In Parliament today: Roma Youth discuss challenges in education, housing and political participation

Apr 6, 2016

Roma Youth in Albania

The Speaker of Parliament of Albania hosted  a dialogue session with Roma Youth and Members of Parliament to discuss challenges they face when it comes to education, employment, housing and political participation. Discussions focused on how Parliament’s role can be strengthened to oversee legislation that affects Roma.

The Speaker of Parliament of Albania Mr.Ilir Meta welcomed the dialogue with Roma Youth and  hear challenges they face and the ways they propose to cope with them. He praised the Roma culture and their unique contribution to the Albanian society.

“In line with the recommendations of the European Union, the Parliament has significantly strengthened cooperation with independent institutions such as the Ombudsman, the Commissioner for Protection from Discrimination with the aim to fully integrate minority groups particularly the Roma community, in the development mainstream. Education remains a national challenge. The inclusion, particularly of all Roma children in preschool education, should be mandatory. This requires adequate legislation that guarantees it”.

Roma students spoke about the need to give a boost to education for Roma which they consider crucial to avoid exclusion. They proposed ways to include Roma and Egyptian graduates in public administration.

Representatives of Roma Civil Society also proposed that the Sub-Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights calls periodical sessions to monitor implementation of the recently launched National Action Plan for Roma and Egyptian Integration 2016-2020.

Representatives of Roma Youth underscored the importance of Roma political representation and quotas in central and local government decision making bodies and the need to scale up efforts in this regard.

Mr. Brian  J. Williams, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, present at the event highlighted:” The successful implementation of  the National Action Plan for Roma and Egyptian Inclusion will contribute significantly to Albania’s achievements of the new, universal Sustainable Development Goals, including those on poverty, inclusive and equitable service delivery in areas such as education and health care, but, perhaps most importantly, on SDG 10, focused on reducing inequalities. The dialogue we are promoting today for Roma youth with Parliamentarians, human rights and anti-discrimination institutions, and government partners seeks to broaden partnerships for Roma inclusion and strengthen accountability mechanisms for national policies. At the same time, a more proactive role of the Albanian Parliament to oversee legislation and policies that affect Roma issues is crucial for addressing the exclusion these communities face.”

Jan Rudolph,Head of Political, Economic and Information Section, from the European Union Delegation to Albania present at the event underlined: “The social and economic inclusion of Roma and Egyptian communities is indeed one of the top priorities of the EU Agenda for Westerns Balkans and, in particular, in Albania’s accession process. It is part of priority five in the roadmap for EU Accession and will continue to be high in the agenda throughout the entire accession process”.

Members of Parliament welcomed the dialogue with Roma Youth which they considered a step forward to combat marginalization and discrimination and expressed their belief that the National Action Plan for Roma and Egyptian Inclusion will have positive long term impact. They assured Roma Youth of their support to boost inclusion and integration of Roma and Egyptian men and women.  

The event was organized under the auspices of the Speaker of Parliament of Albania in partnership with UNDP.

With the financial support of the European Union, UNDP launched a new project entitled “Economic and Social Empowerment for Roma and Egyptians - a booster for social inclusion implemented in partnership with Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth.

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