Legal advocacy as a tool to advance Roma Health

Tamar Ezer, Alphia Abdikeeva, Martin McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Roma in central Europe face many violations of their rights, including those that impede their access to high-quality health care. Legal frameworks have the potential to address these violations, whereas legal advocacy services offer a means for enforcement of rights. We undertook key informant interviews with Roma civil society organisations and selected knowledgeable individuals in Macedonia, Romania and Serbia to identify lessons from the development of these services. Achievements were reported in four areas. Legal empowerment, with employment of Roma paralegals was especially effective, increasing awareness of the ability to challenge violations. Documentation of human rights violations is an important basis for advocacy, but does not guarantee redress, and may work best in combination with legal empowerment or international pressure. Strategic litigation can play a key role in removing bureaucratic obstacles that prevent Roma from exercising their right to access to health care. Progress in changing the narrative on Roma in the mainstream media has been limited but examples of good practice exist. Although much remains to be done, Roma groups report that legal advocacy has strengthened their ability to challenge rights violations, thereby enhancing their ability to access effective and responsive care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-105
Number of pages14
JournalHealth Economics, Policy and Law
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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