more than a collection of links. Indeed, we intend to place more original
material on our pages. But the links that are here should be viewed as
doorways to how the rest of the world views the Romani people. In visiting
these links a picture should start forming, a picture that shows little
has changed to improve the social and legal conditions of the Romani people.
Although Roma organisations are contributing substantially to education,
health, employment, legal services, and political action, there remains
much to do.
The Roma remain the most persecuted minority in
Europe. Innocent children, mothers and fathers are brutally attacked and
murdered and there is little action from the authorities to apprehend and
prosecute the racist culprits responsible for these senseless acts. The
authorities themselves are often responsible for singling out Roma by withholding
rightful citizenship, asylum from persecution, right to travel, social
services and due process of the law. Imprisonment and deportation are the
only official actions of many governments.
The reasons given by European governments lack clear thought or even-handed
justice. The German government claims it reduces racial violence by removing
Roma from their country. And what happens to the people responsible for
committing violence against Roma and other minorities? Other governments
claim that Roma are responsible for much petty crime, but have they attempted
to remove obstacles that prevent unemployment among the Roma, reducing
crime at the same time? Racist organisations demonstrate their messages
of hate openly directed at Roma with little or no restrictions, yet Roma
have little if any active decision-making roles in policies directly affecting
their own future.
Governments have attempted to forcibly settle and resettle Roma, often
with little success and negative results. These same governments have also
refused Roma the opportunity to settle down of their own accord. When a
new Roma encampment begins, they are forcibly removed. Reasons include
safety, hygiene, and reducing crime, but there is feeble effort by the
authorities in power to improve these settlements.
The Roma remain a people on the margins of society,
prevented from self-determination and gaining official recognition as a
minority entitled to basic humanitarian services and rights.
The Romani people remain misunderstood and socially isolated in Europe
for many reasons. Roma have mistrusted help or aid from outsiders, and
with justification. For centuries they have maintained a social distance
from gadje and remained separate as a matter of choice for protection
and cultural strength. The days of voluntary isolationism are nearing their
end in Europe. There remain very few places where Roma can have peace.
Overcrowding, ethnic conflicts and strictly enforced borders within Europe
force Roma closer and closer to gadje, and the situation will not
Governments have been slow to action because of the lack of a single
strong united Roma voice. If outside help is accepted Roma concerns and
resolve must be forcefully communicated. The World Romani Congresses and
the First Gypsy Congress of the European Union are major steps in the right
direction. See our Romani Rights and Romani
Education is the key. Roma organisations must educate
young Roma for positions of leadership in the Europe of tomorrow. Roma
organisations must also develop programmes to educate the public of the
realities of the Roma situation, and work with other organisations to eradicate
myths, slander and propaganda about Roma that inhibit progress towards
equal civil rights and social justice.
Governments must be held responsible for their mistreatment of Roma.
They must be informed and held liable for the criminality of their actions
and inaction. The European Parliament and the United Nations must send
notice to governments that continued abuse and persecution of Roma, or
any minority, will not be tolerated.