Spanish MP of Romani origin calls on OSCE to focus on greater participation of Roma in politics
According to Spanish MP and Romani community member Ismael Cortés Gómez, a quota system could aid with increasing the participation of Romani people in politics, similar to systems in place in some European countries guaranteeing the participation of women. The MP made the statement at the OSCE's regular conference on democracy and human rights in Europe last month, the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, in Warsaw, Poland.
The MP also appealed to the OSCE to adopt measures to increase the participation of Roma and Sinti in politics. He specified four basic points: greater "visibility of Roma and Sinti citizens in the electoral census", focusing on the political education of Roma and Sinti citizens, support for inclusion of Romani candidates on ballots, and support for Romani participation in different political fora.
"To my understanding, a good model to follow would be the quota system that enables women's participation. If we look back to the late 1980s, the percentage of women in Congress [in Spain] was 5.6%. Since 2007, with the adoption of the Gender Equality Law, popularly known as the quota law, some parties decided to apply parity criteria for [their] electoral lists. Such a measure has led to restructuring the composition of parties’ leaderships, parliamentary committees and executive cabinets. Today, women are 47% of the Spanish Congress and 80% of the current Government," the MP said.
He also pointed out that very few Romani candidates ran in the most recent elections in Spain. "The last elections, in April and May, included local, regional, national and European levels; only 0.08% of the overall candidates were from a Roma background. However, some estimates say the Roma represent around 5% of the overall population in Spain. These figures show a clear disparity or asymmetry between the Roma citizens and their non-Roma fellows in accessing democratic power structures," the MP said.
The Human Dimension Implementation meeting is held by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Hundreds of government bureaucrats, international experts, representatives of civil society and activists attend the meeting regularly.
Those presenting at the annual event jointly assess how the OSCE participating States are fulfilling their obligations with respect to supporting and upholding human rights and freedoms. The full video of the session on 26 September is available here.
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