The action plan includes activities of the Youth Department and of other sectors of the Council of Europe, as well as activities by other partners – intergovernmental and non-governmental – cooperating with the Council of Europe and interested in securing a maximum of impact of their activities by creating synergies.
The Roma Youth Action Plan gives priority to human rights and intercultural dialogue as responses to discrimination and antigypsyism, together with the development and capacity-building of Roma youth organisations and movements.
- Dikh he Na Bister-Look and Don’t Forget – the educational and commemoration event was co-organised by ternYpe international Roma youth network and partners during 31 July and 5 August in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The event has brought together around 380 young Roma and non Roma from 14 European countries to commemorate and raise awareness of the Roma Genocide that happened during the Second World War. The event was organised for the fifth time under the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative of ternYpe network, which aims to raise awareness among youth of the mechanism of antigypsyism in a challenging context of raising racism, hate speech and extremism in Europe.
The Youth Department and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues of the Council of Europe provided education, financial and institutional support to the event.
- Roma youth activities in Ukraine and in the region supporting Roma youth mobilisation – the Youth Department of the Council of Europe organised two training seminars in Odessa, Ukraine, from 3 to 8 November 2016. The regional and national level seminars aimed at raising the capacities of Roma young people, activists and youth organisation about issues related to antigypsyism, youth participation and self-mobilisation. The training reports together with an overview of the programme can be found at the following link.
- “Mirrors” training courses on combating antigypsyism through human rights education in Athens, Greece – the Youth Department in co-operation with Bodossaki Foundation from Greece during 16-19 November has organised two training courses for young people, educators, youth activists and youth leaders working with Roma youth. The aim the courses were to develop participants’ competences in recognising and responding to cases of antigypsyism based on human rights educational methodologies. The national and regional training courses gathered 43 participants from Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Serbia, Montenegro and Romania.
The training courses reports together with the overview of the training programme can be accessed at the following link.
- Roma youth participation: good practices, from the local to the European level – under the Roma Youth Action Plan project, the Youth Department published a study on Roma youth participation which includes 13 examples of projects and organisations that either promote or apply the principle as part of their activities and work. The study aims to challenge the existing widespread prejudice related to Roma youth participation and to inspire others to be proactive in creating conditions for supporting Roma youth take active role in the society. The study can be also used as a tool for policy makers.
- Workshop seminar on political participation and strategic planning – the seminar was organised during 18-20 December in Strasbourg by the Forum of European Roma Young People with the aim to better understand the current conditions and possible opportunities in the field of political participation and representation of young Roma. The event gathered 19 participants from 13 countries which resulted in developing guidelines as recommendation for better promoting political participation of young Roma. The event was supported by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Roma Issues and the Youth Department of the Council of Europe, in the framework of the Roma Youth Action Plan.
Report of the event
- Consultative meeting for the development of the Roma youth academy – the meeting was held at the European Youth Center Budapest during 21-22 November with a general aim to review the opportunities, the need and the modalities for the implementation of the Academy, and to associate other stakeholders, namely Roma youth organisations to this process.
More about the Roma Youth Academy More about the consultative meeting
- Informal Contact Group Meeting – a meeting of the Informal Contact Group of the Roma Youth Action Plan was held during 10-11 March at the European Youth Center Strasbourg. The purpose of the meeting was to review and finalize the draft Guidelines for the Implementation of the Roma Youth Action Plan 2016-2020, to discuss and propose activities for the period of 2016/2017 and onwards and to create possibilities for partnerships among organisation and institutions interested in support of Roma youth matters.
Report of the meeting
- Statement of the Advisory Council on Youth on the occasion of the International Roma Day
The Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, representing the young people in the member States of the Council Europe, takes the opportunity of International Roma Day to send its warm wishes to all Roma around Europe.
On behalf of the Advisory Council on Youth its Chair, Marko Grdosić welcomes the progress made by young Roma in the last decade and remains committed to supporting the full participation and integration of Roma youth in Council of Europe member States.
Read the full Statement
Overview of activities under the Roma Youth Action Plan in 2015:
- Training workshop on combating antigypsyism through education was held during 20-23 April at the European Youth Center Strasbourg with the purpose of developing young educator’s competences to address issues related to antigypsyism through education activities with young people.
- Mirrors – Manual on combating antigypsyism through human rights education was launched during 21 April at a side event on the Roma between memory and rights, during the Council of Europe’s April Parliamentary Assembly session. The manual is designed to empower 16-30 year olds to tackle individual and institutional racism against Roma. It provided educators, teachers, trainers and youth organisations with comprehensive educational activities, for groups of all types; those with or without Roma participants, as well as mixed groups.
- Meeting of Roma young people from Ukraine was organized during 29-30 May by the international organisation Roma women fund “Chirikli” and the league of interns of the Parliament of Ukraine with the aim to gather Roma young people to develop their competence to participate and interact with a variety of organisations and institutions on Roma youth issues.
- Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) thematic group on the empowerment of Roma youth and youth dimension of Roma policies was organised and hosted by Slovenia CAHROM representatives in cooperation with the Support Team of the Special Representative on Roma Issues and the Youth Department during 4 - 6 June, in Ljubljiana, Slovenia. It is expected that the working group produce and circulate report with proposals and recommendations aimed towards member states representatives of CAHROM.
- A meeting of the Informal Contact Group of the Roma Youth Action Plan was held during 9 - 10 June at the European Youth Center Strasbourg to coordinate on issue relevant for the action plan but also to strategize and provide input for the evaluation process of the Roma youth conference
- Study session on Roma Mobility – Building Bridges! was held during 22-26 June in cooperation with the Forum of European Young People at the European Youth Center Budapest
- Study session in cooperation with Phiren Amenca network of Roma and non Roma volunteers and volunteer service organisations (5 - 9 October, Budapest)
- The second Roma youth conference was organised during 19-23 October at the European Youth Center Budapest with the purpose to take stock and drew lessons from the last years of implementation of the action plan and create proposals for the future Roma agenda for the participation and inclusion of Roma youth, specifically also for the future of the Roma Youth Action Plan.
Overview of activities under the Roma Youth Action Plan in 2014
Strengthening Roma youth identity:
- Right to Remember, a handbook for education with young people on the Roma Genocide has been published and promoted during the 70th Anniversary of the Roma Genocide performed during the World War II. The handbook which is based on the principle of human right education aims to be a resource for all those wishing to promote deeper awareness of the Roma Genocide and combating discrimination. Right to Remember includes educational activities, as well as ideas for commemoration events, and information about the Genocide and its relevance to the situation of the Roma people today. It has been designed primarily for youth workers in non-formal settings, but it will be useful for anyone working in education, including in schools.
- Educational and institutional support to the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative organised during 30 July – 4 August in Krakow, Poland by Ternype - International Roma youth network. Simultaneously six workshops on remembrance education with Roma and non-Roma young people were held as part of the youth event programme during the commemoration event. The workshops made use of the educational activities and methodologies provided with the manual Right to Remember with the aim to improve participants’ knowledge about the Roma Genocide during the Second World War.
Addressing multiple discrimination and recognising plural identities:
- United for Dignity, conference on the specific situation of Roma young people affected by multiple discrimination has been organised during 24-26 June at the European Youth Center Strasbourg. The conference served as a forum to raise awareness of and to explore and formulate responses to situation of multiple discrimination affecting young people from the perspective of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Roma activists, LGBT, migrant and women’s organisations where among the 50 participants attending the conference. The conference was a continuation of the work of the Youth Department on researching and understanding issues related to multiple discrimination of young people. The final output of the conference is a report reflecting on the discussions and responses of young people on issues of multiple discrimination.
- Barabaripen, a study on multiple discrimination issues of young Roma has been very recently published. The intention of Barabaripen is to support the work against discrimination and for human rights of young Roma, and to reaffirm the need for recognising those groups of Roma young people who face discrimination at several levels, both inside and outside the community. The study includes nine life stories of young people affected by multiple discrimination across Europe, an analysis of the mechanisms of discrimination and the strategies that young people use in order to tackle it. The study contributed from the inputs and comments of the participants of the United for Dignity conference.
Building a stronger Roma youth movement:
- First meeting of Roma, Manouche and Gens de Voyage from France has taken place during 20-23 October at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg. During the meeting 25 young Roma and gens du Voyage discussed about Roma identity and established an informal network which plans to organise Roma youth activities in the future years. The aim of this process is to create a space for Roma young people from France to voice their concerns, their wishes and aspirations.
- First encounter of Roma youth, students and families meeting in Portugal supported by the Youth Department during 29-30 April. The objectives of the meeting were to raise the awareness of Roma parents about the importance of education, motivate young Roma through positive examples of educated and integrated Roma young people and develop conclusions for future actions. The meeting was an important milestone for the Roma civil society in Portugal since they had the very first opportunity to discuss issues of education at a national level with high profile of expertise and institutional representatives.
- Training Course on the Management and Development of Roma Youth Organisations has been completed during 2014. The training course aimed to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of Roma youth organisations in representing and voicing the concerns and needs of Roma young people and in working with Roma young people. During the course, Participants developed ideas for follow-up projects that were carried out at their local settings. Examples of participants’ work can be found at the following link.
- Two study sessions were organised in co-operation with Roma youth organisation Phiren Amenca on issues of multiple discrimination and instersectionality and gender issues and in co-operation with the Forum of European Roma Young People, on the empowerment of young women.
Increase the capacity of Roma youth organisations to participate in policy making:
- A research project on Roma youth participation was initiated by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe. The project intends to support Roma youth participation at different levels, by gathering qualitative data about approaches and practices of Roma youth participation. The project is envisaged to support and further develop strategies and programmes for Roma youth participation, especially at the local and regional levels. The outcome of this research activity is envisaged to be an advocacy tool for promoting and supporting Roma youth participation.
- A research project in partnership with the Flemish authorities of Belgium has been carried out on the ways policies respond to the needs and aspirations of Roma young people. A report outlining the results of an exploratory research where information was collected and a limited analysis is presented of the existing participation opportunities for Roma children and young people in neighborhood and policy in Flanders was published.
- The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities on its 26th session have adopted a resolution and a recommendation on Empowering Roma youth through participation: effective policy design at local and regional level. The Youth Department has been actively involved in the working process of the Congress.
- The cooperation with the Ad Hoc Committee of Expert on Roma Issues (CAHROM) has been maintained and has increased over the 2014. The Committee has taken youth matters as transversal issue into their work programme and they will be closely looking at the issues of young Roma people within their work mandate. In that regards the committee has appointed a CAHROM Youth rapporteur, which was acting by the Moldavian representative who was latter followed with the new elected Croatian representative. The committee will organise a thematic group on empowerment of Roma youth and youth dimension of Roma policies in June, 2015 that will be hosted by Slovenia and participated by Croatia, Luxemburg, Belgium and Slovak Republic representatives. The secretariat of the Youth Department had an exchange of views with the Committee during their 7th and 8th working sessions.
Human rights and human rights education:
- A national training course in human rights education “Manushengi Krisi” was organised with Phiren Amenca network in July in Budapest. The training gathered 30 young Roma and non-Roma with the aim to develop their competencies in non-formal education and prepare the work on building a network of Roma and non-Roma trainers and youth organisations.
- National training course in human rights education “Human Rights Defenders” was organised in cooperation with the organisation United Societies of Balkans during July in Thessaloniki, Greece. The aim of the training was to raise participants’ understanding and awareness of key concepts of human rights and human rights education, volunteerism and leadership through non-formal education. Eighteen Roma and non-Roma from 8 cities had the opportunity to discuss and share experiences on issues of relevance to the young Roma community in Greece. Few initiatives were developed and carried out by participants within their local communities.
- The Training Course for Roma youth leaders on combating discrimination that began in 2012 was completed. The course gave participants the opportunity to experience and reflect upon activities and concepts central to human rights and anti-discrimination youth work based on experiential learning approaches, and to develop local interventions with young people to combat discrimination.
Combating discrimination and antigypsyism:
- A project on developing Toolkit on combating antigypyism has been developed. The toolkit will enable young people to tackle discrimination affecting young Roma. The publication will serve as a starting point to understand what young people can do in order to counter discrimination. It will include approaches to understand antigypsyism, Romaphobia and discrimination targeting Roma, educational methodologies and activities, ideas for action and an overview of the existent know-how in the youth sector and other sectors of the Council of Europe.
- An activists’ meeting on ways to combat antigypsyism within the No Nate Speech Movement campaign was organised during 6-8 April with representatives of Roma organisations, national campaign committees and online activist. The purpose of the meeting was to analyse, develop strategies and proposals for those involved in the NHSM campaign to address topics of antigypsyism in its online form.
- Respect the Roma. Europeans for eight centuries! - European Action Day for Solidarity with Roma was organised on the 8th April within the framework of the No Hate Speech Movement campaign. The online activity focus on celebrating the Romani culture and raised awareness of the current issues Romani people are facing. The online community during the EAD was able to join the NHSM campaign, report and take actions against hate speech, share memes, share cards of famous European Roma, learn information on the Romani culture and history and read blog post by activists.
Overview of activities under the Roma Youth Action Plan in 2013
- The Training Course for Roma Youth Leaders on Human Rights and on combating Discrimination continued throughout 2013. The course aimed at training, for a period of one year, 32 Roma youth activists to take action against discrimination with young people. The course started at the end of 2012, and during 2013 participants carried out local youth projects on fighting discrimination based on human rights education. In December 2013, a five-day second meeting for participants was organised; this allowed for a good balance of building skills, evaluating local projects and planning future actions.
- The debate “The voice of Roma Youth in actual challenges: Identity and Participation” was organised by the Forum of European Roma Young People on 7 April in Hungary. The debate was organised in respect of 8 April, International Day of Roma, to raise awareness and discuss the current issues faced by the young Roma across Europe.
- The conference Roma Youth Activism and Participation was organised during 17-19 June 2013 as part of the Croatian presidency with the Decade of Roma Inclusion. As a result, the Montenegro Presidency of the Decade took up Roma youth matters as one of its priorities, and offered to host a conference on Roma youth issues at the end of its presidency in 2014. Additionally, a series of recommendations for the national governments were developed during the meeting and presented to the International Steering Committee of the Decade of Roma Inclusion.
- The Dik I Na Bistar – Look and Don’t Forget youth event was organised during 30 July and 4 August by ternYpe International Roma Youth Network in Poland. The event brought together around 430 young Roma and non‐Roma from over 20 countries where they commemorated the liquidation of the “Gypsy camp” at Auschwitz‐Birkenau on 2 August 1944.
- A Summer university of the European Steering Committee on Youth was held during 19-23 August 2013 in Kosice, Slovakia. The Summer University of the (CDEJ) was organised by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Slovak government on issues related to the Roma Youth Action Plan. Participants developed a better understanding about the Plan, and analysed policies relating to Roma youth at national levels in the participating countries.
- A study session, “Creative youth campaigning”, was organised during 15-21 September by ternYpe – International Roma Youth Network in September 2013 at the European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary. The study session aimed to prepare a Europe-wide campaign for the recognition of the Roma Genocide through grassroots mobilisation.
- A training course on the management and development of Roma youth organisations was organised by the Youth Department of the Council of Europe in November 2013 at the European Youth Centre Budapest, Hungary. The course gathered 28 young people (from 16 European countries) mostly from Roma youth organisations. The training course aimed to strengthen the capacity and sustainability of the Roma youth organisations as a means of voicing the concerns and needs of Roma young people by developing the competences of 28 Roma youth leaders in democratic leadership, youth participation and organisational management.
- The seminar The role of youth policies in supporting Roma youth participation was organised during 19-21 November 2013 at the European Youth Centre Budapest as a result of the decade conference on youth issues.
- A Roma Rights Summer School, organised by the European Roma Rights Centre in July 2013, aimed to develop the capacity of a new generation of Romani leaders and human rights activists to be able to analyse issues and situations affecting Roma in their respective countries, based on internationally accepted human rights values and principles. It also aimed at developing the necessary skills to use domestic human rights mechanisms (i.e. national legislation) and international instruments (i.e. United Nations and European human rights systems) to protect and promote the rights of Roma.
- In 2013, the European Youth Foundation supported five activities whose aims were related to the objectives of the Roma Youth Action Plan: two international youth events organised by ternYpe International Roma Youth Network in Poland and Phiren Amenca International Association in Italy, and three local pilot activities organised by Prakisis (Greece), Initiative Group Alpbach Amenca (Italy) and Mladi za razmenu I razumevanje (Serbia): see EYF website: http://eyf.coe.int.
- Development of a Toolkit for youth organisations on combating antigypsyism
- Research and publication on life stories of Roma young people facing multiple discrimination based on gender and ethnicity, carried out by the Council of Europe in 2013
- A report on the specific situation of Roma youth in Europe, elaborated in 2013 by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
- The Roma Youth Action Plan was introduced on several occasions within the Council of Europe entities and other youth-related stakeholders. The vision and activities under this plan were introduced several times with the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma issues (CAHROM), ROMED programme, European Roma Travellers Forum, European Youth Forum, and so on. Synergies are built and action will be further developed in fighting discrimination and enabling Roma youth participation.
In 2012 the Roma Youth Action Plan activities included in the programme of the youth sector of the Council of Europe were:
- A study session with the Forum of European Roma Young People (FERYP) on strategies for inclusion of young Roma, organised during 15-22 April in co-operation with the European Youth Centres of the Council of Europe
- A training course for Roma Youth leaders / activists to promote human rights and combat discrimination, organised by the youth sector of the Council of Europe in 2012/2013 – read more about the training course
- A study session with the network Phiren Amenca on Challenging antigypsyism, The European "Boogie Man" Complex organised during 14-22 October, which raised the awareness of challenging stereotypes and antigypsyism, as well as supported the work of young Roma and non-Roma volunteers as they engage to tackle discrimination and promote inclusion in diverse voluntary service placements from across the world
- A seminar on the role of youth work in combating segregation in school environments, during 21-24 November by the youth sector of the Council of Europe
- A training course for bloggers against hate speech online organised by the youth sector of the Council of Europe, including a focus on hate speech affecting Roma young people
Programme « Children and youth at risk » in Bulgaria
The “Children and Youth at Risk” Programme in Bulgaria aimed to achieve effective and efficient measures addressing vulnerable groups of youth and children (particular focus on Roma) facing particular risks through helping underprivileged children and youth to participate in educational and social activities in kindergartens and youth centres. The Programme allowed the children and the young people from disadvantaged background and from Roma minority to integrate easier and to increase their capabilities in terms of school results and personal growth.
The programme was funded by EEA Grants and Norway Grants and managed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science of Bulgaria. The Council of Europe contributed to the programme with its expertise and training. The Youth Department of the Council of Europe supported the development of 4 local youth centres that follow the quality standards of the 2 European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest and the training for youth workers and Roma mediators working in these youth centres.
The programme started in 2013 and continues until 2016.
Read more about the training course for youth workers and Roma mediators from the 4 youth centres in the course report.