Briefing Recommendations for Council Conclusions for Roma
Compiled by the Open Society Foundations, the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network, the European Network against Racism, Amnesty International, Fundación Secretariado Gitano and the European Parliament Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup
We, above mentioned actors, having worked intensively on Roma issues for decades, consider it essential that the Council of the European Union treat Roma issues as a priority and safeguard the continuity of the work at a Council level.
To this end, we request the Slovak Presidency to appeal on the members of the Council of the European Union and the upcoming presidencies to keep the situation of Roma on the Council’s agenda and to ensure Roma are a key priority in current and next programming period (2020-2027).
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
Invites the Member States
1. to recognize anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of racism towards Roma and as one of the root causes of exclusion and human rights violations of Roma; to recognize the history of the Roma people, in particular the genocide of Roma during World War II, and to mark the 2nd of August as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day;
2. to have a dedicated chapter on anti-Gypsyism in the National Roma Integration Strategies which states the need:
(a) to appoint a special advisor on anti-Gypsyism under the ministry of Justice or Human Rights who defines measures on the fight against anti-Gypsyism;
(b) to systematically include civic education measures to combat anti-Gypsyism, such as training of public officials in state administration as well as professionals like education staff, social workers, police officers, journalists, prosecutors and judges;
(c) to bring an end to repressive measures that have historically been associated with anti-Gypsyism, such as restrictions on free movement, restricted access to education and employment and bans on begging;
(d) to put in place measures that specifically target the education and the unemployment of Roma, and promoting actions that create inclusive and tolerant educational and working environments in both the public and private sector;
(e) to end forced evictions and take actions respecting international and EU human rights guidelines while using EU and Member States funding to provide adequate alternative housing;
3. to commit to foster a dynamic, independent environment in which Roma organizations could grow by engaging civil society in a meaningful and structured way and to promote stronger partnerships between authorities and local civil society organizations.
Invites the European Commission
4. to have a targeted funding strand, managed at European level, to invest in the creation of independent Roma watchdog organizations, which will play an active role in voicing the interests of Roma and to keep Member States accountable at local, national and European levels as well as supporting Roma civil society to engage in evidence-based research and policy dialogue in order to genuinely take part in coordination and consultation (e.g. national platforms);
5. to create transparency and accountability mechanisms with clear timeframes and indicators to assess progress and to enable comprehensive evaluation of the implementation of the NRIS and the 2013 Council recommendations.