UN Women's Rights Committee Highlights Romani Women's Issues in Romania

Romanian Government Urged to Eliminate Multiple Discrimination

15 June 2006, Budapest, Bucharest. The Open Society Institute Roma (OSI), Romani CRISS and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) welcome the Concluding Comments of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women on Romania's compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) released this week. The Committee convened in June to review Romania's sixth periodic report on measures to implement the Convention.

The Committee expressed specific concern about the situation of Romani women and girls who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination based on sex, ethnic or cultural background, and/or socio-economic status stating that "Roma women and girls remain in a vulnerable and marginalized situation, in particular with regard to access to education, health, housing, employment, official identity documents and participation in political and public life." After welcoming efforts by the government to improve the educational level of Romani women, the Committee also expressed particular concern over "the gaps in Roma women's formal education, their high rates of illiteracy, and the high rate of school dropouts among Roma girls."

In its Concluding Comments, the Committee urged the Romanian government to: 

  • "take a holistic approach to eliminating the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that Roma women face and to accelerate achievement of their de facto equality through the coordination of all agencies working on Roma, non-discrimination and gender equality issues"
  • "implement targeted measures, within specific timetables, in all areas, and to monitor their implementation"
  • "take concrete measures to overcome stereotypical attitudes towards Roma people, and in particular Roma women and girls"
  • "issue without delay identity documents to Roma people, including Roma women, who lack such documents, and to monitor progress in the completion of this effort" and
  • "address the high rate of unemployment among Roma women, and to adopt measures to enhance their participation in public life at all levels".

Furthermore, the Committee encouraged the Government "to approve without delay the budget for the implementation of the Action Plan for the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015… [and]… the National Agency for Roma to organize training programmes for the police on Roma culture." The Committee also recommended that Romanian authorities "collect and make available statistical information pertaining to education, health, employment and the social, economic and political status of Roma women and girls".

In the run-up to the review, OSI RPP, the ERRC and Romani CRISS submitted material to the Committee highlighting key areas of concern for Romani women in Romania, including discrimination in access to education, employment, health and reproductive rights, housing and issues related to violence against Romani women. OSI RPP, the ERRC and Romani CRISS now urge the Romanian authorities to implement the Committee's recommendations in full.

The full text of the CEDAW Committee’s conclusions and recommendations is available here:


For further information, please contact:

Isabela Mihalache (0SI) imihalache@osieurope.org (361) 3273855
Magdalena Matache (Romani CRISS) magda@romanicriss.org, +(407) 40921134
Ostalinda Maya (ERRC) Ostalinda@errc.org, (36 1) 41 32 200
The full text of the CEDAW Committee's conclusions and recommendations is available here:

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public interest law organization engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma, in particular strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of Romani activists. For more information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC website at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel.: ++ (36 1) 413 2200
Fax: ++ (36 1) 413 2201
E-mail: office@errc.org

Romani CRISS is a Bucharest-based non-governmental organization, established on April 4, 1993, which defends and promotes the human rights of Roma in Romania. Romani CRISS provides legal assistance in cases of abuse and works to combat and prevent racial discrimination against Roma in all areas of public life, including the fields of education, employment, housing, and health. Romani CRISS represents Roma clients and beneficiaries by engaging in legal defence and advocacy before domestic and international authorities, and assists community development on a local level.

Romani CRISS
19, Buzesti Street, Sector 1
Bucharest – Romania
Tel: 004 021 / 231 41 44
Fax: 004 021/ 310 70 70
E-mail: office@romanicriss.org

The Open Society Institute (OSI), a private operating and grant making foundation, aims to shape public policy to promote democratic governance, human rights, and economic, legal, and social reform. In 1999, OSI started to address Romani women's issues through the Network Women's Program's Roma Women's Initiative and the Roma Participation Program. Among activities supported are policy trainings and internships for Romani women, institutional support for Roma women's NGOs, awareness-raising within the Roma rights and women's rights movements, and promoting Romani women's agendas at local, national, and international levels.

Open Society Institute
Oktober 6 utca 12
1051 Budapest, Hungary
Tel. +36 1 327 3855
Fax: +36 1 327 3841
E-mail: rpp@osi.hu

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