MINELRES: ERRC Publishes Human Rights Guide for Activists

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Dec 24 09:15:22 2004

Original sender: European Roma Rights Center <errc@errc.org>



Budapest: 15 December 2004. The ERRC today announced publication of
"Knowing Your Rights and Fighting for Them: A Guide for Romani
Activists". The Guide is a manual summarising the experience, strategies
and methods of the ERRC, developed in the course of its first nine years
of existence, in undertaking human rights work on racism issues in
Europe. It presents, for Romani and other activist audiences, a range of
information that might assist individuals in taking action to challenge
abusive treatment.

The Roma rights field emerged in the mid-1990s together with the
European Roma Rights Center. Nine years after its establishment, the
European Roma Rights Center is ready to present, in this Guide, some of
the lessons of its impact-oriented work shaping law and practice in

The primary purpose of the Guide is to offer a strategic tool to the
actors of the Romani movement in their day-to-day struggle for equal
rights. It aims to introduce grassroots activists to the thinking and
the language of human rights. It also provides trainers with a basic
workbook to introduce Roma rights activities at the national, regional
European and international levels.

The Guide has two sections:

Part A, Thinking About Human Rights, provides a background to the
fundamental principles behind universal human rights and links them,
through examples and activities, to issues Roma in Europe face. Chapters
1 and 2 outline human rights as universal standards applicable to all,
based on our inherent humanity. These chapters give special attention to
the right of equality and struggle against discrimination. Chapters 3
and 4 focus more specifically on how rights are enshrined and protected
through a variety of instruments and mechanisms at local, national and
international levels. The Guide begins with an overview of national
institutions and proceeds through those of the United Nations, the
Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in
Europe and the European Union.

Part B of the Guide is called Making Rights Work and focuses on the
skills and functions undertaken by activists and non-governmental
organisations in human rights work. Chapter 5 describes the meticulous
process of human rights research and documentation. Chapters 6 and 7
move on to reporting and advocacy actions in the public interest to
inform and stimulate change. Chapter 8 turns to the utility of engaging
national and international law through litigation. The final chapter of
the manual looks at creating change through direct action by activists
and citizens, reflecting on historical movements across the world.

A Glossary and Appendices are provided as references to supplement the
information provided and aid the exercises found throughout the Guide.

The Guide grows out of the ERRC's experience with training Roma rights
advocates. An essential aspect of these training projects has been their
gradual infusion with the feedback coming from Romani activists. The
Guide is a first systematic attempt to encapsulate the lessons of that
dialogue in order to pass them on to a next generation of the Romani

The Guide is designed to be a free-standing teaching tool, not dependent
on the presence of ERRC staff or other human rights trainers. The ERRC
believes that this specialised Guide, tailored to reflect the current
stage of the struggle for Roma rights, will add value to the existing
more or less comprehensive human rights manuals. As the Guide is based
on an interactive educational approach, we hope it will be an
easy-to-use instrument in a variety of formats, wherever needed,
training members of the Romani communities to stand up for their rights.

The Guide was prepared with the generous support of the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office of the Government of the United Kingdom.
Translations of the Guide into Hungarian, Romani, Romanian, Russian and
Serbian will be published in early 2005. Persons interested in receiving
copies of the Guide should contact Dora Eke: dora.eke@errc.org.


The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201



The European Roma Rights Center is dependent upon the generosity of
individual donors for its continued existence. If you believe the ERRC
performs a service valuable to the public, please join in enabling its
future with a contribution. Gifts of all sizes are welcome; bank
transfers are preferred. Please send your contribution to:

European Roma Rights Center
Budapest Bank Rt.
1054 Budapest
Bathory utca 1

For correspondence, to subscribe and unsubscribe from this list, please
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