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12.12.2008Declaration for Roma Integration Actions approved during the National Meeting of Roma NGOs

We, representatives of non-governmental organizations and experts who work for Roma integration,

Expressing our deep belief that:

 

Roma integration is one of the main national priorities which fulfillment will make Bulgarian society fairer, inclusive and more advanced;

Roma integration is in accordance with the basic irrevocable values and principles of European Union;

Roma integration is process of development and modernization of Roma community as specific and integral part of Bulgarian nation: it aims at raising educational, social, economic, health and living status of Roma in order to achieve the one of majority of Bulgarian citizens;

Roma integration is not assimilation: preserving and renewing Roma identity is irrevocable part of the integration process;

Roma integration is a common task of central and municipal institutions, non-governmental organizations and civil society;

Roma integration could not happen without active participation of the Roma community at all levels of this process: from planning through implementing to monitoring and evaluation;

Roma integration could not happen without special purposeful actions for its fulfillment: it is necessary to invest financial, human and administrative resources;

Roma integration process should be realized in a way that takes into account the local specific of the problems and requires active participation of the local power;

Roma integration process should take into account the diversity of Roma community and the fact that different social layers and groups within Roma community exist. This requires additional efforts for applying tailored approaches in accordance with the layers and groups of Roma community. Special concern should be paid to the integration of vulnerable groups within Roma community that are object of multiple discrimination: for example Roma from the big Roma ghettos, Roma from the rural areas, Roma women, Roma youth etc.;

Roma integration process has not achieved the results expected by Roma and by the majority until now. At the same time certain positive achievements have been gained;

The reasons for the lack of success of Roma integration process up to now are in the low normative status of all documents for Roma integration, lack of financing, unclear administrative engagements, lack of / inefficiency of the mechanisms for civil society participation, Roma participation and participation of the local power;

The existing Roma integration documents approved by 3 Bulgarian governments compile a good basis for the integration process. It should be updated and completed with real financing, clear administrative responsibilities as well as with effective mechanisms for participation of civil society, local power and Roma community;

Strengthening and accelerating Roma integration process is one of the main tasks Bulgarian society should fulfill now;

It is necessary to go ahead from planning to experiencing Roma integration through real Roma integration actions.

 

We call upon Bulgarian institutions to continue the efforts for Roma integration – together with the civil society and with Roma community as well as to dedicate additional concern and efforts for strengthening and accelerating Roma integration process through undertaking the following measures:

1. A strategic document that define the long-term state and sustainable policy for Roma integration to be adopted by Bulgarian Parliament: this document should continue the principles of the FPEIRBS from 1999 and should be adopted as Decision of the Parliament;

2. An Action Plan for Equal Integration of Roma in Bulgarian Society that defines the concrete measures for the Roma integration process during the following few years should be adopted by the Council of Ministers: this document should be in accordance with the principles of FPEIRBS, the Roma integration documents in the field of education, health care and living conditions approved until now and with the Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion. It should be adopted as Decree of the Council of Ministers;

3. Effective mechanism for monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of documents from p. 1 and 2 to be established: it is necessary this mechanism to be provided with enough administrative competences; Roma community and Roma organizations should take part in it;

4. The documents from p. 1 and 2 should be adopted with: financing ensured (from the state budget and from the structural funds), clear administrative responsibilities, mechanisms for civil society participation, Roma participation and participation of the local power. Our firm opinion is that without ensuring these elements the documents would not be implemented. We would not engage ourselves with their preparation, approving and implementation;

5. The documents from p. 1 and 2 should contain measures in priority fields such as education, employment and economic development, health care, living conditions, Roma culture, anti-discrimination, integration of the vulnerable groups within Roma community (Roma from the big Roma ghettos, Roma from the rural areas, Roma women, etc.), Roma participation. It is necessary the suggestions prepared by Roma organizations with consensus to form the core of documents from p.1 and 2 in their priority fields;

6. The documents from p. 1 and 2 should be prepared with the real participation of Roma NGOs and NGOs that work for Roma integration;

7. The main principles of the documents from p. 1 and 2 as well as of the other Roma integration documents approved up to now should be mainstreamed in the basic law and the normative basis that regulate the main fields of Bulgarian public life.

 

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