On 6 and 7 October 2015, the Council of Europe is organising together with the Government of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” the 5th International Review Conference of Roma Women in Skopje at the Hotel Holiday Inn.
The Review Conference will be attended by more than 100 participants, including Roma women from 20 member States of the Council of Europe, political figures, government representatives and experts. The event will take stock of developments in the area of Romani women’s rights and social inclusion at national level since the first international conference of Roma women in 2007 in Sweden and it will aim to build on the latest results of the 4th international conference from 2013 in Finland, particularly on the Strategy for the Advancement of Romani women and Girls, 2014-2020 of the Phenjalipe Network of Roma Women. Through the facilitation of side events and workshops, the Conference aims to provide space for Roma women and relevant stakeholders to exchange relevant experiences, work results and good practices and build stronger cooperation across countries. It also aims to discuss more in-depth specific priority areas identified during the preparatory process, namely the mainstreaming of gender in the national Roma integration strategies and local action plans, empowerment and participation as well as forms of violence against Roma women, with a focus on trafficking and child marriage. The conclusions and recommendations of the Review Conference may serve as further guidelines for relevant policy makers at national level and international organisations, including the Council of Europe.
The webstreaming is available on the 6 October from 09h30 to 18h00 and on 7 October from 09h00 to 13h00.
A follow up event to the Helsinki 4th International Romani Women’s Conference, organized by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Ukrainian government and the Phenjalipe Informal Network of Romani women, is taking place in Kyiv on 24-25 November 2014. It will gather representatives from 11 countries, experts in Gender mainstreaming and/or Romani Women Issues from Ukraine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovenia, Romania, “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, international organisations, independent experts on gender mainstreaming and members of the Phenjalipe Network.
It aims to discuss the importance and practical ways towards mainstreaming gender into national strategies for Roma integration by identifying some of the most effective models for mainstreaming gender into existing national Roma integration strategies. In addition, the seminar intends to provide practical assistance to interested participants and Council of Europe member States to revise their existing Roma strategies from a gender mainstreaming perspective, and thus putting at their disposal an advisory expert group to be established in the context of this seminar. The report of the seminar will be shared with all the participants and it will be also presented during the 9th Plenary Meeting of the CoE Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) in spring 2015 by the CAHROM Gender Equality Rapporteur.
The seminar is part of the implementation process of the Strategy for the Advancement of Romani Women and Girls, 2014-2010 that will be reviewed at the 5th International Conference of Romani women, organized by the Government of “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Phenjalipe and the Council of Europe, in September 2015, in Skopje.
The brainstorming meeting revealed issues of discrimination against Roma women and girls in the areas of education, employment, health care and access in public spaces in the context of identifying possible interest areas for the agenda of the 5th International Roma Women’s Conference.
In response to the civil society’s proposal to have Turkey host the 5th international conference of Roma women in 2015 in Istanbul, the Turkish representatives indicated that they would discuss the proposal with other ministries and provide an official answer in the coming months. In this context, the Council of Europe has reconfirmed its support in facilitating the preparation of the conference through both technical and financial support.
As additional follow-up to the brainstorming meeting, the representative of the Ministry of Health proposed a number of joint local workshops at regional level with local authorities and Roma women to discuss policies on Roma, women and children.
Likewise, the Roma women attending the brainstorming meeting indicated an interest in a number of project initiatives involving case studies on the situation of Roma children in education and workshops for Roma women to be able to engage more actively with the local authorities.
Agenda in English and Turkish
List of participants
The aim of the event, which was coorganised by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the UN Women and the OSCE/ODIHR, is to empower Romani women and girls to participate in society, by discussing the current situation and status of Romani women and identifying the pressing issues needed to be addressed to strengthen their rights and inclusion in the Republic of Moldova. This event was made possible thanks to a voluntary contribution of the Finnish Government to the Council of Europe.
The meeting was attended by 20 Roma Women from various municipalities in the Republic of Moldova, belonging to the Roma women Network organisation, and was opened by Mr Ruslan Stanga, Adviser to the Prime Minister's on Roma inclusion issues. Representatives of the Bureau for Interethnic Relations and the Congress of Local Authorities from Moldova were also present at the meeting addressing the issues like: What is the status of Romani women and girls in the Republic of Moldova ? What opportunities exist for Romani women and girls to identify and advance their agendas in the context of upcoming national (2014) and local (2015) elections?
List of participants
List of participants
Final report of the 4th International Roma Women Conference
Draft Action Plan 2014-2016
Draft Strategy of Romani women 2014-2010
The Council of Europe is pleased to offer a two month study visit to Roma women activists\young professionals at the Council of Europe, Strasbourg-France. Applications should reach the Council of Europe Secretariat until 10th of January 2014
Acting now for an equal future
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.
The conference will be opened by former Finnish President Tarja Halonen. Opening speakers include Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister for Sports and Culture (Finland), Aasrud Rigmor, Minister of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs (Norway), Erik Ullenhag, Minister of Integration (Sweden) and Anina Ciuciu, a Roma author from France/Romania. Representing the Council of Europe, which is co-organising the conference together with the Finnish government, will be Jeroen Schokkenbroek, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues. The European Union will be represented by Jan Truszcynski, Director General of the EU Commission's Directorate General of Education.
- Strategic Document
- Note to the participants
- List of participants
- Livestreaming of the Conference
- Video message from Ms Livia Jaroka, Member of the European Parliament
- Report of the Technical Meeting: The way forward to the International Roma Women's Conference (15 June 2012)
- Position paper on the 4th International Conference of Roma Women “Acting now for an equal future”
- Recommendations adopted by the committee of ministers of the Council of Europe on roma and travellers
- Recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues at its fourth session: guaranteeing the rights of minority women and girls
- Parliamentary Assembly Resolution 1927 (2013)1 Final version: Ending discrimination against Roma children
- Parliamentary Assembly report: Ending discrimination against Roma children
- Council of Europe High Level Meeting on Roma (Strasbourg, 20 October 2010): ''The Strasbourg Declaration on Roma''
- Declaration of romani women networks “I am a european roma woman” Conference Athens, January 11-12 2010)
- European Women’s Lobby Position Paper
- Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the Rise of Anti-Gypsyism and Racist Violence against Roma in Europe
- Declaration of the Thırd Internatıonal Roma Women’s Conference/ Fırst World Congress of Roma women (Granada (Spain) / 23-25 October 2011)
Documents in Romani
Replies to a questionnaire needed to prepare major conference next year on Roma women
To best prepare for the 4th International Roma Women’s Conference the Finnish government, with the assistance of the Romanian National Center for Roma Culture, has drafted this questionnaire to gather informed opinions on the themes and the key issues to be addressed at the conference. Interested partners are requested to answer the questionnaire by 12 September 2012.
Questionnaire results – which will facilitate participation of European Roma women associations and other relevant conference partners – will be presented at a preparatory meeting for the conference to be hosted by the Romanian government in October this year in Bucharest.
Photo: Roma family, Driza, Fier, Albania. Copyright: the United Nations in Albania
The third international meeting took place in Granada, Spain, on 23-25 October 2011 and brought together Romnia from different continents (Europe, Asia, America and Africa) who shared their ideas and experiences. Issues on the agenda included the participation of Roma women in the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies developed with Roma women, access to education for girls, sexual diversity, harmful practices in the media and cultural values and identity.
Tackling main challenges that Romani women and their communities face today was the focus of the international conference ''I am a European Roma woman'', in Athens on 11-12 January. The conference discussed changing negative perceptions of Roma women in the media, eliminating harmful practices such as early marriages and forced sterilization as well as promoting entrepreneurship and economic empowerment of Roma women.
The Council of Europe has signed an Administrative arrangement with the Greek NGO Elpida to ensure the implementation of a 3-month long activity dealing with the pre-school, primary and secondary school education of 300 Roma children notably by engaging the assistance of 5 Roma women - school mediators. The results of the project will be presented to a regional seminar organized by the Greek Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Education and the Council of Europe in June 2010 in Xanthi (Greece).
The 1st International Roma Women’s Rights Conference, in Stockholm, on 3-4 December 2007, provided a forum for discussion about the challenges Romani women face. It was an opportunity to share information and good practices between policymakers and Romani Women's Networks across Europe. It was co-organised by the Swedish Ministry of Integration and Gender Equality, the Council of Europe and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. The core themes of the conference were: Romani Women's Rights, Combating Trafficking, Respecting Reproductive Rights and Roma Access to Public Health Care. One of the outcomes of the conference was the Declaration of Romani Women Networks at the international level where they expressed their concerns over the persistent discrimination and exclusion of the Romani communities and called upon governments to adopt appropriate policies and measures to effectively address the multiple discrimination faced by Romani women, and ensure the full implementation of Council of Europe Human Rights Conventions and Charters, United Nations Covenants and Conventions and EU directives.
The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) organised a Roundtable with Romani women networks the day before the start of the conference “Our Voices Heard”. The aim was to initiate a debate on the conference themes. The participants expressed concern about the increased anti-Roma attitudes on the part of politicians and citizens across Europe, and the inaction of some Council of Europe Member States in acknowledging and addressing the forced sterilisation of Romani women. They also noted the increasing numbers of cases of forced evictions of Roma families, especially in winter, and the inaction of central administrations in ending this illegal practice. The Roundtable participants adopted 27 recommendations, which were later on echoed in the conference working groups.
Report in English and Romani