Council of Europe

Council of Europe
   Based in Strasbourg, France, and including the majority of European countries, the Council first took an interest in Gypsies in 1969 when the Consultative Assembly adopted Recommendation 563 on the "Situation of Gypsies and other Travelers in Europe." It recommended to the Committee of Ministers (of the Council) that it urge member governments to stop discrimination, provide a sufficient number of equipped caravan sites and houses, set up special classes where necessary, support the creation of national bodies with Gypsy representation, and ensure that Gypsies and other Travelers have the same rights as the settled population.
   Six years later, in 1975, the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution 13 containing recommendations on the "Social Situation of Nomads in Europe." This again stressed the need to avoid discrimination; provide caravan sites, education, and training for adults; and ensure that nomads could benefit from welfare and health services.
   In 1983 the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation R1 on "Stateless Nomads and Nomads of Undetermined Nationality," recommending the linking of such nomads with a particular state.
   In 1993 the Parliamentary Assembly adopted Recommendation 1203 on "Gypsies in Europe." It again proceeded by making recommendations to the Committee of Ministers. Recognition was given to the existence of large settled Gypsy populations in many countries. These recommendations were far-reaching, covering the teaching of music and the Romani language, training of teachers, the participation of Gypsies in processes concerning them, the appointment of a mediator, and programs to improve the housing and educational position of Gypsies.
   A first reply was given by the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly in January 1994. The Committee then instructed the European Committee on Migration to conduct an in-depth study of the situation of Gypsies in Europe. Further, in September 1995 the Committee of Ministers replied again. The report of the study was declassified and made available to the Assembly. The Committee of Ministers has transmitted the Committee on Migration's report to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance and other bodies.
   In 1996 the Council of Europe set up a Specialist Group on Roma/Gypsies, chosen from nominees by the different member states. Its first meeting was held in March in Strasbourg. The council appointed a coordinator of activities on Roma/Gypsies, John Murray, who was based in Strasbourg. He has been succeeded by Henry Sci-cluna. The new coordinator has visited Romany settlements in several countries, including Albania.
   Regular meetings are organized by the council. In October 2002, for example, the seminar "Roma Political Participation: A Way Forward" was held. A newsletter (Activities on Roma, Gypsies and Travelers) is published regularly, giving an account of the council's work with respect to Gypsies.

Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . .

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