John WARMISHAM (United Kingdom, SOC), Congress Spokesperson on Roma and Traveller issues, addressed Albanian mayors at the Seminar on Roma Inclusion at the local level, in Tirana, Albania, on 11 October 2018. Co-organised by the Congress and the City of Tirana, within the framework of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, this seminar aims to allow an exchange between Albanian mayors, for a better integration of Roma and to discuss the creation of a national Albanian network for Roma inclusion.
"These networks work as discussion platforms, in which mayors can meet regularly to exchange views and good practice models. They can strengthen local and regional capacities for action, identify problems and propose solutions." explained the Congress spokesperson. He called on all relevant actors to cooperate and support the creation of such a network in Albania.
Mr. WARMISHAM highlighted the divisions between Roma and non-Roma citizens in the areas of access to the labour market and housing. "92% of non-Roma have toilets inside their homes, compared to only 50% of the Roma population. The same is true for running water: only 48% of Roma citizens have access to it inside their homes, a figure that rises to 90% for non-Roma citizens," he said.
"In the face of these challenges, the fact that you are all here today is a strong sign of our commitment to our struggle for equal living conditions for our Roma citizens," he said. "As mayors and citizens of our countries, we have the power to influence people's lives and, most importantly, we have a duty to fight for equal access to social and human rights," he concluded.