The president and the prime minister should have said from the start what they have been saying recently, the MP of the Roma and another 11 ethnic minorities, Veljko Kajtazi, said on Saturday, adding that he would attend the commemoration for the WWII Jasenovac concentration camp victims on April 24 organised by the SABA anti-fascist federation because that was the will of the Roma community.
Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Kajtazi said he did not attend Friday's commemoration organised by the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities in Croatia because he had not been invited.
He said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic had tried to convince him to attend "one commemoration" of the three being held this month, but that he could not decide alone and therefore consulted the Roma community.
Kajtazi said 33,000 Roma had been killed in Auschwitz, 17,000 in Jasenovac, and that there were 21 Roma mass graves.
Asked if he agreed with the decision by the Coordinating Committee of Jewish Communities to boycott the official Jasenovac commemoration on April 22, because of the downplaying of the Ustasha ideology, Kajtazi said the president and the prime minister "should have done from the start" what they had been pointing out recently.
Kajtazi went on to say that according to the population census Croatia has nearly 17,000 Roma, but between 38,000 and 44,000 according to estimates. He criticised the fact that only five Roma were employed in public institutions and the lack of media interest in Roma problems.
Kajtazi said he had met with the prime minister and expected to meet with his two deputies, hoping that they would seriously approach Roma problems and support the implementation of the Roma Strategy. He also criticised the Roma National Council, saying it did not see to Roma problems despite receiving several million kuna from the government.