Justice for Roma

2020. február 01., szombat

Under the title “Justice for Roma and Sinti – a challenge for churches” Churches´ Commission for Migrants in Europe will organize a conference in cooperation with the Reformed Church in Hungary to be held on 9–11 March 2020 in Budapest. The objective of the meeting in the Synod Building of RCH is to encorage churches across Europe to address the social and political challenges together, take a stance together with Roma and Sinti, cooperate in the field of advocacy, sensitisation and social support and exchange best practices.


Roma and Sinti are among those groups most affected by racism, xenophobia, discrimination and all forms of social and cultural exclusion. Roma are a minority in almost every European country, Sinti in several. A number of churches have over the years become aware of widespread discrimination against Roma, Sinti and others and acknowledged their role in the exclusion of Roma.  In 2001 CCME hosted an ecumenical conference in Bratislava and drew together recommendations to improve Roma inclusion in church life and wider society. The concluding document detailed a number of areas in which churches should be actively involved in empowering Roma and building more inclusive communities.  At the CEC General Assembly in Trondheim in 2003, some of the Nordic churches recognised the ongoing task to work at ‘healing of memories’ and human rights work related to Roma. A positive step in reconciliation was their confession of guilt.

A decade later in 2013 in Frankfurt representatives of European member churches of the Lutheran World Federation and CCME came together to review Roma inclusion. The participants emphasised the need for churches to create space for face-to-face interactions with Roma and sharing of life stories, culture and worship. They also saw the ongoing need to speak out against hostility directed at Roma people.

Churches address socio-diaconal issues of Roma inclusions on different levels. However, visibility and attention for Roma and Sinti as part of the common household of God within the churches remains marginal. It is against this background that the CCME General Assembly in 20017 decided that CCME should address the issue of Roma discrimination with a particular focus on the role of churches. During the planning of this conference, it was decided to address the issue in reference to Roma and Sinti.

Conference aims:

The conference aims at:

1) giving voice to Roma/Sinti expectations of churches to improve Roma/sinti inclusion,

2) stocktaking of churches participation in legitimation and practice of discrimination against Roma/sinti,

3) exchanging of good practice of church evaluation and confession of discriminatory responses and moves towards reconciliation to the Roma/Sinti community in church history,

4) considering of next steps to give more visibility to Roma and promote a positive Roma/Sinti narrative - within the churches and society.


The conference aims at bringing together some 20-25 international participants along with Hungarian participants. Participants should preferably be working on the issues of the conference or intend to work on them in a church context. Nominating persons who themselves are of Roma or Sinti background is a preference.

Deadline for registration is 10th February. CCME will make a selection aiming at assuring a mix of different gender, regions of origin, ages, denominations as well as a good representation of Roma and Sinti. 


The methodology is very much built around the learning from good practice – of churches in Europe. The experiences of the Reformed church in Hungary will be of particular importance. We will hear from churches already active and will witness work in and around Budapest as well as giving space for exchange on future work.

Read the Roma Startegy of RCH here. For interviews, current news, reports of the Roma Ministry click here.

Previous joint-engagement

The Eurodiaconia Roma Network and the CCME Roma Steering Group already met together in Budapest almost a decade ago, as part of the contibution of RCH and its ecumenical partners to the EU-Presidency of Hungary. On the invitation by RCH on 14 and 15th February 2011, members from Eurodiaconia and CCME held a joint consultation in the Synod office of the Reformed Church in Hungary to discuss the proposed EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. The aim of this meeting was to develop a contribution to the proposal for an EU strategy for consideration by the Hungarian Presidency and the European Commission’s Roma Task Force. Based on the insights and proposals of the participants a statement about the ecumenical conctubution of churches was published and sent to the decision makers.  

"Any strategy for Roma inclusion must have a long-term perspective and long-term sustainability. To expect significant results in a relatively short time may not be realistic as generations have grown up with segregation. Certainly, access to social and health services as well as education needs to be and can be improved more speedily. Integration, however, implies participation and a two-way process in societies, which requires a change in attitudes. Changing attitudes takes much longer, and some patience may be required on the side of all stakeholders in this process."

Ecumenical contribution to the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies

Another outcome of this meeting was a request for a tool for members to better network and to gain an overview of which members are active with Roma. For this reason, in 2012 an initial mapping of members’ work with Roma was carried out.  

"We strive to bear witness to the love of God not only in the form of words, but also with the help of the various tools of our diaconical services, so that those in need can break out of the prison of the indigence and uncertainty that plagues them" - quote from the publication "In Community for Europe"

For more information about the conference and practical details, read the invitation, look at the programme, anf fill in the registation form.  



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Reformed Church in Hungary

Address: H-1146 Budapest, Abonyi utca 21.   

PO Box: 1140 Budapest 70, Pf. 5

Phone/Fax: + 36 1 460 0708 

Email: oikumene@reformatus.hu

Our church through American eyes

We encourage you to read our  former GM intern Kearstin Bailey's blog about her time, spent in Hungary.