Representatives of the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre have been presented with an international award in the Hague, for its work with minorities.

The Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Government of the Netherlands presented Co-Director Martin Collins and Chairperson Anastasia Crickley with the Max van der Stoel award.

The award recognises Pavee Point's efforts in strengthening the integration of Ireland's society by advocating and protecting the rights of the Traveller and Roma communities.

The OSCE noted that in Ireland, the Roma and Traveller communities have suffered a long history of multiple and inter-sectional discrimination and that both communities experience poverty, unemployment, lack of educational opportunity, decreased life expectancy, cultural bias and social stereotyping.

It said that since Pavee Point's foundation in 1985, it recognised the need for solidarity between Roma and Irish Traveller communities based on their shared experiences of racism and social exclusion.

The winner of the award was announced last year but the pandemic meant that the Pavee Point representatives could not travel to receive it until today.

It includes a prize fund of €50,000 which will be put towards Pavee Point Projects.

Named after Dutch politician and first OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Max van der Stoel, the award was established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands in 2001.

It is awarded biennially to an individual, group or institution in recognition of extraordinary and outstanding achievements aimed at promoting integration and social cohesion in the OSCE participating states.

Pavee Point is the first Irish NGO to receive the Max van der Stoel Award.

Martin Collins said it offered great encouragement for their work.