ERIO at the Accept Pluralism Conference

by ERIO on March 7th, 2013

On 6 March CCME organised a European conference to discuss the results of the research project ACCEPT Pluralism in Brussels. ERIO was invited as a discussant to comment one of the conference panels “Tolerance and Policies of Inclusion”. 

During her intervention, ERIO’s Policy Officer Marta Pinto, stressed that Roma inclusion policies need an integrated approach which includes different fields such as anti-discrimination, health, employment, housing and education.  The National Roma Integration Strategies are a step forward towards fighting anti-Gypsyism and the exclusion of Roma, however, many need improvement in order to include a human rights approach, she noted. Political will, fighting anti-Gypsyism and institutional racism are vital to ensure change, she added. Roma should not be viewed as passive victims. Instead, she said, Roma need to be seen as active agents of change, who can make a positive difference in their lives.  This active involvement of Roma is crucial for policies to be successful. Roma parents should be involved in schools through the assistance of cultural mediators; Roma should be involved in all stages of policy development, implementation and evaluation. Ms Pinto warned about the danger of using concepts such as “culture” and “identity” since they tend to essentialise groups and create an “us/them” mentality. Perhaps, she concluded, promoting common values such as human rights, acceptance and empathy can lead to more inclusive policies. 

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