Making Human Rights for Roma a reality

During 2010, the European public saw for the first time the reality of life for Roma as television  bulletins showed families awaiting expulsion from Western Europe back to their countries of origin. A community that had been invisible were suddenly in the public eye, with the reality of their condition plain for all to see.

Some 10 - 12 million Roma people are estimated to live in Europe, present in each country. 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 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. 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.

International Seminar ''Introducing Roma history teaching into national school curricula''

Rome, 

The Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, together with the Council of Europe, is organising on 11 and 12 December 2014 in Rome an International Seminar “Introducing Roma history teaching into national school curricula: a policy response towards inclusive education”. The objective of this seminar is to provide an institutional forum to support a policy development process towards incorporating Roma history teaching into national school curricula. This involves, on the one hand, providing and facilitating available Roma history teaching materials and resources to relevant authorities, some of them being produced by the Council of Europe, and, on the other hand, identifying the institutional mechanisms able to facilitate an efficient and resourceful process towards introducing Roma history teaching in national school curricula.

More than 50 participants coming from about 20 Council of Europe member States are participating in this Seminar, including high state officials, members of parliament, historians, policy-makers on history school curriculum, as well as experts and officials that can facilitate a reform process towards introducing the Roma history teaching in the national school curriculum. Positive examples in introducing Roma history teaching will be discussed. As an example, the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research has set up a working group together with the National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) and experts from civil society with the specific aim to draft a Decree that will introduce knowledge of Porrajmos (the genocide of Roma during the Second World War) in Italian schools.

The seminar is organised within the framework of the Council of Europe Dosta! campaign which aims inter alia at promoting Romani culture, history and language and is co-financed by the Council of Europe, the Finnish Government through its voluntary contribution to the Council of Europe and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research.


The term "Roma" used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as "Gypsies":

Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)

Database on Roma-related policies and good practices:

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.
 

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.

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

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

Working closely together with Roma youth and the CoE/OSI sponsored internship scheme

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.

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