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Roma youth and the Council of Europe

[25/02/2013]
The youth sector of the Council of Europe initiated activities with Roma young people in 1995, with a training course at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg within the framework of the All Different - All Equal European youth campaign against racism, Antisemitism, xenophobia and intolerance. In the years that followed, various other activities were carried out to strengthen the capacity of Roma youth organisations and of Roma youth leaders in Europe. These have included:

The youth policy of the Council of Europe supports both the fight against discrimination affecting Roma young people and the participation of Roma youth in all areas of the programme of the Youth Department.

These are essential dimensions for making sure that the aims of the youth policy of the Council of Europe – providing young people with equal opportunities and experience which enable them to play a full part in all aspects of society – apply also to Roma young people.

The Roma Youth Conference: nothing about us without us!

In September 2011, as a follow-up to the Strasbourg Declaration, the Youth Department invited more than 60 Roma youth leaders to a conference in Strasbourg to discuss a ‘Roma youth action plan’.

The Conference was organised in close co-operation with European Roma youth networks and other stakeholders and was a response to the realisation that the concerns of young Roma were insufficiently addressed in policies concerning Roma.

The participants in the conference exchanged experiences and built upon previous results for a common identification of current challenges for Roma young people and priorities for European youth work and youth policy.
Roma Youth Conference video:

Roma Youth Conference video:
http://vimeo.com/35086231

Guidelines for Roma Youth Action plan ENGLISH - ROMANI

LIST OF PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONFERENCE

Message of support from the Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Thomas HAMMARBERG

PRESENTATION of the Roma Youth Conference



PROGRAMME of the Roma Youth Conference


Listen to the Podcast on the Roma Youth Conference HERE

Listen to the podcast "Roma youth conference - Momentum for change"

The Roma Youth Action Plan: a joint venture for Roma youth empowerment

The Roma Youth Action Plan is a response of the Council of Europe to challenges faced by Roma young people in Europe, particularly in relation to their empowerment, participation in policy decision-making processes and structures at European level, and multiple realities of discrimination. The Action Plan is based on the outcomes of the Roma Youth Conference, and complements the Council of Europe Strasbourg Declaration on Roma by associating Roma youth to its implementation.

The Action Plan includes activities of the Youth Department and of other sectors of the Council of Europe, particularly some of the activities of the Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Roma issues (for example, the RoMed programme, the work of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma), the Directorate of Human Rights and Anti-discrimination, along with activities proposed by other partners.

The partners of the Roma Youth Action Plan include, first and foremost, youth organisations: the Forum of European Roma Young People (FERYP), and ternYpe – International Roma Youth Network and the European Youth Forum; the Open Society Foundations, the European Roma Rights Centre, the Roma Education Fund, and OSCE – ODIHR also take part in the plan. The project is also open to other interested stakeholders.

An Informal Contact Group co-ordinates the partners in the implementation and evaluation of the programme of activities.

Resources for the implementation of the Action Plan are being mobilised by the various partners, the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, and the Roma youth networks.

The Roma Youth Action Plan gives priority to human rights and intercultural dialogue as responses to discrimination and antigypsyism, together with the development and capacity building of Roma youth organisations and movements. Training and capacity building has, thus, an important role in the Roma Youth Action Plan, not only because of what individual Roma youth leaders may learn and develop individually, but also and especially by what they will experience and do together.

>> Read the Roma Youth Action Plan

Roma Youth Action Plan: from non-discrimination to empowerment and access to human rights

The Roma Youth Action Plan is articulated around six themes, including specific activities under each theme which will be monitored and evaluated constantly.

1. Strengthening Roma youth identity
This specific objective is to support the creation in Europe of an environment where Roma young people can grow up free from discrimination and confident about their identity and future perspectives while appreciating their history, plural cultural backgrounds, and affiliations as young people, as Roma, as citizens of their countries, and as active Europeans.

In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:
- Workshops, festivals and youth events to celebrate 8 April (International Roma Day), organised by Roma youth networks FERYP and ternYpe to promote Roma history and culture, at local and international levels
- Conferences and awareness raising events for the Roma and Sinti Genocide commemoration on 2 August, on the topic of the Roma Genocide during World War II, organised by Roma youth networks ternYpe and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
- Barvalipe Camp, organised by the Open Society Foundations – Roma Initiative, in July 2012 and 2013, gathering some 30 young people to discuss Roma identity
- Youth exchanges and debates on the recognition of Roma identity and a culture of tolerance, organised by Roma youth networks in co-operation with other youth organisations in 2012 and 2013.

2. Diversity within the Roma community
This specific objective is to empower groups that suffer discrimination within Roma communities, including young women, LGBT, religious, migrant, and other minority groups.
In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:
- Research on the situation of LGBT young people in Roma communities, carried out in 2012 by the European Roma Rights Centre in co-operation with Roma youth networks

- Research and publication on life stories of Roma young people facing multiple discrimination based on gender and ethnicity, to be carried out by the Council of Europe in 2013
- A conference on multiple discrimination against young Roma LBGT people, to be organised in co-operation with the Directorate of Human Rights and Anti-discrimination of the Council of Europe in 2013
- Youth events on the specific situation of young Roma women, to be organised by the Roma Youth Action Plan partners in 2013
- National seminars and local youth projects and workshops on the topic of diversity, to be organised by Roma youth organisations.

3. Building a strong Roma youth movement
This specific objective is to facilitate and enable Roma youth alliances within and outside Roma communities, through new and already existing structures, to mobilise Roma youth, to make their voice heard, and to stake their position in their communities and in European society at large.
In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:

- Campaigns promoting participation and active citizenship of young Roma at local, regional, national and international levels, organised on an on-going basis by Roma youth networks
- A study session with the Forum of European Roma Young People (FERYP) on strategies for inclusion of young Roma, organised in April 2012 in co-operation with the European Youth Centres of the Council of Europe
- A Report on the specific situation of Roma youth in Europe, to be elaborated in 2013 by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.
- A training course on the management of Roma youth organisations will be organised by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in November 2013
- A national level seminar will be organised in Flandres, on topics relevant for Roma youth and Roma youth organisations, in the second half of 2013, by Flemish authorities in co-operation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.

4. Building capacities of Roma youth organisations to influence policies and to participate in policy making
This specific objective is to build on existing programmes and schemes so as to achieve active Roma youth participation in decision-making processes in order to mainstream Roma issues in youth policies, and youth issues in Roma policies and programmes.

In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:

- Networking activities between Roma youth networks and other youth organisations, including the European Youth Forum
- Seeking synergies with the Decade for Roma Inclusion presidencies activities
- Promoting active participation of Roma youth at the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meetings organised by OSCE in 2012 and 2013 study sessions to build the capacity of Roma youth networks, to be organised in co-operation with the youth sector of the Council of Europe in 2012 and 2013
- A networking meeting on empowerment and mobilisation of Roma youth in Albania was organised by ternYpe in 2012
- A seminar on the role of youth policy on the support of the social inclusion of young Roma, proposed by the Council of Europe in 2013

5. Human rights and human rights education
This specific objectives are to raise awareness of the human rights situation of young Roma; for NGOs, institutions, and young people to promote, initiate, implement, and monitor local, regional, national, and international actions in order to prevent human rights violations that affect young Roma; and to promote a culture of human rights.

In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:

- A Training course for Roma Youth leaders / activists to promote human rights and combat discrimination, organised by the youth sector of the Council of Europe in 2012/2013
- The publication into Romani of the Council of Europe’s Compasito - manual on human rights education for children, to be organised by the Council of Europe in 2013
- The Roma Rights Summer School, an ERRC annual capacity-building 10-day training course aimed at increasing and strengthening the core of Romani activists working to promote equality for Roma in Europe, to be organised in 2012 and 2013
- Seminar on the integration of Roma children and young people through combined actions of formal and non-formal education, to be organised by the Council of Europe in 2013.

6. Discrimination and antigypsyism
This specific objectives are to initiate and promote systemic changes to structural forms of discrimination and to combat antigypsyism through initiatives at all levels of society by enforcing existing anti-discrimination norms and promoting human rights education.

In 2012 and 2013, activities related to this objective include:

- A study session with the network Phiren Amenca on Challenging antigypsyism, The European "Boogie Man" Complex, which raised the awareness of challenging stereotypes and antigypsyism, as well as supported the work of young Roma and non-Roma volunteers as they engage to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion in diverse voluntary service placements from across the world
- A seminar on the role of youth work in combating segregation in school environments, in November 2012 by the youth sector of the Council of Europe
- Two training courses for bloggers against hate speech online, in 2012 and 2013, organised by the youth sector of the Council of Europe, including a focus on hate speech affecting Roma young people
- Kick-off of a European campaign against discrimination and antigypsyism, in 2013, with the leadership of the Roma youth networks ternYpe and FERYP and the Council of Europe
- TernYpe, in co-operation with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, will organise a study session on creative campaigning and fighting anti-gypsyism in the second half of 2013
- Development of a Tool-Kit for campaigning against discrimination against Roma youth, to be supported by the Council of Europe in 2013
- A training course for Roma youth mediators against discrimination and segregation affecting Roma young people will be organised by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in 2013.

The activities are subject to changes according to the development of Roma youth issues in Europe and the programme of the partners.

Funding and resources

The Roma Youth Action Plan is carried out within the framework of the co-management system of the Youth Department, responsible for the youth policy of the Council of Europe, which includes the Advisory Council on Youth and the European Steering Committee on Youth.
Its programme of activities is funded through the Council of Europe’s budget and Voluntary Contributions.

For 2012 and 2013, the activities of the Roma Youth Action Plan are made possible thanks to an significant contribution from the Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs.

Training Roma youth leaders and activists for promoting human rights and taking action against discrimination
Within the framework of the Roma Youth Action Plan, the Youth Department is running in 2012 and 2013 a training course for Roma youth leaders, activists and multipliers, with a focus on developing their capacity to to take action against discrimination.

The course gives participants the opportunity to experience and reflect upon activities and concepts central to human rights and anti-discrimination youth work based on experiential learning approaches. The programme is designed as a mutual learning situation, where participants can share their realities, experiences and approaches across Europe in a dialogical intercultural approach and environment.

Objectives of the course:

The training course involves 31 participants from 18 countries. A team of 4 trainers, supported by an educational advisor of the Council of Europe, is responsible for the implementation of the course. The participants come mostly from local organisations, based in the Roma communities.

Draft Programme / Draft List of participants and project ideas / Presentation of the Course

Other relevant resources and links
Vademecum The 10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion

Young Roma, Gypsies and Travellers in Europe - Report on the training course for minority youth leaders : "Situation and perspectives of young people from Roma, Gypsy and Travellers background in Europe" (Strasbourg, April 1995)

Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues
www.coe.int/roma