Non-Governmental Organisations


Declaration adopted on 5 October 2010

“Living Together as Equals in Dignity with Roma”

The Human Rights Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, meeting on Tuesday 5 October 2010,

    - Welcoming the invitation by the Secretary General and the Chair of the Committee of Ministers to member states to hold a high-level meeting on the situation of Roma in Europe on 20 October 2010;
    - Referring to the work done by various Council of Europe bodies advocating a comprehensive approach to the issues concerning Roma and Travellers in order to improve respect for their rights in Europe – an approach in which Roma themselves are key players;
    - Noting nevertheless the extent to which the measures recommended go unheeded in many member states;
    - Concerned by the recurrent human rights violations affecting Roma living in Europe, even though they are its citizens: stigmatisation, discrimination, racism, attacks, expulsions;
    - Condemning the unacceptable living conditions they often face in many places;

    1. Calls on the authorities in all Council of Europe member states and on European Union bodies to implement in this area the principles of intercultural dialogue and the practical measures which permit such dialogue, as defined in the White Paper on Living Together as Equals in Dignity adopted by the member states on 7 May 2008: developing dialogue of this kind is the only way to combat attitudes of mutual incomprehension and ostracism. In particular, this means recognising the great contribution of Romani culture and its role within European culture, of which it is part; raising awareness of Romani culture among all those, especially teachers, who come into contact with Roma; and providing meeting places to combat the ignorance and stereotypes which still exist.

    2. Invites the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to study the possibility of establishing a network of towns and villages that undertake to offer Roma and Travellers decent living conditions, enabling best practice to be exchanged in consultation with Roma themselves.

    3. Draws the attention of the authorities in charge of education in the member states to the need to provide a suitable education system for Roma children: they must be taught in ordinary rather than special classes, with the necessary flexibility being ensured to cater for children with itinerant lifestyles and account being taken of positive measures developed in this respect in various countries for other population groups.

    4. Calls on the various Council of Europe bodies to step up monitoring to ensure the effective implementation of human rights for Roma, a process in which our INGOs are willing to co-operate.

    5. Wishes to contribute to the implementation of the measures to be adopted at the high-level meeting on 20 October 2010, in particular through its European network of non-governmental organisations in the education, social and human rights sectors.