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Roma and Travellers

Explanatory note Explanatory note

The terms “Roma and Travellers” are used at the Council of Europe to encompass the wide diversity of the groups covered by the work of the Council of Europe in this field: on the one hand a) Roma, Sinti/Manush, Calé, Kaale, Romanichals, Boyash/Rudari; b) Balkan Egyptians (Egyptians and Ashkali); c) Eastern groups (Dom, Lom and Abdal); and, on the other hand, groups such as Travellers, Yenish, and the populations designated under the administrative term “Gens du voyage”, as well as persons who identify themselves as Gypsies.

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Making Human Rights of Roma and Travellers a reality

Some 10 - 12 million Roma and Travellers are estimated to live in Europe, and are present in quasi all 47 member States. They are amongst the most deprived of all communities, facing daily discrimination and racial insults, living in extreme poverty and exclusion from the normal life that other people take for granted – going to school, seeing the doctor, applying for a job or having decent housing. Past efforts to help them have not brought the hoped-for results, and although laws do exist in Europe, they all too often fail to make an impact on the daily lives of Roma and Traveller families.

The events of 2010 prompted Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland to propose a fresh approach, calling together all those involved – governments, the European Union and the Roma themselves - in a High Level Meeting which resulted in the adoption of the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma. It resulted in a joint pledge to cooperate on Roma issues and practical, easy to implement schemes which involve Roma communities in building a better future. In March 2016, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Thematic Action Plan for the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers for the next four years (2016-2019).

NEWS NEWS
headline 29 June 2016 Strasbourg

International organisations stress human cost of evictions and recall standards in a joint statement

Stop evictions of Roma and Travellers

headline 12/05/2016 Strasbourg

The Council of Europe has just published a new handbook on a human rights based approach to promote “intercultural mediation” in Roma communities.

New handbook on “intercultural mediation” for Roma communities just published

Meetings Meetings
On 26 April 2016, the 11th Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM) will start in Sofia under the auspices of the Bulgarian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE). Over 90 participants have confirmed attendance, including national experts from 37 member States, various CoE bodies, and representatives from European Union (EU) Institutions, International Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations.
headline Sofia, Bulgaria 26 to 29 April 2016
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On this occasion, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues (SRSG) will inform the CAHROM participants about  the CoE Thematic Action Plan on the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers, recent developments concerning the setting-up of a European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and the first meeting of the new dialogue mechanism with Roma and Traveller civil society held in Strasbourg on 1-2 December 2015.

The CAHROM meeting will start with a field visit to Samokov Municipality where the participants will have the possibility to exchange views with local authorities, including the Mayor and representatives of the National Network of Health Mediators on various important developments for the inclusion of Roma. Other highlights include housing issues and evictions, vocational education and training, child and forced marriages, Roma health mediators, the participation of Roma and Travellers in consultative bodies, the situation of vulnerable groups among them Roma women youth, children and LGBTIQ, the teaching of Roma History and Roma Genocide, as well as Roma and Traveller’s access to justice. The participants will also look at the future thematic priorities of the CAHROM. The special guest of the meeting is Ms Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues who will present the main findings of her comprehensive study of the human rights situation of Roma worldwide, with a particular focus on the phenomenon of anti-Gypsyism.

Additionally, two side events will take place during this CAHROM session: a coordination meeting between the Council of Europe, EU institutions (European Commission, FRA) and other international organisations (OSCE/ODIHR, OHCHR, UNDP, UNICEF, World Bank, IOM, CEB, ECMI and RCC) initiated by the SRSG; the second side event will be organised by the European Commission DG NEAR with EU enlargement countries on their Roma policy.

8 April - International Roma Day 8 April - International Roma Day
08/04/2016
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Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland made the following statement on the occasion of International Roma Day.

“45 years ago, Roma people from across the world came together for the first World Romani Congress, near London, to congregate around their common identity.

“Today over 10 million Roma live in Council of Europe member States. Events are planned across Europe to mark today’s anniversary and to celebrate the proud contribution of Roma arts and culture to Europe’s common heritage.

“We know that much work is needed to end the segregation still experienced by Roma communities. The Council of Europe has therefore recently adopted a new strategy to help governments tackle anti-Gypsyism and to support innovative, local projects to boost inclusion.

“The Council of Europe is also working with our partners – an alliance of Roma artists and the Open Society Foundations – to establish a new Roma Institute for Arts and Culture. This is an initiative to which I have attached huge personal importance since becoming Secretary General. Crucially, the Institute will be Roma-led, giving Roma a space in which to tell their own story.

“It will also serve an important educative function. Roma communities have been living in Europe for more than 600 years, but relatively little is known about their heritage and its influence. The German Government is ready to host the new Institute in Berlin. For me, as a dynamic city in the vanguard of global arts and culture, it makes for an excellent choice. There are still some issues to be discussed, but I am confident they will be resolved soon.''

NEWS NEWS
general policy recommendations No 15
Encouraging speedy reactions by public figures to hate speech, promoting self-regulation of media, raising awareness of the dangerous consequences of hate speech, withdrawing financial and other support from political parties that actively use hate speech and criminalising its most extreme manifestations, while respecting freedom of expression, are among the general policy recommendations issued today by the Council of Europe’s anti-racism commission.
headline Strasbourg 22 March 2016
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On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) issued guidelines to all 47 member States of the Council of Europe on how to prevent hate speech, support those targeted by it, and deal with its consequences.

Hate speech is based on the unjustified assumption that a person or a group of persons are superior to others; it incites acts of violence or discrimination, thus undermining respect for minority groups and damaging social cohesion. This is why governments must resolutely and urgently react to hate speech, ECRI says.

In many instances, the most appropriate and effective approach to tackling hate speech can be self-regulation by public and private institutions, media and the Internet industry, such as the adoption of codes of conduct accompanied by sanctions for non-compliance. When necessary, the deletion of hate speech from web materials, disclosing the identity of hate speech users, and the obligation of media to publish acknowledgments that something they ran constitutes hate speech should be required.

Read more here.

News news
Ensuring Access to Rights for Roma and Travellers – The Role of the European Court of Human Rights
15/02/2016
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The Council of Europe published a Handbook for Lawyers Defending Roma and Travellers  by Marc Willers QC today. The handbook intended to familiarise those providing legal assistance to NGOs, in particular to Roma and Traveller communities with the European Convention on of Human Rights and the workings of the European Court of Human Rights. If properly understood and employed, the Convention and the Court can turn into two dynamic tools for the assertion of minority rights and their protection against prejudice and the abuse of power. 
 
This publication unfolds in four sections – starting with a practical and a theoretical approach towards the Convention and the implementation mechanism entrusted to the Court. The last two sections contain an analysis of relevant case-law concerning Roma, with an explanation of the specific Convention Articles mentioned and their reference to the everyday situation of Roma in the Contracting States, and finally a moot trial exercise on the well-known pattern of similar assignments, including feedback and an evaluation of frequently asked questions.
 
This handbook should primarily be seen as an organic introduction to human rights law. If it serves to whet the appetite of those who work for and with disadvantaged minorities to delve deeper into the case-law, the doctrine of human rights and the fuller textbooks (excellent ones do exist), it will have served its purpose.
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CAHROM CAHROM

Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM)

Database on good practices Database on good practices

Online European Database on Roma-related policies and good practices

DATABASE - website

Contacts: Malgorzata Rozycka ;  Thomas Schobesberger

ROMACT ROMACT

The ROMACT Joint Pogramme of the Council of Europe and European Commission aims to strengthen the capacity of local and regional authorities (targeting both elected officials and senior civil servants) to develop and implement plans and projects for Roma inclusion.
 

ROMED ROMED

The European Training Programme for Roma Mediators (ROMED) aims to reinforce mediators' skills to facilitate communication and cooperation between Roma and public institutions, especially schools, health services and employment offices.

Anti-discrimination training Anti-discrimination training

Professional training of lawyers involved in the defence of Roma and Travellers' rights

Roma women Roma women

Roma women are a quiet but strong force for change, both a change in the fate of their communities' lives, as well as in their condition as women facing multiple discrimination. Empowering Roma women through trainings and international Conferences is among the Council of Europe priorities

Roma youth Roma youth

Working closely together with Roma youth

Roma children Roma children
Romani History and Culture Romani History and Culture

Public knowledge about the history and culture of Roma is still marginal among ordinary people. National governments and international organisations are trying to overcome segregation, stigmatisation and marginalisation of the Roma and to integrate them into society. One of the keys for integration is education of both Roma and non-Roma. An integral part of this educational process is mutual knowledge about the common history and culture of Roma and non-Roma in Europe.

Archive Archive

The following websites contain a wealth of reference texts and materials, which will be gradually moved onto the new Roma website: