The term “Roma and Travellers” is used at the Council of Europe to encompass the wide diversity of the groups covered by the work of the Council of Europe in this field: on the one hand a) Roma, Sinti/Manush, Calé, Kaale, Romanichals, Boyash/Rudari; b) Balkan Egyptians (Egyptians and Ashkali); c) Eastern groups (Dom, Lom and Abdal); and, on the other hand, groups such as Travellers, Yenish, and the populations designated under the administrative term “Gens du voyage”, as well as persons who identify themselves as Gypsies.The present is an explanatory footnote, not a definition of Roma and/or Travellers.
What we do
2011 saw a renewed focus on issues concerning Roma issues at the Council of Europe with the creation of a dedicated transversal team led by the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues. This structure acts as a hub bringing together the different projects on Roma being undertaken at the Council of Europe following the high-level meeting on Roma. It also builds on the work carried out and results achieved by the Council of Europe in this field, over the past 15 years.
Developing a network of mediators: Mediators build a bridge between Roma communities and the outside world. Their job is to act as "ambassadors of trust" between Roma communities and local public institutions – for example, getting Roma children into local schools, making sure that families get proper health care, helping Roma secure decent housing and find jobs that will bring them out of long term unemployment and back into salaried work.
Council of Europe experts will travel to 15 countries this year to work with specialised trainers and equip the mediators with the additional skills they need to gain full confidence of local public institutions and the Roma community. After the training, the mediators will immediately start putting into practice what they have learned. Progress. will be assessed at a later training session.
The countries so far involved are: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Turkey and Ukraine, with others to follow.
Harvesting and sharing tactics that work: Work has begun on a database where national and local authorities, along with NGOs or anyone working with the Roma, can find the best practices so far in use. The idea is to build a pool of projects and policies that work and that can be adapted for use in different countries and contexts, creating a momentum for continual positive change throughout Europe. In addition, a new committee has been set up – the CAHROM – to bring together government experts at the highest level to exchange experiences and share lessons learnt.
Building confidence in what already works: The Council of Europe has always played a role in setting standards and judgments from the Court of Human Rights have helped make advances in Roma rights. Very often, though, the Roma have difficulties in defending their rights at national level, using the courts. The Council of Europe is now carrying out training sessions for lawyers, reinforcing their skills in this specialised area.
Campaigning to overcome prejudice – Dosta!: Dosta means enough in the Romani language, and is the slogan of the Council of Europe's campaign to change attitudes and get people to discover the true potential of the Roma people. It was launched in Greece in 2011 and will be taken up in Spain, Turkey and Kosovo(1) during the year.
Building from the grassroots: Most of the problems faced by Roma are at the local or regional level and it is there that solutions can and should be found. Therefore, the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has pledged its backing with plans for a dedicated network of these authorities from all over Europe. A first summit of mayors on Roma issues is scheduled to be held on September 22 in Strasbourg.
(1) All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo
- Thematic Action Plan on the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers (2016-2019)
- Progress report on Implementing the Thematic Action Plan on the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers (2016-2019)
- Roma-related texts adopted at the Council of Europe
- Estimates on Roma population in European countries
- Descriptive Glossary of terms relating to Roma issues
- First Progress Report (November 2010 - April 2011)
- Roma Youth Action Plan
- Guidelines for Roma Youth Action Plan
- Children's Strategy
- Factsheet – Hate speech (February 2018), European Coutr of Human Righs
- Recommendation CM/Rec(2017)10 of the Committee of Ministers on improving access to justice for Roma and Travellers in Europe
- Experiencing ROMED: A legacy for improved participation of Roma communities
- ROMED2 Guidelines and Resources for national and local facilitators
- ROMACT Handbook: Manual for Mayors, Local Administrations and Roma wanting to improve the living conditions of disadvantaged Roma
- Handbook for lawyers defending Roma and Travellers
- ROMED1 Trainers’ handbook
- Roma in Europe
For a number of years now, the Support Team has been organising various training sessions, including train-the-trainers sessions, on anti-discrimination and anti-gypsyism for legal professionals and law-enforcement officials. This has been done sometimes in co-operation with the HELP Unit or other units/departments of the Council of Europe. Such training included initial training and in-service training, and has been offered to lawyers, police officers and prison staff.
- The European Convention on Human Rights And Policing: A handbook for police officers and other law enforcement officials
- Council of Europe Assessment of police training needs and practical tools for enhancing the work with Roma and/or Traveller communities
- Second National Action Plan to prevent and combat human trafficking in Ireland
- Effective and Human Rights-Compliant Policing in Roma and Sinti Communities: OSCE/ODIHR Training for Law Enforcement Officers
- FRA training manual Fundamental rights-based police training A manual for police training
Contact : Isabela Mihalache
Roma women are a quiet but strong force for change, both a change in the fate of their communities' lives, as well as in their condition as women facing multiple discrimination. Empowering Roma women through trainings and international Conferences is among the Council of Europe priorities
Public knowledge about the history and culture of Roma is still marginal among ordinary people. National governments and international organisations are trying to overcome segregation, stigmatisation and marginalisation of the Roma and to integrate them into society. One of the keys for integration is education of both Roma and non-Roma. An integral part of this educational process is mutual knowledge about the common history and culture of Roma and non-Roma in Europe.
DC050(2017) - 8 april 2017
CG030(2016) - 20 October 2016
strasbourg 7 april 2017
Strasbourg 8 April 2016
geneva 15 june 2015