Exclusive interview with the member of the Macedonian Parliament Ljatifa Šikovska: "I will not run in the next parliamentary elections. I will not continue my political career"

Roma Times: How satisfied are you with your activities in your first term as a deputy in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia?

Ljatifa Šikovska: In general, taking into account all the circumstances and developments in the assembly and outside it, I am satisfied with my activities, commitments, and representation of the interest of the Roma community in solving the challenges and needs that we have been trying to solve for three decades.

RT: You were previously active and known for your involvement in the NGO sector. Your engagement even now as a member of parliament is noticeable in the activities, especially in the section for homeless people and their housing, as well as registration of people without documents? How do you evaluate the activities so far?

LJS: Yes, while I was part of the civil society sector, we actively and with specific activities and projects advocated to solve some of the needs of the Roma in education, housing and of course the people who were not registered in the birth registers. As part of Umbrella before my mandate as a member of parliament, through project activities supported by the Roma Educational Fund (REF) Budapest, more than 1000 children of preschool age from 3 to 5 years old. were included in the kindergarten in Shuto Orizar. We also supported the children in OU Brača Ramiz Hamid and OU 26 Juli, through the TUTORING project. About 100 people from the municipality of Sh.O. who failed to complete primary and secondary education with our support completed their education by issuing valid certificates and diplomas from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

In terms of homelessness, Umbrella in cooperation with MTSP succeeded in dislocating 36 families who had been living under the so-called Pod Kale for more than 10 years, without basic living conditions without water and electricity. With the support of MTSP, the families were accommodated in new barracks, fully equipped inside with adequate living conditions, at a location in Vizbegovo. We immediately enrolled the children in school and they are still going to school today. But of course my advocacy regarding homelessness continues, until the families get social housing. The problem with people who have not been registered in birth registers for many years, most of whom are children aged 1 to 17 years. is truly one of the most pressing challenges.

That is why in the assembly of the SM, with the support of certain deputies, I submitted a law for a systemic solution to this problem. The law was passed in June 2023. and it is already implemented. By the way, on my initiative, supported by several MPs and with the support of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice, at the 125th session held this month, 2 laws were passed, one of which was about residences, addresses and residence, while the second law was about identity cards. . The laws at the commission hearing were supported by both the position and the opposition, and at the next session of the Assembly, these laws, which are very important for the Roma community, will be passed. With the support of certain NGO organizations, work is being done in the field to find all the persons who are not registered in the MKR to submit a request for registration in the regular register of births, and to obtain certificates with identification numbers as we all have, and with they will be able to exercise all their rights, according to the Constitution and laws in the RSM. I expect that by the end of the year this problem will finally be solved and closed, that we will have zero people without birth certificates.

RT: What is your point of view regarding the adoption of the NAPs, if it is known that the Republic of Macedonia adopted the National Strategy 2 years ago... How long will it take for its adoption?

LJS: Yes, it is true that the National Strategy was adopted two years ago, but the adoption of the NAP by the Government is still pending. I'm honestly not up to date with what's going on and why it's late. In charge of the Strategy and the NAP is the department for the Strategy intended for the Roma in RSM at MTSP. Perhaps you will get more information regarding the strategy and NAP from them and the Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Government.

RT: Will the constitutional amendments be adopted within the stipulated period?

LJS: I have always been an optimist and I am now, my expectations are that the opposition will take heart and make a real decision, voting for opening and changing the constitution. RSM and the citizens have been waiting for 30 years. for starting the negotiations with the EU and, of course, to become an equal member of the EU. RSM must not miss this chance.

RT: Do you plan to run in the next parliamentary elections?

LJS: Ljatife Šikovska will not run in the next parliamentary elections. I will not continue my political career. I leave room for other Roma to continue to represent the interests of the community at a higher level through political participation.



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