MINELRES: NGO Coalition calls for EU framework strategy against Roma discrimination

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Mar 9 10:11:52 2008

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

NGO Coalition calls for EU framework strategy against Roma

Brussels (6 March) – A group of eight NGOs today launched the European
Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC) to press the EU to take decisive action
against Roma discrimination. In a meeting with Commissioner Spidla, the
Coalition will express its concerns about the lack of coherent EU
policies for Roma inclusion and present its recommendations for a more
effective approach.    

Roma are the largest minority group in Europe and yet the most
disadvantaged one. An estimated 7-9 million Roma live in EU member
states but to date there is no integrated and comprehensive EU policy
specifically targeting discrimination against Roma. Commission officials
have acknowledged that “social exclusion and discrimination of Roma
communities are well documented and despite all available legislative
and financial instruments remain often extreme”. However, such words
have not been matched by effective action and change. 

“Roma discrimination and social exclusion is a European problem that
calls for a strong and coherent European response”, said David Mark, the
coalition coordinator. “It is time the EU stops ignoring the human
rights problems affecting so much of its population”.  

The Coalition calls on the EU to adopt a Framework Strategy on Roma
Inclusion, developed in full consultation with Roma communities and
addressing three key objectives: 
- Accountability of national authorities for their duty to protect Roma
from discrimination;
- Equal access to education, healthcare and housing for Roma
- Empowerment of Roma through participation in the civic and economic
life of the country.  

This Framework Strategy should provide policy coherence to both
mainstreaming and targeted actions against Roma discrimination, as well
as create synergies with other European initiatives on Roma rights, in
particular the Decade on Roma Inclusion 2005-15. It should include
efficient monitoring and reporting mechanisms and improve transparency
of EU initiatives in this area.      

The European Roma Policy Coalition brings together national and
international NGOs working on discrimination, human rights and social
inclusion issues. They work with Roma communities in different countries
and bring crucial field experience to the analysis of Roma
discrimination. They are: Amnesty International (AI); European Network
Against Racism (ENAR), European Roma Grassroots Organisation (ERGO),
European Roma Information Office (ERIO), European Roma Rights Centre
(ERRC), Minority Rights Group International (MRGI); Open Society
Institute (OSI) and Spolu International Foundation (SF).

Representatives of the coalition are available for interviews today, 6
March, in the afternoon.  

A Factsheet about the coalition and its proposals to the EU is available


Other background materials, are available upon request. 
For further comment/background and interviews: 

Tel: 32-2-5021499 
Fax: 32-2-5025686 
Email: amnesty-eu@aieu.be 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and
provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more
information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the
web at http://www.errc.org 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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