Regional Consultation on Youth and Human Rights kicks off in Brussels

Regional Consultation on Youth and Human Rights kicks off in Brussels

The European Youth Forum and Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a Regional Consultation on Youth and Human Rights, in order to feed into a report on the same topic that will be prepared for the UN Human Rights Council later this year. ERGO Network was present at the 3 day meeting in Brussels, March 19-22.

In advance of the meeting, some background information was shared online to help participants prepare.  With a thematic questionnaire from the European Youth Forum, participants could get an insight in the organization`s submission to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ call for input for a study on youth and human rights.

The gathering brought together 22 participants from all over Europe from different youth networks, youth and student organizations as well as international associations. Together with EYF the aim was to give the opportunity to have in dept discussions during the event on a variety of topics that are related to youth rights, key challenges of young people, as well as framework, programs and policies designed by European actors, such as the Council of Europe and the EU.

The first panel discussion set the scene with the opening remarks delivered by representatives of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the European Youth Forum. It was important to mention some highlights regarding the current situation of human rights in Europe. Statistics and research show that today much of the continent’s public transport is not accessible, 70% of Roma report hunger and constant stigmatization, 30% of young people with black and Muslim origin don’t get a job because of their names, and youth homelessness is showing a slightly increasing tendency.

Good news is that Portugal’s efforts to create an inclusive environment to Roma and minorities serves as outstanding example. The Council of Europe with its interventions also strives to better shape policies for youth with its recommendations addressed to member states. The recommendations in question are regarding 1) access to social rights of young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods (2015); 2) youth work (2017); and young people’s access to rights (2017), the latter calling on governments to address discriminatory practises.

The key challenges that are faced by young people in Europe are present in all generations of human rights. According to Alice Barbieri (Council of Europe Advisory and Council on Youth), there is a great underrepresentation of youth at city councils, political bodies and parliaments in Europe, with only 2% of parlamentarians aged under 30 worldwide. Young people also lack education on active citizenship. Non-standard employment effects more the younger generations where the mandate is unpaid, unfair or the work is undeclared. This also means that employees are not part of the pension scheme and do not receive any social protection. It is a worrying trend to see that 30% of those aged 15-29 in EU live at the risk of social exclusion or poverty.

Amana Ferro (European Anti-Poverty Network) presented findings on key challenges for young people. According to her, the programs aimed at providing support to young people are present to some extent, but they do not function as comprehensive strategies to combat youth poverty, and do not serve as tools for great autonomy. Cash based income support is still widely considered as social benefit, however, in the European societies it serves as a key factor to social inclusion. Tamas Kadar (Equinet) introduced the framework of equality bodies in Europe, their practices and examples of discrimination.

Age restrictions take away opportunities in general from young people, and ethnic paygap remains an issue. It was highlighted that poverty is not a choice, and everyone has the right not to be poor. In order to cease poverty, one should have full ownership of life planning, and dealing with poverty shall be considered as fulfilling right rather than charity.

Key policies and programs targeting at EU, Council of Europe and UN levels outline a number of interventions in Europe and the world. Developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating policies and programs on youth is crucial in understanding the framework of contributing to youth rights.

The Erasmus+ program is funded by the EU to provide to over 4 million Europeans the opportunity to gain competences and have a personal, socio educational and professional development through studies, raining, work experiences or volunteering abroad. The EU Youth Strategy lays out a framework for European cooperation in the youth field in the period of 2010-2018, adding here that youth policy is a national competence of member states. The EU Youth Guarantee is a scheme that aims to ease the transition from education to employment by ensuring that all young people aged 25 or under, get a good – quality offer of employment, training or further education within 4 months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.

The Council of Europe (Committee of Ministers) has adopted two key recommendations relating to young people’s rights: CM/Rec(2016)7 on Young People’s Access to Rights and CM/Rec(2015)3 on Access of Young People from Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods to Social Rights. The latter focuses on policies to preent and eradicate the porverty, discrimination, violence and exclusion faced by young people from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, the former covers civil, political, economic, social and cultural rigths providing guidance to states.

The United Nations adopted in 1996 and updated in 2007, the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) outlines 15 priority areas of action. In 2015, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2250 (UNSCR 2250) on Youth, Peace, and Security.

Following the thematic sessions a final report will be put together by the European Youth Forum with the inputs and contributions of the youth representatives. The report aims to recommend measures at international level – such as member states, the UN Human Rights Council – that would facilitate support the realization of young people’s rights.

Joint Work for the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Joint Work for the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The EU Delegation / Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH, in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized on January 31, 2018, Seminar on the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.

More than 80 representatives of local authorities, non-governmental and international organizations participated in the 4th Seminar on Roma Integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has made some progress in the integration of Roma in the area of housing and registration of citizens, but much still needs to be done in employment, education and health care, said the Roma Affairs Adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Marta Garcia Fidalgo.

Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, Semih Borovac, emphasized that discrimination, prejudice and exclusion from social life continue to be the problems of Roma both in BiH and Europe, and that it warns of the importance of greater political engagement and commitment to the issue of inclusion of Roma in BiH and adequate separation money from the budget for the needs of this population.

Chairman of the Committee on Roma at the Council of Ministers of BiH, Mujo Fafulic, is grateful to international organizations and authorities in BiH (especially the line ministry) for money allocated for solving Roma problems, but also says that their problems are still not resolved.

Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative to BiH Lars Gunnar Wigemark emphasized in Sarajevo that resolving the position of the Roma minority in BiH is certainly a matter of national interest, and it is also important in the context of joining the European Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries Western Balkans.

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS – Roma Youth Advocacy Seminar

Roma Youth Advocacy Seminar
Brussels, April 6 until 13, 2018 (including travel days)

Join us in Brussels to learn about European policy-making and civil society advocacy, and to raise young voices in front of the European Parliament, European Commission and other stakeholders to combat antigypsyism and to advance important issues for Roma communities. This six days lasting seminar is organized by ternYpe International Roma Youth Network, ERGO Network and the Documentation and Cultural Centre & Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. It will gather 40 young Roma and non-Roma activists in order to strengthen their capacity as young advocates and leaders to tackle antigypsyism. During the seminar, the group will run a youth campaign against antigypsyism targeting EU level actors, like Members of the European Parliament and European Commission. The advocacy seminar is part of the “EU Roma Week” around the 8 April – International Roma Day.

Our mission and vision

The organizers aim to empower young Roma to have a voice to become key agents of change, and to foster solidarity among young people! We have a strong vision to make a change in Europe. As young Roma and non-Roma we believe that we can build a European culture based on respect, dialogue, human rights and equal opportunities. We strongly follow our mission to create space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, self-organization and participation. “EU Roma Week” in the European Parliament Roma Week 2018 takes places from April 9-12, 2018 in the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg to mark the occasion of the International Roma Day on 8 April 2018. Roma Week 2016-2017 resulted in the Slovak Presidency having two Council Conclusions on Roma with reference to the European Parliament’s 2015 resolution on antigypsyism and for the recognition of the Roma Genocide, as well as in a new Parliament report on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism (of October 2017).

Objectives of “EU Roma Week”

EU Roma week 2018 is designed with the aim of bringing together Roma activists from the European Union to advocate for recognition and institutional responses against antigypsyism across Europe, as well as to engage in the discussions for a post2020 EU Framework for the National Roma Integration Strategies.


The seminar aims to strengthen the capacity of the participants to understand the structures and working mechanisms of the EU institutions, as well as the current EU policies concerning Roma and against racism, and to develop advocacy strategies and campaigns raising-awareness about antigypsyism on European level.

The objectives of the activity are to:

  • Get to know the European Union institutions and to understand their working mechanisms, and policies towards Roma, in particular of the European Parliament and European Commission;
  • Build a dialogue and bring a Roma youth perspective to DG Justice (responsible for Roma policies in the European Commission), to DG EAC (Education and Culture, includes the youth sector in the European Commission), as well as to Members of the European Parliament in particular of ARDI(Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup);
  • Learn about the work of the EU umbrella organizations and contribute to their work;
  •  Raise awareness of the participants about antigypsyism, and the current anti-racism policies;
  • Raise awareness of the participants about the Brussels-based civil society structures and their strategies against antigypsyism and racism (in particular ERGO Network, ENAR (European Network against Racism) and the European Youth Forum);
  •  Develop a youth campaign against antigypsyism and on Roma youth perspectives during the “EU Roma Week” of the European Parliament;
  • Raise awareness of Members of the European Parliament, European Commission staff and Brussels based advocates about the recognition of the Roma Holocaust and of antigypsyism, which was acknowledged in April 2015 by a European Parliament resolution and in a report of the LIBE Committee in October 2017.


Participants are asked to indicate already in their application their preference for one working group. During the training-course the participants will work in small groups of 10 to 15 participants around this theme.

  • Participation: focus on political participation of Roma and of young women and men, participation in mainstream political parties, European Parliament elections 2019, state institutions as well as participation in mainstream civil society and youth structures, such as National Youth Councils, European Youth Forum;
  • Antigypsyism: focus on the policy debate on combating antigypsyism, bringing focus on antigypsyism within the EU Roma Framework, with a special focus on youth and women,
    impact of antigypsyism on youth and women, role of youth and women in combating antigypsyism, issue of hate speech in the public field;
  •  Advanced Advocacy: focus on the mid-term review of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, and advocacy for a post 2020 European Roma Framework, the Social Europe/European Pillar of Social Rights policy and the Multiannual Financial Framework post 2020.



6 April

Arrival, joint dinner, welcome



7 April

Opening, sharing experiences

Training sessions: the European institutional framework, Roma-related policies


8 April

Training sessions  on advocacy and antigypsyism

Focus on the “Alliance against Antigypsyism”

International Roma Day events


9 April

Work in thematic groups: Participation, Antigypsyism, Advanced Advocacy

Preparation of the Roma Week activities

Meeting with experienced EU advocates and activists

Meetings with external stakeholders in small thematic groups: European Commission, European civil society structures, International Organizations

Situation in Western Balkan and Turkey, EU Enlargement policies


10 April

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament

11 April

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament

12 April

Working Breakfast with various Members of the European Parliament;

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament;

Evaluation of the event and of the Roma week, Closing dinner


13 April



  • Present will be Roma and non-Roma youth leaders, activists, multipliers, and volunteers who are active in Roma communities and experienced in working with Roma communities and/or Roma youth. We aim to create a balanced group of experience participants and participants who have NOT participated in the training previously, and who demonstrate a strong interest in advocacy and political participation.
    Participants must also:
  • be able and committed to act as young advocates and multipliers in youth work on the themes of anti-discrimination, combating racism and antigypsyism and promotion of human rights with young Roma, for the benefit of Roma communities and Roma youth;
  • be motivated to develop their competences in advocacy, anti-discrimination work, human rights education and youth work and to share their experiences with other participants;
  • be actively committed and involved in a Roma (youth) initiative, advocacy group or organization;
  • be aged between 18 – 35 years;
  • be committed to attend for the full duration of the course;
  • be able to work in English, or check with the coordination that translation can be provided through other participants or team members;
  • be resident in one of the following countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia


Arrival: April 6, 2018 (Friday)
Program days: April 7 until April 12, 2018
Departure: April 13, 2018 (Friday)


The seminar is organised in Brussels.
Accommodation is provided in Hotel Aviation, Square de l’Aviation 20, 1070 Bruxelles. The conference will take place in various venues. Information is provided with the Info Pack later.


Participants should organize their travel (arrival and departure) for these dates AFTER the organizers have confirmed their participation. Earlier arrivals and late departures will be exceptions after discussion with the organizers.


Reimbursement of travel costs:

The organisers of the seminar cover accommodation and food during the activity. The maximum of reimbursement of travel costs is € 200 (for French and German participants € 150); if costs are higher they have to be covered by participants or contact the organizers. The reimbursements of travel expenses (based on economical prices, Apex, student price, special price) will take place on the spot during the week in cash or by bank transfer after the activity. Participants should bring with them original invoices to prove the costs of travel as well the tickets.


How to apply? Register in the online application form:

Application deadline: February 25, 2018 (end of day)

Selection procedure:

If you fit into the participants’ profile, you may submit an application until February 25 at midnight Central European Time. The preparatory team will select up the participants on the basis of the profile outlined above, ensuring also a balance between genders, geographical regions, different types of experiences and organizations. Within few days, we will inform the candidates whether their application has been accepted or rejected.


Contact person: Jozsef Rostas
ternype general contact:

Statement on Denial of the Holocaust of the Roma in the Czech Republic

European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network Statement on Denial of the Holocaust of the Roma in the Czech Republic

ERGO Network condemns in the strongest possible terms the denial and doubt cast on the suffering of the Romani victims of the Lety concentration camp by the current speaker of the Czech lower house on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As Romani people and as European citizens we welcome the other condemnations of his remarks that have been voiced by Czech political representatives, and call on all other political leaders to join them.

We believe Mr Tomio Okamura should face sanctions for his remarks, including being removed from his post as vice-chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic. We hope that his fellow legislators see fit to sanction him.

There is no excusing this inexcusable behavior.


For more information about the cause follow

For the source of the problem see Czech MP marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day by doubting what happen at Romani genocide side

Strengthening Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations

Strengthening Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations

ERGO members from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the ‘Visegrad countries’ Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic met in Brussels on 24-25 November to prepare a new ERGO project that will strengthen Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations.

Being transparent and accountable are important prerequisites for the effectiveness of civil society organisations that are taken seriously by their institutional counterparts. It also shows public authorities that civil society take transparency and accountability very seriously and demand the same from the public sector.

With financial support from the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission, ERGO Network member organizations therefore agreed on joining their efforts and put their thorough expertise together to set up a list of ‘transparency criteria’ and capacitate Roma civil society in their countries in implementing them.

During the meeting, all partners agreed that using transparency criteria would give them more legitimacy, better fundraising opportunities and more trust from both the grassroots level and institutions. They then drew up a list of criteria, divided into the chapters ‘governance’, ‘finance’ and ‘performance’. These include points such as giving access and distributing information about statutes and funding sources of CSOs, clear decision-making structures that divide responsibilities and ensure gender equality in CSOs, as well as the participation of target groups in the development of strategies and goals.  The partners furthermore stressed the importance of open leadership and regular training within the organisation that contribute to a positive performance of the staff, as well as the need not to use ‘dirty money’ coming for example from illegal sources or from companies using child labour.

Transparency also demands a proper and clear communication strategy (both internal and external) that communicates the vision, mission and the long term goals of the organization. If applicable, diversification of funds also contributes to more independence of organisations.

In 2018, ERGO Network will organise a training for trainers on the transparency criteria in order to help their usage and dissemination in the participating countries as well as offer coaching visits to the partner organisations. You will be able to find regular updates on our website.