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November 18, 2018
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Council of Europe

Emiliya Dancheva, a Romani journalist from Bulgaria. (PHOTO:  Personal archive of Emiliya Dancheva)
Emiliya Dancheva, a Romani journalist from Bulgaria. (PHOTO: Personal archive of Emiliya Dancheva)

Emiliya Dancheva: Can we trust the European Parliament if its members are deaf and blind to anti-Gypsyism in Bulgaria?

9.5.2018 6:55 One year ago, the leader of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party, Mr Boyko Borissov, became Prime Minister of Bulgaria for the third time since 2009, forming an unprecedented ruling coalition with nationalistic and xenophobic parties (VMRO, ATAKA and NFSB).  full story

OPEN CALL for 5th CoE Dialogue with Roma and Traveller Civil Society next month - DEADLINE 27 MAY to apply

6.5.2018 9:30 The Roma and Travellers Team at the Council of Europe (CoE)has announced there is an open call for participation in the Council of Europe's 5th Dialogue with civil society from Roma and Traveller communities around Europe, which will be held this year from 20-21 June in Strasbourg, France. This meeting will focus on the issue of political participation by Roma and Travellers.   full story

Miranda Vuolasranta, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF)

European Roma and Travellers Forum: Roma Rights at a Crossroads

8.4.2018 14:49 Roma Day is the occasion for all Roma from all over the world to remember the troubled history of our people. It is also the opportunity to reflect on what needs to be done to preserve our identity, our culture and, most of all, our language.  full story

Council of Europe calls for progress on women's sexual and reproductive rights, including redress of forced sterilization by Czech Republic

5.12.2017 6:26 “Women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. Regrettably, however, women in Europe still have these rights denied or restricted as a result of laws, policies and practices that ultimately reflect continuing gender stereotypes and inequalities," Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks said today while releasing a new report on this topic, "Women's sexual and reproductive health rights in Europe".  full story

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ROMACT press release: Roma partnership is crucial to successful inclusion

29.9.2017 7:45 The ROMACT program in the Czech Republic has issued the following press release:  full story

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Czech Republic to chair Council of Europe, claims human rights are a priority

5.5.2017 10:48 The Czech Republic will take up the presidency of the Council of Europe on 19 May and says that it will emphasize human rights, the rule of law, support for democracy and education. Those priorities for the presidency have been approved by the Czech Government, according to a tweet by cabinet spokesperson Martin Ayrer.  full story

Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland. Photo: Council of Europe

Secretary General of the Council of Europe warns its 47 member states against limiting democracy

24.4.2017 8:54 European states must now make greater efforts so their democratic systems can successfully face down the threat of populism. That is the opinion of Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, as expressed in his annual report on the state of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, released on 20 April.
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Council of Europe's Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues writes to Czech Interior Minister about death of a young Romani man

7.11.2016 20:25 On 7 November, the very day that Miroslav Demeter's funeral was being held, the Council of Europe's Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues, Mr Valeriu Nicolae, has sent a letter to Czech Interior Minister Chovanec expressing his "deep concern" over the circumstances of Mr Demeter's death. News server Romea.cz republishes the letter in full here:  full story

Nils Muižnieks (PHOTO: www.coe.int)

Europe's Human Rights Commissioner raises lack of redress for involuntary sterilization with Czech Govt again

4.11.2016 13:13 The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, has reiterated to the Czech Prime Minister that an ex gratia compensation procedure for survivors of involuntary sterilization is the best way to redress them. In his letter, the Commissioner mentions that many other Council of Europe member states - namely, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland - have assumed responsibility for sterilization policies that have resulted in human rights violations in the past and have established special remedies for those who have survived such treatment.  full story

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Council of Europe chief says discrimination against Romani people continues to be ignored

7.9.2016 11:02 The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjörn Jagland, criticized the deterioration in the situation of Roma and Sinti people in Europe today. Jagland believes discrimination against members of these minority groups is frequently ignored or overlooked.  full story

Miranda Vuolasranta, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF)

Council of Europe honours victims and survivors of Roma Holocaust

2.8.2016 22:09 The Council of Europe honoured the memory of Roma Holocaust victims and survivors with commemorations at the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and at the Organisation’s Strasbourg headquarters.  full story

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European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (Berlin) seeks Executive Director

16.7.2016 12:59 The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC), a joint initiative of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute, the Council of Europe, and the Open Society Foundations, has announced it is seeking its first Executive Director. ERIAC will be a foundation registered under German law and based in Berlin.  full story

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Council of Europe demands proof of changed practice in the Czech schools when it comes to Roma discrimination

8.7.2016 11:40 The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises the fulfillment of the judgments handed down by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, discussed the case of "D.H. and Others versus the Czech Republic" at its June session. In its decision resulting from that meeting, the Committee of Ministers has expressed its appreciation for recently introduced reforms to the Czech school system that are based on the principle of inclusive education.  full story

OSCE/ODIHR Event to Focus on Justice and Redress to Roma Victims of Forced Sterilization in the Czech Republic

30.5.2016 18:50 On Wednesday, 1 June, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) will convene an international conference on providing justice and compensation to Romani women who have been subjected to forced sterilization in the Czech Republic. Those attending will be representatives of the Czech Government, survivors of forced sterilization, civil society organizations including Roma community organizations, international experts, and representatives of the Council of Europe, the OSCE/ODIHR, and the United Nations.  full story

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European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture: Building the Future by Honoring the Past

8.4.2016 9:43 The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) is a joint initiative of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute*, the Council of Europe and the Open Society Foundations. Following the approval of the establishment of ERIAC by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in September 2015, preparations are in progress for the creation of the Institute. Based on the proposal of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute, the German Government endorsed the idea of inviting the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture to set up in Berlin.
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Yaron Matras, linguist at the University of Manchester specializing in Romani and other languages (PHOTO: YouTube.com)

Yaron Matras: Do Roma need protection from themselves? The Council of Europe comes under fire from academics for reinforcing prejudice

24.3.2016 23:43 Almost one hundred academic researchers specialising in Romani studies have signed an open letter to the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, expressing their concern about a recent Council of Europe communication announcing its new four-year Thematic Action Plan on Roma and Traveller Inclusion. They take issue with the statement’s depiction of Roma as having a pre-disposition to early marriage, violence, organised crime and begging, and say that such suggestions contribute to, rather than confront stigmatisation and prejudice.  full story

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Council of Europe calls on Czech Republic to protect minority languages like German and Romani more

2.12.2015 18:40 The Council of Europe (CoE) has called on the Czech Republic to increase its efforts to protect and support minority languages, especially German and Romani. The CoE's press release issued today says its Committee of Ministers (CoM) has sent many recommendations to Prague on the basis of a report by its Committee of Experts assessing the degree to which the country complies with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.  full story

Ilustrated PHOTO: Romea.cz

Marek Szilvási: Czech Government should stop gambling with the country's reputation - the fight for compensation for forced sterilization is not over

4.11.2015 19:15 I remember being with the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) just a couple of months when I was invited to Ostrava to an informal meeting with the Group of Women Harmed by Coercive Sterilization, an informal collective of harmed self-advocating Romani women. The meeting was organised by the local Life Together NGO in early April 2012 to celebrate the fact that after years of local activism, lawsuits and advocacy struggles, the Government’s Council for Human Rights had finally recommended the Government develop a compensation scheme for involuntarily sterilized women. A month earlier, the Group, Life Together and the ERRC had sent an official letter welcoming this government commitment. I took an early morning train and after a half-day journey from Budapest to Ostrava, I was warmly welcomed by the Life Together staff and the Romani women activists, whom until then I knew only through phone calls and email correspondence. After shedding my water-soaked coat I entered the second room and was introduced to Monika Šimúnková, the Czech Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, and Kateřina Valachová, now the current Minister of Education, who was at that time working for the Ombudsman. The atmosphere was relaxed, almost festive, and I soon succumbed to it and started expecting this controversy soon to be over.  full story

Nils Muižnieks (PHOTO: www.coe.int)

Human Rights Commissioner urges the Czech authorities to adopt bill on reparations for involuntary sterilisation of Roma women

22.10.2015 11:33 The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks today urged the Czech authorities to adopt a bill on reparations for the involuntary sterilization of Roma women. “I regret the Czech government’s decision not to proceed with the adoption of the law allowing the granting of compensation to the Roma women who were victims of forced sterilisations,” he said after publishing a letter he addressed to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mr Bohuslav Sobotka, on 6 October.  full story

Council of Europe Secretary General Jagland. Photo: Council of Europe

Council of Europe approves European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture

16.9.2015 23:56 Yesterday the 47 member states of the Council of Europe approved a proposal for the creation of a new European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture. Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said that “The Council of Europe wants to help celebrate the contribution of Roma art, history, and tradition to our shared cultural heritage. The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture will spread greater understanding of Roma culture and challenge unhelpful stereotypes. I hope that over time it will become a source of pride and self-esteem for our European Roma citizens. The project will be Roma-led, with the Council of Europe and the Open Society Foundations providing funding, resources and political support.”  full story

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