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:
Roma continue to face wide-ranging discrimination in access to education, employment, housing, and healthcare. In recent years, the global economic crisis has slowed down progress in addressing these challenges and led to an increase of rejection, often expressed through violent attacks of the Roma communities. The walling- off of some Roma villages from neighboring areas and the eviction of entire communities of Roma families from their homes vividly illustrates their exclusion and isolation. We cannot ignore these deeply troubling developments. No country can meet 21st century challenges with a large segment of its population discriminated, intimidated and excluded. Europe seems to have forgotten the central lesson of the past century – Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
To all European States
• We encourage all countries to follow the approach proposed at the EU Summit of 4 April 2014 to focus on the role of regional and local authorities in the Roma inclusion process. Efforts should be directed at reinforcing social cohesion at regional and local level by legalizing, rehabilitating and where necessary replacing Roma settlements which impede access to basic social rights;
• We call the European states to honor their legally and politically binding obligations and commitments to secure equal opportunities and support for the Roma community. We encourage all states which have not yet done so, to ratify all legally and politically binding documents as soon as possible and combat anti-Gypsy ideas and policies;
• Ensure that in its political priorities each country should recognize the equal rights of the Roma community in access to basic social rights and carry out all the necessary reform to ensure such access;
• We call upon all European states to recognize the minority status of Roma in their country and sign and ratify the Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;
• We call upon all European states to urgently launch accessible, visible, well-organised and resourced public campaigns to fight racism at national level;
• The culture and language of a people define its identity. Throughout the centuries, in several European countries, attempts have been made to destroy both the language and culture of the Roma. Roma history and culture should be included in the school curriculum to project a positive image of the Roma population and attempts should be made to stop the erosion of Romanes which is part of our European heritage.
To international institutions
• We call upon the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to use pressure with their member states to take all necessary measures to ensure for their Roma communities equal access to health, education, housing and employment and to exercise sanctions for failure to carry out the necessary reforms.
European states & the international institutions
• Call on all international organizations and national governments to recognize officially the Holocaust of the Roma in World War II and acknowledge that the current rejection of Roma is the result of the refusal by European communities to recognize the Holocaust of the Roma;
• The official recognition of this crime would help to restore that identity, spread knowledge of the genocide amongst the public and provide us with an explanation of today’s situation and the means to combat it.
Committee for Human Right, Cults and National Minorities issues of the Chamber of Deputies, Parliamentary Sub-Committee for Roma: Nicolae PAUN, MP
European Roma and Travellers Forum: Gheorghe RADUCANU, Presdient
International Romani Unio: Dorin CIOABA President
Partida Romilor “Pro-Europa”: Catalin MANEA, Secretary General
Alliance of Roma Communities and Organisations for Democracy (ACORD)
Vasile IONESCU, President