Panel discussion to mark the International Roma Day, 8 April 2014 at the Palais des Nations – Room VII

Persistent discrimination and exclusion have kept Roma in situations of extreme poverty, poor housing conditions without water and sanitation, but too often with a permanent threat of eviction.


13.00 – 15.00

Introduction of the event by the Moderator: Mr. Valeriu Nicolae, Regional Advocacy Director, World Vision

Opening remarks by Mr. Bacre Ndiaye, Director, Officer-in-Charge, Research and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Remarks by panellists

Concluding remarks by the moderator


  • Forced evictions from housing and land: the right to adequate housing and the obligations of States and others to refrain from and prohibit forced evictions, expanding positive practices

  • Exploring the role of access to effective administrative and /or judicial remedies for violations of the right to adequate housing.

  • Role of the Roma themselves, through effective participation, in shaping sustainable policies and programmes to address adequate housing and forced eviction problems they face.


Valeriu Nicolae is the Regional Advocacy Director for World Vision. He was a senior consultant at the Open Society Institute and Advocacy Director for the Network of European Roma NGOs. He is also the founder and president of the Policy Centre for Roma and Minorities, a Bucharest-based think tank, and co-founder of the European Roma Policy Coalition.

Saimir Mile, is a Roma born in Albania and living in France since 1996 years.  He is the president of the association "La voix des Rroms" and has been involved in several activities relevant to the rights of Roma including the drafting of the OSCE Action Plan on Roma and Sinti Issues; Training for Intercultural Mediators with the Council of Europe, OSCE Mission to Kosovo; and consultant to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on the introduction of Rromani language in Kosovo's curriculum.  He was a lecturer of Romani language and culture at the French National Institute of Oriental Languages and Cultures from 2007 to 2013.

Gina Csanyi-Robah is a Canadian Roma, from a family of refugees. She has previously worked as a Roma human rights advocate with the European Roma Rights Centre based in Budapest, Hungary. Since 2010, Ms Csanyi-Robah has been the Executive Director of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto. In June 2012, Ms. Csanyi-Robah was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her service to Canada’s Roma community. 

Margarita Ilieva is attorney-at-law and the Legal Defence Programme Director at the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) a non-governmental organisation for the protection of human rights. Margarita Ilieva is a prominent human rights lawyer, and an expert on anti-discrimination law, including in the European Network of Legal Experts for the European Commission. Margarita Ilieva is the principal author of the Protection against Discrimination Act of Bulgaria and of a number of publications on anti-discrimination law and other legal issues.  She founded BHC's annual Human of the Year award and currently chairs the jury.