International Roma Day 2024

On 8 April the participants of the “Roma Youth Together 2024” seminar, along with Michael O’Flaherty, Commissioner for Human Rights, Manuel Demougeot, Chair of the Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (ADI-ROM), and Roxana Petrache, participant from the seminar, gathered together with Permanent Representations and Council of Europe staff members at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg to celebrate International Roma Day 2024.

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The speakers stressed the rich contribution of Roma and Travellers to the cultural life of Europe, while acknowledging the work still to be done to fight intersectional discrimination. The ceremony was organised to celebrate the identity, resilience, and cultural heritage of Roma, while advocating for their recognition, equality, and human rights. After a musical interlude and the Romani anthem Djelem Djelem, the celebration ended with a casting of flowers and a singing performance from seminar participants.

Prior to the flower-casting ceremony, the Commissioner for Human Rights exchanged with the participants from the Roma Youth Together seminar on the needs of Roma youth and the priorities of the Commissioner’s mandate at the Council of Europe.

On 5 April, ahead of International Roma Day, the Committee of Ministers adopted a Recommendation to the 46 Council of Europe member states to ensure equality for Roma and Traveller women and girls and address the specific vulnerabilities they face.

Important statements were published on 8 April by the Secretary General, Marija Pejčinović Burić, Commissioner for Human Rights, Michael O’Flaherty, as well as Gudrun Mosler-Törnström (Austria, R, SOC/G/PD), Standing Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe.

International Roma Day was also widely celebrated through the joint EU-CoE Programmes within the Roma and Travellers Division as follows: The launch of the Inclusive Ambassadors videos (JP INSCHOOL); Various activities organised at the local level in Romania and Bulgaria (JP ROMACT); Celebration of Roma history, identity and culture, a Roma knowledge quiz, raising awareness of antigypsyism and Roma rights, a high-level Roma dialogue with national stakeholders, etc. (ROMACTED II and Roma Integration Phase III). In addition, the Romani flag was traditionally flown from the municipal flagpoles in ROMACT and ROMACTED partner municipalities.

In parallel, on the sidelines of the 50th meeting of the Joint Council on Youth (CMJ), members of the CMJ and representatives of the Budapest diplomatic community gathered in the garden of the European Youth Centre Budapest on 8 April to commemorate International Roma Day. The event was preceded by a briefing to the diplomatic representations present in Hungary on the Council of Europe’s work on Roma inclusion, highlighting the CM Recommendation on Roma Youth Participation following its official Hungarian translation, as well as the recently adopted CM Recommendation on Equality for Roma and Traveller women and girls.

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