International Roma women’s conference

“Protecting the human rights and dignity of Roma and Traveller women in times of crises”

Over 100 Roma and Traveller women are taking part in a hybrid conference organised by the Council of Europe’s Roma and Travellers Team in partnership with Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia from 24-26 November.

Opened by Jagoda Shahpaska, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of North Macedonia and Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the conference is taking stock of how Covid-19 has exacerbated longstanding challenges faced by Roma and Travellers. Roma and Traveller women especially experienced limited access to basic facilities such as clean water, sanitary products, and health care, and challenging access to digital education for their children, with decreased employment possibilities. More generally, in some countries Roma and Traveller people were scapegoated for spreading the virus.

The conference is also assessing consequences of statelessness or lack of IDs in times of crises and is evaluating such topical issues as Roma and Traveller feminism, Roma and Traveller LGBTI issues, and environmental racism.

Conclusions from this event should include sharing good practices with international organisations, national authorities, and civil society organisations to better ensure access to healthcare, education, and employment – and how to make such measures sustainable.

 Speech by Bjørn Berge, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe


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