Strengthening Roma Networks at the Local and Regional Level
Meeting jointly organised by the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, the Roma and Travellers Team of the Council of Europe and the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE)
The European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion is pleased to announce the holding of a meeting in Athens with the aim to strengthen Greek Roma networks on local and regional level. Carried out as a joint project together with the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) and the Roma and Travellers Team of the Council of Europe, the meeting will take place on 12 April 2018 in the KEDE building in Athens. The invitation has been adressed to mayors and regional representatives from various parts of Greece.
Taking into account the priority of the Council of Europe Thematic Action Plan on the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers (2016-2019), adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in March 2016, to promote innovative models for local-level solutions and having in mind that policy measures at local and regional level are decisive for enhancing real improvement for the social inlcusion of Roma, this meeting has two main objectives:
Firstly, to highlight the significant role of Roma Networks in sustaining regular dialogue between Roma communities and local and regional authorities. The work of "RomNet", a greek Roma Network that has been active in the last decade, could be seen as a role model for further networks to be established. On this occasion, Manolis Rantis, former director of RomNet, will present the keynote speech entitled: "RomNet in Greece - a European Prototype".
Secondly, to address racism and discrimination faced by many Roma in Greece, the participating elected representatives are encouraged to sign the Declaration against anti-Gypsyism and express their commitment to combat anti-Gypsyism in their municipalities or regions at home.
The meeting will be chaired by Michail Angelopoulos, Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Head of the Greek Delegation to the Congress and Mayor of Samos.
Opening addresses will be given by Georgios Patoulis, President of KEDE, Konstantinos Agorastos, President of Regions of Greece (ENPE), Katerina Giantsiou, Special Secretary on Roma Social Inclusion of the Ministriy of Labour, Social Insurance and Social Solidarity and John Warmisham, Thematic Spokesperson of the Congress on Roma and Travellers.
Furthermore, the JUSTROM Project, a joint programme between the Council of Europe and the European Commission for Roma and Traveller women’s access to justice will be presented at the meeting. The programme aims to empower Roma and Traveller women to adequately address discrimination and other human rights violations committed against them. These include early/forced marriage, trafficking, domestic violence, housing evictions, police abuse and hate crime by raising their awareness about discrimination, complaint mechanisms, the justice system and human rights institutions. The Project provides legal information, advice, aid and/or representation through setting up legal centres and thus further facilitate access to court and court proceedings at national and international level. JustRom is currently operating in Athens, Thessaloniki and Xanthi.