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55 COUNTRIES INVITED TO CONFERENCE ON ROMA ISSUES
Between 10th - 13th September the OSCE Conference "Equal
opportunities for Roma & Sinti: translating words into facts"
will take place.
300 delegates are invited from all 55 OSCE member states. The conference
is co-funded by the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU
Phare Programme. It will take place at the Bucharest Marriott Hotel
and will be officially launched by Prime Minister Nastase on Monday
10th September at 1500.
The aims of the conference are:
- To review the way in which OSCE participating States fulfil their
commitments in respecting the rights of persons belonging to national
minorities, in combating discrimination, racism and xenophobia.
- To compare Roma policies from the EU Candidate Countries and to
assess Roma policies from the EU Member States;
- To offer the opportunity of a concrete and substantial review of
measures and policies for Roma and Sinti population adopted in the
last decade, especially since the OSCE- Council of Europe's Conference
in Warsaw, 1994.
- To raise awareness of governmental institutions about the necessity
to create structures and legal official instruments to combat racism
- To gather motivated human resources and the necessary expertise
for outlining a Draft OSCE Action Plan on Roma and Sinti according
to Instambul Summit documents.
The Conference is organized in plenary sessions, working groups and
The Opening Plenary's aim is to review the OSCE commitments and actions
on Roma and Sinti during the decade of 1990- 2001, and to identify elements
for an OSCE Plan of Action on Roma and Sinti Issues.
The topics to be disscussed in the Conference are:
- For the 1st Working Group: combat of discrimination, effective policy
making for the improvement of living conditions of Roma and Sinti,
tackling the roots of East- West migration and asylum seeking;
- For the 2nd Working Group, the topics are: advancing political rights
of Roma and Sinti; innovative practice for an enhanced political participation
of roma and Sinti in national and international policy making.
- The 3rd Working Group will have the following topic: Roma in situation
of crisis and post- crises rehabilitation in the OSCE region.
- The Round Table will be organised by the EU Phare programme and
its theme is to analyse and compare the efforts of the EU canditate
countries for the improvement of the Roma situation. In addition,
all 15 EU member states are invited to make short presentations about
their national policies relating to the Roma minority.
Apart from the Opening Session on Monday 10th, the conference is closed
to the media - but daily updates will be posted on the National Office
for the Roma website, in the special section "OSCE
The Closing Plenary will contain reports of the Workiong Groups and
Presentation of the OSCE Representative: elements to outline an OSCE
Plan of Action on Roma and Sinti Issues.
Roma and government minority experts will be invited from the OSCE
participating States, as well as from EU member states and EU candidate
countries. 300 participants have been invited from all over Europe and
The conference will be officially declared open in the presence of
- Romania's Prime Minister, Adrian Nastase,
- Foreign Affairs Minister, and CiO of OSCE Mircea Geoana,
- the OSCE's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights advisor
on Roma and Sinti affairs, Nicolae Gheorghe,
- and the Charge D'Affairs of the European Commission in Romania,
Over the three day conference, a series of Roma cultural events (book
launches, art exhibitions, updates from the region) will be organized.
These will promote the creative and intellectual capacity of the Roma
minority as well as address a series of key issues of the day (e.g.
an update on the Roma situation in Skopje).
The conference was organized by the following groups:
- OSCE / ODIHR (Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights)
developed the concept, agenda and guest list;
- The Chairman in Office (CiO) of OSCE promoted the conference as
part of its annual agenda
- The Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs co-financed the evant and
- The EU- Phare Program co-funded the event and organised the Round
- Numerous Roma NGOs were also involved in the organising of the event
and should be thanked: Aven Amentza, Romani CRISS. Phoenix, Roma Christian
Centre (Sibiu), Roma News, etc
- Numerous volunteers were also involved in the organising and implementation
of the event and their names will be published in a separate announcement
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