Thursday, January 14, 2010

Roma women urge European governments to respect their human rights

Athens, 12.01.2010 – The increased and alarming human rights violations against Romani women and ways of ensuring full enjoyment of their rights topped the agenda of a two-day conference of Roma women, which ended today in Athens.

In a final declaration of the conference, the participants unanimously called on European governments to uphold their obligations and ensure that Romani women enjoy their fundamental rights, to put an end to a climate of impunity around atrocious abuses of their rights, to take unequivocal measures to punish perpetrators and compensate Romani women victims.

Romani women also urged the governments of European countries, where forced sterilisation is an ongoing practice, to take active measures to compensate the victims, sanction perpetrators and initiate state medical reform in the area of patients’ rights.

The conference’s conclusions stressed the need to prevent de facto segregation in housing and education, while promoting the principles of equality and integration.

Participants also encouraged Roma activists and human rights communities to actively engage with Roma communities to raise awareness on their human rights and facilitate access to public services and law enforcement mechanisms.

The declaration invites the governments to take steps to monitor and evaluate the situation of Romani women at national level through developing specific methodologies for data collection based on gender and ethnicity as a basis for targeted and comprehensive measures including all areas of life.

Finally, participating Roma women discussed the negative perceptions of Roma women in the media and called on international organizations to support Roma journalism in order to facilitate a learning process with mainstream journalists about Romani women’s realities and promote an objective journalism.

The conclusions of the conference, organized by the Council of Europe, the Greek Ministry of Interior, Decentralization and E-Government, the Greek Inter-Municipal Rom Network (ROM Network) and the International Roma Women’s Network (IRWN),will be available on the Council of Europe website shortly.

Finland will host the next conference of Roma women in 2011.

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