BUCHAREST DECLARATION

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8 April 2015

On the occasion of 8th April, the International Roma Day, the Committee for Human Rights, Cults and National Minorities issues of the Chamber of Deputies, Romanian Parliament met with national and international Roma Organisations to discuss the situation of Roma in Europe.

After this meeting, we, the Romani organizations: The European Roma and Travellers Forum, a partner organisation of the Council of Europe, the International Romani Union, an Organisation holding a consultative status with the United Nations, Partida Romilor “Pro-Europa”, the Roma representative Organisation in Romania and the Alliance of Roma Communities and Organisations for Democracy (ACORD), represented by the Media Institute for Diversity, Romani, agreed to issue the following declaration:

Message on the international Roma Day

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Strasbourg, 7 April 2015: We mark this day by celebrating the rich Romani culture and the diverse contributions of Roma to our societies. On this day, the Roma can stand up and proudly say “We are Roma: this is what we are.”

It is however, also on this day that we recall the constant rejection of the Roma in all countries and in all walks of life. The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) expresses its strong solidarity with all those Roma who still experience extreme poverty, miserable conditions, fear and discrimination in their daily lives. Current conditions are an affront to human dignity everywhere.

ERTF posion on the European Roma Institute (ERI)

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), a Europe-wide organisation representing the Roma population which has a Partnership Agreement with the Council of Europe is in favour of all initiatives which aim at presenting a positive image of Roma and which puts their culture in a favourable light.

We would like to express our bewilderment at the fact that consultations of an informal nature on the Creation of a European Roma Institute (ERI) have apparently been underway for quite some time without involvement of the ERTF. Therefore in this particular case the ERTF is unfortunately unable to give a valuable assessment of the initiative to create a European Institute.

ERTF at the European Platform for Roma

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The Vice President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, Ms Agnes Daroczi participated at the 9th meeting of the European Platform for Roma inclusion which took place on 16 and 17 March 2015 in Brussels. The Platform, which is a forum for thinking and discussion of relevant stakeholders for the integration of Roma people in Europe, aimed at providing a possibility for operational level discussions among stakeholders and reflecting the policy commitment and the position of Roma integration on the EU Member States' national political agendas.

Consultations with the CoE member states on new strategy for Roma

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On 19 February 2015, the ERTF organised a meeting with the Permanent Representatives of the Council of Europe to discuss the new Council of Europe strategy for Roma. For this meeting the ERTF published a paper with its observations on the situation of the Roma community in the Council of Europe member states and also presented some concrete ideas on how to improve it.

The ERTF believes that progress can only be achieved by establishing a bilateral dialogue with member states on the obstacles and difficulties they face and on the measures to overcome them. The time is propitious for establishing such a dialogue:

  • the Secretary General is examining new options for the future agenda on Roma, and
  • the EU member states are in the process of implementing national strategies which have been drawn up in conformity with the EU Framework Strategy for the Roma.

The paper is available here.
The PowerPoint presentation is available here.

Roma in the Czech Republic

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Today, the ERTF published Fact Sheet on the situation of Roma in the Czech Republic. The document point out that the situation of Roma people in the Czech Republic is still extremely worrying. It is one of their most urgent social and human rights problems as they suffer multiple discriminations and are systematically cast away from the majority society. They suffer from high levels of poverty, unemployment and illiteracy and face varying levels of discrimination in education, employment, healthcare and housing. It is estimated that 80 to 100 000 Roma are socially excluded. Despite the existence of legal provisions against discrimination and racist violence, Roma people still suffer this plague in the Czech Republic. There is still work to be done in this country to achieve equality in law and a de facto equality for Roma people.

Read the full report here.

ALL VICTIMS OF HOLOCAUST DESERVE DIGNITY

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This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January 1945, closely following the liquidation of the "Zigeunerlager" ("Gypsy-Camp") on 2 August 1944, when 2,897 elderly people, women and children, all of them the remaining Sinti and Roma in the so-called "Gypsy-Camp" at Auschwitz-Birkenau, were murdered in the gas chambers there. This was the climax of the Final Solution of the Gypsy Question. The Nazis intended to exterminate the Roma completely. Those lessons from the Holocaust have not been fully transposed into the general knowledge of the people in our societies.

Civil society organizations (named below) are strongly concerned about the rooted anti-Gypsyism in Europe and its manifestation in the general lack of involvement of Roma in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

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JOINT PRESS RELEASE

International Holocaust Remembrance Day - Call for stronger commitment to fighting racism, anti-Semitism, discrimination and xenophobia

Brussels, 27 January 2015: On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, civil society organisations working on anti-racism and anti-discrimination issues [1] are joining forces to raise awareness about this dark period of history and commemorate the victims of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime against Jews, Roma, people with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and other groups that have been persecuted and deprived of their rights and dignity because they did not fit the Nazi ideology.