[Albania] CoE Strategic Plan to Counter Roma Discrimination and Poverty

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30 Ян. 2020

A Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion 2020–2025 plan has been announced by the Council of Europe. The action plan notes that 10–12 million Roma and Travellers in Europe are extremely poor and excluded. The widespread presence of anti-Roma sentiment across the continent further exasperates the issue, therefore allowing inequalities to persist despite ongoing efforts at national, European and international levels to deal with prejudice and discrimination.

The plan mentions that in spite of some action taken in states, Roma and Travellers still suffer from harassment, hate-motivated violence and discrimination in education, healthcare, housing and employment. These bolster exclusion and prevent policy initiatives from having any effect.

Member states have been called upon by the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), to adopt a comprehensive set of actions to battle anti-Roma sentiment, specifically hate speech and violence, with legal responses. Furthermore, they offer trainings for legal professionals and to empower groups such as women and youth. Raising awareness and capacity building among local and regional authorities is also vitally important.

Education is an issue among Roma and Travellers. 50% of Roma children fail to finish their primary studies, and the number of people out of education, employment or training are exceptionally high as well, making Roma youth the most disadvantaged youth group in the EU and CoE member states.

'The Action Plan will be overseen by an intergovernmental structure that will ensure the coordination and cooperation between Member States. The Committee of Ministers will be regularly informed on progress made and a midterm evaluation of the implementation of the Action Plan will be carried out in 2022.' — claims Exit News.

Getting correct data on the number of Roma people living in Albania is a difficult task, but numerous sources estimate the number to be between 50,000 and 100,000, and that around 80% of the Roma population are unemployed and exceptionally impoverished. The country has serious human rights protection issues when it comes to the Roma community; 'A recent World Bank Report noted that the community is significantly marginalised and that integration and progress has actually gotten worse, rather than better. A gap in income between Roma and non-Roma individuals is also the widest in the Balkans at 45.5%' —writes Exit News.

The CoE has called on the country to strengthen the protection of minority rights since there are major problems in education, healthcare, benefits, the attitude towards Romani language, and record keeping. The problem has been acknowledged and noted as unresolved and urgent. Although money was provided to help, authorities showed reluctance to deal with these matters.

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