We work to support the development, implementation and monitoring of policies and initiatives that respect Traveller and Roma cultural identity. We aim to contribute to positive outcomes using both mainstreaming and targeted approaches. This includes engaging with UN bodies, European Institutions and State bodies. We make submissions across issues affecting Roma and Travellers and sit on a number of national bodies overseeing Traveller and Roma policy.
Monitoring National Traveller and Roma Inclusion
Pavee Point is part of a project with 90 NGOs across Europe, working to monitor the implementation of National Traveller and Roma Strategies. This is being led by the Central European University. We are writing a shadow report which will be then be used by the European Commission to inform their annual assessment of Ireland’s National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy. We will submit our first shadow report to the European Commission in early 2018. Follow this link if you would like to contribute to this report.
EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies
The European Commission has noted that in spite of some progress achieved in Member States and at the EU policy level there has been little change in the day to day situation of most Roma. Strong and proportionate measures are yet to be put in place to tackle the economic and social issues faced by a large part of the EU’s Roma population. To this end, in 2011 the Commission published an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 with the aim of making a ‘tangible difference in Roma lives’ through coordinated action.
The Framework document required each Member State to draw up a national Roma integration strategy up to 2020 with specific actions and funding streams in areas of education, employment, health and housing. The strategies are required to have a robust monitoring mechanism to ensure concrete results for Roma; follow the ‘10 common basic principles on Roma inclusion’ by the Council of the European Union; and ‘[b]e designed, implemented and monitored in close cooperation and continuous dialogue with Roma civil society, regional and local authorities’. The Commission monitors Member States’ efforts in advancing Roma inclusion through an annual reporting process. The Commission also has an obligation to report on the implementation and advancing Roma integration under the Council Recommendation on Roma integration measures (adopted in December 2013).
Ireland’s National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy
In this context Ireland has developed a new national Traveller and Roma Inclusion Strategy (NTRIS) 2017 – 2021. The new national Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy is to be monitored by the National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy Steering Group. Chaired by the Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, the NTRIS steering group is comprised of department officials, and Traveller and Roma civil society representatives. A Roma working group, established in June 2016 as the first national level structure with Roma representation from across the country, will also play a role in monitoring the implementation of the NTRIS.
Campaign for a progressive National Strategy
Pavee Point have campaigned for a revised progressive and inclusive National Traveller Roma Integration Strategy since 2012 when Ireland’s first strategy was developed. A strategy should incorporate the recommendations of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020; and the 10 Common Basic Principles on Roma Inclusion. This should include:
- Achievable national goals with targets for Traveller and Roma inclusion. These goals should address, as a minimum, the four EU Roma integration goals relating to access to education, employment, healthcare and housing;
- Actions to explicitly address racism towards Roma and Travellers and include measures to address gender inequality; and
- Clear objectives, actions, impact indicators, time frames, clear lines of responsibility, funding mechanisms and strong inclusive monitoring and evaluation methods.
We undertake the following actions:
- Make recommendations for the content of Ireland’s National Traveller Roma Inclusion Strategy
- Make annual submissions to the European Commission as part of its assessment of National Roma Strategies
- Maintain alliances with Roma civil society throughout Europe to progress Roma and Traveller rights.
- Keep informed of European Commission guidance and reports.
European Union Platform for Roma Inclusion
We attend annual meetings on Roma inclusion in the EU. In 2015 we participated in the European Union Platform for Roma Inclusion. The European Platform for Roma Inclusion brings together national governments, the EU, international organisations and Roma civil society representatives. The 2015 meeting focused on examining the policy commitment to Roma inclusion by EU member states and setting the agenda for the future steps of the European Platform for Roma inclusion.
In June 2015 we attended the pre-sessional hearing of the UNChildren’s Rights Committee in Geneva. This followed a detailed submission to the Committee on the rights of Traveller and Roma children. This was an opportunity to highlight issues affecting Roma and Traveller children including, lack of acknowledgement of Traveller ethnicity, experiences of poverty, lack of access to education, poor health, the inclusion of Traveller children on the Garda PULSE system and the removal of Roma children from their families.
Read our full submission to the UN Committee , March 2015
Read our UPDATE on our submission to the UN Committee, December 2015
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
In June 2015 we attended the 55th session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights where Ireland was examined under the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. We highlighted issues, including a lack of acknowledgement of Traveller ethnicity, Traveller health and education inequalities, lack of access to social supports for Roma and the need for ethnic data in Ireland. We did this through our own submission and lobbying and by participating with an alliance of civil society organisations, coordinated by FLAC. We welcome the strong recommendations made by the Committee in relation to Traveller and Roma rights.
Civil and Political Rights
In June 2014 we attended the 111th session of the human rights committee where Ireland was examined under the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meetings
We attend and contribute to the OSCE (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) human rights work annually. We attend and present at the Human Dimension Implementation and Supplementary meetings. This includes making official statements to the OSCE and member states in relation to the implementation of the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti.
National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee
The NTACC The National Traveller Accommodation Consultative Committee (NTACC) was established, on a statutory basis, under the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998.
The Committee is tasked with advising the Minister in relation to accommodation for Travellers; in relation to the participation of Travellers in the provision and management of accommodation and Traveller accommodation programmes.
Traveller Education Advisory and Consultative Forum
This forum is chaired by the Social Inclusion Unit in the Department of Education and Skills. The forum was established to advise on the implementation of the Report and Recommendations for a Traveller Education Strategy.
National Traveller Health Advisory Committee
NTHAC consists of members from three national Traveller Organisations, the Department of Health and the HSE. This Committee oversees Traveller health policy, strategic planning and development. To date is has produced the Traveller Health Strategy 2002-2005, the All Ireland Health Study and piloting an ethnic identifier. The Committee is currently awaiting the outcome of a review to determine future work.