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INTRODUCTION

The aim of this booklet is to present examples of Roma-specific practical measures that may assist with implementation of ECRI's General Policy Recommendation No.3, on combating racism and discrimination against Roma/Gypsies.

The booklet does not attempt to cover all areas of Policy Recommendation No.3, but focuses on the following three priority fields: (a) Roma empowerment, (b) education and youth, and (c) policing and justice.1 A set of main examples of 'good practice' are outlined for each field, and similar examples are also listed briefly in some instances. Contact details have been provided, to enable further information to be obtained.

The examples have been drawn from across Europe. Roma/Gypsies and related groups2 are represented in varying numbers in all countries of Europe. The fact that most Roma in Europe live in countries in Central and Eastern Europe is reflected in the majority of examples being drawn from this area. On the other hand, that some countries are not included, or that some projects do not feature on the list, is not in any way a negative judgement about them. The examples have been selected to illustrate the range and diversity of possible initiatives, and not to provide a comprehensive overview or appraisal. Some are measures introduced by governments, some are projects initiated by NGOs, and some are of a more mixed character. Priority has been given to initiatives that are potentially replicable in other local and national contexts.
Documentation about current initiatives relates to late 2000 or early 2001, which is the period during which information was collected.

During the preparation of this booklet, the issue of what constitutes 'good practice' has been raised many times. Four criteria have been used as guidelines: (a) whether the initiative addresses an identified need; (b) whether it has been successfully established over a period of time, and has been documented; (c) whether it is subjectively regarded as 'good practice' by Roma and professionals working in the field who are familiar with it; and (d) whether it has been shown to be effective by independent evaluation. At the present time, very few projects have been subject to independent evaluation. For the most part, therefore, only the first three criteria could be used to guide the selection of examples, and the assessment of them as 'good practices' must consequently be regarded as provisional. It is recommended that, in future, more resources should be allocated for systematic evaluation of the kinds of initiatives cited as 'good practices' in this document.

The Consultant would like to acknowledge the assistance of members of ECRI and of the Council of Europe Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies (MG-S-ROM), of the Office of the Coordinator for Roma/Gypsy Affairs and the European Youth Centre, and of numerous other individuals and representatives of NGOs and other bodies, for contributing advice and information on which this booklet is based. He would also like to acknowledge that such a small selection of examples can in no way do justice to the wide range of efforts currently being made to address Roma issues across Europe, especially by Roma NGOs.

Robin Oakley
Consultant








1.
Other fields, such as housing, community development and employment are already covered by separate good practice documents, e.g. Breaking the Vicious Circle, published by SPOLU International and the CEGA Foundation, Sofia 2000.
2. In this booklet, the term Roma is used to refer collectively to a wide diversity of ethnic groups who identify themselves as Roma, Sinti, Gypsies, Travellers or by other names.