The Third International Conference of Roma Women organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Instituto de Cultura Gitana of the Ministry of Culture, the Spanish Government and the International Network of Roma Women (IRWN) will take place in Granada , Spain , in October this year.
Giving a voice to the voiceless was the theme of earlier Council of Europe Roma women conferences and this latest event will again aim to ensure that the voices of the Roma women remain heard and, more importantly, listened to. The importance of providing a platform for Roma women to express the plight of their communities, whilst striving for social justice and the protection of their human rights, cannot be over-emphasised. Through first-hand accounts, Roma women have been given the opportunity at previous conferences to express their vulnerability both within and outside of their communities and to network and, in doing so, have become valuable interlocutors for governments and international organisations.
International organisations such as the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA), the OSCE/ODIHR and the Governments of Sweden and Greece joined forces with the Council of Europe for the first two international conferences of Roma women. At the 2007 conference in Stockholm , the Roma women present expressed the wish to see future meetings organised by different governments. In this respect, Greece hosted the second conference in Athens in 2009, which focused on the responses to different challenges such as changing the negative perception of Romnia in the media, the elimination of harmful practices such as early marriages and forced sterilisation, and the promotion of entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.
After Stockholm and Greece , it is the turn of Granada to welcome the world’s Roma women.
This third international gathering will take the form of a World Congress bringing together Romnia from different continents (Europe, Asia, America and Africa ) who will contribute their ideas and share their experiences. It will address further the priority issues identified at the last meeting in Athens , such as the participation of Roma women in the planning, implementation and evaluation of policies developed with Roma women, access to education for girls, sexual diversity in the Roma woman and harmful practices in the media. Other topics to be explored include cultural issues such as the contribution of Roma to the 21st century, cultural currents embedded in society, internal and external cultural values and identity.
The Council of Europe will cover the travel expenses of one Roma woman representative per Member State . Hotel and meal expenses will be covered by the Spanish organisers.
If you are a Roma women who would like to participate in this unique event, you should firstly express your interest by sending your letter of motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org before 7th October 2011.
Council of Europe Contact:
Ms Eleni TSETSEKOU