Estonian Human Rights Center conducted two studies for the Central European University. The first report about the situation of Estonia is now available and the second one will be published in June. The work consists of evidence-based civil society monitoring of policy and the implementation of measures for the integration of Roma people in Estonia.
The first report of the National Roma Integration Strategies reviewed key structural preconditions of successful implementation: fighting discrimination and antigypsyism, governance and overall policy framework (including Roma participation, coordination structures, use of European Structural and Investment Funds), anti-discrimination and fighting antigypsyism.
The study also suggests how to improve the situation of the ROMA people in Estonia.
The most important recommendations were:
Governance and overall policy framework
- Annually allocate funds to the Ministry of Culture for the purpose of empowering the Roma community. The department of the Ministry of Culture that deals with the Roma currently receives 5,000 euros per year. This money is used for self-financing when project funding is requested from the European Commission. The state should give more support to activities aimed at the Roma every year in order to approach the issue strategically.
- Mainstream Roma issues among the activities of all the Ministries. Roma integration, both cultural and general, is currently dealt with and led by the Ministry of Culture. It would be more effective if Roma integration was managed in each Ministry by a department or a person who is aware of the specific problems of the Roma (the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of the Interior)
- Create a state-wide Roma integration development and activity plan. As municipalities expect the state to have a broader plan for the integration of the Roma and are not carrying out any separate activities for the inclusion of the Roma themselves, the Government should try to come up with positive measures for integrating the Roma in social life both in terms of employment and in the school system.
- Local governments should strategically support the Roma communities on the local level. At present, local governments do nothing to support the Roma community separately. However, they know the people living in their communities better than anyone else and could help and support them directly.
- Increase the funding of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner in order to provide them with resources to go in-depth with more issues.
- Scientifically study the Roma community’s socio-economic problems and wellbeing. Addressing antigypsyism
- There is a need for clearer rules on hate speech and hate crimes. We recommend a review of the relevant acts of law in the near future and the adoption of the necessary amendments.
- Increase people’s awareness of the Roma community and the issues they face. Carry out publicity campaigns about the Roma community, thereby raising the public’s awareness.
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