Council reaffirms commitment to combat discrimination against Roma

Council reaffirms commitment to combat discrimination against Roma

Today the Council adopted a recommendation on Roma equality, inclusion and participation, stepping up the member states’ commitment to effectively fight discrimination against Roma people and to promote their inclusion in the key areas of education, employment, health and housing. The Recommendation also reflects the needs of specific groups and the diversity of the Roma population. It replaces the December 2013 Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures and has an expanded scope, including measures to:

  • fight online and offline discrimination (including harassment, antigypsyism, stereotyping, anti-Roma rhetoric and hate speech)
  • combat multiple and structural discrimination against Roma, in particular women, children, LGBTI persons and persons with disabilities
  • promote multi-cultural awareness-raising activities and campaigns in schools.

The recommendation highlights the importance of the equal participation of Roma in society and of their role in policy-making. It outlines a comprehensive list of suggested measures in key areas ranging from access to education, the labour market and health to promoting active participation in civil society and partnerships. It also seeks to improve target setting, data collection, monitoring and reporting and to make mainstream policies more sensitive to Roma equality and inclusion. Moreover, the Recommendation highlights the importance of the gender perspective.

According to the recommendation, member states should adopt national Roma strategic frameworks within their broader social inclusion policies improving the situation of Roma, and communicate them to the European Commission, preferably by September 2021. Member states are also encouraged to include and promote rights of and equal opportunities for Roma in their national Recovery and Resilience plans.

Communities Discriminated based on Work and Descent

Solidarity and Cooperation with Communities Discriminated based on Work and Descent

As part of the Stakeholder Group of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent, ERGO Network attended the preparatory meeting of the Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS) on 3 March regarding the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) review process in 2021.

The meeting of the HLPF in 2021 will be held from Tuesday, 6 July, to Thursday, 15 July 2021, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. This includes the three-day ministerial meeting of the forum from Tuesday, 13 July, to Thursday, 15 July 2021 as part of the high-level segment of the Council.

The HLPF in 2021 will discuss Sustainable Development Goals 1 on no poverty, 2 on zero hunger, 3 on good health and well-being, 8 on decent work and economic growth, 10 on reduced inequalities, 12 on responsible consumption and production, 13 on climate action, 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions, and 17 on partnerships in depth. The Forum will also consider the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) is the core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. More information about the HLPF can be found at: High-Level Political Forum 2021 (HLPF 2021) .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (

World Social Forum 2021

On 26 January, ERGO Network was part of the seminar ‘Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (CDWD) and the Pandemic, its impact and Mitigation Measures’ under the banner of the World Social Forum 2021.

This year, before the background of an unparalleled pandemic crisis, the seminar centered on the impact of Covid 19 on communities discriminated based on work and descent.

The main concerns of this era on CDWD are the gender dimension and access to justice, escalating with Covid 19 exclusion and lack of access to education. Further, the CDWD are blamed wrongfully for spreading of COVID19,  facing atrocities and violence from other communities. 6 regional and national leaders of CDWD from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America shared their communities’ experiences during this crisis and together determined the impact of livelihood, access to services, and developmental justice during the COVID 19 mitigation measures.

The seminar came up with clear recommendations for social movements, addressed to state authorities across the regions. As these communities( CDWD) are one of the most excluded and segregated groups globally, it is crucial that they are included in the recovery plans of the pandemic.

Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of ERGO presented the impact of Covid 19 on Roma and Traveller’s communities, mentioning that antigypsyism spread considerably during the pandemic. She spoke about the organization’s focus on advocacy towards EU institutions to fight antigypsyism and to create equality for Roma communities.

She stated:

“We want to set a better example for governments by upholding the rule of law and human rights, to fight antigypsyism and to cover Roma in mainstream causes and recovery plans by EU  institutions”.

The World Social Forum is a visible manifestation of global civil society, that seeks international solidarity. It consists of members of the global movement for social and economic justice, meeting annually to endeavor alternative future through promoting counter-hegemonic globalization.

EU Award for Roma Integration in the Western Balkans and Turkey, 2021

EU Award for Roma Integration in the Western Balkans and Turkey, 2021

It is with great pleasure to announce the launch of the EU Award for Roma Integration in the Western Balkans and Turkey, 2021” dedicated to the extraordinary people that promote Roma equality through employment.

The EU Roma Integration Award 2021 will promote private or public initiatives sensitive to the problem of lack of employment in the Roma communities, offer recognition, publicity and support to the positive models yielding concrete, tangible results.

The award is open to public and private institutions, companies and businesses, employers, (including but not limited to SME, social businesses, entrepreneurship initiatives and other employment initiatives); teachers, health care actors and Civil Society (organisations and individuals) – Roma and non-Roma – established and residing in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.

The competition is open to both self-nominations (applications directly from the initiative seeking to receive the award), and nominations from other stakeholders wanting to draw attention to a relevant initiative


Submission of self-nominations shall be via e-mail in the address:

    • The title of the email must contain the initials of the applicant and the country of origin.

Submission of nominations shall be via email in the address:

    • The title of the email must contain the acronym of the nominator, initials of the nominee and the country of origin

Applications and nominations, along with the supporting documents, can also be sent by post at the address:

Roma Active Albania Rr. “YlbereBylykbashi”; P. 25; Shk. 2; Ap. 4; Tirana, Albania

In this case, only the applications/nominations received by us within the deadline will be considered. Applications reaching by post later than the set deadline shall not be considered for evaluation.

The deadline for application is 30th of April 2021, 23:59 local time

The award is hosted by the European Commission, funded by IPA Funds and implemented by Roma Active Albania

For more information please refer to the link:

For follow and update please consult with:

Is the internet available and safe for Roma?

Is the internet available and safe for Roma?

Throughout the last years, Safer Internet Day on 9 February has become an important event, addressing the issues of online safety and digital dignity. From cyberbullying to social networking to digital identity, each year Safer Internet Day aims to raise awareness of emerging online issues and current concerns. This year, ERGO Network is highlighting the issues of online safety and digital dignity for Roma.

Online safety for Roma

From an era in which individuals communicated their ideas mostly orally and only to small numbers of other people, we have moved on to an era in which people can make free use of a variety of channels for instant communication to a large audience. More and more people make use of online platforms not only to interact with each other, but also to share news. The detachment created by being enabled to write, without any obligation to reveal oneself directly, means that this new medium of virtual communication allows people to feel greater freedom in the way they express themselves1. Unfortunately, though, there is also a dark side to this system. Social media has become a fertile ground for antigypsyism, which frequently results in the use of insulting and offensive language towards Roma.

Antigypsyist hate speech has always been present in our societies. With the use of social media, however, the phenomenon has achieved a status of normalized online behavior, where Roma are targeted and become victims of cyberhate, which further develops into practices of hate crimes. Hate speech should not be perceived from the prism of an online insult; hate speech is connected to hate crimes, as it directly influences affecting citizens outside of the internet space. It results into violation of the rights of Roma as citizens, causing direct discrimination and threats, and in some cases result in offline violence or hate crimes.

As an example we can pinpoint the recent events in Bitola, North Macedonia towards the Roma community in September and October 2020. In this period hate speech against the Roma community on social networks was drastically intensified, which resulted in the occurrence of several cases of police brutality.2

Being aware of the issue of online antigypsyism3, ERGO Network through the PECAO project aims to counter antigypsyist hate speech online by working with young people, using a combination of peer education and monitoring in order to obtain two-fold results: Peer education to achieve a direct change in attitudes and actions of a high number of young people, and monitoring to contribute to better understanding and a more systemic change of policies through advocacy based on the results.

Digital dignity for Roma

Much has changed with the pandemic and many of us thought that living in the 21st century and with the available technologies adapting would be easy. However, the pandemic made the digital divide and social exclusion of vulnerable communities such as Roma even more visible.

According to the FRA study from 20164, over 40 % of Roma in the EU Member State Bulgaria cannot afford a private computer, smartphone or internet access. With the Covid-19 pandemic, many of these long-standing issues around discrimination, educational exclusion and limited access to new technologies have been brought forward.

Beside all the direct health risks, Covid-19 deepened the existing inequalities and made the questions of poverty and lack of access to proper educational services for Roma children more visible than ever. It made clear that care, respect and human dignity in the digital age for Roma have been forgotten or pushed aside. Digital literacy and access to utilities or technologies cause Roma to be left behind; as Roma with no access to electricity or the internet cannot connect, benefit from online education or online services.

The way forward

When it comes to creating a safer internet space for Roma and ensure digital dignity, ERGO Network believes that we need to work on:

    • Higher awareness of journalists’ ethic commissions on the prevalence and impact of antigypsyist hate speech online, leading to improved self-regulation guidelines.
    • Higher awareness of national equality bodies and other relevant state institutions on the prevalence and impact of antigypsyist hate speech online, leading to better programmes targeting antigypsyism.
    • Stronger adherence by IT companies to the Code of Conduct on countering online hate speech.
    • Better data collection on hate crime and hate speech disaggregated by ethnicity and gender to allow analysis of trends by member states.
    • Stronger condemnation of antigypsyist hate speech in the public discourse.
    • More positive narratives promoted by young people online to counter antigypsyist hate speech.
    • Reducing the digital divide by investing in access to utilities and technologies, thus preventing the exclusion of Roma from the internet space, as well as by creating digital support and literacy programs.

1 Thirty years of research into hate speech: topics of interest and their evolution: Alice Tontodimamma, Eugenia Nissi, Annalina Sarra & Lara Fontanella

2 Hate speech in social media and the impact on the Roma community: Romalitico, Marija Sulejmanova


Welcome to Sebair, ERGO’s new volunteer



Welcome, Sebair!

Here is how Sebair describes himself:

My name is Sebair Selmani (but everyone calls me Sebo) and I come from North Macedonia. Since the beginning of February I am the new volunteer in ERGO Network, in the framework of the European Solidarity Corps.  

I am 25 years old and I recently obtained my MSc degree in Business Analytics from the Central European University. My BSc is in Computer Technologies and Engineering, so I am the geek guy. I was also part of Romaversitas Skopje. Another thing about me is that I do not talk that much 😊.

I am interested in Data Analytics especially in the case where Roma are involved. My goal is to use these skills to monitor the policies. I am here to learn about European policies about Roma and with analytical skills to find new ways to improve them. Moreover, I would like to spread this kind of methodology for the other Roma activists.

I look forward to meet many ERGO members during the next year, and can’t wait to work with you.