations and work permits could be rented out and within reach of Roma, but without access to financial resources, personal documents, without connections with public servants and overcoming other bureaucratic obstacles, it is quite impossible to obtain the work permit and a legal place to sell the goods. An example: all parking lots in Sarajevo town were given to the war veterans. They charge car owners for parking. The parking lots were given to war veterans and war invalids for special merits during the war and to assist this group in finding employment, as they can no longer serve in the army. As a consequence of the war veterans/invalids obtaining permits to work in public locations, the Roma were forced to sell their goods in the streets without permit, thereby violating the law. Also Roma are feared because they represent competition to other vulnerable people – Roma may be better at selling goods for a more favourable price. This increases the hostility and discrimination directed towards Roma, especially from other vulnerable groups.

    Roma “entrepreneurs” are of the opinion that, if their business includes the preparation of food (fast-food enterprise/shop), they will need to employ non-Roma staff because of the widespread opinion that Roma are dirty and therefore no one will buy food from them. This notion of “Roma being dirty” goes so far that people in BiH do not like to sit close to Roma, therefore buying food prepared by Roma is out of the question.

    Currently the Employment Agencies in FBiH operate with a significant amount of money intended for increasing self-employment. None of the Roma NGOs nor Roma individuals are aware about these specific programs. The credits are with very favourable interest rate, grace period and sufficient for starting small business. The Employment Agencies do not seem to have advertised this activity very well, or only to a limited target group, and the Roma minority has not been addressed.

    Romani woman
    Romani woman are ignored and left marginalized in all aspects of life: education, access to employment, psychosocial and material support. In the light of the post-war situation in BiH, media, local and state authorities are focused on return, reconstruction and reconciliation of majority population. No attention has been paid to the specific problems of minority populations, such as Roma and the problems of Romani women have been completely ignored. Furthermore, inside the Roma community itself, the women have an underprivileged position. In the social life women are not supposed to have a leading position, but act – at best – as personal assistants, due to the patriarchal cultural tradition (both in Balkans in general and in Roma community)
    For Romani women we could say they suffer from a triple form of discrimination:

      Being poor
      Being a Roma
      Being a woman

    On top of the discrimination addressed towards the Roma woman directly for the above stated 3 reasons, they – very frequently – also suffer indirectly from the discrimination the husband suffers.
    When the husband returns home after a day full of humiliation and discrimination, feelings he cannot express and communicate, he takes it out on his wife. As at least at home the husband feels some kind of power. One can imagine what extra suffering this involves for the Roma woman.

    Economic profile of Romani Women:

    In the field of employment also opportunities for Roma women disappeared. Previously Roma women were frequently employed as cleaning-ladies, however, with the shortage of available jobs, even a cleaning-job has become attractive to other parts of the population who were not engaged in this type of employment before. Education is also in such cases a determining factor for employment and excludes Romani women. In the four towns of BiH where research amongst Roma and access to employment was carried out, only five Romani women were employed in the public sector.

    According to information provided by Roma NGO representatives, the majority of the Roma women are housewives. Regarding their professional occupations, the majority of the women responded to be housewives. Some of them could be considered qualified workers, with professions such as hairdressers, textile workers, cooks, etc. The social security benefit they receive is 50 KM (25 Euros) per a month. Some of the women described themselves as street vendors. Many Roma women can also be seen begging in the streets.
    The Romani women who are employed are selling textile goods such as clothes and underwear.

    According to Roma NGO representatives a large number of Romani woman are illiterate (more than 65%) and in the best case have just 3-4 grade of primary school. Approximately 65% of them speak Roma language. There are no Romani women with a finished university degree in BiH.

    The Romani women are registered with the Employment Agency in order to benefit from free health insurance. None of these registered women ever found a job through the employment Agency.

    It is difficult to get a reliable picture of the real situation of Roma women in BiH because of lack of information and/or scientific work in this field. Therefore the information was obtained by taking of a random sample and subsequent analysis of the findings.11

    Romani youth
    For the category of unemployed first time starters the figure is 156,159 for the period up to October 2003. Out of this figure, 59.533 persons have a qualification, which is 58,61% of the total number. Young people generally speaking are disillusioned about finding a job, getting married and having children. The average age of people employed in the formal sector has increased considerably from 36,6 in 1991 to 40 years of age in 200018 Labor Market in After War BiH: How to stimulate companies to open new positions and increase mobility of the workers, WB,, showing the small number of young people having succeeded in obtaining jobs in the formal sector.

    Programmes focusing on the employment of Roma youth do not exist in BiH. Roma youth are faced with discrimination in accessing employment, and the low level of education is used as an excuse for their segregation. This aggravates the already difficult situation of Roma youth. In this way these young people will never have the chance to change their situation. However, the UNDP Mission to Bosnia has recently launched programmes which are targeting Roma Youth.

    Seasonal/temporary work
    As mentioned above Roma are very flexible in earning a living, and seasonal work is one way of earning some money. During the research several cases of seasonal work could be observed.

    During the summer season some Roma go to Croatia and Slovenia to work in the field of construction. In the winter they return to their homes in BiH.

    In BiH there are still reconstruction projects for returnees ongoing. Some Roma are hired by local constructing companies as labour power in these projects. The Roma employed in these projects do not have an employment contract and they are underpaid. They are not treated equally as their non-Roma colleagues, who have social and health insurance as well as pensions. Under the reconstruction project in Doboj, a local constructing company from Zenica employed several Roma. The Roma construction workers did the same type of job as the non-Roma workers but they were not contracted nor secured for injury on the job. The verbally agreed wage of their work was 2 KM per hour. When their engagement ended the remuneration for their work was 1,5 KM with the explanation that they could not be paid the same as the regular workers of that company. Just by the intervention of the NGO who financed that particular project they were compensated as was agreed.

    The opportunity for doing seasonal work is not offered to Roma very often, because of prejudices against them. If the employers can choose, they will prefer to give the job to non-Roma workers.

    Mobility in searching employment

    Many government officials in BiH are of the opinion that Roma cannot find employment because they “do not want to be tied to one place and one job” presuming this is part of the Roma culture. It seems, however, that Roma are moving from one illegal settlement to another (there are more than 70 all over BiH) in order to look for employment rather than for nostalgic reasons. This places them for numerous problems. Children are not going to school and identification documents are more difficult to obtain. It seems this situation has increased after the war, which destroyed many of the Roma houses and left them without regular employment.

    Regional differences:

    In BiH it is very difficult to make a distinction between rural and urban Roma. Most of the Roma communities are close or connected to big(ger) cities, especially because of economic advantages. According to the Cantonal Ministry of Education in Zenica, discrimination against Roma takes the form of prejudice and stereotypes in rural areas, considering this less severe from the discrimination in towns.

    Educational levels & employment
    The majority of the Roma people in BiH have a very low educational level. Over 60% are illiterate. Most of the people have no more than 2-4 years of primary school before they start working – usually in the grey economy, collecting of recyclable materials and street vending. However, even for street sale jobs the street-vendor can be fined if he does not have finished primary school. For self-employment activities – which need to be registered – finished secondary education is required.
    Language skills:
    In BiH the majority language is Serbo-Croatian Bosnian written in two alphabets, Latin and Cyrillic. The majority of Roma people only master one of the alphabets, depending on their place of residence.

    Widespread religion among Roma is Islam and Serbian Orthodox depending on their place of residence.

    Situation of IDPs and refugees:
    There are Roma IDPs, displaced by the war from one entity to another in BiH. Even though their problems can be very serious (houses destroyed during the war – lack of property papers to repossess, etc.), the problems of the Roma IDPs from Kosovo are worse, because they are in an unfamiliar environment, which makes it harder for them to survive and they cannot apply for citizenship.
    In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are between 2,000 and 3,000 Roma from Kosovo. They arrived in three big influxes. In the first influx, between June and November 1998, a lot of Romani people from Kosovo arrived together with Kosovar Albanians (K/Albanians). Out of 15,000 Albanians, 800 were Roma. The majority was originally from Orahovac, Vucitrn, Pec, Decani and Prizren. At that time they were escaping from Serbian terror and expulsions. The second influx of Roma in BiH happened during the NATO air strikes on Kosovo. That is when 50,000 K/Albanians, among whom 2,000 Roma, arrived in BiH. These Roma, just like K/Albanians, were victims of mass deportations, killings, detentions, and robberies. The third influx of Roma in BiH happened after the end of NATO Air strikes. The return of the K/Albanians to Kosovo meant a new expulsion for Roma but this time from another actor.13
    The problem with the Kosovar Roma IDPS is that they cannot apply for asylum in BiH because the BiH Constitution does not allow this possibility.
    Currently, according to the UNHCR and other NGO’s a large number of Roma still resides in collective centers in BiH and private accommodations.14

    Table 3.

Roma in collective centers in BiH






Bos. Petrovac
Roma Collective Center Goricani



Breza RCC Smrekovica




Mostar /RCC / Salakovac










    People without identification documents:
    Research has shown that numerous Roma do not possess personal documents, including birth certificates, identity documents, residence permits and documents proving eligibility for state-provided social welfare, health insurance, and passports.
    Due to the lack of personal documents Roma cannot find fulfilment of their citizen rights and certain provisions taken by law for their protection and security are not within reach. This alienates them even more from mainstream society and creates so many obstacles and barriers that a “normal” life seems out of reach.

    The lack of basic personal documents for Roma has given rise to a situation in which their ability to access services crucial to the realization of a number of fundamental rights and freedoms is threatened and, in many cases, denied. Due to a lack of personal documents, many Roma are excluded in practice from casting a vote in elections, registering residences, and accessing their rights to health care, education, employment and social benefits. Roma people lived and very often still live in the areas that have been affected by the war and suffer from severe hostility against them. The lack of personal documentation makes them even more vulnerable to this post-war hostility as they cannot claim their citizen rights.

    Apart from localized actions by some non-governmental organizations and recommendations issued by the Roma National Board to municipal authorities, little work to date has been undertaken to remedy this problem.

    Child Labour
    For all parties - government and Roma communities alike – begging by Roma children seems an embarrassing problem, which is not so easy to address. During the aftermath of the war, the large international community and the Muslim tradition to pay a percentage of the income to charitable cases, this has become quite a lucrative business. The overwhelming poverty of Roma must also have stimulated this phenomena. It is worrying, however, that this business has become more noticeably organised. Even from Serbia “professional” beggars go to BiH for the summer season. As the sex-trafficking industry in BiH seems to decrease, the international community might invest available capacity and resources in dismantling this humiliating and exploitative business, so that the rights of the child can be properly protected and children have a chance to go to school. This cannot be done, however, without providing Roma parents with decent living conditions, including regular employment.

    Conclusions: The employment situation for Roma in BiH can be considered extremely bad. An indicator for this is for instance the fact that Roma hide their identity if they have secondary education and managed to secure a job place. Another indicator is the mobility Roma display in their search for employment. It can be assumed that only in severe cases people show such flexibility in their job search. Another extreme example for obtaining some family income can be found in begging of women and children. In principle Roma treasure their children (it is one of their intrinsic values), but only if forced by appalling living conditions will they opt for begging as a way to obtain some income for the family. That the options for employment of Roma are deteriorating can be seen on a daily basis. One factory after another is closing and the number of redundancies is increasing, making the competition for the few available jobs more severe. Roma are at a disadvantage for most of the available jobs require certain education levels and very often Roma have not even finished primary school. Even Roma musicians are no longer in demand. Their music can still be heard but performed by others at a higher cost. This means that Roma are actively marginalized and that without any specific, pro-active government interventions they will not manage to obtain and secure employment and can become an easy target for exploitation by majority population in general and at the work place.

    In order to prevent further marginalisation of Roma, registration (for personal identification documents) of Roma should take place, free of charge, so that Roma are at least entitled to basic benefits in the field of social and health security. The government should also include Romani Women and Youth in future employment programmes.

Part IV Employment policy development and implementation  

    1. National Employment policy and other relevant policies in the field of employment

    Equality issues

    An employment policy as well as Labour legislation at BiH state level does not exist. There are two types of legislation on Labour at the level of the entities. The Law on Labour ensures equality at work. This law is very general and is sometimes not applicable at the Cantonal level.15 One of the legal obligations of the Employment Agencies is the collection of data, which will then be forwarded to the Statistics Agency (at all levels) for processing.

    The Constitutions (BiH, RS FBiH) of BiH, article 4, as well as the Constitution of FBiH chapter II A Article 2, Paragraph 1, and RS, Article 10, guarantee the equality principles and prohibition of discrimination conform the international human rights standards. According to the Dayton peace agreement, BiH is the co-signer of many international agreements which prohibit all forms of discrimination as laid down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention, European Convention on Human Rights, etc. However, no priority is given to equality issues as the government is barely able to handle all the employment issues caused by the transition phase the country finds itself in.

    The existence of anti-discrimination provisions alone is obviously insufficient to promote, prevent and resolve unfair employment practices. A well-articulated strategy is necessary to ensure an understanding of the laws by the relevant actors, the methodical development of fair employment practices in the private and public sectors and secure efficiency in prevention and restore mechanisms of its application in practice.

    Thousands of workers - who are formally employed - work for months without pay, without pension and health insurance, are waiting for their companies to file for bankruptcy or waiting for uncertain privatisation. Authorities are offering no solution to these existential issues, or are using symbolic one-time financial assistance to appease strikes and put off solving problems. Workers from "Zenica Steelworks," "BH-steel-Željezara", "Žitoprerada" (Bihać), "Rad" (Cazin), "Polihem" (Tuzla), "Hepok", "Soko" and Aluminij" (Mostar), as well as thousands of workers with unsolved legal status across FBiH, have been expecting answers to their unresolved employment status from authorities for years. In Sarajevo Canton, strikes staged by the workers of many enterprises, who scratch out a living without pay, pension or health insurance, were left without appropriate reaction from authorities.

    At this point the government is not committed to developing, maintaining and supporting a policy of equal opportunities in employment.
    Even at the end of 2002, two years after the law had defined rights on this ground, former workers are just as far from the exercise of rights guaranteed under Article 143. Concretely, cantonal commissions, even after two years, have not decided on all complaints filed by workers, nor do all commissions have the requirements needed to decide on workers' complaints. In the area of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, the Cantonal Commission for the Implementation of Article 143 of the Law on Labour has not operated since November 2001 and in the area of Central Bosnia Canton - since April 2001. In neither case did the authorities take measures to provide requirements for the work of these commissions. Bearing in mind that in the Central Bosnia Canton only, around 11,000 complaints were lodged by workers related to the exercise of rights ensuing from Article 143, it is evident that bodies of governance - by failing to create requirements for the work of commissions, which serve as a mechanism for the exercise of workers' rights - clearly show little respect towards the rights of workers guaranteed under this law. But even in cantons in which these commissions operate, the total number of decided complaints and complaints decided in favour of workers is insignificant. For example, in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, out of 3,647 reported complaints for regulating labour status, only 230 complaints were decided with the plaintiff's complaints being accepted, but in the majority of these cases employers then lodged complaints with the Federation Commission and these have not been decided yet.

    According to data on the work of the Cantonal Commission in Sarajevo, out of 14,000 complaints that this commission is responsible for, 11,000 complaints were decided by December 1, 2002, of which 20% were decided in favour of plaintiffs and 80% of the complaints were rejected.16

    The government failed to create effective mechanism and conditions in which applicants will be treated equitably regardless of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, faith, disability, staff category, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental status, political belief or social or economic class, or any other criteria that are properly justifiable. The government has not developed programmes and procedures which comply with current and future legislation, to ensure that its values and purposes are maintained and enhanced by emphasizing equality of opportunity while also sustaining and accepting diversity.

    Anti-discrimination measures are formally incorporated in the Law on Labour but this law cannot prevent or stop discrimination without effective reinforcement mechanisms and control. The supervision of the implementation of this law lies in the hands of the Labour inspectorates on different levels of state structure (FBiH, cantonal, RS and state level). The Criminal Law defines the specific rights and obligations as well as sanctions if the law is violated.

    All international agreements and Conventions for the prevention of discrimination are incorporated in the Constitution for BIH, FBiH or RS, but at the moment these regulations lack effective policy implementation power.

    The implementation of the equality principle needs to be kept under constant review. This process involves the creation of codes of practice; establishing procedures; describing good practice within the government as well as the industry; setting goals to ensure the momentum of implementation is maintained.


    As is mentioned above a general employment policy does not exist and therefore mainstreaming of vulnerable groups such as Roma into employment policies is not carried out. From time to time the government implements certain assistance programmes, which should help specific vulnerable groups but these programs are not developed into an employment strategy because they are temporary and just implemented to diminish some burning problems. Most attention is paid to minority returnees and they are faced with similar problems as Roma population but they are assisted in resolving their problems.

    Other ethnic minorities, IDPs, persons with disabilities and young people are encountering similar problems as Roma, but discrimination against them is not so openly expressed as against Roma. These groups (with the exception of people with disabilities) are better organized and they have more influence on the government so that they receive more assistance in solving their problems.

    Under the auspices of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees a “Roma Advisory Board” has been established, it consists of 18 members:

  • 3 members - from the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, Ministry for European Integration and Agency for Statistics of BiH (state level);
  • 3 members from each entity level - Ministry of Education, Ministry for Science and Culture, Ministry of Health and Social Security and Ministry for Urbanism and Environment, Ministry for Social Affairs, Displaced Persons and Refugees;
  • 9 Roma representatives elected by BiH Council of Roma

    This body should develop the Strategy for Roma in following areas:

  • Education
  • Health care
  • Employment and social care
  • Refugees and IDPs and property return
  • Housing
  • Establishment and work of media

    This so called strategy (National Action Plan 2002 - 2006) currently contains a summary of the problems Roma population face on a daily basis in BiH.

    Since this Board started to work on 24 July 2002, none of the above mentioned problems have been elaborated upon and no strategy nor sector policies on Roma issues have been devised so far. Roma representatives were included into developing this “National Action Plan”, however, as no clear results have been achieved, they are disappointed with the work of the Roma Board. The Roma representatives claim that this Board has been established as a formality to satisfy them, but without any real power and means to create an effective change for Roma population in BiH. All Roma representatives expected to be partners to the government in making decisions and creating policies. The Board meets every two months. Although this body is elected and act as part of BiH Council of Ministers, they have no government budget-line. Elected entity ministers, with the exception of two from state level, do not come to regular meetings and when they come they are passive. The meetings were so far mainly reduced to drafting a summary of what the OSCE Mission to Bosnia is intending to achieve in the field of Roma rights. From the adopted National Action Plan only the organisation of one soccer game has been carried out. The budget for the work of the Roma Board in 2002 was 10.000 KM (5,000 Euro not even enough to cover transportation costs), this is secured from the rebalance of the budget by the end of the fiscal year. Financial means for the work of this Board will be made available partially from the government budget and donations from the IGOs and NGO’s.

    Equal opportunity policies

    The (draft) Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) states that regarding the equality at work and access to employment, discrimination against women is present and has the highest rate in the region.17 According to the study “Gender and Poverty”18 the worst cases of inequality were noticed for IDPs because they can hardly ever find a job and they are forced to accept jobs, which other people refuse to carry out. Discrimination on ethnic grounds is noticed against returnee women who cannot find jobs in public administration and public companies. The situation for women is similar in private companies - women have smaller salaries, less possibility for being promoted at work and are at the bottom of the list when applying for jobs. Women are also the first who are being dismissed.

    In the PRSP Roma people were mentioned in just one place and as a vulnerable group not as an ethnic minority group.

    According to the Constitution, the Law on Labour, it is the obligation of all government levels to follow the regulations, which include prevention of discrimination in access to employment and discrimination at the work place in any shape or form.

    In this framework the Gender Center has been established with the task to achieve gender equality and equity as preconditions for democracy and general prosperity of society. The purpose of this project is the integration and mainstreaming of gender equality and equity through developing methods and means, the final goal being the efficient usage of available human resources in the society. Romani women as a particularly vulnerable group are not addressed in any of the documents that deal with gender equality and equity.

    Public procurement policies

    Regulations about tendering procedures for public works and public procurement do not take into account the equality principle and a Law on public procurement does not exist. The existing regulations do not refer specifically to disadvantaged groups in society, nor do they mention Roma population.

    According to analyses done by the World Bank, the current system of public procurement in BiH is inadequate and extremely fragmented.

    Coordination among ministries
    Does not exist.

    2. National strategy for the improvement of the situation of Roma - on employment

    Brief description of the Roma national strategy:

    To comment on the Roma Strategy (National Action Plan) and its chapter on employment is not very relevant as the “Strategy” is in a very early stage of development. The “National Action Plan” is basically a summary of the problems of Roma people in every day life, without any recommendations for solutions, plans for action and or a defined strategy with goals, objectives, purpose, outcomes, indicators, etc. The National Action Plan has defined a timeframe of 4 years and a number of stakeholders. The Roma representatives were involved on an equal basis in what has been developed so far.

    Comment on the general objectives:

    One of the problems mentioned in this document is employment, in summary it reads like this: “[…] Employment is directly related to education and health care and if we achieve good results in the area of education for Roma people, a better position for their employment will be created”. The time frame for achieving this objective is “ongoing”.

    Implementation of Roma employment policy:

    Taking into account the fact that an employment policy for Roma does not exist it is not possible to track its implementation.
    When the consultant visited mentioned municipalities, employment bureaus, Ministries for Labour and Social Policies, in selected towns and mentioned the Roma employment policy, no one of the interlocutors was informed about this.

    Is there any employment office that has developed specific policies or issued guidelines / internal instructions for Roma employment?

    The law defined the responsibilities of Employment Agencies in FBiH as follows:

  • To monitor and provide measures for improvement of employment and social security for unemployed persons;
  • To monitor and put into effect the set policy and measures in the field of labour and employment on the territory of FBiH and to inform responsible Federal ministry;
  • To govern financial means allocated for unemployed persons in accordance with this law;
  • To monitor, harmonise and co-ordinate work of employment offices in FBiH for the benefit of unemployed persons;
  • To monitor and recommend measures for increasing of employment of disabled persons and their professional rehabilitation and secure conditions for their employment in a co-operation with employment offices;  
  • To provide assistance in access to programmes of vocational training for unemployed persons and their redeployment;
  • To merge and record data from the field of labour and employment in FBiH and recommend the measures and necessary financial means for development and functioning of a unique information system in this field;
  • To monitor effects of international agreements and MoU’s from the field of labour and employment which are related to FBiH;
  • Represent employment offices in relation with BiH, FBiH and RS governmental bodies;  
  • Permit employment of foreign citizens and statelessness persons on proposition of employment offices in accordance with the Law on employment of foreign citizens;
  • Monitor and take the steps in creation of conditions for employment of citizens that return from abroad and their redeployment;
  • Perform other duties in accordance with the law and book of rule of Federal Employment Agency and harmonise the recommendations from ILO;
  • Submit annual report to the Federal Parliament of BiH;  
  • The structure and the way of work of the Federal Employment Agency are based on Statutes and other legal acts.

    There is widespread acknowledgement that the Employment Agencies do not, by EU standards, play an important enough role in the particular function of labour market brokering - bringing together jobs and workers. The Employment Agency’s legal framework, as presently established, leads to an over emphasis upon passive rather than active labour market measures. There is a great use of informal methods of job search and recruitment such as personal contacts or help from friends and family.

    3. Policy implementation and monitoring

    As was mentioned above the Roma Strategy/National Action Plan does not contain anything concrete, which could be called measures and mechanism for implementation or monitoring.

    One of the actions from the National Action Plan, which has started, is the registration of Roma people (birth certificates, obtaining personal documents and citizenship) in co-ordination with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Roma Advisory Board recommended municipal authorities to not charge or reduce the fee for registration of Roma people. This recommendation has been disseminated to 60 municipalities but so far no information is available about the results of this action.

    The Roma Advisory Board does not have any commission for monitoring the implementation; all information collected from the field is collected through Roma NGOs on a voluntary basis. The information gathered in this way is very often incorrect and not reliable. Coordination among the ministries at all levels is very poor and not functioning well because of the government structure. Some of the reasons could be summarised as the inefficient structure of the state, different political platforms, ethnic intolerance and bureaucracy.

    This means monitoring as well as reporting does not take place.

    4. The role of key institutions in promoting equality in employment for Roma:

    Employment services:

    Employment Agencies, providing employment services, are a public institution and they work according to the law. They have an Operation Manual, which has clearly defined procedures. In this manual the basic Conventions of Human Rights are incorporated and the agencies should work on the promotion of equal opportunities in access to employment.

    The Employment Agencies have no specific programmes for Roma and other vulnerable groups, but some of the employment agencies developed projects for self-employment. The employment agencies provide credits for self-employment in the range of 10.000 Euro per one created job place. The interest rate is very favourable - 4% - with a grace period of one year. Every one, who can provide guarantees for repayment can apply for such a credit.

    From the beginning, Roma were excluded from applying for such credits because they did not match the criteria. The Government did not want to interfere and therefore did not give guarantees specifically for Roma people. The Roma NGO’s were not even informed of this credit programme nor of any other programmes implemented by the Employment Agencies, such as job-subsidies and other job-creation programmes (e.g. public works). It could be assumed that the Employment Agencies did not implement these programmes in conjunction with local communities and other actors and there was no strengthening of partnership at the local level, which could ensure co-funding by local resources programmes. No pro-active approach is taken to include specifically vulnerable groups, let alone Roma.

    Special programmes for employment of disabled and vulnerable groups are also not developed in co-operation with specialized organizations (e.g. Education institutions, The Institutions for Rehabilitation of Disabled, etc.).

    The government of BiH is not quite skilful yet at creating conditions for employment and frequently withdraws into its old role of providing state employment to as many people as possible, instead of creating an environment which will attract local and foreign investments, providing employment opportunities. For instance in RS the main employer is public administration, in other words the government.

    Besides creating employment opportunities, the government also needs to ensure effective employment services, to assist those losing their jobs in the course of transition. Unfortunately, this also has not been happening. A recent audit of the employment institutes has revealed that the Federation Employment Bureau, instead of providing funds for unemployment benefits to dismissed workers, spent most of its funds on credits and grants to companies, but with little monitoring on how these funds were used towards the creation of new jobs. Of approximately KM 34 million spent by the Bureau last year, less than KM 1 million was used for unemployment benefits. The Institute was reluctant to give the auditors detailed information on how the balance of KM 33 million was actually spent even though the full amount should be used as a “stimulus” for employment.

    As long as politicians and managers of government employment bureaus continue to believe in 42% unemployment, and are not more active in creating jobs or creating favourable environments for investment and towards job-creation especially for the long-term employed, BiH will not be in a position to establish a growing, dynamic, economy with a private sector offering thousands of new jobs to the young and to the real unemployed.
    According to a recent World Bank report the ratio of unemployment is 16 – 20 %. Many people, especially the young, work in the informal sector.

    Employment Services implement the basic activities

  • Job brokering and job-search assistance and advice
  • Management and payment of unemployment benefits
  • Occupational (job) information and guidance for unemployed people
  • Occupational (job) information and guidance for young people (starters on the job-market – those who never worked before).
  • Training and education programmes for unemployed people (The law on labour defined - "unemployed" as a "person who is looking for a job" (registered with the unemployment bureau, actively seeking a job). According to this law anyone can apply for this but in practice this is very rarely happening. On average the employment offices have large numbers of registered unemployed skilled workers who have no need for education programmes and training.
  • Job-subsidies and other job –creation programmes (e.g. public works)
  • Special programmes for redundant workers in the companies (not implemented in BiH)
  • Programmes for facilitating self-employment among unemployed
  • Labour market information (statistics, analysis etc.)
  • Issuing work-permits to foreign workers
  • Other activities

    Despite the differences between employment agencies, there are some common characteristics that should be emphasized: employment agencies implement all the basic activities of the public employment services and they all function more or less in the same way. However, there are differences in when they implement activities and in the level of the implementation of the activities. This depends mostly on economic power of a certain region, education background of Agency’s employee, transparency in work, etc.

    Labour Inspectorates and their role

    Labour inspectorates have the role to supervise the correct execution of the Law on Labour and its regulations. Labour inspectorates can be found at different levels; FBiH, cantonal, RS and municipal.

    The Labour Inspectors work mainly on trying to reduce the number of “black” workers and respond to violations of labour rights.

    Responds to violations of labour rights are dealt with as follows:

      - The Labour Inspectors have to respond to a complaint within 10 days and to visit the employer – they do not always manage to do this, due to an overload of work

  • On the visit they make a research and a report
  • They take measures, try to mediate between workers and employer
  • Sometimes they take immediate action.

    Sanctions: employer has time to remove the violations, second visit, than sanctions.

    Based on this law, each employee, trade union, employer or the council of employees within a firm can request from the labour inspector an “independent” inspection if there is a conflict involving a labour dispute.
    In practice the labour inspectors are not involved very much because:

  • Workers are not familiar with their rights
  • Workers will be frightened to lose their jobs, if they complain
  • Corruption of public servants
  • Long Court processes
  • Ombudsman recommendations are not compulsory

    The sanctions are very weak and it is very hard to proof if a violation of the Labour Law has occurred. In some cases the workers request from their employers not to sign the work agreement because they are officially employed somewhere else but actually they are laid off and in that way putting themselves into an unfavourable position.
    In some cases, the employers know exactly when the labour inspectors will come to visit them and so they have time to hide all evidence of human rights violations. In other cases inspectors have been threatened if they plan to start sanctions.

    The Labour inspectorates do not seem to fulfil their role of promoting equality at work or other advisory tasks they have, even though their competences (prevention of irregularities at work) have been well defined by law and appropriate sanctions exists. Unfortunately the Law may not be all inclusive of all the challenges, which can emerge and sometimes is might be easier to close an eye rather than resists political pressure and to prevent long court cases for plaintiffs. The Labour Inspectors that were involved in the research complained about the complexity of their competences and the law and advocated for more transparency, clearer procedures in the law.

    5. Role of the Social Partners
    Trade Union
    The BiH Law on Associations and Foundations, adopted in December 2001 does not have provisions for registering a Union Federation at BiH level. Union membership in FBiH and RS tend to be ethnically based, except in the district of Brčko where a multiethnic Union was established in 2000. Unionisation rates in the formal sector are as high as 70% in the Federation. While the Savez Sindikata Republike Srpske or the Confederation of Trade Unions (SSRS) organises workers in RS, the Savez Samostalnih Sindikata Bosne i Hercegovine or the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (SSSBiH) does the same in FBiH, although it has intentions of organisation in both entities. The SSSBiH is the legal successor of the former Trade Union Confederation of Socialist Republic of BiH (ex-Yugoslavia) that re-registered in 1991 and changed its name to the present one, while SSRS was founded in 1992. However there are negotiations towards closer co-operation (and possible merger) of the two confederations as a step towards affiliation to the International Confederation of Free trade unions (ICFTU).
    The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia-Herzegovina (SSSBiH) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Republika Srpska (SSRS) have agreed to work together and form an umbrella organisation by the end of November 2003. The organisation is called the Confederation of Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It will represent workers before the BiH state authorities and international institutions and will co-operate with global union federations. The new confederation’s objectives include improving the economic development of Bosnia and Herzegovina, improving the social situation and legal rights of workers and carrying out education, training and information. The confederation will be applying for affiliation to the ICFTU.

    Freedom of association is included in the Labour Law of both FBiH and RS. All workers, including migrant workers, are free to join Trade Unions, with the exception of the military. The fact that there was no unified labour code covering the whole state created obstacles to Trade Union registration. The Law on Associations and Foundations, covering the whole of BiH, was adopted in December 2001, but it does not provide the mechanisms for registering a federation at BiH level. There are no legal sanctions against employers who obstruct union organising. Financial penalties are foreseen for anti-union discrimination against individuals, but this can be hard to prove.
    The time limitations prescribed in the legislation for the registration of Trade Unions are very short and are, according to the ILO, equivalent to a system of prior authorisation. Exceeding such limitations may lead to disproportionate penalties, such as the dissolution of the organisation in question or cancellation of its registration.

    Strikes are limited in the public service. The right to strike is recognised, although there are some limitations. In the Federation, a strike must be notified to the employer in writing, no later than ten days before the beginning of the strike. The written notification must list the reasons for the strike, the locality, and the date and time at which the strike is to take place. The law requires that “production maintenance” be ensured during a strike. How this is to be done must be worked out in advance with the employer and announced on the day the strike is due to start. Furthermore, the employers interpret “production maintenance” as meaning continuing production as usual, making a strike meaningless. In RS, a minimum service must be provided by enterprises categorised as public services, the list of which is excessively long. Workers in these enterprises must give at least eight days' notice before striking.

    The right to collective bargaining is recognised in both entities. The Brcko District of BiH has a separate Labour Law which came into force in December 2000 and stipulates that collective agreements will be regulated by a separate law for the District. No such law has come into force yet, meaning that collective bargaining rights are not recognised or practised in Brcko (period 2003).

    Council of Employees
    Employees have the right to establish a Council of Employees at the company which employs more then 15 workers in order to represent them in front of employer and protect their rights. If this council of employees is not established, the Trade Union takes their responsibilities. Employer cannot interfere or influence the work of the Council of Employees. They provide opinions and recommendations to the employer regarding the Book of Rule on labour in company, improving working conditions, planning of vacation, etc. Their decisions are advisory not obligatory.

    Employers Association
    Employers association In Federation as well in RS is non governmental, non-political and non profit organisation of employers and entrepreneurs and the one and only legitimate and authentic representative of their interest. One of the basic goals of this organisation is to protect the interest of employers and entrepreneurs in tripartite relationship with Government and Trade Unions. Their goal is also the development of social dialogue between partners and establishment of business co-operation with international organisation and institutions. Employers and entrepreneurs from all fields of business have joined together in order to make changes and create better conditions in business environment.

    Conclusions: Some important legislation on labour exists but due to lack of a coherent strategy and policies on specific employment of equality issues, this legislation is far from adequate and guarantees only a minimum of securities.
    Also a Strategy on Roma issues is in an underdeveloped stage and needs to be elaborated, as well as adequate policies for employment at sectoral and municipal level. Due to the lack of legal instruments and strategies/policies no effective implementation and monitoring can be carried out. The key role of Employment Agencies and Labour Inspectorates – even though clearly defined by law – cannot be carried out due to lack of capacity and resources. The role of the social partners is not very strong in a society where the government is trying to adapt to its changing role in a market economy. It seems there is not a clear vision on the role of the government in this changing environment, which paralyses progress.

V Legislative framework  

    Law on Labour in RS is divided into 15 parts, in FBiH into 22 parts.

    Part I contains general provisions, such as basic rights, obligations and responsibilities of employees, and prohibition of discrimination.

    Part II regulates establishment of employment relations, including labour contract, probation period, apprenticeship/internship, and voluntary work.

    Part III deals with working hours, overtime, work in shifts (irregular working hours) and night work.

    Part IV provides for breaks and leaves.

    Part V contains provisions regarding occupational health and safety, protection of women and young workers, maternity protection and maternity leave, prohibition of dismissal during pregnancy/maternity leave and/or illness, and provisions related to disabled persons.

    Part VI stipulates wage categories. The worker attains the right on salary in accordance with Collective bargaining, the Book of Rule on labour or labour contract. Collective bargaining determines lowest salary.

    Part VII deals with compensation of damage. Responsibility for violation of obligation from the Book of Rule on labour and material liability. The damage that might happen during the work and is caused by a worker or a group of workers. Any kind of damage that may happen, for instance, poor handling of equipment.

    Part VIII contains competition clauses.

    Part IX deals with protection of workers' rights. If the worker feels that the employer committed a violation against his labour rights (employer cannot order to a worker to do something which can endanger his life or the life of a third person) he can ask from employer termination of the decision but it has to be in the period of 30 days after written notification. If the employer does not respond to the worker’s request, the worker can ask protection of his rights by court of law in the period of one year. Part one deals with the discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, national minority affiliation, property, birth or other status.
    Part X contains provisions regarding Work Councils.

    Part XI deals with termination of employment.

    Part XII provides for collective agreements. Collective bargaining regulates the scope and the way of fulfilling the rights and responsibilities, which come from employment in accordance with the law and other regulations, such as procedures of collective agreement, structure and the way of work of authorized bodies for resolution in normal manners of disputes between workers and employers. The law on labour recognizes collective bargaining on three levels. The first level reaches collective bargaining, which is accepted by the government, the Trade Unions and the representative of the employer’s association.
    At the second level comes branch collective bargaining, and within the law on labour a third possibility is included for creation of individual collective bargaining. Finally, each new employer who employs more then 15 workers has an obligation to bring the Book of Rule on labour. The Labour contract, which is signed by the employer and the employees, regulates mutual rights and responsibilities, not just the salaries.

    Part XIII for special provisions. This part discusses the creation of economic – social councils, which should provide an incentive for the creation of collective bargaining between workers and employers. These councils are consisting of 9 members, Government, Trade Unions and Employers Association nominates them. Paragraph 2 in this part discusses the right to strike.

    Part XIV for penalties. This part elaborates the type of violations of labour rights and prescribes penalties for such violations. The Labour inspectors are responsible for violations of labour rights and they give recommendations and fines.

    Part XV contains transitional and final provisions. Transitional and final provisions discusses the workers rights on remuneration for those who are on laid off lists and determines who is responsible to remunerate the workers. Furthermore an average remuneration is discussed.

    Declarative Rights versus applicable rights

    In BiH there is a very specific constitutional situation. In the difficult post-war situation with permanently high political tensions, poverty, economic collapse and so on it is unrealistic to expect that all BiH inhabitants have internalised the protocols of the convention on human rights and follow this in all their actions. However, the BiH government is trying to adhere and implement this convention whenever it is feasible. This means though that human rights are more declarative rights than actively applied. This is especially true where women are concerned.

    The implementation of economic and social rights requires positive interventions of the state, which also depends on economic prosperity in order to improve their implementation and quality.

    In BiH, a post war country with an economy that has not recovered and transformed even after 8 years of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the European Social Charter is fully incorporated in the BiH Constitution and has the force of constitutional provisions.

    In both entities (RS and FBiH), the Labour Law incorporates the following economic and social rights for workers:

    right to work;

    right to just conditions of work;

    right to safe and healthy working conditions;

    right to a fair remuneration;

    right to organize;

    right to bargain collectively;

    right of children and young persons to protection;

    right of employed women to protection;

    right to vocational guidance;

    The right to vocational training;

    The right to protection of health;

    The right to social security;

    The right to social and medical assistance;

    The right to benefit from the social welfare services;

    The right of physically or mentally disabled persons to vocational training, rehabilitation and social resettlement;

    The right of the family to social, legal and economic protection;

    The right of mothers and children to social and economic protection;

    The right to engage in a profitable occupation in the territory of other Contracting Parties; 19.  The right of migrant workers and their families to protection and assistance.

    Each of these articles comprises several paragraphs (total of 72) mentioning in detail what these rights entail. There are simultaneously 72 different obligations in this Labour Law. The enforcement of this law is not carried out very actively either in FBiH or RS.
    Anti-discrimination legislation:
    The central government and both entities ensure through the Constitution the highest level of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. These rights and freedoms are set forth in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols, which shall be applied in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and have priority over all other laws.

    The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms provided in the Constitution or in the international agreements listed in Annex I of the Constitution shall be secured to all persons in BiH without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, national minority affiliation, property, birth or other status.

    Following are the Conventions and international agreements ratified by BiH published in Annex I of the BiH Constitution:

    1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
    2. 1949 Geneva Conventions I-IV on the Protection of the Victims of War, and the 1977 Geneva Protocols I-II
    3. 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1966 Protocol
    4. 1957 Convention on the Nationality of Married Women
    5. 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
    6. 1965 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
    7. 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the 1966 and 1989 Optional Protocols
    8. 1966 Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
    9. 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
    10. 1984 Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    11. 1987 European Convention on the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
    12. 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child
    13. 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
    14. 1992 European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
    15. 1994 Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

    Addressing racial and ethnic discrimination in employment
    BiH ratified and put into force all relevant international instruments regarding the protection of human rights as well as ILO Convention 111 concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. The solemn fact remains of a clear discrepancy between the above mentioned international standards, which in BiH have priority over all the other laws, and the prevailing situation, in which human right violations are regularly observed and reported.
    The very complex social system, the social heritage and permanent political tensions, corruption, and other factors is slowing down the democratisation process and is putting aside the implementation of human rights standards and adherence to other ratified international instruments. With the adoption of international standards in BIH, institutions were developed for their practical application. However only the Ombudsman’s Office is currently active, whose decisions have the power of recommendations and are not binding.
    If a person lodges a complaint regarding discrimination at work or discrimination in access to work, this formal complaint travels a long way through the local legal system, and usually no adequate measure (or fine) can be imposed. This indicates that the legislation at local level is not implemented correctly. Reports from the Ombudsman’s Office state that most human rights violations and subsequent complaints occur in the field of employment.


    The Constitution of BiH (Article 4) as well as the Constitutions of the FBiH Chapter II.A, Article 2.1) and RS (Article 10) guarantee the principles of non-discrimination and equality as stipulated by international human rights standards. The Federation Law on Labour Relations and the RS Law on Labour prohibit discrimination in employment in the workplace (Article 5).
    Moreover, under the Dayton Peace Agreement, BiH is a party to a wide range of international treaties prohibiting all forms of discrimination, including in the field of labour. These fundamental instruments, which are to prevail over the entity laws, include:

  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Articles 6 and 7);
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination;
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
  • ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation
  • The European Social Charter (which only applies to FBiH, according to the Washington Agreement) (Preamble, Articles 1.2 and 5).

    In the Constitution it is declared that BiH itself, as well as its entities should ensure the highest level of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms. To that end the rights and freedoms set forth in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and its Protocols apply directly in BiH. Furthermore, these instruments have explicitly priority over all domestic law.

    Court Proceedings:

    Proceedings could involve a municipal or first instance court, in FBiH a cantonal court, the entity Supreme Court, the entity Constitutional Court, the entity Ombudsman, and, at state level, the BiH Human Rights Ombudsman and the BiH Constitutional Court.

    The Federation Constitutional Court may review the compatibility of any federation or local law with the Federation Constitution upon the request of selected high government officials or upon referral by the Federation Supreme Court or a cantonal court. It also has jurisdiction over disputes between cantons, between a canton and the Federation, between a municipality and its canton or the Federation, and between Federation institutions. It is composed of nine judges, of whom three are Serbs, three are Croats, and three are Bosniaks.

    The Federation Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals in the Federation for matters involving questions of Federation law. It also is responsible for reviewing administrative acts of Federation institutions. The Court has a first instance criminal division in which cases involving charges under the Federation criminal code are brought. A separate division of the Court hears appeals from the decisions in such cases. The vast majority of cases in the Federation are brought before the cantonal and municipal courts. Municipal courts are courts of first instance in most civil cases, and in criminal cases, courts where the punishment may be imprisonment for up to ten years. Courts also deal with employment cases and land registration.

    Cantonal courts handle appeals of municipal court decisions, and they serve as first instance courts in criminal cases punishable by more than ten years' imprisonment, bankruptcy and liquidation disputes, and a number of other specialized areas. They typically also have jurisdiction to review municipal and cantonal administrative decisions.

    Like its Federation counterpart, the RS Constitutional Court decides whether legislation within the entity comports with its constitution. Pursuant to the RS Constitution, anyone can initiate proceedings before the court. However, only the President of the RS, the National Assembly, and the government can initiate proceedings without restriction. The court itself may initiate proceedings to assess the constitutionality of laws. The court is composed of seven judges.

    The RS Supreme Court is the highest appeal body in RS. It has jurisdiction over appeals from all district court rulings and may review final administrative actions of RS-level agencies.

    The basic courts have a role similar to that of municipal courts in the Federation. They serve as first instance courts in criminal cases punishable up to less than 20 years' imprisonment and in a variety of civil, property, employment, and commercial cases. The district courts hear appeals from basic court decisions, and they serve as first instance courts in criminal cases punishable by 20 years' imprisonment or more as well as in certain specialized areas of law. They also may review local administrative rulings.

    The Basic Court is the first instance court of general jurisdiction in the Brcko District, handling civil, criminal, and other cases. The Appeal Court handles all appeals from the Basic Court, and it is the highest judicial body in the District. Both courts have jurisdiction to determine whether any provision of District law is incompatible with the BiH Constitution or the quasi-constitutional Statute of the Brcko District.

    The only court at the state level to date is the BiH Constitutional Court. It is composed of nine judges, including three international members and two members from each of the three constituent groups of the country. The Court has exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising under the BiH Constitution between the entities, the state and an entity, or between state institutions. It also has appeal jurisdiction over issues under the BiH Constitution arising out of a judgment of any court in the country. Upon referral from any court, it shall determine the compatibility of any law with the BiH Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

    Despite all these mechanisms, BiH unfortunately still has to meet European human rights standards in practice. Many reports on the human rights situation in BiH have been drawn up during the last eight years. A common point of reference has been the overall lack of respect for human rights, resulting in severe mass violations of human rights, while discrimination on ethnic grounds is still ongoing.

    It should be mentioned, however, that most of the laws which Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted were imposed by international community or by the Office of the High Representative.

    Labour law
    Discrimination in employment is one of the human rights violations most widely reported throughout BiH. This type of discrimination is most commonly based on: ethnic origin, political opinion, affiliation (or non-affiliation), and participation in trade union activities or gender. Minority returnees are a particular target of discriminatory practices.
    As a significant prevention to minority return and as an obvious obstacle to the reconstruction of a multi-ethnic society, discrimination in employment constitutes a serious breach of the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) and of the various international human rights treaties to which Bosnia and Herzegovina is a party. Discriminatory practices maintain the division of the economy into enclaves where commercial ties exist mainly between members of the same ethnic group – a partition that hinders the proper development of a modern market system.

    The elimination of those irregularities will improve recruitment, increase turnover, enhance attraction for foreign investment, and therefore increase overall business performance. The adoptions of fair employment practices are therefore key to efficient allocation of the workforce and economic progress of the country. Women’s access to employment being also restricted, an effective strategy must incorporate gender. Eight years after the signing of the DPA, the issue of employment discrimination has not been addressed beyond the enumeration of rights (Annex 4 of the DPA). Although the 24 May 2000 Peace Implementation Council highlighted the need to foster economic, educational and labour market opportunities for returnees, the actual implementation of these crucial objectives has not yet started.

    The existence of anti-discrimination provisions alone is obviously insufficient to promote, prevent and resolve unfair employment practices. A well-articulated strategy is necessary to ensure an understanding of the laws by the relevant actors, the methodical development of fair employment practices in the private and public sectors and the efficiency of prevention and remedy mechanisms.19 No general Employment Strategy has been drafted yet.

    Employment Laws
    The Law on Mediation for Employment and Social Security of Unemployed Persons in FBiH regulates basic principles in mediation for employment; material and social security of unemployed persons during temporary unemployment; establishment, organisation and activities of the Federal Employment Bureau, cantonal employment public services, financing and other relevant issues.20 The Law prohibits discrimination on any ground including sex in employment or benefits for unemployed persons.21

    The RS Law on Employment regulates employment, insurance in case of unemployment, activities and funding of the employment agency, rights of unemployed persons and condition for exercise thereof. Article 3 of this Law prohibits discrimination on any ground including sex. The RS Employment Agency has public competencies as well as organisational, professional and other activities as provided for in the RS Employment Law. Article 18 regulates that the Agency will, independently or in co-operation with other competent bodies and organisations, research the labour market and based on that research, the Agency will direct its activities and publicised information. This is quite an interesting provision, since it does put an obligation on the Employment Agency to take into account the situation on the labour market in order to create adequate policies. Taking into account the very poor participation of Roma in the labour market and non-discriminative provisions in the Law, it would be interesting to see what kind of directions and policies, if any, the Agency has undertaken in order to improve their situation in this regard.

    Social Welfare Law
    Law on the Basis of Social Protection, Protection of Civilian War Victims and Protection of Families with Children – FBiH
    The Law regulates:

  • basis of social protection of citizens and their families, fundamental social rights and benefits;
  • establishment and work of institutions for protection and association of invalids;
  • basic rights of civil war victims and members of their families;
  • basis of the protection of families with children;
  • financing and other issues relevant to the exercise of fundamental social rights, protection of civil war victims and protection of families with children in FBiH.22

    The Law does not have a specific anti-discriminative provision. It regulates who the beneficiaries are, including children without parental care; neglected children; people with disabilities, etc. but also materially unsecured and persons incapable for work as well as persons and families in the state of social need that, due to particular circumstances, need a specific form of social protection.23

    Provisions related to employment of non-citizens

    Very recently, the BiH Parliament adopted the law regarding the employment of non-citizens. Within this law the employment procedures and conditions for non-citizens or stateless persons – so called “foreigners”- has been specified, as well as the legislation of the Federal Employment Bureau and Cantonal Employment Public Services. A foreigner will be considered any person without citizenship in BiH.

    The employer cannot conclude the employment contract or the temporary service contract with the foreigner before he receives a valid work permit in accordance with this law.
    The Federal Employment Bureau gives the work permit, based on the recommendations of the employment agency. The employment agency submits the employer’s request for a work permit together with the personal data of foreigner (the potential employee) and the above mentioned recommendation from the employment agency itself.

    The Employment Agency keeps the records about the employed or unemployed foreigners who perform temporary and periodic jobs in accordance with the law.

    A work permit can be given to a foreigner if he has a residence permit either indefinite or temporary on the territory of BiH and if the employer cannot find a registered unemployed person with the same qualifications for the job.

    A work permit is given for the duration of the contract with a maximum of one year. An exception could be given only in the case of a foreigner who has an indefinite residence permit. In such a case a work permit could be given for indefinite time.

    Criminal law

    The Criminal Law, chapter XVIII, article 183 reads: “If somebody based on difference in ethnicity, race, colour, religion, political or other opinion, membership, gender, language, education, social position or social origin deprive or hinder the rights provided by the constitution, by law or by ratified international agreement or if someone based on this difference gives to citizens unjustified privileges or advantages, he will be punished with imprisonment of three months to five years”.

    In another chapter, chapter XIX, articles 206 – 212 of the same law, the following is being stated about labour rights. “If somebody deprives or hinders the right of any citizen to free employment on the territory of BiH under the same conditions which are valid in the place of employment, he will be punished with imprisonment of three months to three years.”

    These articles from the Criminal law and the Labour Law demonstrate that BiH has the appropriate legislation for the protection of human rights.

    In the Labour Law one can also find regulations for violations and penalty provisions of this Law. Article 140 of this law states that the employer will pay a fine ranging between 1.000 –10.000 KM (500 – 5.000 Euro approx.) if a person who is seeking employment or a person in employment is rejected or placed in a harmful position based on race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, ethnic or social heritage, membership or non-membership of a political party, membership or non-membership of a trade union and physically and mentally handicapped.

    Book of rule

    The only problem within this law is that employers have quite some freedom regarding the creation of “book of rule”, which stipulates the rules within the workplace and is in conformity to the Labour Law.

    Each employer, who employs more than 15 workers, is obliged by law to create a Book of Rule together with the Council of Employees. In practice this is not done as stated. In most cases - because this Book of Rule is obligatory for running a business - a lawyer will draft the book of rule.
    The Council of Employees or a Trade Union’s commissioner has the right to request from a competent court of law to pronounce this Book of Rule as illegal if they are not consulted in its creation. In the practice - especially in private companies - workers are not consulted and in most cases they do not even know that a book of rule exists. This leaves much scope for manipulation from the side of the employer, especially in cases of dismissal and conflicts in the workplace.

    Another problem is the low level of awareness of the workers’ rights and the weak supervision of labour inspectorates. Allegedly there is a level of corruption amongst the labour inspectors.

    Public service statutes
    Public service statutes are made in accordance with the law.

    Non-discrimination and equality law
    There is no draft, nor adopted anti-discrimination law.

    Case law

    More than 500 complaints are still pending of alleged discriminatory termination of labour relations, mostly based on grounds of ethnic/national origin. Although in most of these cases the termination or suspension of the employment is linked to the armed conflict, the Human Rights Chamber – previously dealing with these complaints - has found that it is competent ratione temporis in a majority of the cases considered until now. As several decisions of the Chamber during the year 2002 have shown, the current legal framework and practice of the authorities, both administrative and judicial, do not provide any effective remedy for these complaints.

    On the contrary, these cases show that systematically a violation of the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time is added to the alleged violation of the right not to be discriminated against in the right to work in the aftermath of the armed conflict

    As a consequence, the Chamber also has found that the considerable backlog of cases falling into this category cannot be addressed in any standardized, summary or otherwise expedited procedure.

    The Human Rights Chamber's mandate ended on 31 December 2003. Pursuant to an Agreement between the Parties pursuant to Article XIV of Annex 6, entered into on 22 and 25 September 2003, the Human Rights Commission was created (under Annex 6 to the General Framework Agreements for Peace in BiH – Dayton Peace Agreement) with a mandate to decide on applications received by the Chamber through 31 December 2003.

    Due to violations of the right to work, guaranteed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Ombudsman’s Office was addressed by 30,794 citizens in 648 complaints, which is the biggest rise in the number of complaints lodged with the Ombudsman’s Office of FBiH. Violation of social rights and the right to healthcare, also guaranteed under the Covenant or Pact, were complained about by 244 citizens and the number of these complaints is also rising.24

    Public Education and Awareness

    The ruling national political parties, which see themselves as representatives of the interests of “their own” people (Bosniak, Serb or Croat) have narrowed down the scope of their concerns with regard to the bodies of the state authorities only to “their own people” so that the members of ethnic minorities have been left de facto on the margin of social interests. This primarily and particularly refers to the Roma national minority group in BiH.

    Discrimination and racist attitudes against Rome is a widespread phenomenon in all segments of society starting with ordinary citizens and ending with the government officials. The government has not deployed any awareness raising mechanisms to address racism and discrimination. In the Government working plans no programs or directives exist at any level to combat racist attitudes and discrimination against Roma.

    The international agencies (OSCE, DFID, UNDP) and local NGOs started the organization of such seminars for government officials - particularly at local level (municipality) - but they just touched upon the issue and did not manage to raise awareness, let alone solve the problem. Capacity building and awareness raising on discrimination issues for Roma NGOs and government officials should be developed in parallel.

    The main problems with these programmes, seminars and workshops is that they have a limited impact on public officials as the number of participants is not very large and there are no monitoring mechanisms attached to it, to measure the effect of the training when government officials are actually being confronted with Roma. In addition the government officials take part on a voluntary basis and conclusions and recommendation from such seminars and workshops are not in any way binding by law. Another problem may be that the knowledge and experience gained through these programmes is not being transferred to civil servants who are in direct connection with vulnerable groups.

    During the research and field visits it was noticed that public officials, labour inspectors and employment agency staff never had any kind of training to assist their personnel in prevention and promotion of anti-discrimination practices and standards. The personnel of government institutions rely on existing laws to carry out their tasks and these laws do not allow these civil servants to be flexible in their work.25

    The elected government representatives only remember Roma people during the election period and try to win their votes with promises of better positions in society and respect of their rights. Promises, which are soon forgotten after Election Day.

    Conclusions: The Legislative Framework seems more than sufficient to prevent and address discrimination issues. However, the complex government system and – often lengthy - court proceedings do not make it easy for people to lodge an official complaint about discrimination at the work place. Discrimination in access to employment is extremely difficult to proof and not well defined by law. Besides all appropriate legislation being in place, it is still quite easy for employers to reign according to their own rules and in a market where there is an obvious surplus of labour. Those who found employment are keen to keep their jobs even when the working conditions are not in accordance with the law. Roma are of course an easy target and may even hide their identity to remain employed.

VI Racial discrimination in employment  

    In Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, every citizen has the right to work, and the authorities are obliged to take concrete steps to safeguard this right. The authorities in BiH, and in the entities have not yet designed appropriate measures to create conditions to boost the economy and enable every BiH citizen to exercise their right to work.

    Allegedly discrimination at work exits in BiH, but very little is being done to prevent this phenomenon. According to Roma job-seekers discrimination is a widespread phenomenon. The government officials and civil servants neither dispute nor admit these practices, instead they refer to appropriate legislation, assuming that the law itself will solve this problem. When government officials are asked concrete questions about the number of Roma people being employed, or if there are specific (government) programmes to stimulate employment for Roma population they fail to answer.

    Even organizations or institutions which can be considered impartial (Ombudsman’s Office, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights) cannot provide exact data regarding discrimination in employment. In the annual report of the Ombudsman’s Office of 2002 it is stated that about 30,794 complaints have been filed regarding violations of the right to work. No specific Roma complaints regarding employment were filed. Reasons for this can be found in an interview with one staff-member of the Federal Ombudsman26, where it was mentioned that Roma are not discriminated at work, because they do not work. Following this logic the next question was “why do Roma not work?”, and the answer was “Because they are discriminated”.

    Other reasons for not seeking fulfilment of the right to work and not addressing discrimination while in employment or accessing employment can be found in the low level of education of Roma population, the lack of (free) legal assistance, the complicated local legal proceedings for accomplishment of such rights and a willingness on the side of the Roma population to change their situation. Another reason can be found in the fact that Roma with secondary education with employment do not reveal their Roma origin for fear of dismissal. It may therefore be assumed that they will not lodge any complaints regarding human rights violations at the workplace.

    The difficulty in getting more precise data about this goes back to the fact that there are no reliable statistics on the number of Roma population in BiH and also - due to privacy regulation – there are no official statistical data on the employment/unemployment of Roma.

    One reason why there are not more registered complaints regarding racial discrimination can be that those people who are employed consider themselves very fortunate and will accept/ tolerate improper behaviour by their employers - labour market supply being greater than demand. This category of workers is in a particularly difficult situation, where they can easily be exploited. In order to survive they have no other choice but to engage themselves without a proper employment contract for a minimal remuneration. Other forms of exploitation by employers may include not registering years of service, no payments to contribution in pension/invalid fund and no medical insurance coverage or chance to resolve housing issues.

    Especially among private employers a strong prejudice against Roma exists. They will inform you that “Roma are thieves” and so no one is willing to employ them. Discrimination in employment is, however, not some exclusivity of Roma, other nationality are faced with the same problem. Yet, it is noticeable that Roma are not included in the existing employment programmes organised by the government. Roma are not approached to take part in these specific programmes, while other categories of the population, such as the disabled, the young, the long-term unemployed and women are defined target groups and directly approached. Roma are not deliberately excluded, but not a single case of assistance to Roma in accessing employment or self-employment can be presented by the government or their services.

    Discrimination in access to employment is not well regulated by law. It is not obligatory to publicly advertise a job for a private employer, so the employer is quite free to engage his family or friends. Apparently this was more strictly regulated by the previous law on employment. 27

    Evidence of discrimination

    According to the information from the employment agencies of each town the employment rate of employees looks like this:

    Table: 4

Employment rate in IX / 2003


Sarajevo municipality

Zenica municipality

Doboj municipality

Tuzla municipality


8 (0.13%)

5 (0.12%)


8 (0.05%)

National workers

72.147 (38.6%)

26.261 (10%)


28.723 (8%)

Estimation of population by cantons of Federation on 31. 12. 2002


Sarajevo Canton

Zenica Canton


Tuzla Canton






Non Roma





Working active population


Sarajevo Canton

Zenica Canton


Tuzla Canton






Non Roma





    * Declare them selves as Roma
    ** 1.150 declare themselves “other”
    *** Estimation of Roma NGOs
    **** Estimation of Roma NGOs
    *****Estimation of Roma NGOs

    Facts on the relative position of the majority and minority populations are essential in order to devise relevant labour market policies, and to evaluate their effectiveness.
    As in other cases it is very hard to rely on official data regarding Roma employment. No records of Roma are kept, neither by the statistic bureaus, nor by the employment agencies. The only source of information are the Roma NGOs and the international NGO’s base their data on the research and information collected by Roma NGO’s.
    Therefore according to the Roma Advisory Board and the Council of Roma, Roma employed in government and civil services are:

    Table: 5

Employed by government






Police officers





Municipal councillor **





* During the research two other persons are employed as police officers but they do not declare themselves Roma.
** Two Roma Referent (Roma Advisors) have been appointed in Zivinice, Mr. Fahrudin Pecaninovic and in Zenica, Ms. Jasmina Beganovic – but the funding for these posts comes from a donor, not from the municipality

Figures from this table are included in the total employment figure.

    There is one general reason given why labour market information on Roma is not regularly collected in BiH. The official explanation refers to the constitutional right to equal treatment of all people regardless of their race and ethnic origin, including their treatment by the employment service. This is why ethnic origin is not included in the information sought from each jobseeker.
    The possible second reason might be the opposition by Roma organisations to any data collection for fear of potential discrimination. There is also another specific obstacle - the unwillingness of many Roma to be identified as members of this group. Roma do not want to be considered “second-rate citizens” and if given an opportunity might refrain from identifying as Roma in order to escape from stigmatization.

    Attitude report:

    Discriminatory behaviours and practices are often difficult to document, and even harder to proof in court. In BiH the different types of discrimination that Roma are confronted with, both direct and indirect, are a known fact (see Annex II), but the dissemination of this fact did not create a more positive image for Roma. In some cases the mass media presented a very bad image of Roma, which had a negative impact on inter-cultural relations in BiH. Economic inequalities, however, are more resistant to change than political inequalities.

    Even though the Constitution of BiH incorporates a wide range of international standards, which secures and respects human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens, a peculiar instance of discrimination can be observed. In the chapter on election of the Constitution, the right to vote is equal for all citizens in BiH, but the right “to be elected “is secured only for constituent ethnic groups (Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs). Subsequently Roma or members of other minority groups cannot be elected in the presidency of the state, nor as the president of the national assembly. This is similar at all levels of the government.

    Roma are barred by Election Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina from enjoying a number of fundamental political rights. BiH is the only country in Europe in which Roma are ineligible for high political offices, including the Presidency. Otherwise, the Election Law in BiH does not give an opportunity to the members of national minorities to be elected for high positions because for these positions only the members of the constituent people can be nominated. For instance the Parliamentary Assembly consists of 15 members and they are from the three constituent people, Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. The Presidency of the State counts three members and all of them are constituent people. A recent case of discrimination is the election of the Defence Minister at state level and a place reserved again for one of the constituent people.

    Conclusions: There are very few complaints lodged by Roma about discrimination at work, because very few Roma have found (regular) employment. The reason for not having obtained regular employment comes from discrimination, as Roma will hide their identity when they are offered a job for fear of losing the job. Also the numbers of Roma found in regular employment – even taking into account lower education levels – are still far from representative (less than 0% compared to 38% of majority population). Most shocking, however, is the fact that the BiH constitution will not allow Roma – and other national minority groups for that matter – to be elected in the presidency of the state nor as the president of the national assembly.

VII Access to vocational training 

    A labour market survey should serve as a very important basis for the development of the education system in general and for the development of more specific training programmes aimed at specific job skills. A more extensive labour market knowledge is crucial for strengthening vocational training institutions/schools and their communication with the labour market.

    The transition of planned economy to market economy in BiH has brought about many changes and requires a new role of the vocational training schools in order to train specialists in occupations for which there is a demand on the labour market, following existing trends of globalization.

    There is need for a constant monitoring of the labour market demands and in the identification of the employer requirements for occupational skills and qualification levels.
    At the moment, the vocational training institutions are not able to adequately follow these labour market demands and gear their training courses towards it. There is a specific need to match labour supply and demand, supporting the job search of individuals and assisting employers, particularly SMEs and micro employers in recruitment, human resource development and business start ups. In addition to these needs there is a lack of communication and support to employers, which also seriously hampers local economic development. Formally, employment agencies are charged with monitoring the situation on the labour market, and mediating the job search (between potential employers and employees). In practice, however, these activities and researching market analysis trends are neglected, due to lack of capacity (resources and qualifications).

    During the post-war years, numerous projects were implemented in education (training of teachers, educational management, human rights and democratic citizenship education, integration of children with special needs, active learning, prevention of post-traumatic stress and drug abuse, mine safety education, learning for living together and tolerance), to make people cope with the new environment in a post-war situation. These projects were supported by the UN, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNDP, EU, Council of Europe, World Bank, Soros Foundation, bi-lateral funding, governmental and non-governmental organizations of different kinds. More projects are underway, such as “Development of Education”, Preparation of the Joint Strategy for modernization of the elementary and general secondary education in BiH (EC-TEAR), Modernization of vocational education (EU – European Development Fund) and “Education for All” (EFA). These projects are more focussed on the needs of a country in economic transition.

    In a period of 2002 –2004 the EU has sponsored the Project Vocational Education Training Programme (EU – VET) in BiH. The overall objective of this programme is to contribute to the development of a lifelong learning system in BiH through the adaptation of the VET system to the socio-economic needs of the country. The immediate objective is to support the development of a modern, flexible and high quality vocational education and training system, responsive to the needs of the labour market and well integrated with the primary and the general secondary school system as well as the higher education systems based on lifelong learning principles28. So far no results have been published on the implementation of this project.

    Training needs of Roma

    Unfortunately, Roma are not included in this Vocational Training Programme. Their needs for vocational training were never assessed by any employment office. There are several reasons for that - one of them - is uncompleted primary education. Most of the Roma have just several grades of elementary school. The second reason is that the Employment Agencies have a great supply of unemployed at their disposal. Due to economic hardship and uncertainty of enterprises during a long period of time, previous links between VET schools and enterprises have been seriously damaged. Also schools are not in contact with the local employment services and other local economic/labour market institutions. All in all there is a serious lack of funds for infrastructure and delivery of adult training and procedures to identify training needs of employed and unemployed as well as skill requirements of the (local) labour market and methodologies for short training programmes to upgrade the skills of the unemployed. An additional problem is that a large number of Roma are not registered with the Employment Agencies. Among these problems prejudices against Roma certainly take an important place.

    However, especially Roma should be included in vocational training for adults as they could reap all the benefits.

    Policy measures:

    In BiH no specific local policy measures have been developed aimed at equal opportunities for Roma concerning vocational training. Equal access to vocational training is ensured de jure for all. From time to time employment agencies, in co-operation with employers and schools, organise vocational training for specific labour market demands, but Roma are not included. This seems more a case of neglect on the part of the employment agencies, than of deliberate exclusion. There seems to be a very low level of exchange of information between employment agencies and Roma population. Addressing this issue may cause inclusion of Roma in future.


    Roma are not included into the national vocational training system strategy as such a document does not exist. In the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) Roma are mentioned as a particularly vulnerable group. This document emphasises that unemployed workers have an interest in acquiring new skills. About 84% of the unemployed persons in Trebinje, 70% in Travnik, and 95% in Zenica, expressed their willingness to attend free training sessions to acquire new skills.29 One might assume that this also applies to Roma, even though they are not specifically mentioned.


    The main barrier for Roma in attending and seeking for vocational training opportunities seems to be that they are not visible to the Employment Agencies, who generally are involved in the organisation of these trainings.

    Eligibility requirement in access to vocational training is the first obstacle Roma face. In practical terms this means: Formal education is obligatory in BiH. Most Roma people do not possess a primary school diploma. In order to be eligible to attend a vocational training one should have completed primary school and be in possession of a diploma. Therefore Roma who want to be included in such a project, should first get their primary school diploma. At the moment according to the BiH Framework in the Law on Primary and Secondary education there are some provisions which speak about the education for persons older then 15 years. According to this law:”Adult education should be organized for educating adults in specific subjects and for their professional and personal development. Adult education shall include further professional training, training for acquiring additional qualifications, re-training and other activities ensuring lifelong learning. Adult education shall be regulated in more detail through legislation by the entities, canton and Brcko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in accordance with the principles and standards defined by this Law”.

    Adults can acquire primary and secondary education by attending formal classes or by passing exams. At the moment the “second chance” education is under review. The Ministry of Education agrees there is a need – in general, but an efficient way of implementation should be found.

    High Fees

      For those Roma who have finished primary school, the high fees for the vocational training presents an overwhelming obstacle. For instance, the employment agency in Tuzla intended to organize a vocational training but the costs of the training were high - 1.450 KM (750 Euro). Such a vocational training Roma people cannot afford.

    Previous employment record does not play a crucial role in getting a job but is certainly important in attending re-training via the employment Agencies. Therefore a previous employment record might be an advantage. Without a good employment record it will be extremely difficult for an employer to invite you for an interview. Most of the Roma people do not have a formal employment record. Some Roma people have been employed in factories, but were made redundant when these closed.

  • Location of vocational training is also one of the problems why Roma do not participate, as they cannot afford the travel costs.
  • Lack of adequate conditions to study at home.
  • Need for “adults” to contribute to their family income through paid labour.
  • Prejudices against Roma: The trainers/organisers of the training do not encourage Roma to participate because they are afraid that their presence will have an adverse effect on the other non-Roma participants.
  • Lack of strategic planning on the part of the Roma people. Roma people are not aware of the benefits education can bring them. They also tend to expect immediate results from these programmes, which is not very realistic. Because of their need to survive they plan one day at a time and participation in training programmes – no matter how short – requires a more long-term view and some investment in time and money.
  • Lack of an educated leadership or role models: There are few educated Romani leaders who have managed to succeed in spite of all else in BiH and who can provide inspiration to Romani children, making them believe that they too can have a promising future if they complete their education.

    Conclusions: Vocational trainings should be more market oriented. However, certain activities of upgrading the vocational trainings are ongoing. Vocational training should include Roma population and provide wavers for tuition fees and travel cost. Second change education should be promoted by Roma NGOs, as it provides more opportunities to be included in vocational training and/or employment.

VIII Romani women 

    Roma women describe themselves in the way outsiders observe them.

    Roma are described as dirty, with no self-respect, self-confidence, without expectations, they live by the day, they are thieves and lazy. These are prejudices and stereotypes of course. Unfortunately these negative images do not exist only in the heads of non-Roma, the Roma have often accepted these images about them as well and turn them into a self-fulfilling prophecy. This may be one of the possible explanations for the underlying problems of integrity, and personality which Romani women face. In the traditional, patriarchal Roma society which prevails in BiH, Romani women are not allowed to integrate themselves into the wider community and so they have reconciled with their destiny to be a marginalized group. How could one expect high morals or other standards from someone who is every day exposed to humiliation and degradation? Romani women have not learned to respect themselves, they have little self-confidence; their basic living conditions are deploring, their surroundings are hostile and their daily struggle to survive requires all their energy. If Romani women cannot help themselves, how can they help their offspring? They live in a vicious circle, which cannot be broken without any assistance.

    As already described above (page 13), Roma women suffer double from humiliation and degradation - from majority society directly, but also from their husbands who bring home their own feelings of humiliation, and find no other way to deal with this then to direct this towards their wives.

    This also leads us towards the position Romani Women have in their own communities. Generally speaking this is the very traditional position of the wife serving the husband. In gathering the family income their position is slightly better. The Roma husband and wife work as equals, but it is usually the husband who makes the plan and the wife who carries it out. This makes her the “front-office” of the “business”, where she is (again) more prone towards harassment, discrimination and humiliation. Simultaneously the Roma wife is supposed to remain within the close circles of her own community or her own house as is customary in patriarchal society. This does not give her any opportunities to improve her living conditions by herself and makes her totally dependent on her husband or the patriarchal structures of her community.

    In order to obtain a realistic picture of Romani women and their participation in the employment process a research30 was conducted in three Roma settlements in three different towns based on the method of random sample, including 63 women in total. The questions asked were open, leaving enough scope for Romani women to describe themselves and their situation.

    Table: 6



(Stara Carsija)

(Cigansko brdo)






    This research and its result could be divided into four sections.

  • Socio-demographic profile of the interviewed woman
  • Profile of the women according to their religion, ethnic and marital status
  • Socio- economic profile
  • Education profile

    the question of their ethnic origin the women declared themselves as Roma in the range of 90.4 %, as Bosniaks 6.34 %, as Croats 1,58 % and as Serbs 1,58 %. None of the women declared herself as member of the “Other” category.

    to religion, 95,2 % (61) of women declare themselves as Muslim and 4,7 % (2) as Orthodox.

    status showed:

    Table: 7



    Illegitimate marriage community



























    1 (1,58%)

    22 (34.92%)

    30 (47,6%)

    3 (4,76%)

    1 (1,58 %)

    6 (9,52%)

    From the total number of 63 interviewed women 5 women live in a mixed marriage. They were married relatively young, the average age being 19, 2 years. The average number of children in our random sample is 2,71.
    Sarajevo – 2,6 average
    Doboj – 2,72 average
    Hadzici – 3,12 average

    From this random sample we tried to find out how many women speak Roma language in comparison with their children.

    In our sample Roma women speak significantly better Romani language then their children. From the 63 women only 20 do not know Romani language, compared to 120 children who do not know their native language. These mothers expressed regret at not learning their children the Romani language.

    Economic profile of interviewed Romani woman

    On the question about the professional occupation, 93,65% respondents informed that they are housewives, only four or 6,35% of the women responded that they have an occupation. Two of them are textile workers and two are cooks but they are unemployed.

    Four of the women have a pension, 3 of them receive social benefits, 10 of them collect recyclable materials, 4 work as street vendors, 7 of them are supported by relatives and friends and 2 of them are begging in the street.

    From these 63 women two of them are employed in the formal sector. Twenty of them are registered with the employment agency. More then half of the interviewed women do not have social and health security.


    A large majority of Romani children are unable to attend school due to their extremely poor living conditions, which prevent them from being able to afford proper clothing and the necessary schoolbooks and supplies. These factors, combined with occasional verbal harassment from other students, as well as the mandatory administration and financial costs of schooling have in many cases prevented Roma from accessing schools, despite a willingness of many parents to enroll their children. Currently, the presence of Roma in schools is sporadic at best and Romani children are nearly absent in the later grades of primary and secondary education. According to a 2002 assessment report by UNICEF, Council of Europe and OSCE, in Tuzla Canton (where the highest level of school enrolment among Roma exists) approximately 80% of Roma do not attend school. Further, more than 60% of Roma in Tuzla Canton are illiterate, around 80% are without any professional qualification and only two Romani students attend university. The education of Roma in BiH and in the Balkan region is a controversial topic. During this random sample research it became obvious that illiteracy of Roma is widespread in BiH. Professor Slavo Kukic in his research of public opinion through BiH31 claims also that there are very few Roma families whose members are not illiterate. In previous projects it was noticed that over 1.000 Roma people hardly knew how to sign their names and could not count. To make things worse BiH has accepted two alphabets Cyrillic and Latin, and both are equally important. However, the Cyrillic alphabet is mostly used in Republica Srpska. If reading, writing and counting already presents a problem for Roma men, one can imagine that this situation is even worse for Romani women.

    The random sample research shows that from these 63 women only four finished secondary school. None of them attended college or higher level education.

    Table: 8 The level of education of random sample of 63 women (Sarajevo, Doboj and Hadzici).

I grade

II grade

III grade

IV grade

V grade

VI grade

VII grade

Primary school

Secondary school

With out education














19 %




19 %



    This table shows the serious problems Romani women face, considering that primary (formal) education is obligatory, and the law does not allow employment of someone who did not finish formal education. Also for starting a private business, finished formal education is a requirement. This is one of the reasons why it is very difficult for Romani women to find employment in BiH.

    The random sample research also inquired about the level of education of the Roma children. Despite the fact that apparently more Roma attended schools in the time of socialism, no significant differences were found between the number of women which attended school at that time and the number of children who attend school at present.

    Conclusions: Despite the fact that Romani Women are extremely marginalized, by society and their own community, they manage to contribute to some extent to the family income. Education is again key to reaching higher, obtaining some form of employment and improve the status of Romani women.

IX Romani youth  

    According to the employment offices statistics there are today more than 303.054 unemployed citizens only in Federation of BiH. The employment offices, however, do not keep records of young unemployed persons. For the category of unemployed persons seeking a job for the first time the figure is 156,159 for the period up to October 2003. Out of this figure, 59.533 persons have a qualification, which is 58,61% of the total number. Young people generally speaking are disillusioned about their future perspectives in finding a job, getting married and having children. The average age of people employed in the formal sector has increased considerably from 36,6 in 1991 to 40 years of age in 200018 Labor Market in After War BiH: How to stimulate companies to open new positions and increase mobility of the workers, WB,, showing the small number of young people having succeeded in obtaining jobs in the formal sector.

    The phenomenon of “Brain drain” is well known in BiH and the region. The migration of young qualified experts and productive workers is still ongoing.
    However, a reduction of the number of young qualified people migrating can be observed, not as a result of the existence of programmes for employment, but rather the closure of the borders of Western-European countries. If young non-Roma people face already many problems in job seeking, these problems can be doubled or tripled for Roma Youth. The period necessary to find employment is consequently twice the time for Roma youth compared to BIH constituent youth.

    The story of Mr. Suvalic Omer, a Roma man, might be illustrative - he spent almost 20 years registered with the employment agency waiting for a job and he is still waiting. Now he is 40 years old, when he first registered with the employment agency he was 20. Since then he received a job offer twice, but only for temporary employment. He is married and has nine children. The family lives in a 9 m2 apartment - because of lack of space he and his family members spent time in the apartment in two shifts. It is understandable that Mr. Omer’s family does not only have a problem of employment. Because of the lack of employment, the appalling living conditions, lack of education, unawareness about the value of education and subsequent qualifications, no understanding of reproductive health, the family has no other means to survive than to send the children begging in the streets. The vicious circle is complete.

    Second chance education

    Roma NGO “Prosperitet Roma” from Sarajevo region recently started the campaign for second chance education with cantonal authorities together with two local schools and OSI and World Vision Bosnia providing technical and financial assistance. The aim of this campaign is to motivate Roma youth to finish their primary education in order to be able to access vocational training.

    Programmes focusing on the employment of Roma youth do not exist in BiH. Roma youth are faced with discrimination in accessing employment, and the low level of education is used as an excuse for their segregation. This aggravates the already difficult situation of Roma youth. In this way these young people will never have the chance to change their situation. However, the UNDP Mission to Bosnia has established some programmes targeting Roma Youth.

    Even the before the war, BiH only had three institutions for second chance education. Today second chance education is only organized occasionally and not specifically for Roma people. Second chance education is, however, not even valued by private employers. They do not consider diplomas obtained in this way as valid.

    Apprenticeship is realized at work in co-operation with equipment suppliers. When the employers introduce new technology into the process of production they request the equipment supplier to train the (employed) workers on use of the new equipment. This way they avoid the costs of apprenticeship and co-operation with employment agencies. However, there are no contacts with schools, which are supposedly providing skill-training to potential workers. It has been noticed that in BiH a very small number of companies are involved in the process of (vocational or skills) education.

    The lack of communication between employment agencies, companies and schools has created a surplus of potential workers which the labour market cannot absorb. This means that the qualifications and/or skills the potential workers were trained in were not appropriate for the existing labour market in BiH. Only in the spring of 2003 co-operation between mentioned parties was established in order to identify movements and trends in labour market.

    Problems of young people need to be solved through institutions and at national level and Youth have to say what they exactly wish”, said the Councillor of the Chairman of the Council of Ministries of BiH, Mr. Bakir Sadovic.
    At the national level there is nobody that assists youth in the creation of developing programmes. Furthermore Mr. Sadovic complained about the engagement of the youth organizations, he stressed that they have to take an active role in the creation of action plan together with the government. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) secured financial support to the UNDP/UNV Integrated Youth Programme for the activities in 2004. Funds amounting to USD 36,000 will be used for projects for the development of a Local Advisory Board consisting of youth leaders from the target areas who will start a proactive cooperation with the local authorities. So far Roma Youth were not specifically addressed.

    Gender/ethnic stereotyping

    Just because vocational guidance and training schemes do not exist, Roma could not be observed as a group classified according to a specific occupation. Formally they are not segregated on the basis of occupation, but it is quite clear that Roma meet many barriers in order to obtain a proper job.
    In BiH gender stereotyping in general certainly exists and the occasional vocational training sessions confirm that a difference is made between women and men’s jobs.

    Conclusions: Roma Youth are disadvantaged in accessing the labour market and/or vocational training due to insufficient education levels. Existing programmes targeting Youth should include Roma youth. It appears there might be an awareness to focus more on youth employment in general (considering also the large number of youth currently employed in the informal economy).

X Inter-sectoral relations: education, housing, health, social welfare 

    Employment data BiH
    According to the registers 388,094 persons were employed in FBiH in August 2003, while 299,340 persons were unemployed in comparison with currently registered employment of 387.099 and 308.017 unemployment rate.33 These are official figures.
    The RS officially publishes employment numbers twice a year. This is why the latest available information relates to March 2003.
    According to this data 234.686 persons were employed in RS. In September, the RS employment bureau registered 147.200 unemployed.

    Unemployed persons according their education level in FBiH for August 2003:

    Table: 1

FBiH Unemployed persons according to education level
















High skilled






Semi skilled



Primary school






    Table: 2

RS Unemployed persons according to education level











High skilled -


Semi skilled


Primary school -


    The main issues regarding education and employment for Roma are the low educational levels (usually up to 3-4 level of primary education), which make it difficult to register self-employment or SME initiatives. Simultaneously this hampers their access to vocational training for which also a minimum requirement is finished primary education.

    In order to enable Roma to finish their education, second chance education is promoted. It is hoped that the government will invest and promote this type of education to ensure equal chances for all.



    Roma live in segregated settlements and this influences their access to employment. However, this does not seem to be the main reason for their unemployment. A Roma woman explained other obstacles: she was offered a part-time job in Sarajevo. She felt obliged to refuse that offer because she lives in Hadzici, 36 km far away from the place where she was offered the job. Remuneration for this job was 200 KM (100 Euro). Transportation fees in both directions would cost her 80 KM (40 Euro). The travel costs were the reason why she felt she had to refuse the job.

    Most of the settlements where Roma people live are in suburbia without proper infrastructure, no telephones, no TV, radio, very often without electricity. To a certain extent these poor living conditions hinder their position in access to the labour market. They are limited in their access to the labour market and their ability to communicate with employment bureaus, to respond to vacancies published in newspapers or on the radio. Their only contact with the labour market is the compulsory checks within the employment agency every two months, when the Roma mainly go to ensure their social or unemployment benefits.

    Relocating Roma often does not make their life any easier, they tend to end up in even worse conditions than where they were living before. Squatting and illegal house occupations have been the way Roma tried to find a roof over their heads since the war, currently forced evictions with no reasonable alternatives offered are the main worry of many Roma families. It is regrettable that so far they have not been supported in repossessing their property.


    The permanent quest for work, bad living conditions combined with evictions make Roma people very mobile. Many Roma people were expelled from their houses, or their houses were destroyed and they have not been able to repossess their property, usually due to no legal documents proofing they were the rightful owners. This is the case with Roma from Bjeljina (RS). They are living like internally displaced (IDPs) and their search for income leads them from one place to another. According to the latest research34, the number of informal Roma settlements throughout BiH is around 70.

    Domicile Roma were forced to move from one location to another because of house eviction. Even recently, the government has moved Roma from one location without finding them proper lodging. Very few of Roma families have houses with legal property status. They stay in one location as long as the minimum condition for survival exists there and move on if these have been depleted. Another factor, which has increased the mobility of domicile Roma is the arrival of refugees/IDPs from Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro. The arrival of these refugees increased the difficult employment situation because these people are offering themselves as cheaper labour force and taking the jobs from domicile Roma.


    The enormous unemployment rate of Roma is one of the reasons for their poor health status, 90% of Roma have no health insurance. Even those who are registered with the employment agencies do not benefit much from it. The costs of participation in covering medical treatment are too high, even for non-Roma. Also the absence of a “health culture” is one of the reasons for large number of diseases and a very high percentage of mortality amongst Roma people. Housing conditions where Roma live have no basic infrastructure (water, sewage system, electricity and roads) also contribute to the poor health of Roma. They are generally unaware of their right to health insurance and procedures on how to obtain health books.

    Social protection

    Official statistics say that there are no people categorized below the extreme poverty line, according to the LSMS methodology35. On the other hand there are people without any income. This phenomenon is widespread, especially among Roma, handicapped, displaced persons and returnees. Due to lack of information it is very hard to estimate the exact numbers of people in extreme social need. It is illustrative that the pressure on free public kitchens is constantly growing.
    The major source of income for Roma families is collecting of recyclable material and selling of fabrics as street vendors. In the area of Zenica municipality 70 Roma individuals receive social benefits amounting to 56 KM (28 Euro). In this area an estimate of 8.650 Roma people live, the majority with extreme social needs. The level of social benefits is very low and does not satisfy the basic living needs of citizens. Also the level of social benefits is different at all 13 government levels (state, canton, entities) ranging from 220 KM (Sarajevo) to 0 KM in some poor cantons.

    According to the information gathered from employment agencies a small number of Roma are officially registered. They are registered with the employment agency for health care benefits rather than for job opportunities.

    Conclusions: It is obvious that Roma in BiH are severely hampered in all aspects of life whereby insufficient support from one sector leads to restrictions in another sector. For instance low level of education prevents Roma from legal registration of self-employment or inclusion in public sector jobs, bad living/housing conditions prevents them from going to school, unhealthy environments can hamper both education and employment opportunities and without unemployment registration no access to health insurance is ensured. In addition social assistance is not sufficient for basic survival. This leaves few options for Roma people for a decent livelihood.

XI Existing employment projects  

    The employment agencies do not seem to play any role in facilitating the job search for Roma, nor are they familiar with the situation at the labour market in a more general sense. Their main occupation, due to lack of resources is registration and collecting information for statistics. Interviewed Roma job seekers (Zenica, Sarajevo, Doboj, Tuzla, Hadzici) do not use the services of the employment agencies in finding employment.

    In addition, the automated system of awarding unemployment benefits does not stimulate job growth. Employment agencies do not seem to verify that unemployed persons fulfil the requirements for receiving benefits, especially the health insurance benefit. Employment programs implemented by employment agencies are inefficient and if implemented at the Employment Agency’s discretion without any monitoring or control mechanism from higher government levels.

    Employment Agencies only actively stimulate employment of war veterans and war invalids, no other vulnerable groups are specifically targeted.
    Specific programmes for stimulating self-employment and SME enterprises have been launched, but in a realistic sense they can only be seen as a small subsidy or incentive, but not by itself create employment opportunities. For Roma these programmes are not an option as they lack sufficient start-up capital (and sometimes required mortgage) as well as education level to apply for these subsidies. These subsidies mainly benefit established businesses, which are trying to expand.
    In the field of vocational training and second chance education Employment Agencies could be more pro-active and allocating resources for specific vulnerable groups, such as Roma, to benefit from this.
    Employment agencies and responsible ministries have no practice to meet Roma NGO. And are in general not well informed about the needs of this specific group.

    General or Roma specific programs:
    None exist

    State sponsored programs (public works)
    Roma do participate in occasional public works programmes. However, this provides only employment opportunities for shorter periods of time - usually not more than one month at the time. This offers of course no regular income and no job security with all social benefits.

    Other public programs:
    There are internships in the public administration, but this is for job starters with a university degree, so out of reach of Roma population in general.

    Private employment:
    Programs for increasing employment are still ongoing and their implementation goes through the employment agencies. It was assumed that the financial means collected from privatization and other sources enabled private employers to take credits on a favourable interest. These credits were given to private companies in order to increase employment. The credits were just one link in a chain of privileges, usually already to thriving small businesses. The government has cancelled payment of all taxes on employment for the first year and reduced for following two years payment of taxes for each newly employed person but in all these interventions Roma were not a specific target group and it is up to the discretion of the employer to hire Roma (which due to specific stereotypes and prejudices they are not keen to do).

    Self-employment programs:
    Recently self-employment programs have become very popular. These programs are implemented through the employment agencies. Unemployed people have an opportunity to take a credit with a very favourable interest rate of 4% per year with a one year grace period. The minimum amount of credit is 10.000 Euros. The condition for this credit is that the person is registered with an employment agency. If someone wants to apply for this credit he needs to put up his mortgage as collateral. Roma are not targeted with this program because they cannot put up any collateral and they might not be registered with the employment agency. The federal government is supervising this program and they appoint persons into the management board. The Roma NGOs were not informed about this program and so far no Roma have applied for a credit.
    Conclusions: Employment projects do exist, but are not targeting the unemployed who live below the poverty line, including the majority of Roma population. In addition Employment Agencies have not even contemplated providing credits or grants to initiatives of Roma because they are not in contact with this part of the population in BiH. Both Roma NGOs and Employment Agencies might consider initiating an exchange to see how they can cooperate.

XII Good practices / case studies  

    Case studies

    Recycling Centre
    This is a project funded by World Vision International. It aims to build on the existing skills of Roma in the field of collecting of recyclable materials and providing them with a fair price for their labour. The centre will mainly function as a collection centre where the raw materials are being pressed into packages and sold in bulk to e.g. paper factories, metal factories, etc.
    The centre will employ in total some 8 people. These will be in charge of transportation – collection of the raw materials from the different locations – and of packaging the materials for further processing in various factories.
    Even though this centre is providing only employment for a few Roma and is only focussed on the collection phase of recycling, this project is an interesting first step as it is building on existing expertise and improving conditions for this type of work. In addition to providing some employment to Roma it will provide a fixed and fair price for the collected items for the wider Roma community (all those people involved in the collection process) and may offer Roma an opportunity in establishing expertise and enhanced technology in this type of work, consolidating this niche for Roma in BiH. Once sustainable this project will be owned by an established Roma cooperative.

    Second chance education
    Roma NGO “Prosperitet Roma” from Sarajevo region recently started the campaign for second chance education with cantonal authorities together with two local schools and OSI and World Vision Bosnia providing technical and financial assistance. The aim of this campaign is to motivate Roma youth to finish their primary education in order to be able to access vocational training. What might be missing in this project is the longer term strategy for second chance education by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour in BiH. Another reason for Roma not able to attend might be the fact that they are bread-winners and need some kind of income to support their families when they are in school.

    Chinchilla breeding factory
    Breeding of small animals for their furs can be a profitable business. This idea was therefore proposed to a Roma community, which needed employment and income possibilities. The investments necessary for breeding these animals are not very large and everything was explained to them in detail. However, they did not seem to be interested at all. A couple of weeks later the reasons for their disinterest became clear. They did not know what chinchilla’s were – thinking they were some kind of birds. Therefore they did not understand what they needed to do and how they could make this a profitable business.
    The basic lesson is that others cannot take initiatives on behalf of people. The initiative, business component or at least expertise needs to be there in order to develop a solid business plan and investment scheme, which can eventually be successful.

    Increase in sustainability of SaE Roma
    The Roma NGO SaE Roma from Tuzla is active in very many sectors from education to health care and cultural Roma activities. They manage this plethora of activities thanks to the support of their large volunteer network. They receive some funds, but these cannot be considered large amounts. It is therefore in the interest of the organisation to develop activities, which will generate some income for their organisation. Amazingly they are managing through the following activities:
    -Upholstery course is earning money for the Center;
    -The hairdressing course is earning the same and the children are attending schools with decent haircuts;
    -20 users of the ateliers from the Center are earning their own income;
    -Part of the income from drinks and coffee goes back to partially cover the running costs of the Center;
    -Promotion of the organization also contributes to its sustainability.
    Some of these activities have dual purposes, such as the hairdressing activity. But also the upholstery activity may eventually create opportunities for self-employment or a small workshop or cooperative where people can be employed in this line of work.
    In a very creative way SaE Roma is trying to build capacity for the organisation, increase voluntary services and creating some income-generating activities.

XIII Conclusions and recommendation  


    A clear set of criteria or indicators for monitoring the implementation of specific employment programs dealing with Roma should be established by the Ministry of Labour, as their economic situation depends on various factors:

  • Socio-economic status
  • Non-existence of adequate programs in order to change the position of Roma in the community
  • Initial efforts of the government to include Roma by consulting them on Roma issues, which could be more participatory, by including Roma in any efforts made on their behalf
  • Low level of education of Roma population
  • Lack of (free) legal advice towards Roma
  • Lack of capacity of Roma NGOs
  • Relationship between Roma and others
  • More effective media coverage (presenting a more favourable Roma image)



(one year)

(6 months)

Should be addressed by

M&E and/or other support

Roma National Strategy



Council of Ministers + Roma National Council


Roma Employment Action Plan



Council of Ministers + Roma National Council


Labour legislation – BiH level



BiH ministries + FBiH and RS Ministries of Labour


Employment Policy – BiH level



BiH ministries + FBiH and RS Ministries of Labour


Anti-Discrimination Law



BiH ministry of Justice + FBiH and RS Justice ministries

Ombudsman, HR NGOs

PRSP – Annex on Roma issues should be added



Council of Ministers + PRSP/EPPU, Roma National Council


Law on National Minorities should be amended – include the needs of Roma



Min. of HR and Refugees, Council of Ministers


Repossession (or compensation) of Roma housing or social housing for Roma people



Min. of Housing & Infrastructure


Roma should be given identification documents free of charge



Min. of Interior, Justice, HR & refugees, local authorities, Roma NGOs


Access to Health Care & relevant documents should be made more accessible



Min of Health,
Labour/local authorities, social Centres & Health Centres/Hospitals




(1-3 years)

(3-6 months)

Should be addressed by

M&E and other support

Roma civil servants/Roma Referent

In towns with more than 50 Roma families

Roma referent in Tuzla, Sarajevo and Banja Luka

Local authorities/Min. of Interiors

Roma NGOs
Min of HR + Refugees

Employ Roma as Employment Mediators in EAs

Gradually employ 5 Roma Employment Officers

Roma Employment Officer in Zenica, Tuzla and Sarajevo

Min of Labour, EAs (local/ national)

EAs, Roma NGOs, Min. of Labour

Information Centre for assistance in employment in Roma Communities

Grow to five centres

Tuzla, Sarajevo and Gradiste

Roma NGOs

Support from
Employment Agencies (EAs)

Database on Roma unemployed, including Roma women – not related to education levels



Roma NGOs, EAs, local authorities

UNDP, Gender Centre

Roma Employment Bureau for temporary work



Roma NGOs + EAs

(I) NGOs, local authorities

Cooperation between Roma NGOs and EAs – information sharing & developing projects


Tuzla, Sarajevo and Gradiste to start

Roma NGOs + EAs

Local authorities, OHR, UNDP, UNHCR

EAs, Labour Inspectorates and Roma NGOs to prepare Roma for transition from informal to formal economy



EAs, Labour Inspectorates, Min. of Labour, Roma NGOs

Min. of Labour,
Local authorities

EAs to collect ethnically sensitive data



Min of Labour, EAs at local and national level & statistics bureau


Min. of Labour to cooperate with Min of Education to focus on demand job skills



Min. of Labour and Education


More Cooperation on Roma issues between Min. of Labour, Education and Health



Min of Labour, Education & Health


EAs to cooperate with schools to focus on demand skills



EAs, schools, local authorities, private/public companies

Roma NGOs, entity authorities

RE-qualification, vocational training and second chance education at reduced cost (and with stipends), for all without complicated administrative procedures



Min of Labour, Education, EAs, Social Centres, local authorities, (I) NGOs, Vocational Training Institutes

Local authorities, EAs
(I) NGOs, Roma NGOs

Public Works should include Roma (fair representation)



Min. of Labour, EAs, local authorities

Roma NGOs,

SME: provide training for Roma + credits (small at first, if successful higher)



Min. of Labour, EAs, Local Banks, WB

Roma NGOs, (I) NGOs, ILO, UNDP

Private employers with > 100 employees should employ 1-2 Roma – they will receive tax reduction & support from local authorities



Local authorities, Min. of Labour, Min. of Finance

Roma NGOs

Roma companies to be established and receive subsidies/support from local authorities



Local authorities, banks, Min. of Labour/EAs

Roma NGOs, Labour Inspectorate
Support from (I) NGOs

Roma companies to participate in public tenders



Roma NGOs, local authorities, EAs

Local authorities, Ombudsman

Labour Inspectorates should have simpler procedures & more competences to address discrimination



Min. of Labour BiH, FBiH and RS level – amend the law
Min of Justice

WB, ILO, UNDP, Ombudsman

Roma NGOs should be trained in legal issues & assist others



Roma NGOs, HR NGOs, Social Centres

UNHCR, Ombudsman

Roma NGOs should work together towards common aims/networking



Min. of HR and Refugees, Roma National Board,
Roma NGOs

OSCE, CoE, Min of HR & refugees

Roma NGOs should promote education of Roma children



Roma NGOs, schools, Roma parents

OSCE, Min of Education, schools

Roma NGOs should provide health education



Roma NGOs, Health centres (especially Patronaz/Dom Zdravlja)

Health centres, Roma NGOs

Roma NGOs to work on projects in partnership with (I) NGOs & local authorities



Roma NGOs, local authorities, (I) NGOs

Local authorities, (I) NGOs

Develop Roma capacity in agriculture



Roma NGOs, Min of Agriculture/local authorities, (I) NGOs

Local authorities, (I) NGOs

Police and media need training on Roma/HR issues (anti-discrimina-
tion awareness)



Government at large, Min. of Interior, Media: R/TV, press

Roma NGOs, HR NGOs, Ombudsman

Roma Youth – provide them with work experience and SME training



EAs, local authorities, Council of Ministers/Youth Dept., Roma NGOs


Local authorities to prepare a budget to simulate Roma initiatives



Local authorities

(Roma) NGOs

    Conclusions of the Round Table in Tuzla (21-22 June 2004) were:
    (95% of the participants shared the same opinion)

      Action Plan on Employment for Roma should be drafted
      Encouragement and benefits should be given to employers who employ Roma
      Credit and loans to companies that employ Roma

    1. Establishment of a Task Force on Roma Employment
    Which will comprise different representatives of social structures, such as:

  • Employment Agencies
  • Lawyers
  • Ministries: Labour, Health, Education
  • Roma National Council + Roma Experts (business men and political representatives)
  • PRSP or Economic Policy Planning Unit as is the new name
  • Social Partners + non-Roma employers (who employ Roma)
  • International organisations: OSCE, CoE, OHR, UNDP, and others

    Modifications during the discussion:
    a. Task Force should be a smaller working group, to make it effective.
    b. To establish broad base support for the Task Force by establishing Task Forces at various levels: municipal/community, regional and national.
    c. To prepare a few activities with strong indicators, so that results can be achieved by government and Roma representatives. Strong M&E mechanism should be attached to the outcome (draft strategy/policy on Roma Employment).
    d. When will the Task Force start and who will be included? Roma Advisory Council will meet before 5 July 2004. They will present this idea to be included in the Agenda for the Council of Ministers, it should be presented to Parliament and Parliament should appoint officials for the Task Force (from the Government side).
    e. The Task Force should be held under the competence of the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, supported by Mr. Slobodan Nagradic as well as OSCE Roma Department (Dervo Sejdic with full support from OSCE).
    f. Funding is necessary for regular meetings. (It is not clear who will/can fund this.)

    2. Development of a Roma Strategy to be an annex to the PRSP document

    3. Establish an Information System (database) on Roma employment

XIV Bibliography 

    UNDP Annual report 2002.

    Ilijas Bosnjakovic, Population of BiH, 1878 - 2001.

    Employment Service in Zenica-Doboj Canton, Documents, Statistic overview September 2003.

    Ombudsman Institution of FBiH “Report on human right situation in the Federation of BiH for 2002.

    Prevention and elimination of discrimination in employment, Fair employment practices strategy, revised policy paper, October 2001, OSCE, OHR, OHCHR, UNHCR.

    FBiH and RS Employment Laws.

    Special report on violations of Social Rights 2002, Ombudsman’s Office of the Federation BiH.

    PRSP, Second draft version 2003.

    “Rijetke su romske porodice u Bosni I Hercegovini bez nepismenih clanova porodice”, 1999

    OSCE research, 2003-2004 In 50-70 informal settlements through BiH live more then 2000 families.

    Living Standard Measurement Survey.

    Labour Market in After War BiH: How to stimulate companies to open new positions and increase mobility of the workers, World Bank, November 2002.


    Plan – Amir Sarajlic, CoE Project Roma Access to Employment in SEE -Local Consultant BiH

    of discrimination in BiH

1 UNDP Annual report 2002

2 Official census figures

3 Council of Roma of BiH

4 Please refer to annex

5 Ilijas Bosnjakovic Population of BiH 1878 - 2001.

6 Agency for statistics of BiH

7 Interviews with Mr. Slobodan Nagradic, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, Representative of Employment Agency in Tuzla and Indira Bajramovic, Roma Women NGO, Tuzla, April 2004.

8 Interview Madeleine Rees, UNOHCHR, Sarajevo, April 2004

9 RS Regulations do not allow banking and credit activities outside the banking system.

10 Employment Service in Zenica-Doboj Canton, Documents, Statistic overview September 2003.

11 See the paragraph “Roma Woman”

18 Labor Market in After War BiH: How to stimulate companies to open new positions and increase mobility of the workers, WB, November 2002.

13 Source Society for Threatened People

14 Source UNHCR

15 Refer to the report of FBiH Ombudsman.

16 Ombudsman Institution of FBiH “Report on human right situation in the Federation of BiH for 2002


18 Gender and Poverty, IBHI June 2002.

19 Prevention and elimination of discrimination in employment, Fair employment practices strategy, Revised policy paper, October 2001,OSCE, OHR. OHCHR, UNHCR

20 Article 1 of FBiH Employment Law.

21 Article 2.

22 Article 1.

23 Article 12.

24 Special report on violations of Social Rights 2002, Ombudsman’s Office of the Federation BiH.

25 According to one employee in Doboj municipality in charge of registration of self-employment (SME), “she regretted because she was forced to reject an application for one Roma applicant, who wanted to start his own business”. He did not fulfill the conditions to start his own business because he had not finished primary education.

26 Mrs. Branka Raguz

27 Labour inspectors, Zenica, April 2004.

28 EU VET Program 05 April 2002

29 PRSP, Second draft version 2003

30 Research carried out by Mrs. Venita Popovic, a journalist experienced in working with Roma people.

31 “Rijetke su romske porodice u Bosni I Hercegovini bez nepismenih clanova porodice” page 24. 1999

18 Labor Market in After War BiH: How to stimulate companies to open new positions and increase mobility of the workers, WB, November 2002.

33 January 2004

34 OSCE research, 2003-2004 In 50-70 informal settlements through BiH live more then 2000 families.

35 Living Standard Measurement Survey.