Roma Advocacy Quilt, MAUD DE BOER-BUQUICCHIO, Deputy Secretary General, Council of Europe, France
In this testimony Maud de Boer-Buquicchio presents the Roma Advocacy Quilt, a project managed by the Council of Europe and the Advocacy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based NGO. The remarkable quilt, which will be left behind in the Roma Pavilion for the duration of the exhibition, shows the exquisite handiwork of a group of eight Roma women from a community in Strasbourg, France. These Romanian-Roma women collaborated with local artist Véronique Boyer to realize their vision and to tell their story. Making use of this traditional “craft” medium, the quilt panels convey both a poetic and political narrative of daily life. The scenes illustrate some of the problems these women face on a daily basis: the threat of expulsion, begging, racism, early marriages, gender discrimination, etc. At the same time, the scenes reveal glimpses into their culture through poetry, art, and songs. The stark contradiction that most of the women who worked on the quilt live in a camp without running water or electricity just minutes from Strasbourg, the “Capital of Human Rights,” is brought to the fore and reveals the still-existing gap between Europe’s political commitment to human rights and the realities facing Europe’s largest minority. (Eleni Tsetsekou & Maria Hlavajova)
- Please note that from 15 September 2011 the Roma Advocacy Quilt, left behind by Maud de Boer-Buquicchio after delivering her testimony, has moved on from the Call the Witness venue, to be showcased elsewhere in Europe. From this day on the quilt is no longer part of the exhibition. Please accept our apologies for any inconveniences this may cause.
MAUD DE BOER-BUQUICCHIO (born 1944) is a lawyer who specializes in international law. Since 2002, she is Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe—the first woman to hold the post. She joined the Council of Europe in 1969, and has worked extensively at the European Commission of Human Rights. In 1998, as Deputy Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, de Boer-Buquicchio played a crucial role in the start-up of the European Court of Human Rights. A tireless advocate for human rights and equal opportunity under the law, she has introduced mandates to fight discrimination against the most vulnerable groups in society, violence against women and children, and human trafficking. De Boer-Buquicchio lives and works in Strasbourg.