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SRSG for Roma highlights the importance of access to justice for Roma and Travellers

On this European Day of Justice, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) for Roma Issues wishes to highlight the unequal access of Roma and Traveller people to judicial protection and the need to raise awareness on the situation of Roma and Travellers who continue to face widespread anti-Gypsyism.
Strasbourg 25 October 2016
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SRSG for Roma highlights the importance of access to justice for Roma and Travellers

Access to justice is an inherent aspect of the rule of law and a fundamental requirement for any democratic society. The right of access to justice, to fair hearing and effective remedies are guaranteed under the European Convention on human Rights and must be secured for all without distinction (in accordance with Article 14 of the ECHR).

As such, the SRSG for Roma Issues wants member states to take all the necessary steps to strengthen access to justice for Roma and Travellers.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights has specifically noted on several occasions that Roma have become a specific type of disadvantaged and vulnerable minority who therefore require special protection as indicated by the relevant Court case-law. In response, the Committee of Minister’s adopted in March 2016 a Thematic Action Plan for the inclusion of Roma and Travellers that includes in its first priority the improvement of the access to justice of Roma and Travellers and highlights Roma women, youth and children as vulnerable groups that need particular attention.

It is therefore essential that the Council of Europe and its member states work together in order to take all necessary steps to improve the access to justice of Roma and Travellers. The Ad-Hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM) is currently drafting a proposal for a Committee of Ministers Recommendation to member States on improving access to justice for Roma and Travellers in Europe. This text aims to provide further tools and guidelines to member States in eliminating discriminatory obstacles in the access to justice at all levels, including by recognising anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of racism.

The Support Team of the SRSG for Roma Issues is also implementing a pilot Joint Programme with the European Commission DG Justice, on Roma and Traveller Women’s Access to Justice in Bulgaria, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Romania. The JUSTROM programme will focus on empowering women from these communities to identify and report instances of discrimination but also on facilitating access to legal advice, primary legal aid and representation, through setting up legal clinics. The joint programme seeks broader cooperation and partnership with the Ministries of Justice, Interior, Labour and Social affairs, Councils of Ministers and Specialised Agencies for Roma Issues, Legal Aid Bureaus, bar associations, human rights institutions and equality bodies, NGOs and Roma and Traveller women themselves. The project will be running until March 2018. More information about the launch event of this joint programme in the five countries concerned can be found at: http://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/roma-women.


JUSTROM2 in brief JUSTROM2 in brief

JUSTROM2 is a joint programme of the Council of Europe and European Commission aiming to improve the access to justice of Roma women in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Romania.

The programme aims to empower Roma women to adequately address discrimination and other human rights violations committed against them, including 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 programme seeks Roma women empowerment inter alia through awareness-raising gatherings and info days, where active citizenship is promoted, and legal advice.

It also aims at strengthening links, exchanges and partnerships with and among actors at different levels, such as local, national, regional and European level. The actors involved include local and central government institutions, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, national human rights institutions, equality bodies, bar associations, legal aid bureaus, National Roma Contact Points (NRCP), CAHROM members, police, mediators and Roma NGOs. These will create an inclusive and enabling environment leading to accountability and sustainable change in Roma communities and the wider societies they live in.

In addition, it aims to enhance the capacity of the judiciary, law enforcement in the application of anti-discrimination standards with a focus on multiple discrimination, gender equality and Roma women.  Finally, this programme will further increase the synergy and coherence between the institutional frameworks of the EU and Council of Europe, national Roma integration strategies and civil society initiatives.

Events events

Italy, 19 March 2019

  • Training for legal professionals on statelessness, regularisation and related issues

Strasbourg, 12-14 March 2019

  • Study visit for Equality Bodies and National Human Rights Insitutions

Greece, 27-28 February 2019

  • Country exchange of practices on the topic of ID documents

Bulgaria, 12 February 2019

  • Training for lawyers of the legal aid in Sliven

Bulgaria, 11 February 2019

  • Training for lawyers of the legal aid in Plovdiv

Romania, 7-8 February 2019

  • Training for lawyers in Bucharest on combating discrimination

Bulgaria, 5 February 2019

  • Training for lawyers of the legal aid in Veliko Tarnovo

Bulgaria, 25 January 2019

  • Training for lawyers of the legal aid in Sofia

Italy, 4-6 December 2018

  • JUSTROM Monitoring visit in Rome and Naples

BULGARIA, 26-29 November 2018

  • JUSTROM2 Monitoring visits to Sofia, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo

Bulgaria, 19-21 November 2018

  • JUSTROM2 Training of Trainers for police officers, Sofia

Romania, 5-8 NOvember 2018

  • JUSTROM2 Monitoring visits to Bucharest and Calarasi County

Greece, 23-26 October 2018

  • JUSTROM2 Monitoring visit to Athens and Thessaloniki

STrasbourg, 26-28 september 2018

  • JUSTROM2 Training of Trainers for judges and prosecutors from Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Romania