Hate Crime and Roma: A Seminar for Roma and Human Rights NGOs

Project Overview

A seminar providing Turkish human rights NGOs with information about the existing tools for combatting hate crimes against Roma.

Identifying the Problem

Although Turkey’s Roma population faces rampant discrimination and its members are frequently the victims of hate crimes, safeguarding the rights of Roma has not been a priority in the country. Without effective legislation to punish the perpetrators of such crimes, and deter others from committing them, Roma continue to be targeted. Roma NGOs and other human rights groups in Turkey have been unsuccessful at gaining the public’s attention to the problem. They have also been frustrated by the lack of national legislation that would assist them in protecting those who are being victimized. 

Because Roma civil society organizations are still relatively young in Turkey, Beril and Elif believed that such organizations would benefit from sharing ideas and learning about the existing international protection mechanisms from experts. They wanted to organize an event that would allow those with more experience in this field to share their knowledge and resources with Turkey’s human rights NGOs.

Creating A Solution

Beril and Elif decided to develop a day-and-a-half-long seminar specifically for Roma NGOs and human rights groups operating in Turkey. The seminar focused on providing information about the possible actions that could be taken in response to hate crimes against Roma. The event began with an overview of the discrimination and violence directed toward Roma across Europe. It then introduced “hate crimes” as a legal concept, discussing its meaning and scope as defined by the European Court of Human Rights, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The various legal experts led discussions about how the Roma NGOs could employ these international legal mechanisms to protect the Roma minority in Turkey. The discussions were then extended to identifying ways in which Turkey’s existing legislation could be used to reach the same goal.

Lessons Learned

Beril and Elif found that much of the success of their seminar came from organizing the event with a solid understanding of their target audience and the knowledge and resources they wanted to impart to that audience. Their decision to develop a seminar solely for Roma NGOs and human rights groups in Turkey allowed them to create an effective program and made it much easier to find qualified and effective speakers.

Funding

Due to the support of their partner organizations, Beril and Elif did not have to raise any money for this seminar. European Roma Rights Centre, the Human Rights Joint Platform and Roman Genclik Dernegi [Roman Youth Association] covered the costs of renting the venue, providing food and refreshments during the event, organizing accommodations for the seminar participants and hiring translators.

Share this Project

About This Project

HIA Program:

Netherlands Netherlands 2012

Developed by:

Related Media

Browse all content