Article 1: Constitution, Title, Statutory office
1.1 An association shall be created with the name “European Roma and Travellers Forum”. (hereinafter referred to as “the Forum”).
1.2 The Forum shall be established as a non-profit international non-governmental organisation. The Forum shall represent the populations of Roma, Sinti, Kalé, Travellers and related groups in Europe.
1.3 The Forum shall have its seat in France, at the following address:
49A, rue de la Carpe Haute, 67000 Strasbourg.
1.4 The working languages of the Forum shall be Romani, English and French. Other languages may be used at the expense of the delegation requesting such languages.
1.5 The Forum shall be set up in accordance with the local regime of the law on associations of the Lower Rhine, Upper Rhine and the Moselle governed by Articles 21-79 of the local Civil Code as well as with the present Statute.
1.6 The Forum shall be registered at the Tribunal d’Instance of Strasbourg.
Article 2: Aim
2.1 The aim of the Forum is to promote the effective exercise by the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as protected by the legal instruments of the Council of Europe and other international legal instruments where applicable. It shall promote the struggle against racism and discrimination and facilitate the integration of these populations into the European societies and their participation in public life and in the decision-making process.
2.2 The Forum shall make proposals to contribute to the improvement of the social conditions of the said populations both sedentary and itinerant.
2.3 The aim of the Forum shall be non profit-making and all proceeds shall be invested in the activities of the Forum in accordance with the aim indicated in paragraph 1 above.
Article 3: Functions
3.1 To encourage the development and implementation of policies, programmes and activities which will enable the Forum to achieve its aim, it shall:
- deliver opinions and make proposals to decision-making bodies in Europe at the European, international and national level and, where appropriate, at the regional or local level in order to influence decision-making processes likely to affect, directly or indirectly, the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 above.
- take part in European and international cooperation designed to promote the interests of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 notably by proposing initiatives to the competent European and international bodies.
- encourage the implementation of national policies concerning the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 above.
Article 4: Duration
The Forum shall be set up for an unlimited period of time.
Article 5: Members
5.1 The Forum shall consist of members representing the populations mentioned in Article 1.2.
5.2 Membership shall be open to:
i. One national umbrella organisation representing at least 75% of all established and officially registered structures representative of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 in each Council of Europe member State having such a population. According to the system in each country these representative structures could include Roma and Travellers non-governmental organisations, Roma and Travellers umbrella organisations, political parties with Roma elected members in the national and/or regional Parliaments, advisory bodies, self-government bodies,
(hereinafter referred to as the “National members”);
ii. officially registered international non-governmental organisations whose aims are compatible with those of the Forum, which have been active for at least four years, have affiliates/members in at least 10 member States of the Council of Europe and are financially independent of government funds, provided that they produce an annual audit report of all their activities,
(hereinafter referred to as the “International members”).
iii. The Executive Committee may confer honorary membership to benefactors and to personalities who have promoted the cause of the populations mentioned in Article 1 above.
(hereinafter referred to as “Honorary members”).
Honorary members will not have the right to vote in the Plenary Assembly
Article 6: Delegations– Voting rights
6.1 Subject to the provision in Article 6.4 below, each National member shall be entitled to appoint a delegation made up of a delegate and 3 substitutes to the Plenary Assembly.
6.2 Subject to the provision in Article 6.4 below, each International member shall be entitled to appoint a delegation made up of 3 delegates to the Plenary Assembly.
6.3 The composition of the delegation should reflect the principles of representativeness, transparency, geographical specificity, gender equality and generation balance.
6.4 The Executive Committee shall be responsible for ensuring that the following criteria shall be complied with:
- the total number of delegates shall not exceed 75;
the total number of delegates from National members shall always exceed the total number of delegates from International members. To guarantee this proportion the Executive Committee may, where necessary, reduce the number of delegates from the International members.
6.5 The number of votes assigned to the delegation of each National member shall be determined by taking into account the geographical specificity of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 which could allow a vote also to the substitute/s according to the decision to be taken by the Executive Committee at the time of examining the application for membership. For the purposes of the Statute, substitutes with voting rights shall be considered as delegates. The vote is personal and non transferable.
6.6. In case of death or resignation of one of its delegates, the Forum shall be entitled to appoint a replacement for the remaining term of this delegate.
Article 7: Conditions for membership
7.1 Application for membership as National and International members shall be made by written request addressed to the President of the Forum. Membership shall be acquired following a favourable decision of the Executive Committee, which shall ensure that the applicants meet the conditions set out in Article 5.2. If the request is rejected the applicant may appeal against the decision at the next meeting of to the Plenary Assembly by a registered letter addressed to the President of the Forum.
7.2 Members shall pay a subscription fee. The amount of the fee shall be determined by the Plenary Assembly.
7.3 A member may withdraw from the Forum by giving a three month notice to the President of the Forum. The subscription fee shall remain due for the year in which the member withdraws.
7.4 The Executive Committee may, subject to confirmation by the Plenary Assembly, exclude a member from the Forum in case of violation by the member or the delegates of the member of the aims of the Forum or of any other provision of the Statute. The decision to exclude the member shall be notified one month in advance. The subscription fee shall remain due for the year in which the member is excluded.
Article 8: Management bodies
The Forum shall be serviced by a Secretariat and have the following management bodies:
- a Plenary Assembly;
- an Executive Committee.
8.1 Plenary Assembly
The Plenary Assembly shall meet at least once a year. It shall be convened in writing by the President or, in his or her absence, the Vice-President. Convocations shall be sent to members in writing at least one month prior to the date of the meeting and shall be accompanied by the agenda of the meeting.
Only resolutions taken on questions which have appeared on the agenda shall be valid.
Extraordinary meetings may be convened at the request of fifty per cent of the members.
The Plenary Assembly shall pursue the Forum´s aims by:
- discussing major issues affecting the populations mentioned in Article 1.2;
- determining the Forum´s general policies;
- drawing up the Forums´s work programme.
It shall be empowered to:
- approve the budgets and accounts;
- set the amount of the subscription fee;
- elect a president and two vice-presidents from among the delegates to the Forum;
- elect the members of the Executive Committee from among the delegates to the Forum, keeping in mind the principles of gender and generation balance. One member of this Committee should be professionally specialised in financial matters.
Delegates of the International Members shall have one vote each. The delegation of each National Member shall have the number of votes determined in accordance with Article 6.5 above.
Subject to Articles 12 and 13, the decisions of the Plenary Assembly shall be taken by a simple majority of the votes.
Half the delegates to the Forum shall constitute a quorum. In the absence of a quorum, the President shall convene another meeting of the Assembly, which can sit legally whatever the number of delegates present.
iv. Term of office
Delegates shall be appointed for a period of four years and may be reappointed for a second term of four years.
8.2 The Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall be composed of ten members: the President and the two Vice-Presidents of the Forum, and seven other members.
It shall elect a treasurer and a secretary from amongst its members.
It shall meet at least twice a year, when convened by the President or, in his/ her absence, one of the Vice-Presidents. Extraordinary meetings may be held following the request of the President, one of the Vice-Presidents or three members of the Executive Committee.
Elections to the Executive Committee shall be convened every four years. Members of the Executive Committee can be re-elected for a second term of four years. The mandate of a member of the Executive Committee can only be revoked by a simple majority of votes of the Plenary Assembly. The Plenary Assembly shall elect a new member on the same occasion.
The Executive Committee shall carry out the tasks given to it by the Plenary Assembly. It shall draw up the agenda for the meetings of the Plenary Assembly.
It shall take its decisions by a simple majority.
In the event of a tie the President shall have the casting vote.
It may seek the assistance of experts if the necessary expertise on specific issues cannot be found in the Forum.
8.3: Functions of the officials of the Executive Committee
i. The President
- shall ensure that the Statute is complied with and that the moral interests of the Forum are guaranteed;
- shall supervise the management of the Forum’s activities and be responsible for ensuring compliance with the decisions of the Executive Committee;
- shall represent the Forum in all its functions or shall delegate such tasks to members of the Executive Committee.
The President shall notify the Tribunal d’Instance of Strasbourg within 3 months of all decisions concerning changes in the composition of the Executive Committee, amendments to the Statute or dissolution.
ii. The Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping the accounts of the Forum in proper order. He shall report to the Plenary Assembly at least once a year.
iii. The Secretary
The Secretary shall draw up the reports of the meetings of the Plenary Assembly and of the Executive Committee and keep a record of such reports.
8.4: Rules of Procedure
The Executive Committee shall draw up draft Rules of Procedure, specifying the necessary provisions to ensure the full implementation of the present Statute. The Executive Committee shall submit the draft Rules of Procedure to the Plenary Assembly for approval.
Article 9: Finance
9.1: Budgetary resources and accounts
The Forum’s financial resources shall include membership fees, grants awarded by the Council of Europe or other international organisations, voluntary contributions by member States and any other private or public contributions, which are not contrary to the aims of the Forum.
9.2: Establishment and auditing of the accounts
The budgets and accounts shall be prepared each year and, after approval by the Executive Committee, distributed to the Plenary Assembly for approval. All these documents shall be submitted to two internal auditors appointed by the Plenary Assembly and to an independent professional auditor and shall be communicated to the Council of Europe for information.
Article 10: Relations with the Council of Europe
Pursuant to terms of reference given by the Executive Committee, a draft agreement with the Council of Europe shall be drawn up and presented by the President of the Forum for approval by the Plenary Assembly. This agreement shall contain details concerning the arrangements for the Forum’s co-operation with the Council of Europe.
The agreement shall respect the Forum’s independence and autonomy.
Article 11: Relations with other international organisations
The Forum shall seek regular cooperation with relevant European and international institutions active in the field of issues concerning the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 and may grant them observer status in the plenary meetings of the Forum.
Article 12: Modification of the Statute of the Forum
The Statute of the Forum can be modified by a two-thirds majority of votes at the Plenary Assembly.
Article 13: Dissolution of the Forum
The Forum can be dissolved by a two-thirds majority of votes at the Plenary Assembly.
1. The founding members shall adopt the Statute of the Forum, elect a President ad interim, register the Statute of the Forum with the Tribunal d’Instance in Strasbourg and call a meeting of the first Plenary Assembly. At this stage the founding members shall act as the Executive Committee ad interim of the Forum for the purposes of ensuring that the composition and the number of delegates admitted to sit at the Plenary Assembly, are in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Statute. The Executive Committee ad interim will be dissolved and the President ad interim will relinquish his/her functions at the first Plenary Assembly, which will elect a president, a vice-president and an executive committee for four (4) years functioning period; after that as specified in Article 8.1, ii.
2. In derogation of Article 12, amendments to the Statute of the Forum can be made in the first Plenary Assembly by a simple majority.
3. Where no one single umbrella organisation meeting the definition under Article 5.2 (i) above exists in a particular Council of Europe member State, a meeting of all the established structures representative of the populations mentioned in Article 1.2 in such Council of Europe member State shall be entitled to appoint a delegation to sit in the Plenary Assembly, under the same conditions applying to National members and their delegations. However, such delegates shall be entitled to sit in the Plenary Assembly for only one term of office. After the expiration of this term, a delegate may only be re-appointed in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article 5.2 (i).
For the purposes of Article 6.4, delegates appointed in accordance with this provision shall be considered as delegates from National members. In case of death or resignation, such delegates may be replaced for the remainder of their term by delegates appointed in accordance with this provision. They shall pay a subscription fee as members. Where a delegation is composed of more than one delegate, the delegation shall pay only one subscription fee.
4. International non-governmental organisations, which are not officially registered but which fulfill all the other requirements under Article 5.2 (ii) above, shall be entitled to appoint a delegation to sit in the Plenary Assembly, under the same conditions applying to International members and their delegations. However, such delegates shall be entitled to sit in the Plenary Assembly for only one term of office. After the expiration of this term, a delegate may only be re-appointed in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article 5.2 (ii).
For the purposes of Article 6.4, delegates appointed in accordance with this provision shall be considered as delegates from International members. In case of death or resignation, such delegates may be replaced for the remainder of their term by delegates appointed in accordance with this provision. The delegation shall pay a subscription fee as member.
5. The rule in Article 6.6 equally applies to those individuals sitting in the Plenary Assembly as members.
 Such as the Council of Europe Statute, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the European Social Charter (revised).
 National and International members shall appoint their delegation bearing in mind the principle of gender balance as described in the Committee of Ministers Recommendation on balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision making adopted on 12 March 2003 :i.e. "for the purpose of this recommendation, balanced participation of women and men is taken to mean that the representation of either women or men in any decision-making body in political or public life should not fall below 40%". Each delegation should therefore include at least one person of each sex. With regard to the participation in meetings of the Plenary Assembly, where more than one person is participating, at least one person of each sex should participate; where only one person is sitting in the Assembly arrangements should be made to ensure that the member of the delegation of the opposite sex has the opportunity to participate (e.g. alternate participation, rotating system).