Ministers’ Deputies

CM Documents

CM(2011)181       19 December 20111



1132 Meeting, 1 February 2012

6 Social cohesion

6.2 Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM)

a. Abridged report of the 2nd meeting (Istanbul, 22-25 November 2011)

b. Draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the rise of anti-Gypsyism and racist violence against Roma in Europe

Item to be prepared by the GR-SOC on 17 January 2012



1. The Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) held its second meeting from 22-25 November 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey, with Mrs Mabera Kamberi (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) in the Chair. The agenda as adopted appears in Appendix 1. The detailed report of the meeting, including the list of participants, is available from the secretariat (cf. document CAHROM(2011)25).

Field visit to Roma neighbourhoods in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 November 2011

2. At the invitation of the Turkish authorities, the CAHROM carried out a visit to three Roma neighbourhoods in Istanbul on 22 November 2011. The report of the field visit will appear as an appendix to the detailed meeting report.

Public hearing with Turkish state and local authorities and representatives of civil society

3. A public hearing addressing the situation of Roma in Turkey and policy measures undertaken by the Turkish authorities was held with several ministries and state institutions, including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Turkish Employment Agency (IS-KUR), with local authorities, including the Mayor of Beyoğlu municipality, as well as with Zero Discrimination Association on 23 November 2011.

Topical issues: anti-Gypsyism and attacks against Roma in Europe

4. The Committee heard presentations by representatives of ECRI, the OSCE/ODIHR, the European Roma and Travellers’ Forum (ERTF) and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on this topic.

5. The Committee examined a preliminary draft declaration on the rise of anti-Gypsyism and racist violence against Roma in Europe and agreed on several amendments. It approved the draft declaration and agreed to transmit it to the Committee of Ministers for adoption (see Appendix 2).

Programme of activities, working methods and future thematic priorities of the CAHROM

6. The CAHROM examined the Bureau proposal regarding working methods and future working thematic priorities of the CAHROM. The Committee adopted the proposal (see Appendix 3).

7. A number of experts made concrete proposals and, as a result of the discussion, the three following priority areas and groups of countries have been proposed and approved by the Committee:

    § Housing

      o Requesting country: “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”.
      o Other countries willing to take part in the exercise and offering experience: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Spain.
      o Other countries willing to gain experience from other countries: Albania and Ukraine.

    § Education with special focus on measures/policies for combating school drop-outs

      o Requesting country: the Netherlands.
      o Other countries willing to take part in the exercise and offering experience: Croatia, Hungary (pending confirmation), Slovakia and Turkey.
      o Other country willing to gain experience from other countries: Sweden.

    § Role of local authorities in implementing national Roma strategies/policies, including inter alia the institutionalisation of mediators

      o Requesting country: Moldova
      o Other countries willing to take part in the exercise and offering experience: Finland, Latvia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
      o Other countries willing to gain experience from other countries: Albania and Ukraine.

8. The Committee asked its Bureau to finalise the precise size and composition of these thematic groups, after consultation with the experts concerned.

9. The Committee requested the secretariat to send, following consultation with the Bureau, a letter to CAHROM members concerned to provide them and their authorities with additional practical information and propose a time table for organising the above mentioned thematic groups, including possible dates for a visit of experts in the requesting country.

10. The secretariat indicated that, on the basis of initial replies received from several CAHROM members prior to the meeting, including France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, an additional thematic group might be established, pending future confirmation of countries concerned, on issues related to nomadic Roma and Traveller communities.

Request from the Zentralrat deutscher Roma und Sinti to obtain observer status in CAHROM

11. The Committee took note of the request of the Zentralrat deutscher Roma und Sinti to be granted observer status in CAHROM (document CAHROM (2011)20).

12. While welcoming the interest of the Zentralrat for the work of the CAHROM, the Committee noted that so far only international non-governmental organisations have been granted observer status and that granting such a status to a national NGO might lead to proliferation which could hinder the effective functioning of the Committee. It decided against this request.

13. The Committee proposed that the response to be addressed to the Zentralrat deutscher Roma und Sinti should underline that there would be other possibilities for the Zentralrat to actively contribute to the work of the CAHROM, e.g. by providing information in the framework of the future working methods of the CAHROM or by being invited to the CAHROM on an ad hoc basis to contribute to a specific item of the Committee’s agenda or by being invited to a public hearing.

Thematic exchange of experience on the role of local and regional authorities in implementing national Roma integration policies/strategies

14. The Committee heard a presentation by the representative of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe about the Final Declaration of the Summit of Mayors and the Congress Recommendation and Resolution on the situation of Roma in Europe, as well as a presentation by the Finnish expert on the role of Finnish municipalities, Regional Advisory Boards on Romani Affairs and Local Roma Working Groups in the implementation of the Finnish policy on Roma.

15. It was agreed that CAHROM members would disseminate information about the Summit Declaration and recent texts adopted by the Congress, and provide the secretariat, wherever possible, with suggestions about cities or regions that could be contacted for joining the Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion to be set up in the first half of 2012.

Thematic exchange of experience on the elaboration of national Roma integration policies/strategies

16. The CAHROM held an exchange of views concerning developments in the elaboration of national Roma integration policies/strategies in various member states. It received information from the European Commission about the discussions and conclusion of the EU Platform meeting organised in Brussels the week before, as well as about country-by-country events organised by DG Enlargement in all Balkan countries.

Roma education

17. The Committee heard a brief oral report by the Slovak expert on the experts’ meeting on effective strategies/practices to end and/or prevent segregation of Roma children in education that he attended in Strasbourg on 5-6 September 2011. It agreed to put the topic of desegregation in the field of education on the agenda of its next meeting.

Roma employment

18. The Committee agreed to submit the Implementation report of Committee of Ministers’ Recommendation Rec(2001)17 on improving the economic and employment situation of Roma/Gypsies and Travellers in Europe to the Committee of Ministers for information (cf. document CM(2011)181 add).

Roma asylum-seekers and returnees

19. The Committee took note of information provided by UNICEF on the situation of returnees to Kosovo,2 in particular children, by UNHCR which on the recent Zagreb Declaration addressing issues related to civil documentation and registration in South Eastern Europe, including problems related to statelessness, and by Mrs Groth, representative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, on the follow-up of the PACE report, recommendation and resolution on Roma asylum seekers in Europe.

20. In respect of the situation of Roma returnees in Kosovo,2 the Committee noted with concern the information provided by UNICEF on the results of its recently updated report on the situation of children returned from Germany. It agreed to draw the Committee of Ministers’ attention to this report (http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/pdfid/4e6067632.pdf) and to keep the situation of Roma returnees in Kosovo2 on its agenda.

Migration and freedom of movement of Roma

21. The Committee heard a presentation by Mrs Groth, representative of the Parliamentary Assembly, on the measures taken or envisaged in certain Western Balkan countries in the context of the visa liberalisation regime and possible issues that they raise under the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular the right to leave one’s country.

22. Experts from Albania, Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” provided the Committee with oral information on the situation and measures taken or proposed.

23. Following the discussion the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues suggested that the countries concerned consider requesting the expertise of the Council of Europe to assist them in finding ways and means of ensuring that measures are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Developments concerning the Dosta! Campaign and the database on Roma-related policies and good practices

24. The Committee received information from the secretariat about the new Roma portal of the Council of Europe, as well as about the websites of the ROMED mediators’ training programme, of the Dosta! awareness-raising campaign for combating prejudices and stereotypes towards Roma and of the recently created database on Roma-related policies and good practices.

25. The Slovak representative informed the Committee about Slovakia’s intention to join the Dosta! campaign.

Recent developments and up-coming events at national and international levels

26. Committee members and observers provided information about recent developments at national and international level. This included a short information about the Guidelines adopted by Roma youth representatives at the Roma Youth Conference held in Strasbourg in September 2011 and information about the main findings of Amnesty International’s recent reports. The Spanish expert presented the conclusions of the International Conference of Romani Women held in Granada in October 2011. Written information submitted by CAHROM participants will be circulated together with the detailed meeting report.

Arrangements for the next meeting

27. The Committee took note of the invitation of the authorities of “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” to hold the 3rd CAHROM meeting in either Skopje or Ohrid on 23-26 May 2012. Some of the CAHROM experts of the agreed thematic group of experts on housing may be invited to come a few days earlier to attend a Roma Decade Conference on Roma and housing to share their experience and participate in bilateral discussions with relevant authorities and NGOs on this matter.

28. The Committee agreed that the 4th CAHROM meeting would take place in Strasbourg in the autumn (probably November 2012). The dates will be fixed at the next meeting.

Adoption of the abridged meeting report (list of decisions)

29. The Committee adopted the abridged report.

Appendix 1

Agenda

22 November 2011

Field visit to three Roma neighbourhoods in Istanbul (Kuştepe in Şişli district, Selamsız in Üsküdar district and a third one in Beyoğlu municipality)

23 November 2011

1. Opening of the meeting

2. Public hearing with Turkish state and local authorities and representatives of civil society

3. Adoption of the agenda

4. Topical issues: anti-Gypsyism and attacks against Roma in Europe

5. Programme of activities, working methods and future thematic priorities of the CAHROM

24 November 2011

6. Thematic exchange of experience on the role of local and regional authorities in implementing national Roma integration policies/strategies

7. Thematic exchange of experience on the elaboration of national Roma integration policies/strategies

8. Roma education and employment

25 November 2011

9. Asylum, migration and freedom of movement of Roma

10. Developments concerning the Dosta! Campaign and the database on Roma-related policies and good practices

11. Recent developments and up-coming events at national and international levels

12. Arrangements for the next meeting

13. Adoption of the list of decisions

14. Close of the meeting

Appendix 2

Draft Declaration of the Committee of Ministers

on the rise of anti-Gypsyism and racist violence against Roma3 in Europe

1. In many countries, Roma are subject to racist violence directed against their persons and property. These attacks have sometimes resulted in serious injuries and deaths. This violence is not a new phenomenon and has been prevalent in Europe for centuries. However, there has been a notable increase of serious incidents in a number of member states, including serious cases of racist violence, stigmatising anti-Roma rhetoric, and generalisations about criminal behaviour.

2. Such incidents have been publicly condemned by inter alia the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and his Special Representative for Roma issues, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Council of Europe Group of Eminent Persons, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), as well as various international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

3. The Committee of Ministers recalls the priorities agreed by member states in the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma adopted at the High Level Meeting on 20 October 2010 which include ensuring the timely and effective investigation of racially motivated crime and strengthening efforts to combat hate speech and stigmatisation.

4. In its General Policy Recommendation no.13 on combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma ECRI recalls that anti-Gypsyism is a specific form of racism, an ideology founded on racial superiority, a form of dehumanisation and institutional racism nurtured by historical discrimination, which is expressed, among others, by violence, hate speech, exploitation, stigmatisation and the most blatant kind of discrimination. As such, anti-Gypsyism is one the most powerful mechanisms of Roma exclusion.

5. The effectiveness of strategies, programmes or action plans aimed at improving the situation and the integration of the Roma, be at international, national or local level, can be significantly reinforced by resolute action to combat anti-Gypsyism and action to improve the trust between Roma and the wider community, where appropriate building on ECRI’s guidelines. Such documents should make clear that attitudes among the non-Roma population are a crucial factor that needs to be addressed. Roma integration measures should include both measures targeted at the Roma population (in particular positive measures) and measures targeted at the non Roma population, notably to combat anti-Gypsyism and discrimination.

6. Against this background, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe:

    i. expresses its deep concern about the rise of anti-Gypsyism, anti-Roma rhetoric and violent attacks against Roma which are incompatible with standards and values of the Council of Europe and constitute a major obstacle to successful social inclusion of Roma and full respect of their human rights;

    ii. draws the attention of governments of member states to ECRI’s General Policy Recommendation No. 13, in particular its paragraph 8 which contains useful guidelines on combating racist violence and crimes against Roma;

    iii. calls on governments and public authorities at all levels and the media to refrain from using anti-Roma rhetoric, in particular during electoral campaigns, and to condemn vigorously, swiftly and in public, all acts of racist violence against Roma, including threats and intimidation, as well as hate speech directed against them;

    iv. calls on governments and public authorities at all levels to be vigilant not to use Roma as easy targets and scapegoats, in particular in times of economic crisis, and to conduct in a speedy and effective manner the requisite investigations of all crimes committed against Roma and identify any racist motives for such acts, so that the perpetrators do not go unpunished and escalation of ethnic tensions is avoided;

    v. welcomes the existing examples of swift reaction from state and local authorities to hate crime and anti-Roma incidents, including legal responses (e.g. amendments of national legislation to protect Roma from harassment and intimidation; prosecution and conviction by national courts of persons committing such crimes, including through the Internet and other media, preventing and condemning extremist organisations inciting or committing such crimes). It stresses the need for effective action to record racist crimes, support victims, and encourage the latter to report such racist incidents;

    vi. recognises the interdependence of inclusion and anti-discrimination; therefore, any strategy, programme or policy developed to improve the situation and integration of Roma should include, in addition to measures promoting the social and economic inclusion of Roma in areas such as education, health, employment and housing, measures combating discrimination and addressing anti-Gypsyism, in line with its Recommendation CM/Rec(2008)5 on policies for Roma and/or Travellers in Europe. Such measures could include research on the phenomenon and awareness-raising activities among the non Roma population, conducted in co-operation with Roma organisations, with a view to addressing stereotypes and prejudice towards Roma. In this respect, it underlines the role and responsibility of media and journalists. It also recalls that the Council of Europe Dosta! campaign is one of the tools at the disposal of member states and encourages them to use it;

    vii. underlines the need for all member states to adopt specific and comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in line with international and European standards; to set up anti-discrimination bodies equipped to promote equal treatment and to assist victims of discrimination; and to ensure that this legislation is effectively implemented.

Appendix 3

Proposal of the Bureau on CAHROM’s future working methods,
under items 4 i. and 4 ii. of its terms of reference

Background

1. At its first meeting, held in Strasbourg on 30-31 March 2011, the Ad Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM) proceeded with an exchange of views on its future role, working methods and thematic priorities.

2. The Committee agreed at that meeting that “it should give space on its future agenda for thematic exchanges of experience and good practices, as well as analysis of the implementation of policies in order to draw conclusions about lessons learnt that will be of benefit to other member states”.4 It took note that “its Terms of Reference place priority emphasis on analysis and evaluation of the implementation of national policies on Roma in light of international standards, and in particular those developed by the Council of Europe, without pursuing activities relating to monitoring”.5

3. In order for the Bureau members to make further proposals to the Committee regarding working methods, the Committee was requested by the Chair to provide the secretariat with answers to questions both concerning thematic priorities for which member states would like to gain more knowledge and experience from other countries, together with thematic topics on which member states could share good practices and policy measures with other countries.

4. The secretariat collected answers to those questions in document CAHROM (2011)12rev.6 A summary table of identified thematic priorities and countries requesting and offering a thematic exchange of experience is appended to document CAHROM (2011)12rev.

Rationale

5. The Bureau has examined practical ways and means of implementing the Terms of Reference of the CAHROM, in particular items 4.i and 4.ii7 having in mind that, during plenary meetings, time is too limited to enable a thorough exchange of information and deep analysis and assessment of policies.

6. On the other hand, the Bureau underlines the key role that the CAHROM, due to its unique mandate and composition, can play in this respect at a time of international momentum generated by various international organisations/institutions and their member states regarding the design, implementation and assessment of national strategies/action plans for Roma.8

7. The Bureau believes that the CAHROM’s main role is to be a forum where member states having a national experience/expertise to share with others or wishing to receive expertise from other member states in a specific thematic policy area could exchange experience at a governmental expert level. The Bureau equally agrees that a mutual analysis and assessment of specific thematic policy areas with a view to drawing up lessons learnt would be of benefit for the countries concerned and possibly for the whole CAHROM membership.

8. The Bureau stresses that this is not a monitoring exercise since the CAHROM has no mandate to assess the compliance of national policies with the Council of Europe’s standards.9 The purpose is entirely pragmatic, i.e. to learn from each other, bearing in mind that each member state has both something to learn and to offer. The ultimate common objective is an overall improvement of the effectiveness of Roma integration policies across Europe and, thus, the situation of the Roma themselves.

Proposals

9. Taking into account in particular the thematic policy areas identified through the replies to the questionnaire (see document CAHROM(2011)12rev) and the common thematic interest shared by several member states, it is suggested that a selected number of thematic policy areas be studied, analysed and evaluated at each plenary meeting of the CAHROM.10

10. The list of specific thematic policy areas identified for the following year should be agreed at the autumn plenary meeting of the CAHROM. During the same plenary, a group of countries (e.g. three or four) should be identified per theme, taking into consideration as much as possible geographical coverage, the size of the Roma population, as well as the institutional framework, in order to ensure the best possible transfer of experience.

11. In light of paragraph 5 above, the Bureau proposes that, in between plenary meetings, bringing together small groups of experts (e.g. three-four experts) would be the best format for studying, analysing and evaluating the agreed thematic policy areas in selected countries. The group of experts would comprise an expert from the country seeking relevant experience from other member states (hereafter “the requesting country”) and experts from countries willing to offer their experience on that particular thematic topic (hereafter “the partner countries”).

12. Experts taking part in the exercise should preferably be CAHROM members having the necessary thematic expertise. The CAHROM member can, however, designate another relevant expert to be part of the team. The expert from the requesting country should work in this particular thematic area and the exchange of experience should be of benefit to his/her work in the short term. He/she should also be able to influence national policy in the specific thematic area. As far as possible, experts from partner countries should have a similar profile. Each working group should have one working language, either English or French. All experts in the same working group should be fluent in that language.

13. As regards the contribution of “other participants” and “observers” (i.e. international organisations and NGOs listed in paragraphs 5.C and 5.D of the CAHROM’s Terms of Reference), and bearing in mind that “the Committee [shall] seek synergies with the work of other international organisations active in this area, in particular with the European Union”,11 the Bureau feels it important to recognise that CAHROM members and observers have different roles and responsibilities. The Bureau stresses that international organisations and NGOs will, nevertheless, be given the opportunity to bring an input into the work of the team of experts, either during the visit to the requesting country, through written information provided to the experts’ team or by providing comments on the team’s report when presented in the plenary.

14. Once the list of thematic areas and groups of countries is established, the CAHROM members concerned should provide experts of the same thematic group, via the secretariat, with all relevant information covering the specific thematic area (legislation, relevant chapters of the national Roma strategy/action plan, relevant data, list of measures and projects implemented, financial means made available, quantitative and qualitative indicators, results of impact assessment studies, criteria used to assess the impact of the national policy in this particular thematic area, etc.). This information should be made available in one of the common Council of Europe official languages of the team of experts.

15. The experts should also be provided, through the secretariat, with other sources of information such as relevant Council of Europe, EU, OSCE, World Bank, UN and NGO documents/studies/reports, etc.

16. Following receipt by the experts of this material, the experts may seek complementary information from other members of the team.

17. The requesting country is expected to invite the other experts of the team to visit that country. Direct discussion with relevant actors (policy makers, Roma organisations, NGOs, local offices of international organisations, etc.) will be highly valuable in terms of informing the experts’ work and drafting the report.

18. Following the receipt of a written invitation from the host country, such a visit would be organised in due time before the plenary meeting during which the report will be presented.

19. The experts, in close co-operation with the secretariat, will then prepare a draft report in the light of all information collected. This report would cover the different countries involved in the exercise, with a special focus on the thematic policy of the “requesting country”. In the process of drafting the report, each expert will therefore be acting as a commentator of other countries’ policies whilst analysing, by comparison, its own model.

20. The report should be an analytical synthesis of the thematic policy area covered by the exercise. The report is not meant to be a comprehensive scientific document. It should focus on lessons learnt and identify effective policies and good practices in the participating countries for possible transfer of experience at bilateral or multilateral level.

21. The report will be finalised by the secretariat and approved by the team of experts. The finalised report will then be translated into the other official language of the Council of Europe and circulated to all CAHROM participants (members and observers), preferably no later than six weeks prior to the plenary meeting during which this thematic policy area should be addressed.

22. During the plenary meeting, one of the members of the team of experts will summarise the analytical part of the report and present the overall conclusions and lessons learnt. Participants in the CAHROM, including representatives of international organisations having an observer status in the Committee, will have the possibility to propose factual corrections to the report or provide additional information relevant to the thematic area covered which could be reflected in the plenary meeting report. The CAHROM will be invited to endorse the report.

23. The Chairperson will use his/her discretion in deciding how much time can be made available in the plenary meeting for the discussion on each thematic area (normally a few hours for each report depending on the topic and scope). The Bureau will reflect this in the draft plenary meeting agenda.

24. As a follow-up to the report, the countries involved in the thematic team of experts may envisage bilateral or multilateral follow-up visits. Should lessons learnt from the report be considered to be of general value (also to other member states), the CAHROM could decide to draft recommendations on this specific thematic area for submission to the Committee of Ministers. Effective policies and good practices identified in the report will help the secretariat to feed the online database set up by the Council of Europe.

25. Once the CAHROM has endorsed the report, the Committee will transmit it to the Committee of Ministers for information alongside any proposals for follow-up.

1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue; it will be declassified in accordance with Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.

3 The term “Roma” used at the Council of Europe refers to Roma, Sinti, Kale and related groups in Europe, including Travellers and the Eastern groups (Dom and Lom), and covers the wide diversity of the groups concerned, including persons who identify themselves as “Gypsies”.

4 See paragraph 6 of document CAHROM (2011)14 – Meeting report of the first CAHROM meeting (Strasbourg, 29-30 March 2011).

5 Ibid.

6 At the time of the Bureau meeting (7 September 2011), 22 CAHROM members had sent replies.

7 The relevant paragraphs of item 4 of the terms of reference read as follows:

i.

study, analyse and evaluate the implementation of policies (national programmes and/or action plans) and identify good practices of member states concerning Roma, with a view to promoting implementation of relevant Council of Europe standards and contributing to the European database on policies/good practices for the integration of Roma to be set up by the Council of Europe;

ii.

exchange information, views and experience on member states’ policies, good practices and measures relating to Roma at national, regional and local level, and in the context of relevant instruments of the Council of Europe, in order to assist member states in the development and implementation of the “Strasbourg initiatives” and effective policies for Roma integration, with due regard to the relevant standards and instruments of the Council of Europe and bearing in mind the specific situation in each member state;

8 For instance, the Strasbourg Declaration adopted on 20 October 2010, the report of the Group of Eminent Persons, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Recommendations, in particular Recommendation Rec(2008)5 on policies for Roma and/or Travellers in Europe, the OSCE Action Plan on Roma and Sinti, the Communication of the European Commission on an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies and the EU Council Decision adopted on 27 June 2011 during the Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council, as well as the objectives of the Decade for Roma Inclusion (2005-2015).

9 See paragraph 4.v of the Terms of Reference which reads as follows:

v.

keep under review the situation of Roma in member states in the light of relevant legal instruments of the Council of Europe, without pursuing activities relating to monitoring;

10 The Bureau notes that from 2012 the CAHROM will be able to hold a three-day plenary meeting in Strasbourg and a four-day plenary meeting outside Strasbourg, hosted by a member state, including a one-day field visit.

11 Last paragraph of item 4 of the terms of reference.



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