INTERNATIONAL Roma Day is a good opportunity for Europe to remember that the Roma have been an integral part of European countries for centuries now, the office of the government’s proxy for Roma minorities wrote on the occasion.
“In Slovakia, the Roma national minority represents the second most numerous original minority, and due to social exclusion this minority is often perceived negatively,” the office wrote, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
The Slovak National Centre for Human Rights wrote to mark the occasion on April 8 that the Roma in Slovakia face many significant problems that influence their status in the society.
International Roma Day should remind us of the Roma people’s rich contribution to European culture, Council of Europe’s Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland wrote in his official statement to mark the occasion. The sad reality of the Roma minority nowadays is that most of Europe’s 10 million Roma still live in segregation and dire poverty, and face discrimination on a daily basis.
With support from the European Union, the Council of Europe’s ROMED programme has already helped train 1300 mediators in over 20 countries who advise Roma people on how to access education, health care and local government services, Jagland wrote.
In 2013 the Council of Europe’s Congress of local and regional authorities set up the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma inclusion. The Alliance currently includes 122 participating towns and regions from 27 countries committed to sharing experiences and best practices. In addition, the Council of Europe and the EU launched the ROMACT programme, involving 40 pilot municipalities in 5 countries: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. One of the main aims is to improve the capacity of local authorities to develop inclusive policies and make the best use of European funds.
“There is certainly no quick fix,” Jagland wrote. “It will take years to end discrimination against Roma people. But assistance at the local level offers the most promising strategy to bring justice to Europe’s largest minority. Those who help protect Roma rights in Europe’s towns and cities deserve our attention and recognition.”
Source: SITA, CoE press release
Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.
8. Apr 2014 at 10:00