Launch Conference dated December 17, 2014

National Council for Combating Discrimination is carrying out, in the period 2014-2016, the predefined project “Strengthening anti-discriminatory measures at national level through large participation of professionals and civil society”.

The project is financed under the programme “Children and Youth at Risk and Local and Regional Initiatives to Reduce National Inequalities and to Promote Social Inclusion” within the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism 2009-2014, having as main partner the Council of Europe, through the Directorate of Democratic Citizenship and Participation.

One of the purpose of the project is to increase the level of awareness regarding the new challenges in the dynamics of the discrimination phenomenon in the Romanian society, at both national and local level.

To achieve this objective, the National Council for Combating Discrimination will hold on 17 December 2014, at Hotel Novotel (Calea Victoriei 37 B), a conference to promote the project “Strengthening anti-discriminatory measures at national level through large participation of professionals and civil society”, to which are invited to participate representatives of public institutions and civil society interested or involved in human rights field.

During the event it will be presented a research done in order to identify best european practices in terms of equal access to education that can be used in the Romanian context and also the external assessment report of the national strategy to prevent and combat discrimination 2007-2013, both made of independent experts contracted by the Council of Europe – the project’s partner of the National Council for Combating Discrimination.

REPORT ON LAUNCH CONFERENCE - December 17, 2014, Bucharest

The Launch Conference of the predefined project “Strengthening anti-discriminatory measures at national level through large participation of professionals and civil society” was held on 17 December 2014, in Paris Gauche Hall of the Novotel Hotel (Adress: Calea Victoriei 37, Bucharest).

The conference was opened by the President of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, Mr. Asztalos Csaba Ferenc, which provided a brief overview of the context in which the project develops, the main purpose and objectives pursued.

Ms. Larissa Kireev, Co-ordinator of the Programme RO 10 "Children and Youth at Risk", presented the position of the Council of Europe about the opportunity of association of this entity, within a predefined project of this type, with the National Council for Combating Discrimination and welcomed the interest manifested in the event by NGOs and institutions active in the human rights field.

The presentation of predefined project “Strengthening anti-discriminatory measures at national level through large participation of professionals and civil society” was made by Mrs. Dora Margarit, as organizer of events in the project’s implementation team.

Then it was presented the summary of a research conducted under Activity 1 of the project, research carried out in order to identify examples of good practices at european level and the development of relevant informative material. The report has been conceived by three experts hired by the Council of Europe - Isabelle Chopin, Barbara Cohen and Romania Iordache. Mrs. Romanita Iordache summarized the research findings and answered to the questions of the participants.

The most important interventions (synthesized) referred to the the following:

• The quality of education for Roma children;
• Differentiated resource allocation for Roma children – a form or not a form of discrimination?
• Self-marginalization of Roma children in the education system because of the internalization of current stereotypes;
• Gathering of data on Roma children - a false problem, is in fact just a misinterpretation of procedural limitations; can not achieve and implement public policies without a sound statistical basis (there is a substantial need for it);
• The need for concrete measures to increase the level of confidence in their own capabilities addressing to both pupils and parents of Roma children;
• The extent to which good practices identified in the research on children with disabilities and their access to education in EU states can be implemented in Romania.

The report on the assesment of the former national strategy to prevent and combat discrimination 2007-2013 was presented by Council of Europe’s experts, Alia Cahin and Jose Manuel Fresno.

In the session dedicated to comments, there were recorded some observations, summarized below:
• The need for an anti-discrimination code;
• The need for civil society involvement along with the National Council for Combating Discrimination in achieving future anti-discrimination strategies, with the purpose of offering support in the process of creating a national strategic document assumed by the Romanian Government;
• The need to strengthen the administrative capacity of the CNCD and expand its business nationwide by setting up branch offices;
• Inserting a clear mechanism of promotion and implementation, with evaluation lines depending on prioritized areas, into the future strategic document;
• Synchronization with other sectoral strategies;
• A more active National Council for Combating Discrimination in initiating public policy in the field.

The closing speech belonged FRDS representative, Executive Director Ms. Mihaela Peter, who stressed the importance of the project and the importance of the message send by the collaboration between the Council of Europe and NCCD.