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Ref. DC 139(2016)

New Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma Issues

Strasbourg, 01.09.2016 - Today, Valeriu Nicolae, a Romanian Roma, has taken up the post of Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) of the Council of Europe for Roma Issues.

“It is a great honour and responsibility for me to join the team of the Secretary General,” said Nicolae. “I very much look forward to working for the Council of Europe and in particular with the SRSG Roma Support Team and continue advancing the human rights agenda in the Council of Europe member states.”

“Since 1999, I have been closely following the development of the legal framework and the practical work carried out by the Council of Europe, seeking for solutions for the social inclusion of Roma and vulnerable groups at the grassroots level. I strongly believe in working together with member States and in building strategic alliances with all Council of Europe partners to achieve inclusive and open societies that respect human rights for all.” 

Mr Nicolae brings a rich and diverse experience to the team. Immediately prior to taking office as Special Representative, he worked as State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly within the Romanian Government. Previously, he has held high-level positions at major international non-governmental human rights organisations, such as the World Vision, Open Society Institute and the network of European Roma NGOs (ERGO). His human rights experience, in particular his work with schoolchildren in one of Bucharest’s ghettoes, have provided him with an in-depth knowledge of the everyday problems faced by Roma communities.

He has founded the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities, a Bucharest-based think tank, and co-founded the European Roma Policy Coalition. He is also a film producer and a writer.

Mr Valeriu Nicolae was awarded the European Parliament’s European Citizenship Award in 2013.

Note to editors:

The terms “Roma” and “Travellers” are used at the Council of Europe to encompass the wide diversity of the groups covered by the work of the Council of Europe in this field: on the one hand a) Roma, Sinti/Manush, Calé, Kaale, Romanichals, Boyash/Rudari; b) Balkan Egyptians (Egyptians and Ashkali); c) Eastern groups (Dom, Lom and Abdal); and, on the other hand, groups such as Travellers, Yenish, and the populations designated under the administrative term “Gens du voyage”, as well as persons who identify themselves as Gypsies.

Contact : Tatiana Baeva, Spokesperson/Press officer, Tel. +33 3 88 41 21 41