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  • Final Activity Report Summary - ROMA PARTICIPATION (Conflict prevention through integration: The participation of ethnic minorities in political decision-making processes - The case of Roma ...)

Final Activity Report Summary - ROMA PARTICIPATION (Conflict prevention through integration: The participation of ethnic minorities in political decision-making processes - The case of Roma ...)

The ROMA PARTICIPATION project was an innovative multidisciplinary research and action project aiming at:
(i) contributing to a better understanding of current problems of multilevel exclusion of the Roma;
(ii) the development of democratic infrastructure of representation and participation, which could provide an adequate formal framework; and
(iii) better inclusion of the Roma in democratic institutions and processes.

Within the project, in particular the actual functioning of legal and political instruments in several countries of South-eastern Europe and the actual participation of the Roma were investigated. In the project the effects of those representation and participation-models were examined, as well as their contribution to integration of the Roma. On the international and supranational level, the impact of the activities and political / legal frameworks of the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe and the OSCE was examined, focusing on existing measures of conflict control mechanisms and the need for their improvement.

One important result of the project is the documentation of existing concepts of minority protection, the impact of constitutionally guaranteed minority rights on peace and stability within diverse societies (but also regarding relations with the neighbouring states), the impact of modern information technologies, advocacy networks and NGOs' activities on the representation of Roma interests. The research shows that the level of awareness at national and international levels for Roma and Sinti issues has increased substantially in recent years. Nevertheless, the political and institutional recognition, which is a precondition to effectively combat prejudices, hostilities, discrimination and violence against the Roma and Sinti, often does not step further than recognising their formal status and expressing good-will declarations. Regardless of the proclamation of a 'new stage' of the Roma policy more than a decade ago, and the fact that all countries in SEE have taken specific actions to improve the status of the Roma (e.g. a systematic combination of the methods and measures for social integration, the implementation of higher standards of minority rights, as well as the prevention of discrimination and human rights violation, etc.) none of the SEE countries can serve as the best practice model. Even if systematic national strategies and action plans exist, measures often don't have the desired effects. This proved that single activities without a long-range concept and without cooperation with Roma are not enough to secure the implementation of human and minority rights for Roma.

Consequently, mainstreaming (into all segmental policies) of the special measures and policies for the inclusion of the Roma and Sinti is necessary to improve the situation of the Roma. However, until their full voluntary and free integration and equality are ensured fully, there is the need for positive and affirmative action measures that will improve the situation of the Roma, help them establish their adequate civil society structures, including the economic basis, as well as promote cooperation between state authorities, majority populations, civil society and the Roma populations.

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