Doc. 9397 revised

19 April 2002

Legal situation of the Roma in Europe1

Report

Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Rapporteur: Mr Csaba Tabajdi, Hungary, Socialist Group

Summary

The report offers a new approach towards the subject of Roma, based on the significant changes that have taken place in Europe and in the framework of the Council of Europe since the last recommendation.

Today the Roma are still subjected to discrimination, marginalisation and segregation. Discrimination is widespread in every field of public and personal life, including access to public places, education, employment, health services and housing. The Romani community is still not regarded as an ethnic or national minority group in every member state, and thus it does not enjoy the rights pertaining to this status in all the countries concerned. The effective participation of the Romani minority in public life is a vital element in all democratic societies, but the participation must always take a voluntary form. There is a need to strengthen, clarify and harmonise the work of multilateral organisations.

The Council of Europe can and must play an important role in improving the legal status, the level of equality and the living conditions of the Roma. The report supports the proposal of establishing a European Roma Consultative Forum. A Charter on the Fundamental Rights of Roma should be intitiated. The report advocates the need for the institution of a European Roma Ombudsman. A European Roma study and training centre is also envisaged.

I.        Draft recommendation

1.        Nearly ten years ago in its Recommendation 1203 (1993) on Gypsies in Europe, the Assembly stressed the need for special protection for the Gypsies and condemned the various forms of discrimination suffered by them in the member states of the Council of Europe. Although international organisations, national governments, local authorities and non-governmental organisations have made great efforts, the aims set by this recommendation have been achieved to a restricted extent.

2.        The Assembly recalls the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950, the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment of 1987, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1992, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities of 1995 and the European Social Charter (revised) of 1996.

3.        Today the Roma are still subjected to discrimination, marginalisation and segregation. Discrimination is widespread in every field of public and personal life, including access to public places, education, employment, health services and housing. Marginalisation and the economic and social segregation of the Roma are turning into ethnic discrimination, which usually affects the weakest social groups.

4.        The Roma form a special minority group, insofar they have a double minority status. They are an ethnic community and most of them belong to the socially disadvantaged groups of the society.

5.        Most of the Roma are currently faced with the rather severe economic situation in most of the member countries of the Council of Europe. Despite efforts in the social field, market economy, especially the neo-liberal version of it, has marginalised disadvantaged social groups including the Roma even in the most developed European countries. In central and eastern Europe the economic and political transition has aggravated their socially disadvantaged situation.

6.        From a legal point of view, the Romani community is still not regarded as an ethnic or national minority group in every member state, and thus it does not enjoy the rights pertaining to this status in all of the countries concerned. The Roma must be treated as an ethnic or national minority group in every member states, and their minority rights must be guaranteed. The Framework-Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages are available, and must be applied.

7.        The nature and direction of the migration of the Roma has changed recently, as its illegal aspect has grown markedly, and even former transit countries have become final destinations. Ethnic conflicts and civil wars of the last ten years in certain parts of Europe intensified the phenomena of the migration of the Roma. This migration is still not higher than the average migration trend from central and eastern Europe, but it attracts greater public attention because of its specific nature, as it is usually not an individual, solitary enterprise, but a family affair for the smaller or larger Romani families.

8.        It is necessary to adopt a series of confidence-building and advisory measures aimed at helping Romani migrants from central and eastern Europe already living in the countries of western Europe, and to prevent their further marginalisation. It is also necessary to provide effective support for the reintegration of those Romani migrants who return to their homeland.

9.        The Roma, as full citizens of the country they reside in, have to have the same rights and obligations as others. The right of Roma to move must be recognised. The majority population and the Roma share responsibility in society to an asymmetrical measure in the light of their capacities and their economic, political, cultural and social resources. The majority population has to accept the Roma into the society without assimilating them, and support the Roma as a disadvantaged social group. The Roma have to accept the rules governing the society as a whole, and they can be called upon to be more active in handling their own problems, but this must be associated with appropriate conditions, encouragement and incentives provided by the state.

10.        Member states of the Council of Europe should encourage the Roma to set up their own organisations and/or political parties, and participate in the political system as voters, candidates, or members in national parliaments. Romani communities, organisations and political parties should be given the full opportunity to take part in the process of elaborating, implementing and monitoring programmes and policies aimed at improving their present situation.

11.        The situation of Romani women needs to be improved, because they play a determinant role in improving the living conditions of the Romani families. Romani women suffer from a triple discrimination, as Roma, as women and also as persons belonging to a socially disadvantaged group.

12.        The Assembly encourages awareness-raising among media professionals of their particular responsibility in building dialogue between the Roma and the majority population, fighting against discrimination in the society, making the majority population more familiar with the culture of the Roma and the efforts made by them to improve their situation, and reporting the positive examples concerning the integration of the Roma into the society.

13.        The Assembly recognises that there is a need to strengthen, clarify and harmonise the work of :

a. European multilateral organisations, such as the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the European Union;

b. several bodies of the Council of Europe dealing with elaborating and monitoring initiatives, reports, recommendations and programmes concerning the situation of the Roma in Europe.

14.        The Convention, preparing a common future “constitution” for the European Union, has asked civil society to make remarks and proposals. The Romani communities and organisations should not miss the opportunity of expressing their views.

15.        The Council of Europe can and must play an important role in improving the legal status, the level of equality and the living conditions of the Roma. The Assembly calls upon the member states to complete the six general conditions, which are necessary for the improvement of the situation of the Roma in Europe:

a.       to resolve the legal status of the Roma:

i. to recognise the Romani individuals as members of an ethnic or national minority group;

ii. to acknowledge the minority group status of the Romani communities;

iii. to guarantee the individual and community minority rights for the Roma;

iv. to provide for the Roma, legally residing in the country they live in, the full opportunity to obtain an identity card, in the countries where it exists;

v. to sign, ratify and fully implement the Framework-Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages ;

vi. to provide for the Roma the social rights protected by the revised European Social Charter;

b.       to elaborate and implement specific programmes to improve the integration of the Roma as individuals and the Romani communities as minority groups into the society and ensure their participation in the decision-making process at local, regional, national and European levels :

i. to elaborate and implement policies designed to deal with the problems of the Roma, which are comprehensive and related to economic, social and cultural factors;

ii. to strengthen the dialogue between Romani individuals, Romani communities and other groups of the society ;

iii. to involve representatives of the Roma at all stages of the decision-making process in developing, implementing and evaluating programmes aimed at improving the conditions of Romani individuals and communities. This involvement should not be limited to consultation only but should take the shape of a real partnership;

iv. encourage the presence of Romani members in national parliaments and encourage the participation of the elected Romani representatives in the regional and local legislature process and executive bodies;

v. to foster inter-regional co-operation with the view to handling the problems faced by the Roma with their active participation ;

vi. to strengthen the systematic and regular monitoring process of the implementation of recommendations and specific programmes aimed to improve the legal situation and the living conditions of the Romani individuals and communities ;

c.       to guarantee an equal treatment for the Romani minority as an ethnic or national minority group in the field of education, employment, housing, health and public services. Member states should give special attention:

i. to promote equal opportunities for the Roma on the labour market;

ii. to provide the possibility for Romani students to participate at all levels of education from the kindergarten to the university;

iii. to eradicate practices towards segregated schooling of Romani children, particularly the practice of routing Romani children to schools or classes for the mentally disabled;

d.       to develop and implement positive actions and preferential treatment for the socially deprived strata, including the Roma as a socially disadvantaged community, in the field of education, employment and housing:

i. to ensure long-term budgetary support for developing income-generating programmes for the socially disadvantaged groups including the Roma;

ii. to ensure that programmes of housing announced by the governments are available for the socially disadvantaged families including the Romani ones;

iii. to make use of the Development Bank of the Council of Europe to finance housing programmes for the Roma;

e.       to take specific measures and create special institutions for the protection of the Romani language, culture, traditions and identity:

i.       to call on governments of member states to help and promote the teaching of the Romani language;

ii.       to encourage Romani parents to send their children to primary school, secondary school and college or university, and give them adequate information about the necessity of education;

iii.       to make the majority population more familiar with the culture of the Roma;

iv.       to ensure that educational textbooks include material on the Romani history and culture;

f.              to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance on local, regional and international levels:

i.       to enact and enforce a comprehensive anti-discriminatory legislation in the member states;

ii.       to set up conflict prevention and management bodies at regional and local levels;

iii.       to give considerable support to non-governmental organisations protecting individual and community minority rights of the Roma;

iv. to pay particular attention to the phenomena of the discrimination against the Roma, especially in the field of education and employment

v. to fight against racial discrimination based on reliable statistical data and protect the Roma against the abusive and involuntary collection of data;

vi. to strengthen the monitoring system on discrimination against the Roma at local, regional, national and international levels;

vii. to pay particular attention to the problems faced by the Roma in the field of acquisition or loss of citizenship, border–crossing decisions and policies.

16.               The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers

i. support the initiative of setting up a European Roma Consultative Forum, democratically established, that can articulate and transmit the voice of Romani individuals and communities and serve as an advisory body to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and institutions of the European Union;

ii. initiate the elaboration of an European Charter on Fundamental Rights of the Roma that should be developed by the European Roma Consultative Forum aimed at giving legal safeguards to the minority rights of Romani individuals and communities;

iii. set up the institution of an European Roma Ombudsman to deal with the violation of the individual and community minority rights of the Roma;

iv. establish a European Roma Study and Training Centre, affiliated to the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe, which needs to be set up with a small staff to enable efficient exchanges of positive experiences concerning the integration of the Roma at local, regional and national levels in the member states and to promote the co-ordination of the training of Romani and majority specialists;

v. create an European Solidarity Fund for Roma financed by voluntary contributions from the member states of the Council of Europe and other international multilateral organisations;

vi. draw up an additional protocol on the rights of minorities to the European Convention on Human Rights;

vii. strengthen the monitoring mechanisms and support to a greater extent the implementation of the initiatives and recommendations enumerated by existing international documents.

II.       Explanatory memorandum

      by Mr Tabajdi, Rapporteur

1.               The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a report in 1993 which had been prepared by Mrs Joséphine Verspaget on behalf of the Committee on Culture and Education2. This report paved the way towards a new phase in the activity of the Council of Europe. Although national governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations and other major European players in the field3 have made great efforts, they have been successful only to a restricted extent in their attempts to integrate the Roma into modern society, even in the most developed countries.

2.               At the same time, several significant changes have taken place in Europe over the last nine years. These changes turned the attention of European countries and international organisations to the grave situation of the Roma in Europe.

3.        Since the late 19th century, the majority of the Romani communities have found themselves pushed to the periphery of the economic, political and social life of modern societies. Despite efforts in the social field, market economy, especially the neo-liberal version of it, marginalises disadvantaged social groups including the Roma.

4.        Following the enlargement of the Council of Europe and the admission of new member states from Central and Eastern Europe, the number of Roma living in the Council of Europe zone has risen considerably. About 60 to 70 per cent of the Roma in Europe live in countries, which joined the Council of Europe since 1990. 4

5.        Solidarity has crumbled to a considerable extent in the countries of Europe. Hostile feelings towards the poor and conflicts between communities are increasing. Economic problems give rise to ethnic disputes, and deterioration of the social status of the Roma has given way to social and ethnic discrimination.

6.               In the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the situation is particularly serious. The economic and political transition and the emergence of the market economy aggravated the disadvantaged social status of the Roma. Many of them fall completely outside the weakened welfare net.

7.        Migration of the Roma has become a burning issue for the whole of Europe, although the number of Romani migrants is insignificant and not higher than the average migration trend from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the migration of the Roma always attracts greater public attention because of its specific nature: it is not an individual, solitary enterprise, but it is a family affair for the smaller or larger Romani family. As the countries of Western Europe are monitoring and regulating immigration and asylum seekers more and more strictly, the nature and the direction of migration of the Roma have changed. Its illegal aspect has grown markedly, and even non-EU countries, which once were transit countries, have become final destinations.

8.        We also witness a significant increase in the level of the civic and political organisation of the Roma. The level of expression of their ethnic identity has increased. The Roma live scattered throughout Europe, their communities are mixed and dispersed, but the awareness of their common origin, the disadvantaged social situation and the discrimination give them a sense of solidarity.

9.        From a legal point of view, Roma were not treated as an ethnic or national minority in most of the European countries in 1993. By now, this problem has been solved in many of the member states. Despite the positive trend, there are still hesitating countries which makes it necessary to underline again that the Roma must be recognised legally as an ethnic or national minority all over Europe.

10.        In order to address the aforesaid situation, a comprehensive yet most varied approach is needed. Better living conditions, improved social situation, and an efficient struggle against all forms of discrimination and segregation against the Roma must be a top priority in the European states.

The legal status of the Roma in the member states of the Council of Europe5

11.        The Roma are recognized legally

a.       as a national or ethnic minority group in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Ukraine and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

b.       as a traditional national minority in Finland;

c.       as a racial group protected under the Race Relation Act 1976 in the United Kingdom.

12.        The Roma have no special legal status in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia6 and Switzerland.

13.        There are no Roma living in Andorra, Iceland and Malta

14.        The rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has not received any official information about the legal status of the Roma from the following member states: Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Georgia, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Moldavia, Portugal, the Russian Federation, San Marino, Spain, and Turkey.

Participation of the Roma in the decision-making process7

15.        Nowadays, Roma political parties are registered in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and Slovakia. The creation of political parties on an ethnic basis is definitely prohibited in Albania and Bulgaria.

16.        Romani members of parliament can be found only in a restricted circle of the member States. There are reserved seats available for the representatives of the Roma in Romania. The Hungarian constitution guarantees the right of national and ethnic minorities to parliamentary representation, but no agreement has been reached as regards the modalities of this representation.

Government offices and other official bodies dealing with the issue of discrimination and the situation of the Romani population on national level8

17.        In several member states of the Council of Europe government offices or other official boards already exist to deal with the situation of the Romani population including discrimination against them. A government office for national or ethnic minorities was established in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia, and a national council for minorities in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Ukraine. A separate Minister for Urban Planning and Integration of Minorities exists in the Netherlands. In Romania, there is a minister attached to the prime minister responsible for national minorities. In the Russian Federation a Ministry on the Affairs of Nationalities was established. A Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights, National Minorities and Regional Development exists in Slovakia, and a minister in charge of issues concerning national minorities in Sweden.

18.        Special government bodies are dealing with Romani affairs in the following member states:

Austria       Beirat       (a body of representatives of Romani associations, political parties and the church with an advisory status)

Belgium       several official bodies are dealing with Romani affairs

Czech Republic        Inter-Ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs

Finland       Advisory Board on Romani Affair

Greece       Committee of Ministers

Hungary       Inter-ministerial Committee on Romani Issues, Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minorities

Slovak Republic       Office for Roma National Minority, Commission for Roma Minority Rights of the National Council

Slovenia       Governmental Commission for the Romani Community

Sweden       Working Group on Romani issues (formed by the representatives of the government, ministries and the Roma National Union)

19.        The institution of an ombudsman or a parliamentary commissioner was established in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Moldova, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Sweden and Ukraine. In Norway, the government established a Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination with some functions of an ombudsman. There are committees for petitions in the parliaments of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Luxemburg, "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", Moldova and the Netherlands. Ombudsmen, parliamentary commissioners and petition committees have the duty to protect the constitutional and legal right of all citizens including the Roma, but only in Hungary exists the institution of an Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minorities.

B.        Basic principles

Integration without assimilation. The Roma must be treated as an ethnic group and a socially disadvantaged community

20.        Governmental programmes aimed to improve the situation of the Roma must be based on the principle of integration without assimilation. The sad fact in Europe seems to be that the trend is the social exclusion of the Roma rather than their integration into society. Roma have a double minority status: they are both an ethnic minority group and a socially disadvantaged community. This approach entails two criteria: (1) the emancipation and social integration of the Roma, and (2) the safeguarding of their Romani identity. A preferential treatment in the field of culture and education is clearly vital to the safeguarding of their cultural identity, their language, their traditions and customs. In the social field, the Roma may be treated exactly the same way as any other deprived social group, and their access to positive actions in the field of employment, housing and education must be assured.

The disadvantaged social situation of the Roma

21.        Most of the Roma belong to socially disadvantaged groups, and they currently face a rather severe economic situation in the majority of the member countries of the Council of Europe. Their problems stem primarily from accelerated industrialization and urbanization, long-established social, educational, and employment policies, the impact of market economy, and, in Central and Eastern Europe, a process of economic and political transition.

22.        As a result of industrialization and urbanization, many of the traditional trades of the Roma disappeared. Most of them are out of work, and the unemployment rate in certain of their communities has reached 80 to 100 per cent. Many of the Roma lost access to public services and fall completely outside the welfare net. Poverty worsens the phenomena of social exclusion, determines Romani children’s access to education, and aggravates the housing, health and employment situation of the Romani families. Pauperization leads to a spiral trend of segregation and marginalisation. The Roma should benefit from the rights and the system of collective complaints contained in the European Social Charter (revised).

Fight against ethnic discrimination. Marginalisation and social segregation

23.               Marginalisation and the economic/social segregation of the Roma are turning into ethnic discrimination, a process which usually affects the weakest social groups. Discrimination is widespread in every field of public and personal life, including access to public places, education, employment, health, housing and public and social services in the majority of the European states. Economic/social exclusion and ethnic discrimination lead some Romani communities to self-marginalisation and self-segregation. During his visits to member States with a Roma population, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights tackles the problem faced by Roma in his talks with the authorities concerned.

The Roma must be treated as full citizens of the country they live in. A shared but asymmetrical responsibility

24.               The majority population and the Romani minority share the responsibility to an asymmetrical measure in the light of their capacities and their economic, political, cultural and social resources. The majority population has to accept the Roma into society without assimilating them. All forms of racial attacks and ethnic discrimination must be eliminated, and full support must be provided for the Roma as a disadvantaged social group. The Roma, as citizens of the country they live in, have to have the same rights and obligations as others, and they have to respect the rules of the society as a whole. They also can be called upon to be more active in handing their problems, but this must be associated with appropriate conditions, encouragement and incentives provided by the State.

Participation of the Roma in public life and in the decision-making process

25.        The genuine participation of minorities, and more particularly, of the Romani minority, in public life is a vital element in all democratic societies. Respect for the legitimate interests of every single person and social group and the maintenance of the internal and external peace and stability are fundamentally linked. Open and flexible consultation and decision-making process can help to ensure good management of public affairs and strengthen the integrity of the state. The participation of the Roma in public life can be assured through their parliamentary representation and their political parties and non-governmental organisations. The participation of the Roma in the decision-making process is essential both on national and local level.

C.        The architecture of an European institutional system to address Romani issues. The specific role of the Council of Europe

26.        The Council of Europe can and must play an important role in improving the legal status, the level of equality and the living conditions of the Roma, as it has the necessary status to be considered as a kin-state, a state in its own right. There is a need, however, to strengthen, clarify and harmonise the work of European multilateral organisations, as the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the European Union. The Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies has to remain a body of experts delegated strictly by national governments and affiliated directly to the Committee of Ministers, and it must be fully involved in policy-making matters concerning the Roma. The basic mission of the Group consists of recommending the implementation of Roma-related policies on local, regional, national and European levels.

27.               The Roma, having no state of their own, are in need of particular protection. Their specific situation was the reason for the proposal put forward by Mrs Tarja Halonen, President of Finland, for a European Roma Consultative Forum to be set up. Such a democratically established assembly, which would meet regularly, could serve as an advisory body to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

28.        The institution of a European Roma Ombudsman for the Roma needs to be set up to deal with violations of the individual and community rights of the Roma, and also to supervise the implementation of various initiatives.

29.        An European Methodology and Training Centre needs to be set up to enable efficient exchanges of positive experience concerning the integration of Roma at local, regional and national levels in member states and to promote the training of specialists on these issues both from the majority and the minority population. At present, a large number of bodies and organisations analyse the problems and conflicts, but much less attention is given to successful examples and solutions. This Centre may be affiliated to the European Youth Centre of the Council of Europe.

D.        Other general remarks

Participation of the Roma in the decision-making process

30.               The states and the local authorities should encourage the Roma to fully participate in the political and public life of the country they live in, set up their own organisations and/or political parties, and participate in the political system as voters, candidates, or members in national parliaments. The representatives of the Roma have to be involved in the decision-making process of the national parliaments, especially in those countries with a large Romani community.

31.        Governments must involve representatives of the Roma at all stages of the decision-making process, which is essential to the effectiveness and legitimacy of policies and programmes launched to improve their situation. This involvement should not be limited to consultation only but should be conceived as real partnership. National governments must assure the transparency of decision-making process concerning the Roma, and ensure that Romani communities receive information about programmes and proposals sufficiently well before the decision-making deadlines. All the arrangements have to be adapted to local circumstances and the diversity of the Romani population.

Participation of the Roma in the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at improving the situation of their communities

32.        Governments should encourage and facilitate dialogue and understanding between the Roma and the majority population. Co-operation between the Romani communities and the whole society at large is the basis of any success. Often enough, majority society doesn’t understand the aspirations and needs of the Romani communities, and very often irrelevant and inadequate solutions are offered that doesn’t address the key issues.

33.               The Roma should be effectively involved not only in developing but also in implementing programmes aimed at improving the living conditions of their communities. Participation of the Roma in the implementation process helps governments receive continuous feedback, which enables them to refine and adapt their programmes as needed to achieve their aims.

34.        In view of the great importance of the local authorities in realising national policies towards the Roma, full involvement of local authorities and participation of the Roma at all levels of governance are essential to the effective implementation of these policies and projects.

Fight against discrimination

35.        Discrimination and racial attacks against the Roma are not the problem of the Roma only, but the concern of the society as a whole. National governments should initiate the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, addressing racial and ethnic discrimination in all fields of public life.

36.        Governments should enact convenient and efficient legal norms to prohibit ethnic-racial discrimination in all activities undertaken or funded by public officials. States should also ensure that public officials, including the police, who are found guilty of discrimination, are sanctioned without delay.

37.        Government efforts to combat racial discrimination should be based on reliable statistical data and other quantitative information reflecting as accurately as possible the situation of the Roma. Such information should be collected in compliance with human rights’ principles, and protected against abuse for purposes other than reversing racial discrimination and improving the overall situation of the Romani population.

Government offices and other official bodies dealing with the issue of discrimination and the situation of the Romani population on national level

38.        National governments should establish specialised official bodies with specific responsibility to act in the field of racial discrimination. These offices should be set up in all member states with properly qualified staff to ensure anti-discrimination norms, and investigate and prosecute violators of the laws and norms. Satisfactory monitoring systems must be set up at local, regional, national and international levels to monitor and report transparently and regularly on progress in the field of fighting against racial attacks and ethnic discrimination against the Roma.

The Romani identity and the problems of citizenship

39.        The right of choosing one’s identity is a basic requirement of individual autonomy and freedom. Whether you want to identify yourself as a Rom or not shall be a matter of a free personal choice, and national governments must guarantee that no disadvantage results from such a choice. One person may hold several identities in private and public life. The Roma are an ethnic minority group, but they are also full citizens of the countries they live in.

40.               National governments and international organisations concerned with nationality/citizenship problems should be encouraged to pay particular attention to the problems faced by the Roma in the field of acquisition or loss of nationality. States should respect their obligations under international agreements on nationality and citizenship matters.

Right to education

41.               Member states should consider education of the Roma a top priority. National governments must make concerted efforts to fight against ethnic discrimination in schools. National law must include adequate provisions to ban discrimination in education and provide effective remedies for victims. States should make concerted efforts to eradicate practices towards segregated schooling of Romani children, particularly the practice of routing them to schools or classes for the mentally disabled. Equal opportunities for Romani children in the field of education must be ensured.

42.        On the other hand, member states should elaborate and implement education policies and arrangements in order to close the gap between Romani pupils and students form the majority population. National governments should support pre-school programmes that help prepare Romani children for primary school, as well as programmes that provide appropriate support to Romani students, and their families, while they are attending regular schools. Governments should ensure that the cost of meals, textbooks and expenses related to education are covered if parents cannot afford to pay for these costs. Educational policies should incorporate measures to support and facilitate adult and vocational training, further training or retraining.

43.        Particular attention should be paid to the need to ensure better communication with Romani parents and special information and advice should be given to them about the necessity of education and the support mechanisms available, because parents’ attitude also prevents many Romani children from benefiting from the advantages presented by the educational system. Governments should also take steps to increase the number of educators and teaching assistants, mediators and trainers recruited within the Romani community.

Access to employment

44.               Member states should give serious consideration to the very difficult economic and employment situation of the Roma in Europe. Although there are no statistics based on ethnicity in many countries, national governments report that the unemployment rate among the Roma is definitely higher than for the population as a whole.

45.        The employment situation of the Roma is particularly serious in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. In Romania 70% of national unemployment rate is represented by the Romani minority. In Slovakia, according to a research published in 1999, the Roma created 41% of those who were unemployed longer than 24 months and 52% of those who were unemployed longer than 48 months. In Slovenia, the unemployment rate among the Roma was 29 per cent, in opposition to the rate of 12,2 per cent of the society as a whole. In Poland, the national unemployment rate is about 12-15%, but the unemployment rate among the Roma is much higher, 50-60 per cent.

46. Governments should promote equal opportunities for the Roma on the labour market by institutionalising non-discriminatory policies. In the fight against discrimination, awareness-raising campaigns on the rights of job-seekers should be launched and equal job-opportunities must be provided for all. Information campaigns on rights of employees in workplaces should also be supported.

47.        National action plans for employment must pay particular attention to the labour market problems of the Roma, and include specific measures to improve their situation. Governments and international funds should ensure long-term financing support for income-generating and development programmes for the Roma. The employment of Romani men and women in the public sector must be promoted.

48. Community employment programmes must improve long-term employment prospects of participants. Greater access to education is needed, particularly to secondary and higher education, as well as to vocational training so that a young generation of well-trained Roma can emerge and be competitive on the labour market. Vocational training programmes for the Roma should respond to local and/or regional needs and to real job opportunities.

Access to housing

49.        Governments must ensure that Roma are not victims of discrimination in respect of housing, and that housing policies do not foster segregation. The solutions to be offered in that field must be available for all the deprived social groups, and should not be based on an ethnic principle.

50.        Full participation of the Roma in the housing improvement process is an indispensable prerequisite and condition for sustainable improvements. Intended beneficiaries should be involved in the design of housing policies and engaged in the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of their public housing projects.

51.        The problem of illegal Roma living environments must be solved.

Access to health services

52.        Governments are encouraged to undertake necessary research into the health status of the Romani population and to fight against the ethnic and social discrimination in the field of health services. Governments should make concerted efforts to make sure that the Roma can have access to public health care and ensure that discrimination in the provision of health services is eliminated at all levels. Roma have to be informed about medical services available.

53.        National governments should take immediate steps to address the comparatively high incidence of disease and malnutrition among Romani communities. States must ensure that adequate health services are available in areas where there are large Romani populations and that obstacles, such as lack of local infrastructure or prohibitive costs of medication, are resolved.

Protection of the Romani culture, language and traditions. The role of the media

54.        Any person, whether of a minority group or not, shall have the right to use freely his/her mother tongue in private and in public, both orally and in writing. This right shall also apply to the use of the mother language in publications, in the audiovisual sector and, in regions where substantial numbers of Roma are settled, in the contacts with administrative authorities and proceedings before the courts and legal authorities. For the protection of the Roma as an ethnic minority group, the Framework-Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter on Regional or Minority Languages are available and must be applied.

55.        It is essential that the majority population should become more familiar with the culture of the Romani minority, which is a vital component in combating prejudice and negative stereotypes. States should ensure that educational textbooks include material on Romani history and culture, especially in countries with a large Romani population. National governments should also ensure that teachers and other education professionals receive adequate training in multicultural education.

56.        It is necessary to raise the awareness of the media in the field of ethnic relations. The role of the media is determinant in the struggle against hate speech and prejudices.

Migration of the Roma in Europe

57.               Migration of the Roma has become an European issue. Most of the countries in Western Europe received Romani migrants from the Eastern part of the continent in the past ten years. Recently, the nature and the direction of migration of the Roma have changed. Its illegal aspect has grown, and even former transit countries have become final destination.

58.        Nowadays, most of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe give shelter to Romani immigrants and are a source of emigration of the Roma at the same time. A large number of Roma arrived from Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia, and from Yugoslavia to Slovenia and to "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" during the Balkan wars. In the second part of the 90’s a small group of mostly Romanian Roma asked for asylum in Poland. On the other hand, there are Romani asylum-seekers in Romania, coming in major part from Moldavia. Hungary and the Czech Republic have also become final destination of the migration of the Roma in the past few years.

59. Migration does not represent a true solution to the problems of the Roma in Europe. In order to tackle the root causes of migration, measures must be taken to increase confidence in and identification with existing social and political structures in the countries of origin. Priority ought to be given to combating all forms of discrimination, and encouragement should be given to the improvement of Romani communities’ living conditions and social situation all across Europe.

60.        Special measures should be taken to help the Romani migrants from Central and Eastern Europe already living in Western European countries. It is important to prevent anauthorised stay in a country, and avoid the further marginalisation of refugees, asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

The special situation of the Romani women

61.        Romani women suffer from double discrimination. They are discriminated both as women and as Roma. Governments should give special attention to the particular situation and needs of them, and national strategies in favour of the Roma should include a specific action plan for Romani women.

62. Romani women can play an important role in building a dialogue between the majority population and the Roma. Governments should take positive action to increase the participation of Romani women in the decision-making process, and encourage them to set up their own organisations and networks.

63. Romani women can play an important role also in improving the living conditions of their families. Special attention must be paid on the education situation, employment opportunities and special needs in the field of health services of the Romani women.

*

* *

Reporting committee: Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Reference to committee: Doc 8830 and Reference No 2539 of 25 September 2000

Draft recommendation adopted by the Committee on 18 March 2002 with 20 votes in favour, 1 vote against and 3 abstentions

Members of the Committee: Mr Lintner (Chairperson), Mr Magnusson, Mrs Gülek, Mr Marty (Vice-Chairpersons), Mr Akçali, Mr G. Aliyev, Mr Andican, Mr Arabadjiev, Mrs van Ardenne-van der Hoeven, Mr Attard Montalto, Mr Bindig, Mr Brejc, Mr Bruce, Mr Bulavinov (alternate: Mr Khripel), Mr Chaklein, Mrs Christmas-Mřller (alternate: Mrs Auken), Mr Clerfayt, Mr Contestabile, Mr Davis, Mr Demetriou, Mr Dimas, Mr Engeset, Mr Enright, Mrs Err, Mr Fedorov, Mrs Frimansdóttir, Mr Frunda, Mr Guardans, Mr Gustafsson, Mrs Hajiyeva, Mr Holovaty, Mr Jansson, Mr Jaskiernia, Mr Jurgens, Mr Kastanidis, Mr Kelemen (alternate: Mr Pokol), Mr Kostytsky, Mr S. Kovalev (alternate: Mr Shishlov), Mr Kresák, Mr Kroll, Mr Kroupa, Mr Lacăo (alternate: Mrs Aguiar), Mrs Libane, Mr Lippelt, Mr Manzella, Mrs Markovic-Dimova, Mr Mas Torres, Mr Masseret (alternate: Mr Hunault), Mr McNamara, Mr Michel, Mrs Nabholz-Haidegger, Mr Nachbar, Mr Olteanu, Mrs Pasternak, Mr Pellicini (alternate: Mr Budin), Mr Penchez, Mr Piscitello, Mrs Postoica, Mrs Roudy, Mr Rustamyan, Mr Skrabalo, Mr Solé Tura (alternate: Mrs Lopez Gonzalez), Mr Spindelegger, Mr Stankevic, Mr Stoica (alternate: Mr Coifan), Mrs Stoisits, Mrs Süssmuth, Mr Svoboda, Mr Symonenko, Mr Tabajdi, Mr Tallo, Mr Tepshi, Mrs Tevdoradze, Mr Uriarte (alternate: Mrs Posada), Mr Vanoost, Mr Vera Jardim, Mr Volpinari, Mr Wilkinson (alternate: Mr Lloyd), Mrs Wohlwend

N.B. The names of those members who were present at the meeting are printed in italics.

Secretaries to the Committee: Ms Coin, Ms Kleinsorge, Mr Ćupina

APPENDIX I

ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE LEGAL SITUATION OF ROMA/GYPSIES/TRAVELLERS IN EUROPE

 

Size of the Romani population

Lifestyle of the Roma

Living environment

Legal status

Governmental, national programmes and projects concerning the Roma

Official bodies dealing with Romani affairs

Andorra

There are no Roma living in Andorra.

 

 

 

 

 

Austria

It is estimated that 20,000-25,000 Roma live in Austria.

All of them are sedentary.

They live mostly in towns.

Roma have no special legal status, they are recognized as a minority group.

None.

"Beirat" (a body of representatives of Romani associations, political parties and the church) has an advisory status.

Belgium

According to the census presented by the Centre for Equal Chances (1999): 25,000-30,000 Roma live in Belgium.

Roma living in Belgium are mostly sedentary.

Most of them are living at the periphery of large towns.

Roma have divers legal status.

-

Several bodies exist in Belgium concerning the situation of Roma.

Croatia

Official census: 6,964, estimated: 20,000-30,000 Roma live in Croatia.

Most of Roma living in Croatia are sedentary, but there are also semi-sedentary and traveller groups.

Roma live mostly in suburban areas and in the countryside.

Roma have been granted the legal status of a national minority.

There are some governmental programs and projects. The adoption of the National Program for Roma is expected in 2001.

The Office for National Minorities of the Government of the Republic of Croatia deals with the situation of all national minorities living in the country. Croatia also has a general ombudsman.

Czech Republic

Official census (1991): 32,903 Roma.

Official census (2001): 11,716.

More than 95% of Roma in Czech Republic are post-immigrants from Slovakia where most of them have been sedentary for more than 200 years.

Roma are almost exclusively settled in industrial urban areas.

Roma are a recognised national minority.

A number of Roma or pro-Roma projects are financed by various ministries as well as by the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs.

The Roma representatives are members of the Council for National Minorities. In 1997, the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Roma Community Affairs was established. District committees for Roma integration are in the process of being established.

Denmark

It is estimated that 1,750 Roma live in Denmark.

Roma in Denmark are all sedentary.

Roma live mostly in towns.

Roma have no special legal status.

None.

There is an ombudsman and there are other bodies aimed at the general integration of immigrants.

Finland

It is estimated that 10,000 Roma live in Finland.

Roma in Finland are mainly sedentary.

Roma live throughout the national territory, but mostly in large population centres of Southern Finland.

Roma are regarded as one of Finland's traditional national minorities. There are some legal norms (anti-discrimination law etc.) concerning the situation of Roma, as well.

There are several governmental initiatives.

There is an Advisory Board on Romani Affairs.

Germany

It is estimated that cca. 70,000 Roma live in Germany.

-

-

Roma have the same rights as other German citizens.

-

-

Greece

It is estimated that 80,000-150,000 Roma live in Greece.

There are sedentary, semi-sedentary and also itinerant groups of Roma. Number of travellers is estimated about 25,000-30,000.

Roma in Greece live almost in towns and large city centres.

Roma do not form an ethnic or national minority, they have equal status with Greek citizens.

There are some educational, employment, housing, health and cultural programmes and projects concerning the situation of Roma.

There is a Committee of Ministers dealing with the situation of Roma in Greece and also a general ombudsman.

Hungary

By the official census: 142,683, by the estimations 400,000-800,000 Roma live in Hungary.

Roma population in Hungary is fully sedentary.

Roma live scattered across the entire country, both in towns and in the countryside.

Roma are regarded as an ethnic minority, and they have Hungarian citizenship.

A package of medium term measures presented by the national government in 1997 is to improve the living conditions and social situation of Roma living in Hungary.

There is an Office for National and Ethnic Minorities, an Inter-ministerial Committee on Roma Issues and an Ombudsman for National and Ethnic Minorities as well. The right to establish national and local minority self-governements is provided by the law.

Iceland

There are no Roma living in Iceland.

 

 

 

 

 

Italy

The Gypsy community consists of 120,000 members.

Their lifestyle is a sedentary one for 30% of them, and in the process of sedentarisation for 70% of them.

The nomadic population lives on the periphery of great towns ; the installation in dwellings is progressing.

There is no special legal status for the nomadic population.

Measures in the field of protection of heritage, creation of halts, integration into the education system and into the job market, sanitary aid, and constitution of regional councils for the protection of the nomadic population.

-

Malta

There are no Roma living in Malta.

 

 

 

 

 

Netherlands

22,500 people live permanently in a caravan. Fewer than 20% of them are gypsies (mainly Sinti). An estimated 1,000 gypsies (mainly Roma) live in ordinary housing.

90% of the caravan dwellers are non-itinerant.

Caravan camps are spread among a large number of municipalities, both in urban and in rural areas.

Virtually all the caravan dwellers and gypsies are of Dutch nationality.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports provides support for a number of municipal authorities, in order to pursue an effective policy on housing, education and employment.

No.

Norway

A possible estimate is that there are currently 2,000-3,000 Romani people/Travellers and 300-400 Roma/Gypsies.

Traditionnally the Romani people/Travellers mostly travelled within Scandinavia.

Today, the Norwegian Roma/Gypsies largely live in the Oslo area.

Roma/Gypsies and the Romani people/Travellers are considered as two of the national minorities in Norway.

No.

The activities of the Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination, officially inaugurated in 1999, encompass all of Norway.

Poland

It is estimated that 25,000-30,000 Roma live in Poland.

Roma in Poland are all sedentary.

Romani population live in towns and in the countryside, as well.

Roma are recognized as an ethnic minority.

The Governmental Program (2001-2003) concerning the situation of Roma living in the southern part of the country was presented in 2001.

None.

Romania

By the official census 409,000, by the estimations 1,500,000-2,000,000 Roma live in Romania.

Most of Roma living in Romania are sedentary.

Roma live both in towns and in the countryside.

Roma population is regarded as a national minority.

None.

None.

Slovakia

By the official census (1991) 75,802, by estimation 420,000-500,000 Roma live in Slovakia.

Roma population in Slovakia is totally sedentary.

Roma in Slovakia live in towns as well as in the countryside, mainly in communities on the margin of the settlements.

Roma are recognized as a national minority.

There are projects both on governmental and local level financed by the national government and by various foundations.

Under the government exists the Office of plenipotentionary for Roma national minority. In the National Council of the Slovak Republic is established the Commission for Roma Minority Rights.

Slovenia

By the official census 2,293-2,847, by estimation 6,500-7,000 Roma live in Slovenia.

There are both sedentary and traveller groups of Roma in Slovenia.

Roma live in towns and also in the countryside, almost isolated from the rest of the population or on the edges of settled areas, usually in very low standard accommodation.

The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia stipulates that “the status and special rights of the Romany community living in Slovenia shall be regulated by law”. Such a law has not yet been adopted.

The government adopted special packages of measures first in 1995 and then again in 1999 concerning the situation of Roma.

The Governmental Commission for the Romani Community and the Office of National Minorities are dealing with Romani affairs.

Sweden

Approximately 40,000-50,000 Roma in Sweden.

They are all sedentary.

The majority of the Romas live in the suburbs of the larger cities.

On 2 December 1999 the Swedish Parliament voted to confer that Sweden will ratify the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. As a result of that the Roma population is considered a national minority in Sweden.

There are a lot of local working groups that work to assimilate the Roma in the society.

Since 1996 there is a Working Group on Roma issues which consists of representatives from the Government, a number of ministries and from the Roma National Union.

Switzerland

It is estimated that 35,000 Roma live in Switzerland.

Approximately 3,000 semi-sedentary and about 32,000 sedentary Roma live in the country.

Roma live both in towns and in the countryside.

There are no special provisions for Roma.

None.

-

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

According to the 1994 census, there are 43,707 Roma living in the FYROM.

The Roma in FYROM are mainly sedentary.

Most of them live in towns and more than half of them live in Skopje.

The Roma in FYROM are a minority.

The government of FYROM creates conditions for the realisation of certain projects financed by foreign loans and donations.

The Institution of the Ombudsman has the duty to protect the constitutional and legal rights of all citizens.

Ukraine

47,917 people of Gypsy nationality live in Ukraine.

Mainly sedentary.

According to the census of 1989 most Gypsies lived in Zakarpatska region.

Gypsies belong to the national minorities.

The implementation of measures on the cultural development of national minorities in Ukraine provides for the social integration of Gypsies into the Ukrainian society.

Ombudsman’s Office;

State Department on Issues of Nationalities and Migration (in the framework of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine).

United Kingdom

Estimates suggest that the UK Roma and Irish Traveller population is approximately 300,000.

Such statistics are not collected.

Such statistics are not collected.

Roma and Irish Travellers are classified as racial groups and protected under the Race Relations Act 1976.

Social integration programmes.

No.

 

Political parties established by the Romani community

Parliamentary representation of the Roma

Educational situation of the Romani population

Unemployment rate among the Roma

Employment sectors

Immigration and emigration of the Roma

Military serv Military service obligationionobligation (conscription)

   

Andorra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Austria

None

None.

There are no official data.

There are no official statistics, but the unemployment rate among Roma is definitely higher than for the whole population.

Cleaning.

The majority of Roma population living in Austria are immigrants.

Yes, Roma are obliged to

do military service as

Austrian citizens.

   

Belgium

None

None.

-

-

Roma are employed in several sectors.

There are Romani immigrants in Belgium.

There is no military service

obligation in Belgium.

   

Croatia

A Roma Party is registered and it functions at state and regional level.

There is no Romani Member of Parliament. One Romani representative participates in the Sub-committee on National Minorities of the Committee on Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Croatian Parliament.

Approximately 1,300 Roma children are covered by childcare and education in Croatia.

The number of unemployed Roma is much higher than the rest of the population.

Roma are mostly engaged in the collection of secondary raw materials. Some of them are employed in industry, and some work in agriculture.

A large number of Roma came from Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, and recently also from Yugoslavia. The majority of Romani refugees in Croatia are not registered.

Yes, Roma are obliged to

do military service as

Croatian citizens.

   

Czech Republic

There is one registered Roma political party: the ROI (Roma Civic Initiative).

One MP belongs to the Roma national minority.

There is no statistical evidence available, particularly because it would be against the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms to assign Roma ethnicity to someone who does not identify as such.

There are no ethnic statistics available. Reports prepared by the UNHCR have estimated that unemployment of the Roma reaches some 70%.

Most of the Roma have been traditionally employed in manual unskilled professions.

The country both receives and is a source of Roma migrants.

Yes, Roma are obliged to report for draft. However, very few are in the end obliged to serve.

   

Denmark

None

None.

There are no official data.

There are no official data.

There are no official figures.

Recently quite a few asylum seekers arrived from the Republic of Slovakia.

Yes, Roma are obliged

to do military service

as Danish citizens.

   

Finland

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

   

Germany

-

-

-

-

-

There are Romani immigrants living in Germany.

-

   

Greece

None.

None.

8.500 Romani pupils study in primary school and 1,750 Romani students attend secondary school.

There are no special data or estimations.

Roma are employed in all sectors, especially in commerce.

There are no official data.

Yes.

   

Hungary

Minority groups are allowed to form political parties, but Romani political parties are not known at national level.

None.

There are no actual registration figures.

Rate of unemployment among Roma and the rate of unemployed school-leaver Romani youth are significantly higher than the similar data of the non-Romani population.

-

To a very small extent, Romani migration is experienced from Hungary. There are no data about asylum-seekers in Hungary.

Yes, Roma are obliged

to do military service as

Hungarian citizens.

   

Iceland

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Italy

None.

None.

According to an enquiry conducted in 2000, there were 1,700 « Nomadic people » in nursery schools, 5,100 « Nomadic people » in primary schools, 1,800 « Nomadic people » in middle secondary schools, and 400 « Nomadic people » in highest secondary schools.

-

Horses’ breeding, craft, circus.

Italy is a receiving country of Gypsy migration. Immigration of Roma from Eastern Europe between the two World Wars.

The general regulations apply in the matter to Gypsies.

   

Malta

-

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Netherlands

No.

No.

No detailed information available.

The number of caravan dwellers and gypsies seeking employment was 19% in the period 1994-1996.

Unknown.

In the recent past asylum-seekers from East European countries have included Roma gypsies.

Military service has been suspended in the Netherlands.

   

Norway

No.

No.

No reliable information on the education level of the Roma/Gypsies and the Romani people/Travellers.

-

Romani/Travellers: building industry

A number of Roma/Gypsies have come to Norway as asylum-seekers in the past few years, primarily from the former Yugoslavia.

There are no special regulations for the Roma/Gypsies and Romani/Travellers.

   

Poland

None.

None.

There are no official data.

There are no official data, only estimations (in the southern region of the country the unemployment rate of Roma is about 50-60% vs. the national rate of 12-15%).

Roma are engaged in several sectors, especially in commerce (cars and horses), music and agriculture.

In 1995 and 1996 about 2,000 Roma emigrated to Great Britain and in 1999 100 Roma emigrated to Finland. In the second part of the 90's a small group of mostly Romanian Roma asked for asylum in Poland.

Yes, Roma are obliged

to do military service

as Polish citizens.

   

Romania

None.

In accordance with the Romanian Constitution and with the Romanian electoral law, the Romani population has parliamentary representation.

There is a low proportion of Roma in all levels of the educational system compared to the rest of the population for the same age group.

70% of the national unemployment rate is represented by the Romani population.

Roma are employed in all sectors, especially for the unqualifying jobs and jobs with the lowest salary.

There is both immigration and emigration. There are asylum-seekers coming from the Republic of Moldavia.

Yes, Roma are obliged to

do military service.

   

Slovakia

In the year 2000 18 Romani political parties were registered in the Slovak Republic.

None.

There are no official data. By estimation, on the secondary level about 2,500 Romani students finished their studies and there are approximately 850-1000 Romani university students in Slovakia.

There are no official data. By research, in 1999 Romani population created 40,91% of those who were unemployed longer than 24 months and 52,26% of those who were unemployed longer than 48 months.

Traditionally, Roma are employed in civil engineering and construction sector, and also in agriculture.

-

Yes, Roma are obliged to

do military service as

Slovak citizens.

   

Slovenia

None.

None.

In the school year of 1993/1994 229 Romani children were included in nursery education, and there were 831 Romani pupils attending primary schools. Other official data are not available.

According to the last official data from 1995, the percentage of the Roma registered as unemployed was 29% (national rate 2001: 12,2%).

-

After 1991 a considerable number of Roma moved to Slovenia form other parts of the South-Eastern Europe.

Yes, Roma are obliged

to do military service

as Slovene citizens.

   

Sweden

No.

No.

There are no statistics in Sweden based on ethnicity.

There are no statistics in Sweden based on ethnicity.

Trading cars, carpets or other items.

There is no emigration from Sweden. Whether there is immigration is not fully known because Sweden does not have statistics based on ethnicity.

Yes.

   

Switzerland

None.

None.

There are no official data.

There are no official data.

Roma are engaged mostly in small trade and handicraft.

There are immigrants and asylum-seekers coming from the Balkans and from Poland

Yes, Roma are obliged

to do military service.

 

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"

Ukraine

United Kingdom

The Roma in FYROM have their own political parties.

No.

No.

One member in the mandate 1990-1994, two members in the mandate 1994-1998 and one member in the current mandate 1998-2002.

No.

No.

The proportion of Roma in the educational system of FYROM is small.

Gypsy children study at the state comprehensive schools; they study in general classes on equal basis with other children. There are Gypsy pre-schools and schools in the country.

The percentage of Roma and Traveller children in nursery school education is between 10 and 15%. The number in primary schools is between 60 and 70%. Secondary school is 30%. And higher education is 0%.

20,51% of Roma are unemployed.

No data according to the nationality of citizens of Ukraine.

Such statistics are not collected.

The Roma are abandoning the “traditional” Roma professions. Roma are represented in the industry, agriculture, trade.

Crafts, business and music.

Such statistics are not collected.

There is evident migration of the Roma from villages to towns. As a result of the wars in the former SFRY, the number of Roma seeking asylum is rising, their number especially increased with the start of the Kosovo crisis.

Cases of Gypsies’ migration are not registered. Migration of Gypsies in Ukraine, as a whole, takes place inside Ukraine.

There is Roma migration to the UK, the majority of whom are asylum seekers.

-

Yes.

There is no obligation for any UK citizen to perform military service.

 

APPENDIX II

Participation of minorities in decision-making process in the states of

The Council of Europe with special regards to the Roma community

 

Representation in political parties

Parliamentary representation

Ombudsperson,

committee for petitions

Ministry for minorities

Albania

The creation of political parties on a religious, ethnic or regional basis is not allowed.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities. There has been an average of 5-10 persons belonging to minorities (particularly to the Greek minority) elected to the People's Assembly.

None

None

Austria

The only political party considering itself as a minority actor is the Carinthian Einheitliste, the party of Carinthian Slovens.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There is an Ombudsman Board, dealing with minority affairs as well.

None

Bulgaria

The Constitution declares: "there shall be no political parties formed on ethnic, racial or religious basis."

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

None

None

Croatia

There are twelve parties representing specific minorities. One of these is Party of Croatian Roma.

National minorities, which comprise less than 8% of the total population are entitled to elect a total of 5 representatives to the House of Representatives (HR). 7 seats are reserved for elected members of national minorities in the HR. Among these there are no seats reserved for Romani MPs. The President has nominated 2 Serbian representatives to the House of Counties.

The institution of the Ombudsman has been established in 1992.

None

Cyprus

None

There are some kind of reserved seats and special provisions for minorities.

There is a Commissioner for Administration and a Committee of the House of Representatives dealing with petitions.

None

Czech republic

Among the parties representing minority interests we can mention the Roma Christian and Democratic Party, Roma Civil Initiative, Party of Roma Citizens of Northern Bohemia, (Coexistencia), Committed Roma Movement and Roma National Congress.

The are no reserved seats and special provisions for minority parties. Only one MP belongs to a national minority: Monika Horáková, a psychologist of Roma origin.

There is a Petition Committee of the Chamber of Deputies and a Petition Committee for Human Rights, Science, Education and Culture of the Senate in the Parliament.

None

Denmark

The only party representing a minority is the Schleswig Party for the German minority in South Jutland in local politics. It is not entitled to run for parliamentary elections, as they haven't applied for the registration.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There is a general Danish Ombudsman.

None

Estonia

Two political parties have declared that they mostly represent the interests of a minority, both for Russian-speaking inhabitants.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

None

None

Finland

There's a Swedish People's Party.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There's a Parliamentary Ombudsman.

None

France

France was unable to give faithful answers to the questionnaire prepared by the Council of Europe, as the questions on forms of participation of minorities in decision-making processes didn't match the French context.

     

Germany (federal level)

There are two political parties established by a minority group, one for the Danish minority and one for the Frisians in Germany.

There are no reserved seats, but as regards elections to the German Bundestag, political parties of national minorities are exempted from the five per cent proportional representation clause provided under the Electoral Act.

The German Bundestag has a petition committee.

None

Hungary

The creation of political parties representing minorities' interests is possible. Several parties were formed to represent the interests of the Roma community, but their activities are not known on a national level.

The Hungarian Constitution guarantees national and ethnic minorities the right to parliamentary representation, but no agreement has been reached as regards the modalities of the representation.

There is a Parliamentary Commissioner for the Rights of National and Ethnic Minorities.

None

Latvia

There are two such parties, both for Russian inhabitants.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

(There is a National Human Rights Office)

None

Lithuania

There are two such party, one for Poles and one for Russians.

There are no reserved seats or special measures for minorities.

Seimas Ombudsmen Office is presented.

None

Luxembourg

There are no such parties in Luxembourg.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There is a Parliamentary Petitions Committee.

None

Moldova

There are no parties representing a minority.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There are Parliamentary Attorneys since 1997, a Parliamentary Supervisory and Petitions Committee.

None

Netherlands

There are no political parties representing minorities.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There is a National Ombudsman and a Lower House Petition Committee, neither of which deals specifically with minority issues.

There has been a separate Minister for Urban Planning and Integration of Minorities since 1998.

Norway

There are no political parties at national level representing specifically a minority.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for national minorities.

In 1998 the Government established the Centre for Combating Ethnic Discrimination with some functions of an Ombudsman.

None

Poland

There is only one political party representing specifically a minority: the Belarusian Democratic Union.

There are no reserved seats. The Act of Election to the Sejm guarantees that election committees of registered organisations of national minorities are dispensed from the obligation of gaining over 5% of the votes (for a political party) or over 8% of the votes (for political coalitions) from the total amount of the votes.

There is an ombudsperson called the Commissioner for Citizen Right since 1987.

None

Portugal

There are no political parties specifically representing a minority.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There's an Ombudsperson in Portugal.

None

Romania

Organizations of national and ethnic minorities participating in elections are treated as political parties. One of these is Roma Party.

There are special provisions and seats in the Chamber of Deputies specifically reserved for organizations of citizens belonging to national or ethnic minorities. Roma Party has one seat at present.

There is a People's Advocate for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.

There is a minister attached to the Prime Minister responsible for national minorities.

Russian Federation

There are no political parties representing a specific minority.

There are no reserved seats and special provisions for minorities, but in the Upper Chamber two seats are reserved for each of the 89 subjects of the Russian Federation.

The institution of the Ombudsman for Human Rights has been established in 1998.

There is a Ministry on the Affairs of Nationalities and also a Ministry for the Regional Issues.

San Marino

Please refer to the reply given by the Government of San Marino as included in DH-MIN (99)1.

     

Slovak republic

There are political parties representing minorities. There is a large number of parties formed by the Roma minority: Party of Integration of Romanies in Slovakia, Party for the Protection of Romanies' Right in Slovakia, Romany Civic Initiative of the Slovak Republic, League of Romany Union, Party of Romany Social Democracy in Slovakia, Union of Romany Civic Initiative, Romany Congress of the Slovak Republic, Romany Democratic Movement in the Slovak Republic, Party of Slovak Romanies, Romay National Party, Party of Romany Democrats, Party of Work and Security, Democratic Alliance of Romanies in the Slovak Republic, Romany Intelligence for Coexistence, Romany Christian Democratic Movement.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

None

Since 1998 there is a Deputy Prime Minister for Human Rights, National Minorities and Regional Development

Slovenia

There are no political parties representing specifically minority interests.

There are reserved seats for the Hungarian and Italian minorities. Other special provisions are not introduced.

There is an Ombudsman for the protection of human rights since 1993.

None

Sweden

There are no political parties that represent minority groups.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

Sweden has several ombudsmen, among these is the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

There is a Minister in charge of issues concerning national minorities.

Switzerland

There are no political parties representing national minorities at national level.

The Swiss electoral system guarantees the various population groups broad participation in determining policy.

None

None

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

There are political parties representing the interests of national and ethnic minorities. Among these are: Party for Full Emancipation of Roma in Macedonia, Democratic Progressive Party of Roma in Macedonia, Alliance of the Roma in Macedonia, Democratic Party for Full Emancipation of Roma in Macedonia.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

The National Ombudsman, the permanent Survey Commission for the Protection of the Freedoms and Rights of Citizens at the National Assembly are state organs.

None

Ukraine

There are no political parties representing specifically minority interests, only in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities.

There is an Officer of the Supreme Soviet of Ukraine for Human Rights.

None

United Kingdom

There are no political parties which specifically represent ethnic or national minorities, apart form parties representing the interests of people living in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are no reserved seats or special provisions for minorities, apart from seats reserved for the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish parties.

None

None

 

Governmental office for minorities

Self-government and forms of autonomy

Public and civil institutions and organisations established by the Roma community

Albania

None. The creation of an Office for national minorities is currently being discussed.

None

None

Austria

There is a Division for Minority Affairs, organised as a unit of the Constitutional Law Service Department in the Federal Chancellery. Roma ethnic group is concerned as well.

None

There are some 200 associations whose statutory purpose is the promotion and preservation of ethnic minorities and culture.

Bulgaria

There is a National Council on Ethnic and Demographic Issues dealing with Roma issues as well.

None

Persons belonging to various ethnic, religious and linguistic groups have their own organisations and associations. Among these are Roma organisations: the United Roma Alliance, the Confederation of Roma in Bulgaria, the Roma Democratic Union, the Federation of United Roma Communities and the Roma Public Council "KUPATE". Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin have their own newspapers.

Croatia

There is an Office for National Minorities. Roma minority is involved in the work of the Office.

All national minorities have the right to cultural autonomy. Special forms of self-government have been envisaged in the form of districts with special status where members of a national minority make over 50% of the population. Members of national minorities are entitled to be represented in the bodies of local self-government in proportion to their share in the total population of a particular local self-governing unit.

Among the registered minority associations we can find the Union of Romany Association of Croatia, Romany Educational Community, Community of Romanies of Croatia, Union of Romanies of Croatia, Association of Romany Youth, Association "Romsko srce", Association "Romi za Rome", Romany Women Association "Bolji zivot", Christian Romany Union and Union of Romany Associations of the Zagreb County and the City of Zagreb.

Cyprus

None

None

There are no registered minority associations or NGOs dealing with minority issues as such.

Czech republic

There is an Authorised Representative (Commissioner) of the Government for Human Right. He is chairman of 3 advisory bodies within the Office of the Presidium. One of these is Interdepartmental Commission for Roma Community.

None

At the end of the year 1998 the Ministry of the Interior registered 122 Roma organisations.

Denmark

None

The Faroe Islands and Greenland are self-governing communities within the Danish State.

There are minority associations and NGOs mentioned only for the German minority.

Estonia

None

Estonian legislation provides for the cultural self-government for national minorities.

Among the registered associations we cannot mention any Roma association.

Finland

None

The Aland Islands have territory autonomy while the Sami have cultural autonomy.

There's a Finnish Romany Society.

Germany (federal level)

Within the Federal Ministry of the Interior, a Division for "Minority Law Issues and Affairs of German Minorities" exists, dealing with Roma and Sinti issues as well.

Under the Constitution local governments have the right to regulate all the affairs of the local community within the framework of the pertinent laws. There are various other forms of cultural autonomy as well. German Sinti and Roma have their own central, regional and local institutions of cultural autonomy.

There is a European Centre for Minority Issues, founded in Flensburg by the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Land of Schleswig-Holstein as a private law foundation. There's also a Central Council of German Sinti and Roma in Heidelberg, with 9 Land associations and additional independent organisations at various levels.

Hungary

There is an Office for National and Ethnic Minorities. Department for Roma Affairs and a Hungarian Co-ordinating Council for Roma Affairs is connected to the Office.

The Constitution guarantees national and ethnic minorities the right to set up local and national self-governments. Roma minority has created its own institutional system.

There is a Public Foundation for Hungarian Roma, and also The Gandhi Public Foundation and numerous other civil actors are present as well.

Latvia

There is a Division for National Affairs within the Ministry of Justice, dealing with all minority issues.

Latvia ensures cultural autonomy for minorities.

 

Lithuania

Nationalities Committee was established in 1989 and it contacts with Roma organisations as well.

The Constitution doesn't provide for territorial autonomy, but in the traditional places of residence of national minorities, where they make up the majority of local inhabitants, their representatives have the majority in the local municipalities. The extensive rights for the representatives of national minorities to foster their culture and tradition is also provided by the law.

There are 230 registered minority associations. Among the main associations we can mention the Lithuanian Roma Association "Cigonu lauzas" ("Roma Fire")

Luxembourg

None

None

None

Moldova

The Committee for Inter-ethnic Relations advises the President of the Republic. The Department of National Relations and Use of Languages covers the activities concerning to the Roma minority as well.

The autonomous region of Gagauzia

They have 45 registered minority associations, among these three Roma associations.

Netherlands

The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Affairs has a Minorities Integration Policy (Co-ordination) Department, responsible for Roma issues as well.

There are no self-governments or other forms of territorial or cultural autonomy.

There is no system for the registration of minority associations.

Norway

The Department of Indigenous, Minority and Immigrant Affairs of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is responsible for all issues concerning minorities.

The Sami people of Norway have their own elected Parliament.

There are several minority associations representing minorities. Among these are Romanifolkets Landsforening (Ethno-political organisation for Travellers), Stiftelsen Roma (Organisation for Travellers affiliated to the Pentecostal Movement) and International Romani Union (Norwegian representative of an international NGO for Roma).

Poland

There is a Department for Culture of National Minorities within the Ministry of Culture and Art, dealing with Roma issues as well.

The autonomy of national minorities within a proper international meaning does not exist in Poland. If representatives of a national minority gain the majority in a local council, they can establish a specific "form of autonomy" and decide about their affairs.

In some regions the Office of Plenipotentiary of the Regional Governor for National Minorities were created, but the effectiveness of these is diminished because their legal position and range of powers are not regulated. There are over 100 civil minority associations, among these six Roma associations, including the Centre of Roma's Culture.

Portugal

The Prime Minister has, under his responsibility, the High Commissioner for Immigration and Ethnic Minorities. Ethnic minorities in Portugal are primarily Portuguese of gypsy origin.

The autonomous authorities are the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira. Local authorities have limited autonomy but are not autonomous authorities.

 

Romania

There is a Department for the Protection of National Minorities. Roma experts are involved in its work.

None

Among these acts the Roma Party.

Russian Federation

There is Consultative Council on National Cultural Autonomies represented under the auspices of the Government. Roma minority is not introduced among the minorities involved into the work of the Council.

National administrative territorial units were introduced for some communities. National cultural autonomy is a non-territorial form of national self-government.

Several thousands of different organizations are introduced at federal, regional or local level.

Slovak republic

None

There are no special forms of minority self-government.

Roma minority has established 46 associations and 3 foundations.

Slovenia

There is a Government Office for National Minorities. Roma minority is involved in its work.

There are special forms of self-government. In the self-governing communities Roma minority is represented with at least one member elected on their own electoral list. Roma representatives participate in the work of the relevant governmental commission, ministries' commissions and local organs.

There are several forms of public institutions and organizations. There is a Union of Roma Associations, gathering Roma from 12 Communes, dealing mostly with cultural and social issues.

Sweden

The Division for Immigrant Integration and Diversity, within the Ministry of Culture is responsible for Swedish policy on national minorities, included Roma.

In 1993 Sweden has established a Sami Parliament, an independent elected body.

There are several national minority associations, among these is The National Roma Union, which represents various Roma associations in Sweden.

Switzerland

None

The Swiss federal system confers on the cantons and municipalities significant areas of responsibility.

There are several institutions and organisations. We cannot find any Roma associations among the organisations mentioned.

“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

None

There are no separate minority self-governments, i.e. forms of territorial autonomy at the local or regional level. Persons belonging to national or ethnic minorities participate in the decision-making process in the units of local self-governments.

Among the registered minority associations we can mention "Cerenja" - association of Roma, "Radost" - humanitarian association of Roma, "Mesecina" - humanitarian and charity association of Roma, "Daja" - Roma women's association and "Esma" - association of Roma women.

Ukraine

The State Committee of Ukraine for Nationalities and Migration includes all recognised minorities.

None

Among the 21 All-Ukraine public associations of national minorities there are no Roma associations registered. About 300 national minority organisations are acting. The Roma Association is in the process of being registered.

United Kingdom

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office is the Minister responsible for Race Relations. The Scottish Office, Welsh Office and Northern Ireland are responsible for affairs in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Home Office is responsible for governmental policy on race relations.

A referendum in 1997 showed a majority of a devolved Scottish Parliament and a devolved National Assembly for Wales.

A list of non-governmental organisations within the UK which represent the interests of ethnic communities has been submitted.

Source: Synthesis of the replies to the questionnaire on participation of minorities in decision-making processes.

Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2000. [DH-MIN (99) 2]

 

APPENDIX III

Roma population in the Council of Europe member States

 

Answer to the

questionnaire

European Roma Right Center (i)

Minority Rights Group (ii)

 

Official number

Estimation

Official number

Estimation

Albania

 

 

1.261

90,000-100,000

Andorra

0

-

-

Austria

-

20,000-25,000

95

20,000-25,000

Belgium

-

25,000-30,000

-

10,000-15,000

Bulgaria

 

 

313.396

700,000-800,000

Croatia

6.964

20,000-30,000

6.695

30,000-40,000

Cyprus

 

 

-

500-1,000

Czech Republic

32.903 

 

33.489

250,000-300,000

Denmark

 

1,750

-

1,500-2,000

Estonia

 

 

-

1,000-1,500

Finland

-

10,000

10,000

7,000-9,000

France

 

 

-

280,000-340,000

Georgia

 

 

-

-

Germany

 -

70,000 

50,000-70,000

100,000-130,000

Greece

-

80,000-150,000

150,000-300,000

160,000-200,000

Hungary

142,683

400,000-800,000

143,000

550,000-600,000

Iceland

 0

0

-

-

Ireland

 

 

10.891

22,000-28,000

Italy

 

 

130,000

90,000-110,000

Latvia

 

 

7.955

2,000-3,500

Liechtenstein

 

 

-

-

Lithuania

 

 

-

3,000-4,000

Luxembourg

 

 

-

100-150

“FYR of Macedonia”

43.707 

 

44,000

220,000-260,000

Malta

 0

-

-

Moldavia

 

 

-

20,000-25,000

Netherlands

-

5,000-6,000

20,000

35,000-40,000

Norway

2.000 – 3.000 Romani people/Travellers + 300 – 400 Roma/Gypsies 

350

500-1,000

Poland

-

25,000-30,000

25,000-30,000

50,000-60,000

Portugal

 

 

40,000

40,000-50,000

Romania

409,700

1,500,000-2,000,000

409,700

1,800,000-2,500,000

Russian Federation

 

 

152.939

220,000-400,000

San Marino

 

 

-

-

Slovak Republic

75,802

420,000-500,000

83.988

480,000-520,000

Slovenia

6,500-7,000

-

2.293

8,000-10,000

Spain

 

 

325,000-400,000

700,000-800,000

Sweden

40.000 – 50.000 

20,000

15,000-20,000

Switzerland

-

35,000

-

30,000-35,000

Turkey

 

 

-

300,000-500,000

Ukraine

47.917 

 

47.914

50,000-60,000

United Kingdom

 300.000

90,000

90,000-120,000

         

Sources:

Answer sheets

Answer sheets

i) Official numbers presented by national governments. (http://errc.org/ publications/ factsheets/ numbers)

ii) Gheorghe, Nicolae and Liegeois, Jean-Pierre: Roma/Gypsies: A European Minority. London: Minority Rights Group, 1995.

APPENDIX IV

Legal status of Roma in Europe

Albania

No special legal status.

Austria

No special legal status.

Belgium

No single legal status.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Roma lost their “ethnic minority” status after 1995. They are now in the “other peoples” category.

Bulgaria

No special legal status. The government was, however, considering taking specific measures in favour of Roma.

Croatia

The constitution of the Republic of Croatia recognises Roma as a “national minority”.

Czech Republic

Roma living in the Czech Republic are recognised as a “national minority”.

Denmark

No special legal status.

Finland

Roma are regarded as a “traditional minority”.

Germany

Roma and Sinti were officially recognised as a “national minority” in 1995.

Greece

No special legal status.

Hungary

Roma are regarded as an “ethnic minority”.

Italy

No special legal status.

Netherlands

No special legal status.

Norway

Roma/Gypsies and the Romani people/Travellers are two separate groups regarded as “national minorities”.

Poland

Roma are recognised as a “national minority”.

Romania

Roma are regarded as a “national minority”.

Slovakia

Roma are regarded as a “national minority”.

Slovenia

The legal status of Roma is unclear.

Sweden

Roma have been regarded as a “national minority” since 1999, as a result of the ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

Switzerland

No special legal status.

“The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

The preamble to the constitution includes Roma as one of the peoples enjoying the same rights as the Macedonian people, along with Albanians, Turks, Vlachs and other nationalities.

Ukraine

Roma are recognised as a “national minority”.

United Kingdom

Roma and Irish Travellers have “racial group” status and therefore enjoy special protection.


1

The term “Roma” used in this report always extends to the “Gypsy”, “Sinti” and “Traveller” categories.

2 Recommendation 1203 (1993) on Gypsies in Europe (see Doc. 6733, report of the Committee on Culture and Education, rapporteur: Joséphine Verspaget).

3 The activity of the European Committee on Migration (CDMG), the Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies (MG-S-ROM), the Co-ordinator of Activities on Roma/Gypsies, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR/OSCE), the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues (CPRSI), the High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Co-operation in Europe, the European Union, the International Romani Union, the Roma National Congress and the Project on Ethnic Relations is particularly important to note.

4 For lack of accurate and exact figures, we cannot point out precise data, only an interval.

5 This part of the Report contains only the information given by the member states to the questionnaire of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

6 The Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia stipulates that “the status and special rights of the Romany community living in Slovenia shall be regulated by law”. Such a law has not yet been adopted.

7 This part of the Report contains information given by the member states to the questionnaire “Legal Situation of the Roma in Europe”of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

8 This part of the Report contains information given by the member states to the questionnaire “Legal Situation of the Roma in Europe” of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and facts published by the document DH-MIN (99) 2 “Replies to the Questionnaire on Forms of Participation of Minorities in Decision-making Processes”.