OSCE discussed implementation of plan to improve the situation of roma and sinti

On November 7-8, 2013 as part of Ukraine’s chairmanship in OSCE an additional meeting was held on the topic of human dimension and implementation of the plan for improving the situation of Roma and Sinti people.

Ten years has passed since the adoption of the so called “Maastricht plan”, which was aiming to drastically improve the situation of Romani minority in the OSCE zone. The changes that had taken place – as well as those which hadn’t – were reported in the report of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of OSCE, which was presented to the participants of the meeting (http://www.osce.org/odihr/107406). Discussions centered around several issues: how effectively was the plan implemented? Why positive changes are not so considerable in spite of the significant financing? What should be done in order to improve the situation of the most vulnerable groups of Romani people – women and children?

Special presentation was devoted to defending the rights of Romani children. ADC “Memorial” reported on the situation in the Russian Federation. Our colleagues from Kosovo NGO Iniciativa 6 spoke about their experience of integrating Roma children into the educational system. This presentation was met with considerable interest of the audience. It was a sad discovery for many participants of the meeting that segregated education is practiced for Roma children in Russia, which leads to disastrous consequences: impossibility to enter secondary schools, poor quality of education which children receive, lack of prospects for professional career, early marriages. At the same time positive examples exist in schools, which abolished the practice of segregated education of Roma children. Thus school №4 in Troitsk  (Chelyabinsk region) and school №9 in Penza abolished segregated education. Substantial efforts for integration of Roma children are made at school №71 in Astrakhan, while the Ministry of education of Astrakhan region pays special attention to education of children coming from ethnic minorities’ families and has made a lot of progress in this respect.

Other positive examples were also registered in other fields. In Tyumen a developing company has re-settled a whole Roma settlement at its own expense and gave Roma people new housing. In Tatarstan social work among women from a local Roma settlement has started.  At the same time report provided by ADC “Memorial” criticized the Complex plan for socio-economic and ethno-cultural development of Russian Roma for the period of 2013-2014, which to a great extent ignores the real problems of Russian Roma population.

More information: http://www.osce.org/odihr/107987