Project of OSBE/ ODIHR
Brief description of project

Best Practices for Roma Integration (BPRI) is a regional project for the Western Balkans. Its aim is to contribute to the integration of Roma in the region, reflecting on commitments made as OSCE member states and with the possible intention to join the EU. As part of the OSCE Action Plan drawn up in 2003 on Roma and Sinti, the Decade of Roma Inclusion and national strategies for Roma integration, governments, non-governmental organizations and Roma civil society in the Western Balkans are working together to promote Roma inclusion and combating discrimination which they face.

General Enlargement Directorate of the EU has held a number of high-level conferences on Roma including all governments in the region, which have been a series of conclusions and commitments. So that Roma are really profiting, governments should increase their efforts to find new solutions. Civil society organizations, especially Romani NGOs, will need to continue advocating for reforms, propose more inclusive solutions and raising awareness about the status of Roma. BPRI project will support this process by promoting new programs enabling collaboration between local and central governments, independent institutions and civil society.

Expected Results

  1. Participation in political and public life and decision-making
    The project will identify needs and resources for the implementation of national strategies and action plans, and will focus on local participation of Roma. Selected best practices will be used to prepare a common protocol to assist in the determination of self-government and the implementation of initiatives that encourage the participation of Roma. Special attention will be given to the inclusion of Roma women and their motivation to campaign for their rights and interests.
  2. Provision of legal aid
    Will present best practices for civil registration of Roma - especially the displaced, refugees and migrants - and these will be discussed with the relevant authorities, legislators and experts. The project will highlight practical policies and methods in regional contexts that address financial and administrative barriers to registration.
    At the same time, the project will develop and implement information campaigns for Roma regarding registration procedures and will encourage them to apply for personal documents. This will be done in cooperation with Roma civil society.
  3. Legalization of houses and settlements
    The project will advocate for the legalization of Roma settlements through dissemination of information to the applicable standards, regulations and administrative legal, necessary steps and examples of best practices. To achieve this goal, the work will be performed by local government units and the Roma communities. Campaigns will be organized to empower Roma, to protect their rights to housing, and will provide small grants for new initiatives and sustainable settlements that have been or will be legalized.
  4. Combating discrimination and promoting visibility for Roma
    Institutionalization of anti-discriminatory practice will be promoted throughout the region, with a focus on improving the access of Roma in the education, health and social welfare system. At the same time, the project will address public discrimination and prejudice against Roma, offering opportunities for public media and journalists to present a neutral image of the Roma population, through documentaries, media reports and journalistic training.
  5. Regional cooperation
    The project will promote regional cooperation through bilateral and multilateral meetings of experts as well as through opportunities for government authorities and civil society organizations to share their views.

Beneficiaries

Central and local governments, in particular the Ministries, agencies and associations of municipalities, the structure responsible for Roma issues. Roma and non-Roma civil servants; beneficiaries are also Roma civil society, Roma and non-Roma employees of local government units

Costs

EUR 3.3 million for the entire Western Balkans

Total: 21 months
Time: January 2012 - November 2013

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Adress

Lagjia Skenderbeg, Sheshi Gjergj Kastrioti
Lezhe, Albania
Tel: +355 215 22270 / 22219
Fax: +355 215 22570
info@lezha.gov.al
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