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10.12.2008Information about the National meeting of Roma organizations in Bulgaria

 

It is necessary to go ahead from planning integration to experiencing real actions for Roma integration. This should happen through normative and financial back-up of the integration policy  and through broader decentralization in order to include municipalities, civils society organizations and Roma community in the process.

These were the main conclusions  from the National meeting of Roma NGOs and NGOs working for Roma integration “Strategies for our common future”. It took place on December 9 in Sofia. The forum brought together more than 100 participants all over the country that made it the biggest Roma NGO meeting for the past decade.  It was initiated by a broad group of Roma activists, representatives of some of the most active Roma organizations in Bulgaria: Deyan Kolev (Center “Amalipe”), Lilia Makaveeva (Integro Association), Dimitar Georgiev (Human Rights Project), Nikolay Kirilov (Roma – Lom Foundation), Milen Milanov (Diverse and Equal Association), Gancho Iliev (World without bordesr Association) and Sasho Kovachev (National Association of Roma working in Public Administration). The meeting was logistically organized by Center “Amalipe” with the support of MATRA KAP program of the Embassy of the Netherlands. Media partner was Drom dromendar Newspaper.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Willem van Ee, Ambassador of the Netherlands. He overdrew that social inclusion and human rights are EU pillars. Roma are the biggest minority in EU and EU engages itself more and more with the process of Roma integration without replacing the role of the member-states in this process. Most probably the European Council will adopt a declaration for improving the situation of Roma in Europe during its session on December 11-12 said Ambassador van Ee. The participants were also welcomed by Mr. Baki Hyuseinov – National Coordinator of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, and by Mr. Miroslav Popov, Deputy Chair of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Demographic Issues.

After intensive discussions the participants approved Declaration for real actions for Roma integration. Through it they require Bulgarian Parliament to adopt strategic document that define the basic principles of the policy for Roma integration; the Council of Ministers to adopt operative Action Plan and this document to be backed-up with financing from the state budget, clear administrative responsivilities of the institutions engaged and concrete mechanisms for participation of municipalities, NGOs and roma community. The Declaration was signed by 71 organizations. It will be send to the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The participants discussed suggestions for the key-areas in the strategic document for Roma integration – education, employment, health care, living conditions, Roma culture, Roma women and Roma participation.

 

The Meeting was organized in the eve of the International Human Rights Day.

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