Rights Experts of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (RE- CDWD)

Terms of Reference for

Rights Experts of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (RE- CDWD)


Global Forum on Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD) is the global advocacy mechanism of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (CDWD). More than 260 million people across the world are discriminated on the basis of work and descent and are more commonly known as Dalits, Roma-Sinti, Quilombola, Burakumin, Oru, amongst many other names. Discrimination on Work and Decent (DWD) is a global phenomenon which lacks public recognition and acknowledgement and affected communities are among the most marginalised and excluded people. ERGO Network is a member organization of the GFoD ensuring the voice of Romani people from Europe.

Position Overview

GFoD is looking for 12 RE-CDWD to support global advocacy processes at the national, regional and global level. Two of those candidates will be working in close cooperation with the ERGO Network and will be recruited on the basis of requirements and qualifications listed below ensuring the knowledge about the Romani communities and related legal and policy backgrounds in European countries.

The positions are approximately 15 % Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or up to 20 hours per month.

Duties and responsibilities

    • Contribute to the development and implementation of the GFoD’s advocacy strategy.
    • High level of autonomy and responsiveness to engage in advocacy processes at national, regional and global level. Advocacy opportunities will include contributions to events organised by the UN Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) and events related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    • Author statements, critical interventions and articles or contribute to specific ideas and concept notes on the concerns of CDWD, particularly Roma, Sinti and Travellers as per the requirement of HLPF and other bodies.
    • Communicate regularly with the GFoD Secretariat and the ERGO Network and undertake national, regional and take part in global consultation processes with CDWD.
    • Participate and organise in capacity building processes.
    • Dedicate at least 2 full working days per month to this role.

Requirements and qualifications

In order of preference, characteristics and qualifications are listed below. Please note that given our preference for candidates, it is not an imperative that the person is fluent in English.

    1. Anchored and rooted in Communities Discriminated by Work and Descent (CDWD): Persons from Romani origin are highly encouraged to apply to this position. Women, LGBTQI+, youth and other underrepresented and marginalized groups from CDWD are highly encouraged to apply.
    2. Experience: Are social leaders within their own community with considerable experience in advocacy actions and processes at national, regional and international level. It is highly desirable that candidates are established human rights defender in their country/region/community and are experts in one particular field area related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For example, (Access to water and sanitation – SDG 6, decent work – SDG 8, Inequalities – SDG10 etc).
    1. Commitment: Candidates who have shown ongoing commitment and leadership to the cause of CDWD and Roma, Sinti and Travellers in particular are encouraged to apply
    1. Academic qualifications: Academic qualifications such as University qualifications, publications of book, articles or other journalistic work will be considered in the application process.

Recruitment and timeline

Please submit your applications to info@ergonetwork.org until the 07.05.2021 midnight CET with a subject line “GFoD Rights Expert – application”. Please submit your CV together with a one page over letter referencing relevant experience mentioned under Requirements and Qualifications. Interviews will start in the mid of May. We prefer applications in English.

Successful candidates will be appointed for a 12-month period with an initial 3 moth trial period.

Due to the high volume expected applications only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Youth Statement on the occasion of April 8 – International Roma Day 2021

Youth Statement on the occasion of April 8 – International Roma Day 2021

As young people and representatives of Roma youth organisations networks we have met to share our experiences and together celebrate International Roma Day and the 50th anniversary of the first World Romani Congress. While the roots of Romani activism go back to the 19th century, 8 April 1971 constitutes a turning point for Roma communities around the world, when activists moved their struggle to the international arena. We take pride on the achievements of our elders, pioneers and predecessors of the Roma movement.

We acknowledge the efforts of the Council of Europe and its Youth Department towards Roma youth emancipation and empowerment, active youth participation and in combating antigypsyism. We especially welcome the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the inclusion of the history of Roma and Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials and the preparation of a future recommendation on Roma youth participation. Roma arts and culture play a central role in restoring Roma dignity and challenging the predominantly negative image of Roma people among the majority. Roma arts and culture remain greatly under-represented in majority spaces and cultural narratives, both internationally and nationally. This supports dominant discourses and imagery that are negative and stereotypical. More Roma narratives and representations in public spaces are necessary to challenge antigypsyism. By including Roma arts, culture and history in future Roma-focused policies and measures, the Council of Europe member states will send a message that European and national cultural narratives should highlight Roma belonging, contributions and achievements. We take pride on our history, arts and culture; their diversity enriches our communities and our societies.

We want Roma youth to have access to their own culture and have tools to enjoy and promote their cultural identity, history and dignity. We want to fight stigma associated with Roma and to prevent antigypsyism with alternative discourses rooted in self-representation and in Roma leadership.

We express our concern about the continued neglect of several important aspects by policy makers when it comes to Roma youth inclusion. We express our deep concern about the rise of antigypsyism, anti-Roma rhetoric and violent attacks against Roma in Europe, which are supported by some political movements, populist politicians and irresponsible media. Antigypsyism remains a greater challenge in today’s Europe and for young Roma people in our countries. The most frequent concerns for Roma youth are related to racism and discrimination together with access to education, training and schooling. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Roma settlements have been cordoned off, water supplies have been partially cut off, and people have been barred from food and medical supplies. Violent attacks by the police and gendarmerie have occurred several times on Roma communities in the past months.

There is still a lack of knowledge among the majority of society about Roma history, culture, antigypsyism and the Roma Genocide that took place during World War II. Until today the Roma Holocaust still does not form part of the canon of European history and remains largely unknown. In 2015, the European Parliament passed a Resolution declaring 2 August as “European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day” in memory of the at least 500,000 Roma exterminated during the Second World War by the Nazi and other regimes and their allies. Despite this, many governments have not yet officially recognised the historical facts and a common historical responsibility. The Council of Europe should ensure that the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on the inclusion of the history of Roma and Travellers in school curricula and teaching materials is implemented.

Social and economic exclusion has just been deepened by the Covid-19 pandemic, as many Roma students found themselves unable to access online education, due to absent infrastructure and equipment (the digital divide), while in the long run it still represents the biggest challenge for Roma youth participation and results in political and cultural exclusion as well. Roma youth are part of the largest and youngest ethnic minority in Europe and strive for economic empowerment and participation. We insist that all necessary measures are taken and funded in order to encourage their economic and educational efforts and enable them to access national labour markets. We want to see Roma youth entrepreneurship highlighted and promoted as an important aspect that could not only contribute to economic empowerment but also strengthen the path of social inclusion and active citizenship of young Roma. We call on the Council of Europe member States to seek active dialogue with Roma youth organisations and to ensure lasting mechanisms of empowerment and participation of young Roma. We call on national governments to allocate national and European funding to invest in Roma youth organisations as engines of change.

Many Roma young people experience multiple discrimination that hinders their human rights; this concerns, among others, LGBTQIA+ Roma, Roma girls, Roma migrants and Roma with disabilities. Acknowledging the great vulnerability of these groups, targeting them with special and complex measures and providing mechanisms to empower them and fight inequalities within and outside of Roma communities is an important challenge, which deserves to be addressed in all EU and national mainstream policies. Approaches that take into account intersectional identities are necessary.

We call on the Council of Europe:
• to improve the good practice of Roma youth involvement and expertise in processes of policy making.
• to improve the coordination of policies concerning Roma youth among European institutions and stakeholders and to improve the communication between these institutions.
• to invest in strengthening the capacity and structures of Roma youth organisations.
• to enable the monitoring of policies being implemented by setting up a permanent working group consisting of Roma youth.
• to call on member states to make Roma Youth a priority within National Roma Strategies. Roma youth organisations must be involved in the National Roma Platforms and in important consultation mechanisms concerning Roma and youth issues.
• to emphasise the importance of double mainstreaming – including Roma issues in youth policies and youth issues in Roma policies and to encourage the European Youth Forum and National Youth Councils to ensure the meaningful participation of Roma youth individuals and organisations in their mainstream structures.

We demand a return to the values that have enriched Europe. These values such as solidarity, respect for diversity and human rights need to be continuously and consistently respected. European society can only be powerful if it has a strong Roma youth. Therefore, all relevant policy measures must be framed by, with and for Roma Youth in respectful and equal cooperation with non-Roma youth and the majority societies as a whole

This statement is also available in French and Romanes, and you can find them here

Call for Applications


Analysis of bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion and funding programs

The European Roma Grassroots Organizations (ERGO) Network is contracting external consultants to prepare a study consisting of the following two parts:

  1. Study on importance of bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion
  2. Analysis of current funding programs on Roma inclusion in Europe

ERGO Network brings together over 30 members from across Europe and supports organisations with a common perspective on Roma grassroots empowerment and equal citizenship to challenge stereotypes and combat stigmatization. We mobilize and connect organisations and individuals that share and express our values – active citizenship, shared responsibility, and passion – to strengthen and empower Roma civil society involvement in decision-making at local, national and European level and to address existing shortcomings of policies targeted at Roma.

Role of the consultant

Through the ”New solutions to old problems – exchange of new types of approaches in the field of Roma integration” project, funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Regional Cooperation, ERGO Network is contracting an external expert to

  • Analyze programs supporting Roma inclusion that use bottom-up and community development schemes and
  • Analyze existing top-down funding programs for Roma inclusion, their benefits, and pitfalls. Specifically, the consultant is expected to prepare two reports of approximately up to 25 pages each, in English, with conclusions and concrete recommendations for improvement of funding programs.

First drafts should be delivered by 31 July 2021 and final reports by 31 August 2021. Both studies can be conducted by same consultant.

Profile of the consultant

  • A consultant can be an individual, institution or organization.
  •  Proven knowledge about Roma inclusion policies
  •  Experience working with Roma civil society.
  •  Excellent writing skills
  •  Proven research and analytical skills
  •  Ability to work independently.

Contract and budget

The independent consultant will be subcontracted by ERGO Network and has no rights vis-à-vis the EEA and Norway Grants for Regional Cooperation. He/She reports to ERGO Network. Each of the two reports will be renumerated with 2000 €, VAT and all costs and charges included.

Aims of the Study on importance of funding bottom-up approaches to Roma inclusion

  •  To analyse challenges and advantages of top-down and bottom-up funding programs and approaches used by different donors in Europe.
  •  To raise awareness among (Roma) civil society and donors on the importance of investing in local level initiatives that are participatory and led by Roma civil society.
  •  To provide recommendations to private donors, governments, and international institutions on the design of funding programmes targeting Roma inclusion and empowerment, to further promote the bottom-up approach and community participation.

Aims of the Analysis of funding programs on Roma inclusion

  •  To give an overview of current funding programs for Roma inclusion of institutional and private donors in Europe, and their type of approach (top-down or bottom-up)
  •  To raise awareness of private donors on the importance of investing in Roma inclusion and empowerment.
  •  To showcase examples of funding that could contribute to capacity building for a better use of funds.
  •  To identify barriers and success stories of bottom-up approaches in addressing the needs of Roma
  •  To provide recommendations to private donors, governments, and international institutions on the design of funding programmes targeting Roma inclusion and empowerment
  •  To provide Roma and pro-Roma civil society organizations with tips and information on the how to reach donors.

The applicants should submit:

  •  An updated CV
  •  Recent history of published research and links to the publications
  •  A proposal for the structure of the study/studies – possible content, research question and methodology

The application package should be submitted by 5 May 2021 to info@ergonetwork.org with the subject – name of the study you are applying for.

Raising awareness about antigypsyism

Raising awareness about antigypsyism among mainstream organisations 

In ERGO Network we believe that positive change for Roma is possible when antigypsyism is recognized and tackled as the root cause for inequality, and when Roma can take part in civic life as equal stakeholders.

In the past couple of weeks, ERGO was invited to speak in workshops and events addressing antigypsyism among mainstream organisations and stakeholders.

For example, our Director Gabriela Hrabranova and our policy and project coordinator Mustafa Jakupov, together with Roma historian Michal Mižigár from the Czech Republic kicked-off a series of online workshops called “Addressing racism in the EU region” dedicated for staff learning and development of the British Council. The first session called “The social and historical context of the Roma minority in Europe and understanding antigypsyism” managed to attract 124 participants and received a lot of positive feedback and comments. One of the participants of the workshop shared:

“I actually pulled my headphones out and turned up the volume so my boyfriend could listen in as well in the background. It’s worth saying that he is not always completely ‘of the British Council school’ of respecting diversity and inclusion, particularly when it comes to Roma people. His father was a police officer in a small Romanian town for many years, and he grew up surrounded by a lot of prejudices about Roma people. We have had A LOT of arguments on this topic. Anyway, I can honestly say that he found it absolutely fascinating – he genuinely said it opened his eyes to perspectives he had never considered before. So thank you again. I’m very much looking forward to the second session.”

Our policy and project coordinator Mustafa Jakupov took also part in a session organized by Vodafone for the International Day of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as part of Vodafone’s global webinars on the important topic of inclusion, allyship and anti-racism. He was joined by the Baroness Floella Benjamin, who shared her life struggles and successes and Ezdihar Abdulmula, who spoke about Islamophobia. Mustafa shared about antigypsyism and why sometimes we feel uncomfortable to recognize or address it, as it challenges our privileged position and makes us admit to ourselves that we believe in the myth of the society run by merits, not privilege.

When it comes to standing up to racism, we must take the words of Baroness Benjamin that one way to oppose racism is to keep our 4 C’s close to heart and mind: consideration, contentment, confidence and courage!

Roma are the embodiment of the 4 C’s in Europe for over 700 years! And nowadays, we are the ones reminding Europe about its own values, which in the eyes of a pandemic are easily getting forgotten!

PECAO Check-in meeting

PECAO Check-in meeting to evaluate project progress and plan ahead!

Almost one year has passed since ERGO Network and its partners have started the implementation of the PECAO project that addresses antigypsyist online hate speech. It has been quite a journey for our project partners within PECAO, as the project itself is being implemented during a global pandemic.

Nevertheless, our partners are extremely dedicated to encouraging positive values within Roma and non-Roma communities, as well as addressing the persisting issue of hate speech and antigypsyism. They have proven themselves motivated and reliable with the responsibilities handed to them. Our network is truly supported by grassroots efforts and we are immensely proud of this.

On 25 and 26 February 2021, the PECAO partners came together to evaluate a year of building our experience and expertise in tackling hate speech online, but also to look into the on-going implementation of the project, to check progress and plan the next steps ahead. We focused on the road so far, looking into what has been smooth and well done; where we were encountering bumps and the moments that we felt lost and were challenged by the given circumstances.

The check-in meeting was important and integral, as we still have a year ahead of us to make a change through our work and project in the online space.

The partners highlighted that the monitoring and peer education are going well, but it was challenging in the beginning to find the correct way to do it, especially face to face meetings, hence most of the activities shifted to be organized online and needed to take everyone’s safety into account.

During the meeting, we also received insights into the work packages led by our partners Integro, Nevo Parudimos and FAGiC. We listened to their reflections on the implementation so far and received heads up for the next period, as we are looking into following up on the conclusions of the stakeholder roundtables organized in their countries as well as continue to work on the monitoring exercise of collecting and reporting antigypsyist online hate speech.

On the meeting, our project officer from DG JUST Helene Lesay was also present and praised the commitment of our team despite the challenges faced.

The meeting concluded with looking into the next steps and milestones, one of them being the EU stakeholder roundtable organized for the 26 April 2021 by ERGO Network called “Online Antigypsyism: A new challenge for Roma inclusion?” where relevant stakeholders such as the European Commission, Google.org, European civil society organisations and other Brussels-level stakeholders, as well as EU policy-makers from across the institutional spectrum are invited to discuss.