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In connection with celebration of the International Romani Day on April 8, 2012, the Roma Women Fund “Chirikli”, the union of Roma public organization “Roma Council of Ukraine” and the representative office of the International Organization for Migration in Ukraine address to Roma of Ukraine with the holiday greetings.
The number of Gipsy community in Ukraine, according to the data of the census, is about 48 thousand persons, however, according to the information of Roma non-governmental organizations, there are from 200 to 400 of them. The largest places of compact living of Roma in Ukraine are situated in Zakarpattia and in Odessa oblast. Social and economic condition of Roma in Ukraine is considerably worse in comparison with other citizens of the country. The problems of Roma in Ukraine are caused by the complex of social and economic reasons: their educational level remains the lowest, which causes the high level of unemployment (more than 54% of Roma have no job), only 3.5% of Roma obtain pensions. There is currently no state programme in Ukraine directed at improvement of lives of Roma, and at the same time, separate bodies of local authorities try to pay attention to Roma range of problems.
Roma public organization, bothered with the problems of the community, with international assistance and in co-operation with authorities try to promote initiatives as for support and improvement of social and economic and cultural integration of Roma into social life. The basis of such activity is, in particular, the Council of Europe Action Plan for Ukraine for 2011-2014.
The Roma community is convinced of the obvious need in optimization of work of the state and local authorities. The unity of Roma in wish to constructively solve the problems of their everyday life is the powerful potential, which the authorities can rely on. Let’s unite our efforts!
Manfred Profazi, the Head of the representative office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ukraine:“As in many other countries, the Roma community in Ukraine encounters many challenges: restricted access to education, housing and medical services. Together with intolerance this leads to social isolation. On the International Romani Day, the IOM again emphasizes its readiness to support the efforts of the Ukrainian Government and the civil society on the way to complete integration of Roma community in Ukraine”.
Yurii Ivanenko, the head of the union of Roma public organization “Roma Council of Ukraine” notes that the current situation of the Roma community in Ukraine is the critical one, and it requires the serious governmental and public attention.
Yuliia Kondur, the president of the International Charitable Organization “Roma Women Fund “Chirikli” notes that during the time of Ukrainian independence, there were certain positive changes in the living standards of the Roma community, but the most part of its problems remains as much sharp as earlier. “We ask all the interested parts to create the political, legal, economic and social and cultural climate in our country, where the rights and the culture of Roma and other national minorities are respected and develop”.
In connection with celebration of the International Romani Day we call on the state and local authorities, as well as international organizations, to take into consideration the interests and needs of Roma, in particular, Roma women, and to get them involved in the development and realization of strategical state and international initiatives.
FORTY YEARS after the lst World Romani Congress anti-Gypsy racism across Europe is at its worst. Not far from the London location of that historic gathering
riot police armed with stun-guns recently stormed the barricades of the Dale Farm estate.
That violent assault failed to break up the community and a hundred families continue to cling on to the land they own. Dale Farm is being gradulaly re-established through claims for illegal property damage, fresh planning appeals and a high court case which could force Basildon District Council to provide for those made homeless by their pitiless but unsuccessful 20 million euro ethnic-cleansing operation.
The London Congress proclaimed the opening date 8 April to be Roma Nation Day.
Over past decades it has been celebrated by several thousands of event in sixty countries, including India. They have been both festive and demonstrative. Occasionally they have gone off message by adopting such titles as International Roma Day and even, in the l980s, Cigandan.
Most notable include that attended by President Kostunica of Yugoslavia at the junction of the Sava and Danube, when Roma victims of the fascist genocide were
remembered. Big demonstrations have been seen over the years in Sibiu, Belgrade, Skopje, Prague and Budapest, and in German and Italian towns following forced deporations and destruction of camps.
Attempts to link up the celebrations around the world under the theme of RiverCeremonies brough about gatherings beside the Rhein, Adige, Ghaghar, Garonne, Vardar, Volga,Thames and a dozen other major rivers.
There was too the 8 April Wave of Light commencing with the lighting of a candle by the Dalai Lama, visited by Prof. Ian Hancock. Another year the Millennium of the Exodus from India was remembered when veteran of the lst Congress Juan Ramirez reminded us: “We have to fight even harder today against injustice and racism.”
Because of the worsening situation – further murders in Hungary, relentless deportations by Germany and France, and brutal evictions in the UK, Italy and Serbia – the need for united action and protest has become ever more urgent.
There’s now increasing demand by the younger generation, and more especially by the huge numbers of those who have suffered at the hands of merciless authorities, neo-facist and vigilante groups, that the Romani movement show a more militant face in response to deliberate marginalization and repression of our communities.
Support for a co-ordinated mobilization on Roma Nation Day 2012 is growing.
Gjuner Abdula, president of the IRU parliament says he wants to see activists from all the leading organizations, including the ERTF and ERU, and smaller groups, working together to plan the biggest yet demonstrations in towns and cities across Europe and the globe.
Meanwhile, an initiative to assist in this mobilization for Roma Day 8 April 2012 is being considered by activists in London angered and motivated by the Dale Farm experience. Those who would like to link up with us can firstname.lastname@example.org
At the fire where the first Romani flag and anthem was introduced. From left is Jarko Jovanovič, behind him with the flag is Ladislav Demeter, and then Grattan Puxon.
Photo by Eva Davidová
The first World Romani Congress was held near London in 1971 and was funding by the World Council of Churches and the Government of India. Twenty-three representatives from Czechoslovakia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Spain and Yugoslavia attended, as well as observers from Belgium, Canada, India and the United States. And five sub-commissions were created to examine culture, education, language, social affairs, and war crimes. The green and blue flag from the 1933 conference of the General Association of the Gypsies of Romania, embellished with the red, sixteen-spoked chakra, was reaffirmed as the national emblem of the Roma people. The song “Gelem, Gelem” was adopted as the Roma anthem, and the word “Roma” was accepted by the majority. Thus, the International Gypsy Committee, founded in 1965, was renamed to Komiteto Lumniako Romano (International Rom Committee).
Macedonia, 8th April 2011 – National Roma Centrum (NRC) on the occasion of International Roma Day is underlying the urgency and importance of improving the situation of Roma community urging for real and visible actions. Starting from current perspective and dimension We are witnesses that Roma are trying to survive confronted with constant deterioration of socio-economic condition, stereotypes, prejudices, discrimination, lack of measures to protect cultural and language identity. Many initiatives were raised and formally supported, but still we have very clear gap in between, and should decide – Discrimination or Inclusion?
This year marks four decades since the First Roma Congress was held in London, and besides the fact that the movement for improvement of the situation of the Roma community has improved, the lives of millions Roma throughout Europe have not been visibly improved. The Roma community is faced with extremely low conditions for normal living and migrates in order to look for stability and normal development. NRC appeals to all Governments responsible for the lives of millions of Roma citizens, decrease migration, by offering stability.
Certain number of Roma are without civil status, without ID Cards, having no possibility to access institutional support and protection, no access to health services or social protection.
NRC is highlighting that in the area of employment Roma community is at he bottom, having serious impact on socio-economic condition of Roma families as barrier to access other rights. Roma community is insufficiently and non equitably involved in the labour market. Unemployment tendency is continuing rapidly to grow for Roma.
NRC is concerned about the fact that most Roma families live in substandard living conditions in urban areas, national data base and mapping for Roma settlements is not available, for illegal housings as well, means for improving infrastructure and minimum living conditions were not funded yet.
Substandard living conditions, difficulties in access to health protection and services, having no information, having no prevention, highest rates of infant mortality are characteristics of the real picture regarding health and Roma.
Education is the bright point in the strategic aims of Republic of Macedonia to improve situation of Roma and to foster their inclusion in society. Positive step forward has been made with increased number of enrolled Roma children, positive atmosphere in schools, scholarships for students and free school books. But still we lack continuance in ensuring quality education, we lack measures for desegregation at local level, extremely high rate of illiteracy among Roma and the process to educate them has not been started yet, parents are not motivated for greater cooperation with schools.
Media reporting has been increased regarding common problems faced by Roma families that now are receiving media attention.
In the frameworks of the Decade for Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, Macedonia has provided nearly 5 EUR per capita for Roma inhabitant, is it enough to build home, to be employed, to educated, or to receive health services?
Macedonia and the EU must demonstrate strong political will and action for improving and inclusion of Roma.