Following in the footsteps of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights was opened for signature in 1950. The Convention has spread across the continent over the last seven decades, protecting the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of more than 830 million people across 47 countries. Thanks to the Convention, overseen by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Europe has the strongest system of international human rights protection anywhere in the world.
The Convention has also brought about many positive changes when applied domestically by national authorities, as well as helping to raise human rights standards around the world.
One of those positive changes are European policies for the protection of the rights of minorities, and Roma in particular.
The latest policy document, the Poznan Declaration, adopted by the countries of the Western Balkans in 2019, stresses the significance of establishing formal channels and mechanisms for
joint involvement of the local governments and the Roma communities with the aim to continue and enhance efforts for full equality and integration of Roma in all areas, including employment, housing, education, health and civil registration.
Existing data indicate that the coronavirus pandemic only highlighted long-standing disparities of the Roma who have been pushed in an even more vulnerable position and increased prejudices in all of the above areas of life, particularly when it comes to access to services, education and employment.
It is therefore crucial to remember that our work is deeply grounded in the international human rights standards, which is why it is important to mark this day today at this launching of ROMACTED2. While remembering the importance of combating racism and discrimination of the Roma, we must not forget the importance of supporting Roma empowerment and enabling members of the community to participate fully in public life, especially at the local level. Through ROMACTED2, we are committed to applying the human-rights approach in order to further advance human rights for all and achieve better and more sustainable results throughout the Programme. Human-rights approach is precisely the reason why we are looking into supporting local authorities to breach the gap of potential disparities in the public COVID-19 recovery measures, to ensure that Roma communities are not left behind.
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