Do you agree with the concept of a “King of the Gypsies”?

‘King of the Gypsies’ arrives in Israel

Dorin Cioba will visit the local Gypsy community in Jerusalem, as well as Yad Vashem.

06/05/2015 – Dorin Cioba the leader of three million Roma around the world, landed in Israel on Wednesday. Roma are widely known as Gypsies.

On his first visit to Israel, Cioba, who is president of the International Romani Union, plans to visit the Roma community in Jerusalem as well as the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

The photographer Roni Ben-Ari invited Cioaba to Israel for the opening of her exhibit that documents the life of Gypsies in the city of Lugoj, Romania.


Dorin Cioaba. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The exhibit opens on Thursday at the Museum of Israeli Art in Ramat Gan.

“This is the first time that I have the opportunity to see the Roma community in Israel, and I am excited to be in the Holy Land to unite with my people,” Cioba said on Wednesday.

Gypsies were targeted by the Nazis during World War II and estimates of the number who were killed range between 220,000 to 1,500,000.



Is a switch from term “Gypsy” to a term “caravan resident” the sign of bigger positive changes?


Federal police agree to stop using term “Gypsy”

16/04/2015 – The Belgian police have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” on official reports in response to complaints by local agencies that it is stigmatising.

Police in Belgium have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” on official reports in response to a complaint lodged by the Minorities Forum and the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities. “The word gypsy stigmatises a group of people and so is unacceptable,” said Wouter Van Bellingen, Minorities Forum director.

According to Van Bellingen, using the word gypsy in police reports is a form of ethnic profiling, which classifies a person on the basis of appearance or conduct. That is illegal in Belgium, he pointed out. The correct term to use is, he said, is “caravan resident”.

The police have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” and to agree on a new term. They will work with several interest groups to find a neutral word.



Is redeveloped football stadium in Miskolc more important then the fate of “practically homeless” local Roma?

Canadian Officials In Hungary To Seek Information On Roma Exodus From Miskolc

17/04/2015 – Around 40-50 local Roma families have emigrated from the Hungarian city of Miskolc to Canada over the previous months, community leader Mihály Dancs has claimed, adding that the number may multiply soon. Roma families are planning to leave Hungary not only from in and around Miskolc but also more distant areas, he claims. In the meanwhile, officials from Canada’s immigration authority and representatives of the Canadian embassy in Budapest are in Miskolc to gather information on the situation. The Canadians met the head of the local Roma self-government and also town councillors, Mr. Dancs said.

Local Roma are leaving the city for Canada primarily from a slum area about to be torn down by municipal authorities, he said, adding that people living there have been made “practically homeless” by authorities. Hungary’s third-largest city decided last year to tear down the city’s slum neighbourhoods, considered hotbeds of crime, last year. After the slum clearance, the area from where Roma are now fleeing will give way to the city’s redeveloped football stadium. Speaking earlier, Miskolc mayor Ákos Kriza said that football fans “in their tens of thousands cannot be expected to pass by slum areas” on their way to the games.




Does EU initiative risk turning Roma into entertainers?

EU initiative risks turning Roma into entertainers, not real people with human rights

By Yaron Matras, Professor of Linguistics at University of Manchester

The Council of Europe recently announced a joint initiative with the Open Society Foundations (OSF), a charity led by billionaire philanthropist George Soros, to create a European Roma Institute (ERI). Billed as a “Roma-led” initiative, its declared purpose is to sponsor Romani artistic cultural production, to raise awareness of the Roma and to advise the Council of Europe on policy in relation to Roma.

The establishment of the ERI comes as the Council of Europe announced it would end its partnership with the European Roma and Travellers Forum, which it set up in the early 2000s as its own consultative body.

Wasted decade for Roma?

The partner on the ERI initiative, George Soros’s OSF, has been a key player in the promotion of Roma inclusion since the early 1990s. Soros set up a network of Romani NGOs as well as powerful in-house projects devoted to supporting a Roma voice. In 2005, he initiated a partnership with the governments of ten states in central and eastern Europe under the heading “Decade of Roma Inclusion”. The idea was to get governments to assume the responsibility for the work that Soros’s civil society initiatives had pioneered.

As the decade comes to a close, critiques pointed to very little change on the ground save the emergence of a small group of Roma whose careers have so far revolved around the network of Roma NGOs. Soros now faces the challenge to launch a new initiative, to show that his political impact is not limited to post-communist Europe – and not least to provide further employment for the generation of Roma activists that he has nourished so far.



On the desirability for Roma to be united worldwide as a true Nation

12 April 2015

Dear Brothers, Amare Kamle Phral,

Yesterday we had with some European Roma and collaborators an interesting chat on Skype, in reference to the globalization of our people, where we talked about the need to create a global network for Roma, due to the fact that the Eurocentrism that currently exists in some European organizations is dangerously damaging the future of our People and is taking us apart from our goals as an existing nation in all continents.

For many years in the Americas we have been talking about this subject, the subject of the union of the Romani Nation, regardless of the different policies that the Romani Organizations, each European country and the European Union in particular have developed against or in favor of our People. In this respect, the Romani People of the Americas during the past 2 decades was sending to the governments of the countries of our vast continent documents concerning the need that our People have to show itself as an international and unique People, as a true Nation without any territorial pretension.

In preparation for the international conference against racism and xenophobia held in Durban in August / September 2001, in Quito, Ecuador, in March of that same year the Romani People of the Americas, represented by different associations, prepared an international document which has been known as: The Other Son of Pacha Mama / Mother Earth: Declaration of the Roma People of Americas, which was published in 3 languages, Spanish, English (this version should be carefully revised) and Romani, we would like to discuss with all of you, our European brothers and sisters, about what has been written in this document, here I am sending it as an attachment, it would be very important if we could put together a debate in this regard, on the desirability of being united worldwide as a true Nation, despite the different policies developed in certain European or American countries in favor of our People. Thank you.

Jorge Bernal

President of AICRA – Member of SKOKRA

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Are the Roma issues the only Europe’s “unfinished” human rights issue?

In advance of International Romani Day on 8 April, US Ambassador to the OSCE Daniel B. Baer held a press conference about how the OSCE works on Roma issues. Journalists from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Kosovo, Slovakia and the United States joined the teleconference, including

The Ambassador began his remarks by noting that Romani people are part of the story of both America and Europe and said “the failure to fulfill the promise of human rights for all people, including Romani and Sinti people, is one of the pieces of unfinished human rights business in Europe, as former Secretary Clinton once called it. In too many places we know that discrimination and social exclusion and often violence is not adequately addressed by governments, and in some cases even supported or encouraged by government policies. So this remains a priority human rights issue for the United States in engaging with civil society and with governments in Europe.”



Is the establishment of European Roma Institute a powerful tool to outlaw existing anti-Gypsyism?

Hate – whether through speech or violence, whether against Roma or others, a hate rooted in prejudice and legitimized by politics – presents the leading challenge for Europe today. The European Roma Institute will seek to outlaw existing anti-Gypsyism just as anti-Semitism has been outlawed. On the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the Advisory Committee, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière described it as the job of politicians to oppose the significant decrease of inhibitions against antigypsyism and other forms of xenophobia since the beginning of the Pegida demonstrations.

The European Roma Institute will be there for all of Europe, but it will play the most important role for Sinti and Roma themselves. Millions of Sinti and Roma were killed during the Second World War but Romani culture, language and history suffered near fatal damage as well. We see the serious repercussions of this today; instead of celebrating our culture, some Sinti and Roma prefer to conceal it in the hope of avoiding stigmatization and marginalization.

The European Roma Institute will build upon the existing work of Sinti and Roma artists, cultural and media figures who are to date dispersed, disconnected and operate on a small scale. The institute will enable them to co-produce and exchange. The Institute will be a public communicator that can present the talent and richness of Romani arts, culture and history and demonstrate Romani contributions to Europe’s culture.