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Roma Gypsies A Brief Overview

492 words - 2 pages

The Roma/Gypsies form a group of approximately 8-10 million people in Europe. They are to be found in almost all Council of Europe member states and indeed, in some central and east European countries, they represent over 5% of the population.Yet, although they have been in Europe since the 14th century, very often they are not recognised by the majority society as a fully-fledged European people and they have suffered throughout their history in Europe from rejection and persecution, culminating in the Nazi's attempt to exterminate them. As a result of centuries of rejection many Roma/Gypsy communities today live in very difficult conditions, often on the fringe of the ...view middle of the document...

Moreover, increasingly active Roma/Gypsy associations repeatedly appealed to the Council of Europe to ensure that this minority's fundamental rights were upheld in member states.Accordingly, the Council of Europe decided to look at Roma/Gypsy issues to help bring about a long-term improvement in their situation. In order to place these issues on an institutional footing, in 1995 the Committee of Ministers set up a Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, tasked with advising member states on all Roma/Gypsy-related matters and encouraging international authorities to take action where it was needed. Its role complements that of the Secretary General's Co-ordinator of Activities on Roma/Gypsies, responsible for promoting co-operation with other relevant international organisations and developing working relations with Roma/Gypsy organisations.One of the main objectives of the Council of Europe, as an intergovernmental organisation, is to encourage member states to adopt a comprehensive approach to Roma/Gypsy issues. Indeed, it would appear that only a long-term vision of the solutions to the problem, together with measures aimed at improving the situation in various aspects of daily life, can lead to a lasting improvement in the situation of the Roma/Gypsies. Lastly, one of the fundamental principles guiding the Council of Europe's approach is participation of the communities concerned, through Roma/Gypsy representatives and associations. Without this, no lasting progress will be accomplished.

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