Roma Day – a day to remember the past and to plan our future

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Roma Day is the occasion for all Roma from all over the world to remember the troubled history of our people. It is also the opportunity to reflect on what needs to be done to preserve our identity, our culture and, most of all, our language.

Centuries of persecution, enslavement and genocide should strengthen our determination to stand up to the constant molestations, vilification and denial of basic human rights to which we are subjected in all countries throughout the world.

We should not succumb to fatalism. We should not accept to be third-rate citizens. We should not be afraid of declaring ourselves Roma. It is the time for us to stand together, proud of our heritage, and shout out: Dosta! That’s enough!

On this Day we turn towards our non-Roma fellow- citizens and to the authorities of the country to which we belong and ask them to reflect with us on the injuries they have inflicted on us over the centuries and to accept to restore to us our dignity as fully fledged citizens with equal rights and obligations.

Let us, both Roma and non-Roma, make this Day a special day of reparation,forgiveness and fraternity.

Baxtalo e Romengoro dive, 8-to aprilo.

ERTF reaction to the letter of the self-proclaimed king of the Roma

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) wishes to express its anger and dismay at the letter, which Mr Dorin Cioaba has sent to Donald Trump, President of the USA, and at the outrageous proposal to have Roma build the wall between Mexico and the USA. The ERTF also condemn ideas that foster segregation and discrimination in any form.

Mr Cioaba thinks that we are living in the 19th century when Roma could be put to work as slaves in his country. If Mr Cioaba was genuinely interested in the welfare of the Roma he should start by helping them in his own country and not propose to send them abroad to work on a project, which politically and geographically does not concern European Roma.

ERTF commemorates the International Remembrance day of the Roma Holocaust (Pharrajimos)

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Strasbourg, 2 August 2016: With a minute of silence at noon beside the Holocaust memorial stone in front of the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) remembered more than 3,000 Roma exterminated by the German Nazis during the night of 2-3 August 1944 in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"Today, it is time for every nation to stand up to say WE WILL REMEMBER so that it will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. We will not allow any excuse of anti-Gypsyism in our countries. We will not allow any form of prejudice to disrupt the multi-faith democracy we are so proud to call our biggest value,” said Miranda Vuolasranta, ERTF’s President.

Joined by the Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Ambassador Katrin Kivi, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the Council of Europe and Nawel Rafik‑Elmrini, Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, the ERTF President expressed concern over The Roma continued struggle for justice and for recognition of their place in the history books as victims of the Nazi regime.

ERTF welcomes the decision of the Stockholm District Court

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Strasbourg, 5 July 2016: The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) welcomes the decision of the Stockholm District Court of 10 June, 2016 condemning the Swedish state for ethnic discrimination in constituting a police register of Swedish Roma citizens.

The Police Administration in Southern Sweden kept a register of 4700 Roma individuals who had no connection whatsoever with any criminal activity. The case against the State was brought by 8 adults and 3 children, assisted by Civil Rights Defenders, a non-governmental organization.

This judgment of the Swedish Court is a landmark in the struggle against the discrimination of the Roma on the basis of their ethnicity. It is an eye-opener to all European countries where dubious police practices are frequent and directed at the Roma community: unjustified identity controls, unwarranted arrests and requisitions and other forms of harassment.

ERTF reaction to evictions of Roma

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Strasbourg, 24 June 2016: Following the eviction of about 500 Roma, including 250 minors and several pregnant women, from a settlement in Casalbertone, in via Giuseppe Mirri near Rome the European Roma and Travellers Forum addresses A CALL FOR ACTION urging European institutions- the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – to stand up for the human values on which they are founded and take all possible action within their mandate to stop the disgraceful behaviour of their member states.

Only a few months ago, in January, Mr Muznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, wrote a letter of protest to a number of Council of Europe member states, including Italy, complaining about the constant and repeated eviction of Roma in their country. The reply of the Undersecretary of State of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of 10 February, 2016, was a model of good intentions.

The day of Courage and Romani Youth

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Following a 2005 initiative of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, this year the State Secretary for Social Inclusion of Hungary deems it important to commemorate for the second time the day of Courage and Romani Youth, together with many other European countries.

On 21 May 2016 in the National Theatre in Budapest, we will commemorate the courage that the Roma people showed in the Zigeunerlager of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 16 May 1944.

• Let's commemorate the heroes!
• Their sacrifice was not in vain.

The Roma Production Office ("Roma Produkciós Iroda") will commemorate the victims with an evening of music and literature, with the participation of prominent contemporary artists.

The programme will include classical music, traditional gypsy and folklore music, memoirs, pieces of contemporary literature, background visual elements, pictures and extracts from films - combined with testimonies of survivors [of the Roma camp].

Conference "The Forgotten Voices"

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The Forgotten Voices Conference, organised by the European Roma and Travellers Forum in cooperation with the Council of Europe will take place from Wednesday 6 to Thursday 7 April 2016 in the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest, Romania. The conference is financially supported by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Council of Europe.

This two-day conference is dedicated to the Roma victims of the Holocaust and aims to achieve both the official and international recognition of the Genocide of the Roma, as well as improve the knowledge and teaching of the Roma Genocide in schools and amongst the wider public. In this respect, the Conference intends to examine how the causes of that tragedy are reflected in the discrimination, marginalisation and persecution of the Roma today, analyse the true nature of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination and explore how the relationship between the Genocide and today’s anti-Gypsyism can help us combat this phenomenon.