Opening a support centre for the Roma community would foster their inclusion

The Estonian Human Rights Centre, in collaboration with Central European University, published a second report dealing with the politics and measures taken for the inclusion of the Roma community. The first report, that discussed the overall political framework, non-discrimination and anti-Roma rhetoric, was published in summer. The second report evaluates the integration of the Roma community and challenges in four areas — employment, accommodation, healthcare and education.

Officially, the population of people, who identify themselves as Roma, is about 650, by unofficial data, the number is closer to 1500 people. At the same time, there is no national strategy for the integration of Roma people. The development plan Integrating Estonia 2020” indicates that the Estonian Roma community is rather small and therefore, is not considered as a separate target group in integration policies. However, it is stated that the Roma community still needs additional attention in the spheres of education, employment and social affairs. Currently, Roma are treated the same way as any other cultural minority, which might result in an insufficient amount of attention paid to their specific needs and challenges.

The report brings out that the Roma community would benefit from a support centre where the Roma people could help and supervise other community members. Volunteers of the centre could share information and offer assistance in every sphere of life, for example, help students with their school tasks or support job-seekers with handling bureaucracy.