Conference "Roma women and access to public health care" - Strasbourg, 11-12 September 2003

"Roma women and access to public health care"

Do Roma women suffer from discrimination and exclusion when it comes to access to healthcare? What political steps should be taken to ensure that they can fully benefit from their social rights? These questions were at the heart of a conference organised on 11 and 12 September, jointly by the Council of Europe, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia and the Office of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. This conference represents a first for the international organisations working in the area of human rights protection. Photo: AFP

Photo gallery



- Presentation by Miranda Vuolasranta

- General Report

- Report by Mariana Buceanu

- Recommendation on Gypsies in Europe

Press release

Theme file

Soraya Post : ''Across Europe, our people face a terrible health crisis''

President of the International Roma Women’s Network, Soraya Post recalled that in some countries, Roma women can expect to die almost 20 years earlier than non-Roma women. ''Behind these scandals lies discrimination our people have to face. From East to West, the story is the same. Our people are denied access to health care'', she said.


Our health systems are designed for a sedentary lifestyle, says Simone Veil

Addressing the opening session of the conference “Making the voice of Roma women heard”, Simone Veil told her audience that she was in Strasbourg because of her personal commitment to the Roma and gypsy cause. Our health and social protection systems were designed and structured for what she called sedentary users. Different lifestyles marginalised those concerned and posed all sorts of problems, particularly in terms of registration for social insurance. (more…)

“Making the voice of Roma women heard”

For centuries Roma women have remained in a set role of transmitting values and traditions to future generations. Today they have gained a genuine strength which enables them to be true bringers of change to their communities. One of the ambitious goals of this conference is to make the voice of Roma women heard in their community and in dealings with the public authorities, said Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, at the opening of the conference.


Towards better health care for Roma women

The conference aimed to focus on the situation of women in Roma communities in both eastern and western Europe. The plight of women simply reflects in more acute form the overall situation of Roma communities, which are ostracised right across the continent. What makes matters worse for women is the Roma communities’ patriarchal structure and macho attitudes. (more…)

Useful Links

Roma / Gypsies website of the Council of Europe

European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities website

Roma Women’s Network website