Resolution 44 (1997)1 on "Towards a tolerant Europe: the contribution of Roma"

The Congress,

1. Deploring the crimes, serious violence, racial hatred and discrimination suffered by many Roma throughout Europe, which have caused many Roma deaths, even in recent years;

2. Concerned at a too passive, or even in some cases accommodating, attitude on the part of local authorities or the police towards this inhumanity, xenophobia, racism and intolerance;

3. Regretting the great precarity and the uncertainty of the nationality of many Roma as a result of armed conflict or the dissolution of some states;

4. Noting with satisfaction the Committee of Ministers’ reply to Recommendation 11 (1995) [CG/GT/TSI (3) 1];

5. Welcomes the activities of the ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) and urges it to pay particular attention to the legal situation of Roma in the action it takes;

6. Encourages the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) in its efforts on behalf of Roma;

7. Welcomes the creation of a Specialist Group on Roma (MG-S-ROM) and the establishment of a special budgetary account for activities on Roma in Central and Eastern Europe by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;

8. Congratulates the European Union for organising a European Year against Racism in 1997, following the Council of Europe’s example;

9. Encourages the Network of Cities on Provision for Roma in Municipalities to reorganise itself as an autonomous association;

10. Noting some criticisms of its spelling of the word "Roma";

11. Acknowledging the need to clarify the meaning of paragraph ix of section 8 in Appendix 1 to its Resolution 16 (1995) so as to prevent any unfortunate or mistaken interpretation, note that the sentence must be construed as relating to action to combat discrimination, violence and other crimes against Roma;

12. Accordingly resolves that the paragraph should read as follows:

"ix. Drawing up programmes of action to combat discrimination, violence and delinquency, in co-operation with local authorities and the police";

13. Resolves to complete the Appendix to Resolution 16 (1995) by adding a new para xii as follows:

"xii. Promotion, at local level, of co-operation based on written protocols of co-operation ("pacts", "agreements") between local authorities and the Roma communities";

It should be pointed out that this text aims at replacing point 7.vi. of Resolution 16 (1995) and point 6.b.xviii. of Recommendation 11 (1995) ;

14. Resolves to use the spelling "Roma", with a single "r", in future so as to comply with usual practice within the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe);

15. Decides, in order to provide for better reading and understanding, to comprise under the expression "Roma" the whole variety of groups such as Roma, Gypsies, Sinti, Manush, Gitanos...

16. Encourages the European Union, in close co-operation with the Council of Europe, to set up a European Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia;

17. Plans, in accordance with Resolution 16 (1995) (para. 8 iii), to hold a third Hearing on "Housing/Sites, Health, Social Affairs" in Pardubice (Czech Republic) in 1997, an event which will temporarily end the CLRAE’s work on this subject;

18. In general approves the conclusions of the Ploiesti Round Table (28/29 November 1996), which are appended hereto, and resolves to examine, with the other Council of Europe bodies concerned, the possibilities to implement them.



Conclusions of the Ploiesti Round Table, 28/29 November 1996

Recommendations for action and networking

1. The CLRAE is encouraged to continue to address the situation and problems of the Roma, acknowledging their ethnic/national identity, among other things by encouraging the use of the self-designation ’Roma’ in texts referring to Romani communities, and to stress the need for protection against ethnically-motivated discrimination, exclusion, and violence. In this connection, it is asked to initiate a series of events dedicated to the theme "The image of the Roma: the reality of ethnic identity vs the myth of ’social behaviour’", intended to help disentangle the set of replicated images of Romani identity and so to help clarify the real dimensions of the problems Romani communities face.

2. The CLRAE is asked to seek the co-operation of other Council of Europe bodies, as well as that of other multilateral organisations, in order to support the networking of non-governmental organisations, groups, and institutions aiming to:

– monitor the human rights situation of Roma in Europe;

– provide legal support to Roma on issues related to human rights;

– help create awareness in Romani communities of available legal remedies;

– provide advice to, and support the exchange of information among legal specialists representing Roma on human rights related issues;

– encourage media coverage of the legal situation of Roma.

3. As a step towards achieving the goals addressed under point 2., the CLRAE is encouraged to seek the co-operation of other Council of Europe bodies in order to initiate:

– a series of activities dedicated to the exchange of information and experiences among legal specialists and experts representing Roma in human rights related cases;

– a series of activities dedicated to the exchange of information and expertise among media representatives who take interest in continuous coverage of the legal situation of Roma.

4. The CLRAE is asked to approach other Council of Europe institutions and explore the possibilities of making a continuous contribution to monitoring the legal and human rights situation of Roma, by:

– establishing a mechanism which would allow continuous examination and of reported cases of human rights violations of which Roma have been victims;

– support media projects whose primary task is to promote public awareness to the legal and human rights situation of Roma.

1 Discussion and adoption by the Standing Committee of the Congress on 7 March 1997 (see doc. CG (3) 14 revised, draft Resolution presented by Mr A. Slafkovsky, Rapporteur).



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