Commissioner for Human Rights says progress in participation of Roma in local decision-making should be sustained in Portugal

On 7 March 2017 the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights was visiting Torres Vedras in Portugal, one of the 54 municipalities where ROMED2 is implemented.
Learn more about what was done in Torres Vedras here: http://bit.ly/2nhOekE and here: http://bit.ly/2mEvkr8 

“It is heartening to see the positive changes brought about by the participation of Roma mediators in local government and the involvement of community groups in decision making to tackle issues such as discrimination, educational attainment and job opportunities. This pragmatic and participatory approach shows that cooperation between Roma and the majority population at the local level, fostered by strong political leadership, is a worthwhile investment that needs to be supported and sustained” said the Commissioner, after visiting Torres Vedras. “The programme is a key tool to help overcome entrenched prejudices and stereotypes and foster better community relations. It should be continued and extended to other municipalities.”

Moreover, the Commissioner also praised the educational outcomes of the process in Portugal, especially the adoption of a scholarship programme for young Roma men and women to access higher education. “Awarding scholarships to Roma, especially to girls, will create positive Roma role models and give birth to a new generation of Roma leaders, including women, able to take part in decision-making at the local and national levels”. The Commissioner encourages the authorities to implement further measures to reduce the high drop-out rate from school among Roma and to combat illiteracy, especially among women and girls.

Read the full report of the Commissioner's visit in Portugal here: http://bit.ly/2m5TB6b 
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