ERRC Pays Tribute to Thomas Hammarberg’s Work on Roma

03 April 2012

Budapest, 3 April 2012: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has expressed its warmest thanks to Thomas Hammarberg as he steps down from the post of Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe. In recognition of his term in office and particularly his work highlighting rights violations against Roma, Mr Hammarberg has received the 2012 European Civil Rights Prize of the Sinti and Roma, awarded today at the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Mr. Hammarberg has announced his intention to donate the prize honorarium to the ERRC.

Mr Hammarberg has been a strong supporter of Roma rights throughout his six years in post. His term was marked by alarming levels of racism directed at Roma throughout Europe, and he worked tirelessly to raise awareness and compel governments to act. He has been a close ally of civil society, and has consistently stressed the need for a comprehensive programme to improve the situation of human rights for Roma and Sinti in Europe, a call recently echoed by the European Union’s Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.

“Thomas Hammarberg has been the most prominent voice in the Council of Europe on the situation of Roma,” said ERRC Executive Director Dezideriu Gergely. “He has been a dedicated advocate for Roma rights and a very courageous figure in pushing governments to protect the rights of all.  It has been an honour to work with him on these issues and we look forward to continuing our collaboration.”      

The Council of Europe recently published a comprehensive report prepared by Commissioner Hammarberg on the human rights situation of Roma and Travellers in 47 countries in Europe. This report is a legacy that will last beyond his time in office.

For further information, contact:

Sinan Gökcen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre



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