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.

Latest event and news Latest event and news

9th CAHROM Meeting, 27 to 30 May 2015, Strasbourg

9th CAHROM Meeting, 27 to 30 May 2015, Strasbourg

On 27 May 2015 the 9th Meeting of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) will start in Strasbourg, where over 120 participants confirmed attendance, including national experts from 41 member States, different CoE bodies, and representatives from EU Institutions, International Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations.

On that occasion, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe will address the inter-governmental committee dealing with Roma issues to exchange with its members his proposed agenda and priorities for Roma inclusion for the years 2015-2019, including the initiative of the Open Society Foundations to establish a European Roma Institute (ERI) that he personally support.

Other highlights of these three-day meeting include inclusive pre-school education for Roma children, the inclusion of the Romani history teaching in national school curricula, the legalisation of Roma informal settlements, how to address and combat human trafficking within Roma communities (with a focus on street children and prostitution), how to promote gender equality within Roma communities (with a focus on early and/or forced marriages), Roma women and youth empowerment, the inclusion of gender and youth dimensions of national Roma integration policies/strategies, indicators to assess the progress in the implementation of these policies/strategies, the role of the media in combating anti-Gypsyism, developments concerning the Dosta! campaign aimed at combating stereotypes and prejudice towards Roma, mutual contracts between families and local authorities for integration measures at municipal level, future thematic priorities of the Committee, as well as the reintroduction of “Travellers” alongside “Roma” in the terminology used by the Committee and the Council of Europe as a whole.

Several side events will take place during this CAHROM session: a coordination meeting between the Council of Europe, EU institutions and other international organisations (OSCE-ODIHR, IOM, UN bodies, World Bank, CEB) initiated by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues; a meeting jointly organised by the European Commission DG NEAR and the Council of Europe with EU enlargement countries on their Roma policy and a reception offered by Open Society Foundations (OSF) to informally discuss the proposal of setting up a European Roma Institute and present an OSF-sponsored Roma exhibition. The CAHROM meeting will be also an occasion for the Council of Europe and the European Commission to discuss the implementation of their joint programmes ROMED and ROMACT.

The abridged report of the meeting will be published after the event on the official page of the CAHROM:

International Roma calendar International Roma calendar
Tools and texts of reference Tools and texts of reference

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)

Good practices database Good practices database

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.

Lawyers training Lawyers 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 and internship Roma youth and internship

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

Roma History and Culture Roma 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: