Historical overview of activities with Roma youth Historical overview of activities with Roma youth

The youth sector of the Council of Europe initiated activities with Roma young people in 1995, with a training course at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg within the framework of the All Different - All Equal European youth campaign against racism, Antisemitism, xenophobia and intolerance. In the years that followed, various other activities were carried out to strengthen the capacity of Roma youth organisations and of Roma youth leaders in Europe.

Activities included:

  • Study sessions with Roma European youth networks covering human rights education, youth mobilisation, the management of Roma youth organisations, and intercultural dialogue
  • Activities where the concerns of Roma young people were particularly relevant, such as young migrants, young women, violence in everyday life or gender equality
  • Training courses for youth leaders and youth workers, such as the series of long-term training courses on Participation and Citizenship of minority youth, and the Enter! project on access to social rights for young people
  • Support to local pilot projects by the European Youth Foundation.

The youth policy of the Council of Europe supports both the fight against discrimination affecting Roma young people and the participation of Roma youth in all areas of the programme of the Youth Department. These are essential dimensions for making sure that the aims of the youth policy of the Council of Europe – providing young people with equal opportunities and experience which enable them to play a full part in all aspects of society – apply also to Roma young people.

The Roma Youth Action Plan sets aimed to:

  • Support the development of leadership and advocacy competences among Roma youth leaders and Roma youth organisations;
  • Support and facilitate advocacy processes, based on the approach of “double mainstreaming” of Roma youth issues in Roma and youth policies at all levels;
  • Facilitate the setting up of Roma youth organisations and their access to programmes and funding schemes that will enhance their capacity and sustainability;
  • Develop the competences of those working with Roma youth to carry out human rights education through strategic national or regional training activities;
  • Steer the experiences of the RYAP partners in developing coherent responses and support mechanisms regarding the concerns and aspiration ofRoma youth.

The guiding principles of the Roma Youth Action plan were:

  • Participation and consultation of Roma youth and Roma youth organisations, from the local to the European level, including their involvement in policy advocacy;
  • Linking Roma youth projects to the situation of Roma communities in Europe and the need for systemic changes to address discrimination;
  • Integration of the principles of youth participation, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and human rights-based approaches;
  • Encouraging member states to adopt policies, with the involvement of local authorities; Roma youth organisations should be considered as equal partners in those policies and their independence as NGOs should be preserved;
  • Including measures for capacity-building of Roma youth leaders and organisations and support to emerging youth organisations;
  • Taking stock of the policy reports of the Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM) and of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities;
  • Using and disseminating the educational tools developed within the RYAP, namely Barabaripen, Mirrors and Right to Remember.

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