Strasbourg, 25 February 2014 - Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland and European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor announced today, plans to reinforce local authorities’ efforts to overcome inequalities between Roma and non-Roma citizens in their municipalities.
A new Council of Europe/European Commission programme (ROMACT) has been launched in five countries (Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Romania), with around 40 participating municipalities.
ROMACT mobilises sustained political commitment and policy engagement towards Roma inclusion by local authorities, given that local administrations sometimes lack the political conviction and/or capacity to implement Roma integration policies – including accessing available EU funding.
Activities under ROMACT include guidance, peer learning, coaching and mentoring to help to translate commitments into concrete action. This work will be sustained and extended by further contributions later this year to expand the scope of these activities. The Commission and the Council of Europe have already signed a financial decision to provide more than €1 000 000 for ROMACT. The same amount will be issued in a second phase to improve local projects for Roma integration. Thanks to ROMACT, several municipalities in Romania and Bulgaria have already benefitted from specific measures that involve both local authorities and Roma communities.
Europe’s estimated 10-12 million Roma face prejudice, intolerance, abuse and social exclusion on a daily basis. Local and regional measures are essential to improving their lives in areas such as education, employment, housing and health.
ROMACT is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Commission, implemented by the Council of Europe with the support of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
The ROMED Programme was awarded the prize for the European Initiative of the Year during the 7th edition of the Roma Excellency Gala in Bucharest, which took place on 18 December - Minority Rights Day around the world. The event was organised by the Romanian Government, the Agency for Roma, and the “Pro Europa” Roma Party. It was Mr Teodorovici, Minister for European Funds in the Romanian Government, who handed the award to Ms Aurora Ailincai, Coordinator of the ROMED and ROMACT Joint Programmes of the Council of Europe and European Commission. (More information)
More than 150 Roma women from across Europe are meeting in Helsinki from 16-17 September to discuss ways of improving the situation for themselves, their families and their communities. Among the main aims of the 4th International Roma Women’s Conference are drawing up a strategy, underlining the importance of involving women in policy implementation, and improving networking between Roma women and other groups working for gender equality. The meeting’s agenda has been set by the women who are taking part. (More information)
Strasbourg, 29 August 2013 – A CAHROM thematic group composed of experts from Hungary (requesting country) and the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom (partner countries) will visit Hungary on 4-6 September 2013 to exchange experience and identify good practices in the field of combating discriminatory attitudes, racist violence, hate speech and hate crime against Roma. The countries involved will consider issues such as the legal framework and sanctions envisaged against racist and discriminatory acts, the recruitment of Roma in the police, the role of media, as well as the most efficient measures to combat the rise of anti-Gypsyism. The agenda of the visit will include meetings with various relevant ministries, authorities in charge of non-discrimination and on monitoring media, as well as field visits to Ózd and Miskolc. The experts’ thematic report will be presented at the 6th CAHROM plenary meeting (Rome, Italy, 28-31 October 2013).
Nicolae Gheorghe made an impressive contribution to the Roma movement in Europe. He devoted his life to a tireless battle for justice for the Roma, a cause he pursued with great lucidity, diplomacy and humility. The Council of Europe’s work on Roma has benefited greatly from his unconditional support and cooperation over many years, in particular during his term of office in the OSCE/ODIHR.
The Fourth International Conference of Roma Women organised by the Council of Europe and the Finnish Government will take place in Helsinki, Finland, on 16-17 September 2013. The Conference will host policy oriented discussions in workshops focusing on the major Roma women’s issues as confirmed by the responses to a questionnaire sent to national Roma women’s associations. The ultimate aim is to draft a European Strategy for Roma Women containing recommendations addressed to Roma women themselves, Roma organisations, governments and international organisations. Another equally important aim is to strengthen the networking capacities of Roma women’s organisations between themselves and with other likeminded gender and equality organisations at national and international levels. If you are a Roma woman considering that you have a contribution to make and would like to participate in this gathering, you should firstly express your interest by sending your letter/e-mail of motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org before 30 June 2013.
Call for Expressions of Interest - Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Slovakia
Call for Expressions of Interest - Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"
The 4th edition of the Dosta !-Congress Prize for Municipalities that have implemented innovative and creative initiatives to effectively ensure the long-term integration of the Roma and Traveller communities within their borders, while respecting the diversity of these communities and ensuring their active participation in democratic life, is now open. The top projects will receive the Dosta !-Congress Prize for Municipalities during a ceremony a ceremony organised by the European Alliance of Cities and regions and the Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues on the occasion of the Congress’ 25th Session which will take place at the headquarters of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in October 2013.
Strasbourg, 13 April 2013 – The Committee of experts on Roma issues (CAHROM) will hold its 5th meeting in Strasbourg on 14-16 May 2013. Thirty nine member states will be represented, as well as observers, including various representatives of the European Commission, FRA, OSCE-ODIHR, UNHCR, OHCHR, World Bank, Amnesty International , ERTF and the Holy Sea. The agenda includes the presentation of two new thematic reports, namely on encampment sites for Travellers and other related issues (with Belgium as a requesting country and France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom as partner countries) and on school attendance of Roma children with a specific focus on Roma girls (with Finland as a requesting country and Latvia, Norway and Sweden as partner countries).
The Committee will also exchange views with various Council of Europe bodies (CEB, GRETA, Lanzarote Committee, Gender Equality, Domestic violence and violence against women Division, ECRI, Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities, European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Committee on Social Rights). Other issues to be addressed at this meeting includes the proposal to establish a European Commemoration Day for the genocide of Roma and Sinti during WWII, preschool and other education related issues, legalisation of Roma settlements and houses, Roma refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and stateless children, Roma women and youth activities, as well as recent developments concerning the adoption of national inclusion strategies for Roma and recent launches of the Dosta! campaign.
Strasbourg, 11 April 2013 – A CAHROM thematic group composed of experts from Albania (requesting country) and Bosnia and Herzegovina and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (partner countries) will visit Albania on 15-17 April 2013 to exchange experience in the field of legalization of Roma settlements and houses. The OSCE-ODIHR through its project “Best Practices for Roma Integration (BPRI)”, funded by the EU and participating States, has ensured the participation in this thematic group of an additional expert of Roma origin from the three participating countries. The agenda of the visit will include a round table with various stakeholders, including state officials, NGOs and international organisations present in Albania, such as UNDP and OSCE, as well as bilateral meetings with the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunies/Technical Secretariat for Roma (organiser of the thematic visit), the Ministry of Transport, the Ombudsman and the Municipality of Tirana. The group of experts will also visit the Roma settlements of Shkoza and Bregu I Limit. A preliminary discussion about the outcome and main conclusions of the thematic visit will be held at the 5th CAHROM plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 14-16 May 2013). The experts’ thematic report will be presented to the Committee for endorsement at the 6th CAHROM plenary meeting (Rome, Italy, 28-31 October 2013).
Strasbourg, 13 February 2013 – A CAHROM thematic group composed of experts from Belgium (requesting country) and France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (partner countries) will visit Belgium on 20-22 February 2013 to exchange experience in the field of halting sites (provision of sites and infrastructure, dealing with unauthorised sites, recognition of caravans as a home, relations between travelling communities and the settled population, etc.) and other issues relevant for Travellers and (semi-) nomadic Roma, Sinti and Yenish communities. The countries involved will also consider issues such as access to health, education and other services. The agenda of the visit will include a meeting with various federal, regional and local authorities, as well as meetings with Travellers and Roma communities on sites in both Flandres and Wallonia. The experts’ thematic report will be presented at the 5th CAHROM plenary meeting (Strasbourg, 14-16 May 2013).
Brussels, 17-18 January 2013 – A Congress of Roma mediators from the Council of Europe/European Commission ROMED programme will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. As well as Roma mediators and trainers from several different countries, participants at the event will include EU Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou and the Special Representative of the Council of Europe Secretary General for Roma issues, Jeroen Schokkenbroek. The Council of Europe Secretary General will be addressing the participants through a video message, which will be available on line on 17th January 2013. Several European Union and Council of Europe officials will be present and other INGOs and organisations like Open Society Foundations, Roma Education Fund, UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR to listen to and support the more than 250 Roma and Travellers from the 20 countries participating in the Programme.
Strasbourg, 22 November 2012 – The Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) will hold its 4th meeting in Strasbourg on 28-30 November 2012. It will discuss two new thematic reports on social housing for Roma (with “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” as a requesting country and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Spain as partner countries) and on inclusive education as opposed to special schools (with the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic as requesting countries and Hungary, Slovenia and the United Kingdom as partner countries). Other items on the agenda include trafficking in human beings, empowerment of Roma women and youth, bilateral cooperation in the field of migration, freedom of movement, school drop-outs/absenteeism of Roma children and the role of local and regional authorities in implementing Roma inclusion policies. Exchanges of views will take place with the Commissioner for Human Rights, GRETA and the Children’s Rights transversal project, as well with various representatives of the European Commission and the ERTF. Recent developments regarding various Council of Europe initiatives and projects (including ROMED, the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma inclusion and the Dosta! campaign) will be presented.
The agenda and working documents are available at http://a.cs.coe.int/team20/cahrom/4th%20CAHROM%20plenary%20meeting/Forms/AllItems.aspx
Representatives from Europe’s cities and regions gather in Strasbourg on September 25th as they continue work to build a European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
An initiative of the first ever Summit of Mayors on Roma, organised in September last year by the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe with the support of the Special Representative of Secretary General for Roma issues (Mr Jeroen Schokkenbroek), the Alliance has so far been backed by around one hundred municipalities and regions.
Its mission – which will be presented during the September 25th meeting – is to provide a hub for grassroots work on the Roma, allowing its members to share good practice, find joint solutions to common problems, seek funding opportunities, and replicate successful projects in their own constituency. Working methods are expected to include training sessions, workshops, twinning, study visits and day to day contacts between Alliance members, allowing positive developments in local strategies and improved capacity building of local and regional authorities throughout Europe.
Strasbourg, 14 September 2012 - The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers by adopting on 12 September CM Recommendation (2012)9 on mediation as an effective tool for promoting respect for human rights and social inclusion of Roma called on member governments to draw on the positive experience of the ROMED training programme by setting-up their own effective system of quality mediation with Roma communities. The Recommendation stresses the benefits of mediation in terms of Roma access to health, housing, education and jobs. The CM welcomed the fact that such mediation is being practiced more widely and becoming an explicit part of national strategies and action plans for Roma inclusion. The Recommendation mentions key principles for making mediation effective and asks member states to recognise officially the profession of mediator.
Strasbourg, 14 September 2012 - The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers took note on 12 September of the Abridged Report of the 3rd CAHROM meeting (Skopje and Ohrid, 22-25 May 2012), as well as of the two first CAHROM thematic reports – resulting from exchange of experience between member states - on school drop-outs/absenteeism of Roma children and on the role of state, local and regional authorities in implementing national policies/action plans for Roma respectively. New thematic reports on social housing for Roma, inclusive education as opposed to special schools and on school drop-outs/absenteeism of Roma girls will be presented at the 4th CAHROM meeting in Strasbourg on 28-30 November. Other agenda items will include trafficking in human beings, bilateral cooperation in the field of Roma migration, freedom of movement and gender aspects.
The 3rd CAHROM meeting, preceded by a joint meeting on social housing for Roma with participants of the Decade for Roma Inclusion took place in Skopje and Ohrid, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", from 22 to 25 May with over 60 participants. It was followed by a field visit to Shuto Orizari municipality in Skopje.
Commissioner Muižnieks expressed today his deep concern about the evictions of more than 300 Roma families and their relocation to buildings formerly owned by a disused chemical factory in the Romanian city of Baia Mare. (more...)
At its meeting of 22-25 May 2012, the CoE Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) exchanged views on the problem of segregation of Roma children in education and agreed that this should be a priority in its future thematic work.
This will be pursued at the next CAHROM meeting (28-30 November 2012). In a separate development, the Committee of Ministers on 6 June 2012 examined the state of execution of the leading judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in this field (D.H. v. Czech Republic).
Its decisions, among other things, stress the importance of accelerating implementation of the judgment which has been final for almost 5 years, in order to achieve concrete progress on the ground.
Decision of the Committee of Ministers
Congress President calls for constant dialogue at the grassroots level to avoid discrimination and marginalisation
In view of International Roma Day on 8 April that brings attention to challenges Roma people continue to face in Europe, Keith Whitmore, President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, underlined the role of territorial self-government bodies for the implementation of inclusive and socially responsible Roma policies. (more...)
The 2012 European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma was awarded to Thomas Hammarberg, the current Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The award ceremony took place in Berlin on 3 April 2012
A Europe-wide overview of the Human Rights situation of Roma is provided by the newly published report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg. The full text of the report is available.
With this wave of cold weather that has hit Europe, local and regional authorities have a particular responsibility to protect their citizens, especially the most vulnerable, such as Roma, and to guarantee full respect of their fundamental rights.
As Rapporteur of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, I draw the attention of the Lithuanian and Albanian authorities to the situation of Roma families in Vilnius and Tirana and their planned or actual eviction from their informal settlements. These evictions will leave these families and children in an intolerable situation, throwing them onto the street in minus temperatures, thus putting their lives at risk. (more...)
Strasbourg, 1st February 2012 - The Committee of Ministers has adopted today a Declaration in which it expresses deep concern about the rise of anti-Gypsyism and racial violence towards Roma in Europe.
The Committee of Ministers draws the attention of its member states to the notable increase of serious incidents in Europe, including racist violence, stigmatising anti-Roma rhetoric, and generalisations about criminal behaviour.
In its Declaration, the Committee of Ministers calls for a number of concrete actions by member States, ranging from vigorously, swiftly and publicly condemning all acts of racist violence against Roma and anti-roma rhetoric, to including, in national policies for Roma inclusion, measures combating discrimination and addressing anti-Gypsyism.
The 2nd CAHROM meeting, preceded by a field visit and a public hearing, took place in Istanbul, Turkey, from 22 to 25 November with over 60 participants.
The meeting report is now available on CAHROM page.
ECRI: New policy guidelines on combatting anti-gypsyism
[14 September 2011] European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) launch new policy guidelines on combatting anti-gypsyism. A briefing on the guidelines and an update on Council of Europe work with the Roma will take place from 9 am - 10.30 am on Monday 19 September at the Council of Europe Office in Brussels (Avenue des Nerviens 85, 2nd floor).
To register for this event, or for any further information, please contact Media Officer Andrew Cutting (email@example.com, tel +32 485 217 202)
Summit of Mayors on Roma - building mutual trust at the grassroots
[5 August 2011] As a response to the increasing discrimination against Roma in Europe and their social and economic marginalisation, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe is organising a Summit of Mayors on Roma, in Strasbourg (France) on 22 September 2011.
Council of Europe marks Roma genocide
[2 August 2011] A ceremony to commemorate the genocide of the Roma was held at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg at midday on Tuesday August 2.
Organised by the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), the event marked the night of 2 to 3 August 1944 when Roma were massacred at Auschwitz Birkenau, and commemorates the genocide of all Roma killed by the Nazi regime.
European Commission and Council of Europe step up work for Roma with Mediators agreement
[06 July 2011] The Council of Europe and the European Commission intensified their efforts to improve the place of the Roma minority within European society by agreeing joint action for training Roma Mediators.