In June 2023, Roland Ferkovics, Co-Manager and Project Officer of the Roma Civil Monitor project (RCM), participated as a presenter in three significant international events. His presentations, including the ones at the Council of Europe (CoE) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), addressed key challenges and presented a practical strategy to cope with problems.
In his online presentation entitled “Equality for Roma and Traveller Women and Girls” at the 15th Meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma and Traveller Civil Society, he called for attention to equality for Roma women through increased participation and empowerment efforts. He addressed various challenges faced by Roma women, such as their exclusion from social and integration policies and the shortage of gender-disaggregated data in Roma research. Roland also highlighted good practices from several countries, reflecting the current European approaches to these issues.
Nevertheless, any national strategies in EU Member States aiming for Roma women’s equality and inclusion shall be aligned with the principles of the EU Roman Strategic Framework and the 2021 Council Recommendation for Roma Equality, Inclusion, and Participation. Furthermore, a strong emphasis shall be placed on actively involving Roma civil societies, particularly experts among Roma women, in the monitoring of foreseen strategies and action plans.
As he argued, the paramount goal is to ensure adequate representation of Roma women and to address their needs through practical and intersectional approaches across all relevant domains. To achieve this objective, it is imperative that the National Roma Strategic Frameworks (NRSFs) and other strategies for Roma women shall institute dedicated measures and indicators with substantial financial backing. Lastly, NRSFs shall better promote the inclusion of Roma women in consultation mechanisms, participation, and engagement in the strategy development process as well as monitoring.
On June 26-27 Roland Ferkovics delivered a presentation at the OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting, stressing the crucial role of civil society in strategy development at community and activity levels, while also mentioning the challenges that civil society must face. He addressed key challenges faced by the Roma community, including widespread anti-gypsyism, discrimination, hate crimes, and systematic challenges. Roland discussed positive steps taken by some specific European countries in combating anti-gypsyism, also discussed in the RCM national reports. He concluded by urging national authorities to take action against openly racist entities, establish legal and strengthen police monitoring of hate crimes, and provide adequate support to civil society stakeholders for sustainable interventions.
On June 28-29 Roland was a key participant at the Fourth Status Report Consultation Workshop on Implementation of the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area, in Warsaw, Poland. During the workshop, he provided valuable insights into the latest advancements of the National Roma Strategic Frameworks compared to their previous versions. He drew attention to the crucial role, relevance, and potential deficiencies of these frameworks in combating anti-gypsyism. Roland also identified areas that require further development to effectively address Roma exclusion, not just in four main policy areas but also in public and political spheres. Additionally, he actively contributed to discussions concerning Roma participation in policy-making processes and the crucial issue of Roma political representation.
His attendance at various international events has significantly contributed to raising awareness about Roma challenges and the role of civil society. As the Roman Civil Monitor project continues its work, his contributions remain significant in the ongoing pursuit of equality and inclusion for the Roma community in Europe.