Addressing the participants of the “5th Dialogue with the Roma and Traveller Civil Society”, in Strasbourg, on 20 June 2018, Congress Spokesperson on Roma and Traveller Issues, John WARMISHAM (United Kingdom, SOC), presented an overview of the situation of Roma in Europe and, in particular, of Roma youth who “carry the heavy burden of constant discrimination”.
‘’Young people are not only our future, they are our present. They are capable of bringing change now and we need to build our activities on this potential’’ he stated during the Plenary session on “Securing political presence and representation for Roma and Travellers in politics, public life and decision making mechanisms”.
‘’We as the Congress call on local and regional authorities to develop, facilitate and fund networks, centres and training courses that allow Roma youth to step out of the shadows and become a relevant part in decision making bodies and civil society’’ he added underlining that education and employment are still areas where anti-Gypsyism creates barriers to integration.
Mr. WARMISHAM mentioned the positive results of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, set up by the Congress in 2013 and which is contributing to the creation of national Roma Networks. The first networks were created in Ukraine (2017) and Greece (2018), and the Congress is considering setting up similar networks in other Council of Europe member States.
“It is up to us, local politicians, to put in place structures in which young Roma can participate for better integration into political life. I encourage you all to make your voices heard in your municipalities and to ask for appropriate structures where they do not yet exist," he concluded.