Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 holds its closing meeting in Sarajevo
On 10 and 11 September the 28th and final International Steering Committee Meeting of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 is being held in Sarajevo. The meeting is being attended by the national coordinators of the countries involved as well as many collaborating individuals and institutional partners and aims to draw attention to the lessons learned and successes achieved during the past 10 years.
The Decade jump-started important processes in Europe in the area of Romani integration and increased overall awareness of Romani exclusion but did not manage to significantly influence Romani inclusion in the countries participating, nor did it succeed in preventing increased segregation. Representatives of the various countries will discuss these aspects in panel discussions that should also indicate how and whether the initiative will continue.
The Czech Republic joined the Decade on 26 January 2005 through a Czech Government resolution. The international initiative includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Spain.
The countries of Moldova, Norway, Slovenia and the USA all have observer status with the Decade. The key partners for the initiative are the governments of the participating countries, international institutions, non-governmental organizations (especially the Open Society Foundations) and Romani civil society, which represents the target group and advocates for its needs to be met.
The Decade states pledged to fulfill their various Action Plans, which were supposed to lead to eliminating the social exclusion of Romani people. The Czech Government chose the Decade's main areas of education, employment, health and housing as priority areas of intervention for the 2005-2015 period.
The meeting is being attended by Czech Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier, who has been invited there by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is the final presiding country of the Decade. Dienstbier will meet with the Bosnian Minister for Human Rights and Refugees and will discuss the approach taken by both countries to this issue.
Others slated to attend the meeting include the US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the director of the Roma Initiatives Office at the Open Society Foundations, and the Director of Strategy and Operations at the World Bank. A round table discussion with government representatives and Romani activists was slated to be moderated by Nick Thorpe, Central Europe Correspondent for BBC News.
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