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  • Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland

     

  • NEWS 2006-2010

  • On 20 October 2010 Ms Grażyna Bernatowicz, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, participated in the high-level meeting of the Council of Europe for Roma. The conference adopted the Strasbourg Declaration setting out principles and priorities of action for the full integration of the Roma communities in Europe. 

    Representatives of the 47 Council of Europe countries, the EU and the Roma community gathering in Strasbourg unanimously condemned widespread discrimination against Roma and their social and economic marginalisation.

    Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland, who called the meeting following concerns about Roma rights during the summer, said "the time for action has come. Today we have made a fresh start to actually helping the Roma population of Europe. Roma are fellow Europeans".

    Minister Bernatowicz, taking the floor during the conference, considered the initiative by the CoE Secretary General as timely and pertinent. She informed on positive results of the implementation of the Polish Programme for the Roma community for the years 2004-2013. She stressed at the same time that Poland recognised the need for the CoE and the EU support for actions taken by member states. She also pointed to the need to involve the Roma communities in the activities by states and expressed support for the priorities laid down in the Strasbourg Declaration: "The time has come to make a real change in the situation of all Roma and Travellers in Europe as the state of protection of human rights on our continent is only as good as is the situation in this regard of the most vulnerable persons."

    Member states agreed to a joint effort and pan-European response to meet the needs of the estimated 12 million Roma living in Europe.

    The Strasbourg Declarationincludes guiding principles and priorities:

    • Non-discrimination, citizenship, women's and childrens rights
    • Social inclusion including education, housing and healthcare
    • Empowerment and better access to justice

    It also foresees the creation of a new European training programme for more than a thousand Roma mediators, who will give legal and administrative advice to communities. Some 440 Roma mediators will be trained in 2011; the figure could rise to over 1000 in the following years, depending on the available resources. The Council of Europe plans to train some 100 lawyers in 2011. Roma mediators and lawyers will work to tackle access to housing, schools, health and jobs, and to link the Roma communities and civil society.

    Efforts will build on the expertise of the Council of Europe to develop relevant co-operation with national, regional and local authorities and international organisations.

    Strasbourg Declaration

    High-level conference file

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