The Roma have been nomads for centuries. People have called them gypsies. Scattered across most of Europe, their unique way of life stands out amongst the countries where they live. In Greece, their numbers are estimated between 200-300.000, although they consider themselves to be more.
The Roma do not have a particular religion. Yet customs and traditions have kept them together in the course of their history. In general, they fall under two categories: those who have settled and those who still roam the lands as nomads. Most earn their living through trade, agriculture or performance, keeping constantly on the move and staying in the outskirts of the big cities, in self-governed settlements.
The Roma have to constantly fight off many negative stereotypes which are attributed to them, often intensifying their unwillingness to adjust. Many of them are organized in unions (Greek Confederation), with over 300,000 registered members, while in 2006 they formed a political party in Greece, called ”Rom Shield”. As complaints about the violation of their rights increase, the Roma people keep on struggling to survive and to keep their identity alive in a society that seems to have forgotten all about them. In the past years they have experienced a new wave of persecution initiated by the State, in countries such as France and Romania. Many have characterized these newly introduced displacements as pogroms.

Advertisements
Editorial

There is no country where the education situation of the Roma is good

Image

A high proportion of Roma children are never enrolled in schools and when they are, it is mostly in special or correctional schools, segregated from non-Roma children.

In Romania, the country with the largest Roma population in the EU, 15 percent of Roma children have never been enrolled in a school programme. In Serbia, the situation is even worse, with the figure rising to 25 percent.

In Slovakia, 60 percent of the children enrolled in special education in the year 2008-2009 are Roma.

Several NGOs working on Roma issues have criticised the so-called EU Platform for Roma Inclusion as being too vague about the aims and means to achieve a de-segregation of Roma children.

The platform should include employment, health care, housing, access to justice and measures against hate crime and anti-Roma violence.

Despite the efforts to expand and improve education for Roma children, as many as 50 per cent of those in Europe fail to complete primary education. UNESCO, in collaboration with the Council of Europe, is working towards ensuring the right to basic education for Roma children, with particular emphasis on improving access to early childhood educational opportunities and their transition to quality primary education.

Some areas of interventions for Roma children:

  • Developing personal trust with parents and influential Roma members.
  • Working actively on the positive attitude of schools and employers: training of Roma teaching assistants, teachers and school administrators.
  • Providing institutional support and training to Roma NGOs capable of effective advocacy, linking those NGOs to wider regional and national activities and campaigns and strengthening networking across borders to impact on policy processes at the national and EU levels.
  • Developing a network with other institutions to ensure integrated care.
  • Creating training, development, internship and funding opportunities for the generation of Roma women and men who will be the future leaders of national and international Roma movements.
  • Ensuring the fair application of legislation
  • Promoting Roma women’s access to public institutions and participation in the decision-making processes.
Standard
Editorial

“Los gitanos rumanos son una plaga”

2

 

El alcalde de Badalona, Xavier García Albiol, se sentará en el banquillo de los acusados por repartir miles de panfletos xenófobos. El fiscal de delitos de odio y discriminación de Barcelona, Miguel Ángel Aguilar, presentó ayer su escrito de acusación al juzgado que investiga el caso, paso previo para procesar al edil por un delito de incitación al odio. En abril de 2010, García Albiol visitó el barrio de La Salut, en la periferia de la ciudad, y repartió propaganda en la que aparecían fotografías de rumanos de etnia gitana junto a conceptos como “inseguridad” e “incivismo” y un mensaje rotundo: “No queremos rumanos”.

SOS Racismo presentó una querella contra el alcalde de Badalona en la que, además del reparto de los dípticos, se hacía alusión a numerosas manifestaciones públicas de Albiol contra los gitanos rumanos, a los que llegó a calificar de “plaga” que se dedica “exclusivamente a delinquir”. En su declaración como imputado, el dirigente del PP catalán admitió que había cometido “algún exceso verbal”.

La juez de instrucción archivó el caso en dos ocasiones, las mismas que la Audiencia de Barcelona le obligó a reabrirlo. En su último escrito, los magistrados razonaron que Albiol sobrepasó los límites de la libertad de expresión e hizo comentarios que supusieron “un ataque a la dignidad personal y al honor” de los gitanos rumanos. Sus manifestaciones, además, tuvieron una “potencialidad sobrada” para incitar a los vecinos al odio hacia el colectivo.

En ese mismo escrito, la Audiencia de Barcelona obligaba a la juez a seguir adelante con el proceso y a dar traslado a las acusaciones —la fiscalía y SOS Racismo— para presentar sus escritos. Desde entonces, han pasado cinco meses. El fiscal general del Estado, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, ha rebajado la petición de pena que había planteado inicialmente el fiscal Miguel Ángel Aguilar, informó un portavoz oficial de la fiscalía de Barcelona.

“Los gitanos rumanos son una plaga”, dijo el alcalde de Badalona

El escrito fue presentado en el juzgado a última hora de la mañana. Ese mismo portavoz no concretó qué pena ha solicitado el fiscal a la espera de que el documento les sea notificado a las partes. El delito que presuntamente cometió Albiol está recogido en el artículo 510 del Código Penal y castiga a sus responsables con penas de uno a tres años de cárcel.

El abogado de SOS Racismo, Óscar Vicario, preparará su escrito de acusación. Una vez lo haya elaborado, la juez deberá dictar un auto de apertura de juicio oral, dando cumplimiento así a las instrucciones que le dio la Audiencia de Barcelona.

Pese a que ya estaba imputado, el hecho de que Albiol vaya a ser procesado próximamente aumenta aún más la presión sobre la líder del PP catalán, Alicia Sánchez-Camacho, quien ha propuesto que los políticos imputados abandonen sus cargos. Sánchez-Camacho, por cierto, participó junto a Albiol en el reparto a pie de calle de los polémicos panfletos de Badalona. En total, se distribuyeron 16.000 panfletos xenófobos entre los vecinos de Badalona.

 

Standard
Editorial

First Romany museum in Bucharest

The first museum in Romania dedicated to Roma culture opened on  February 18, at the District 6 City Hall in Bucharest, two days before Roma people celebrate the Abolition of Roma Slavery.
Two associations, Romano ButiQ and KCMC, in partnership with the District 6 City Hall and the National School for Politic and Administrative Studies (SNSPA) worked together to create the museum.
A launch event took place at the Romanian Peasant Club in Bucharest.
The need for the museum was rooted in the deeply prejudiced public discussions about Roma and their culture, often confronted with stereotyping. The museum’s founders promise it will not have only a series of artifacts related to the Roma culture, but a dynamic conglomerate of ideas and stories, illustrated through objects, installations and people, so as to generate debate on all levels of society.
February 20 is the official day of Roma Freedom in Romania, as acknowledged via law in 2011. Roma were freed from slavery in Romania on February 20, 1856, by Prince Barbu Stirbei.
According to the 2011 census, Romania has 619,000 Roma, but NGOs argue that many chose not to reveal their ethnicity, and that the real number of Roma living in Romania is closer to 1.2 million, in a country with a population of around 19 million people.
Standard