Short presentation of Romani CRISS
Romani CRISS is a non-governmental organization established on April 4th, 1993, which defends and promotes the rights of Roma in Romania by providing 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.
The founding members of the organization are: Roma Ethnic Federation (FER), Research Center of Roma/Gypsies from the Rene Descartes University in Paris, and the Sociology Institute of the Romanian Academy.
Since its inception, the organisation addressed the problems faced by the Roma population from a human rights perspective, by using specific tools such as conflict resolution, mediation, litigation, and advocacy.
At the EU/US London Summit in 1998, Romani CRISS was awarded the award of Democracy and Civil Society on behalf of European Union and the United States of America. In 2008, Romani CRISS was approved as NGO in Consultative Status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It is the first Roma organization in Romania and the fifth in our country to be approved in the consultative status with ECOSOC.
The main activities of the organisation in the past three years are consistent with our mission:
- Documentation, monitoring and legal assistance in cases of human rights violations (including abuse or violence) against Roma minority, such as: interethnic conflicts, limitation of Roma children’s access to education, poor implementation of Order 1540/ 2007 that forbids segregation of Roma children in schools, forced evictions, poor administration of justice, law enforcement abuse, violation of housing rights, violation of right to health, human dignity cases, extremism, limitation of access to public places, abuses of local authorities in taking over health mediators for Roma communities. These cases are submitted, depending on the situation, to the National Council for Combating Discrimination (NCCD) and/ or before the civil and criminal courts of law, as well as to European Court of Human Rights.
- Activities to improve Roma children’s access to education, including projects that targets pre-school children (center for early childhood development), primary and middle school children (catching up activities, intercultural activities, summer camps for children, after school centers), teenagers (training and empowerment courses, assistance in implementing community development projects, debates). All projects include working components with parents and information campaigns for parents and children. The organisation’s projects in the field of education have had, only in the last years, over 20,000 beneficiaries, Roma and non-Roma children and youth (starting from pre-school level to university level) and continue to militate for school desegregation and interculturality.
- Activities for Roma’s access to health-care services. Romani CRISS supports the implementation of the Roma health mediation programme, initiated by the organisation in 1997. The programme became public policy in 2002 and best practice example at European level, thus taken over by several countries. These activities include assisting health mediators who reported irregularities in their hiring by the local authorities, as result of them being transferred from the Ministry of Health to the city halls (decentralization of public health services), setting up a network of regional centers that support and monitor the health mediators’ activity, as well as evaluation of competencies for health mediators; in Romania, Romani CRISS is the first and only center authorised by National Council for Professional Training of Adults to evaluate and grant professional competencies to health mediators. In 2009, Romani CRISS won the ERTSE Award for Social Integration, the “Recognition Award” with the “Improving health mediation programme in Romania” project.
- Implementation of social campaigns, raising-awareness campaigns, civic mobilisation and advocacy campaigns, as well as training of Roma and non-Roma human resources.
- Elaboration of researches and studies: recently Romani CRISS published a series of research papers and best practice guides on health, education and discrimination in Europe.