Tuesday, April 08, 2008


April 8th is International Roma Day, which was first marked in 1971.

There are about 15 million Roma worldwide.

An estimated 7-9 million Roma live in EU member states but to date there is no integrated and comprehensive EU policy specifically targeting discrimination against Roma.

The European Agency for Fundamental Rights recently concluded that Roma continue to be the single most discriminated group in Europe and that urgent action needs to be taken. Said Socialist Group vice-president Jan Marinus Wiersma: "If there is one organisation that can and should do more to promote Roma inclusion, it is the European Union".

Around Europe rallies and commemorations have taken place aimed at calling attention to the current plight of many Roma on the continent.

According to statistics from the Roma Information Center, about 59 percent of the Roma population in Serbia is subjected to poverty, while 60 percent never finish primary school.

Co-existence of Czech Romanies with the majority society is not improving, activists from some Romany organisations said today.

On the contrary, anti-Gypsy tendencies have strengthened in the past period, activists from the Dzeno organisation and the Association of Romany Regional Representatives said.

An analysis has shown that one-third of Romani in the Czech Republic live in ghettos in which almost all adults are jobless and families are dependent on welfare benefits.

Czech Romany organisations have called a demonstration outside the Government Office on April 11. They demand the resignation of Deputy PM Jiri Cunek, head of the junior ruling Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), over his recent controversial statements on Romanies.

A press release from the Dzeno Association says, "In the Roma communities (of Moldovia) there is no access to qualitative drinkable water, Roma are often disconnected from the electrical energy source, are subjected to a violent treatment applied by policemen. Discrimination is a phenomenon which can be met in schools, medical institutions and other public places.

In Belarus fficially 91% of total Roma population is unemployed.

In Prague, an exhibition on Prague’s Namesti Miru, opened today showing the faces and names of those who have been killed in racially-motivated attacks in the Czech Republic since 1989.

The Organization of Bulgarian Jews "Shalom" supported the remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of Roma, who were killed in the Nazi death camps by sending a letter to the Municipality of the Danube town of Lom, and the "Roma Lom" Foundation.

For the first time ever Macedonia marked the International Roma Day as a national holiday for its Roma people, Macedonian television A1 reports. NGO Nahtari and the Union of Roma in Macedonia have marked the holiday in Ĺ uto Orizari municipality; celebrations were held on the municipal square yesterday.

In Bulgaria, in the town of Stara Zagora a folk dance and song company “Avligite” held a concert. In the town of Sliven wreaths and flowers were laid in front of the monument of Sabi Dimitrov in remembrance of the Roma people who died in the Holocaust.

The following is from Romea.cz.

Moldovan gypsies hold action of protest in Chisinau

Moldovan gypsies have held a demonstration in the country’s capital Chisinau in protest of what they described as the indifference towards their social and economic situation on the part of the government.

About a hundred Romanis – this is the way the gypsies call themselves – marched along downtown streets, waving slogans and flags.

“We held this action on the International Romani Day to remind the government of the policy of ignorance and discrimination we’re subjected to,” said Nikolai Radita, the chairman of the National Center of Moldovan Romanis.

He summed up the gypsies’ main woes, saying they are unemployment, problems in getting education, scanty access to potable water and electricity, and some others.

“About 90% of Moldovan Romanis are unemployed today and, unfortunately, our young generations are heading into the same problem as they don’t have an opportunity to study,” Radita said.

Unofficial data puts this country’s gypsy population at 15,000. It is believed that the town of Soroca where the gypsy king Artur Cerara has the main residence is the capital city for the Romani.

The International Romani Day was instituted in commemoration of the 1st World Romani Congress that was held in London April 8, 1971. It has been marked annually in many countries of the world since then.

Europe has a Romani decade lasting from 2005 through 2015. One of its objectives is to improve the social status of the gypsies on the Old Continent.

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