Global Policy Forum

The Roma


Emerging States & Claims to Autonomy and Independence



Picture Credit: The Roma, Gypsy and Traveler Community

Europe's Most Persecuted People? (September 9, 2010)

French President Sarkozy's recent expulsion of Roma from France indicates growing intolerance against the Roma throughout Europe. The European Roma population is growing at a faster pace than other European nations and the Roma are increasingly deemed second class citizens, excluded from schools, healthcare and employment. Being so attached to their traditional way of life, the Roma society struggles to live cohesively with modern European cultures and is reluctant to relinquish its unique, nomadic identity. (Prospect)

Roma and Statelessness (June 26, 2007)

After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, the number of stateless Roma greatly increased. The author places most of the responsibility of the Roma's plight on national authorities, who implemented stricter nationality laws based on jus sanguinis, or "right of blood." To help the stateless Roma, the article advocates introducing a European Union citizenship status. (European Parliament)

Balkan Countries Must Do More to Help Roma, Refugees and Displaced People - UN Report (June 28, 2006)

An estimated 8 million of Roma are spread throughout Europe, where many live in absolute poverty. As Montenegro gains its independence, Romania and Bulgaria apply for EU membership and Kosovo is determining its future, a UN Development Programme report argues that Balkan states must take steps to help the Roma and to "eradicate these deep pockets of poverty which threaten the social cohesion of this fragile, post-conflict region." (UN News)

New Gypsy Vision for the Future (June 23, 2006)

The Roma of Europe have adopted the tactics of the US Civil Rights movement to confront the racism and prejudice that they face. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has filed a case against the Czech Republic at the European Court of Human Rights. Having studied how blacks in the United States used the courts to instigate social change, ERRC hopes the case will have the same effect for Europe's Roma as Brown v Board of Education had for black people in the US in the 1950's. (Los Angeles Times)

Roma Realities and Possibilities (August 2, 2005)

The Roma people represent "one of the largest, poorest, and fastest growing minorities" in Europe, according to a World Bank report. With an estimated population of seven to nine million, Roma suffer significantly more from poverty, unemployment and lack of education. Eight central and southeastern European prime ministers are launching a "Decade of Roma Inclusion" (2005-2015), bringing together government officials, Roma leaders, and civil society to improve Roma's condition in the region. (Christian Science Monitor)

OSCE Skopje Conference Ends with Agreement on Return of Roma Refugees Stranded at Greek Border (July 25, 2003)

Since the refugee camp in Skopje closed, 700 Kosovar Roma refugees remained on the Greek border without legal status, attempting to enter the EU. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe finally decided to return the Roma to Skopje and re-register them in Macedonia. However, this is just another temporary solution; the final destination of the group remains unknown. (OneWorld)

Roma in an Expanding Europe: Breaking the Poverty Cycle (2003)

The World Bank reports on poverty among Roma people in Central and Eastern Europe, which has worsened with the transition from socialism in 1989. The report proposes solutions to such development challenges as unemployment, poverty, health care, and education.

Kosovo Roma Living in Fear Turn to EU for Help (July 7, 2003)

The Roma face under-representation and discrimination not only in selected former Soviet-bloc states, but also in the Balkans. Kosovo Roma refugees fear violence and persecution if they return home, but suffer from appalling poverty in Macedonian refugee camps. (OneWorld)

World Bank Supports New Roma Education Fund, Decade Initiative (July 1, 2003)

The Roma in Europe face significantly higher unemployment rates than other ethnicities. Local officials discriminate against Roma children and wrongly place them into schools for children with special needs. To address these and other issues the World Bank announces a Decade of Roma Inclusion and establishes a special Roma Education Fund.

Gypsy Leaders Demand Better Deal in Europe (July 1, 2003)

The billionaire philanthropist George Soros co-hosted the largest meeting ever of Roma leaders in Budapest. Participants formed an agenda to address the "entrenched poverty and isolation in the margins of society" of five million Gypsies ready to enter the EU. (Guardian)

Roma Find New Representation (May 19, 2003)

Hungary will set up a new government office to focus exclusively on the plight of the Roma people, who suffer from extraordinary poverty, unemployment, and workplace discrimination throughout Europe. NGOs say the office will give much needed representation to the half million Roma in Hungary. (Inter Press Service)

Report Urges New Strategy to Aid Europe's Poverty-Stricken Roma (January 16, 2003)

A United Nations Development Programme report shows that programs to lift minority Roma communities in Eastern Europe out of poverty have failed miserably. One in six Roma people in the region are "constantly starving," and only a third of Roma children attend primary school.

Roma Seeking Sense of Unity to Combat Racial Bias (May 10, 2002)

Meeting in Poland, Romani delegates warn that "society wants to assimilate the Roma." The increasing marginalization of the European Roma population and the rise of right-wing racist policies means "self-determination of Roma is the only road to integration." (New York Times)

Gypsies Want Global "Nation" To Fight Exclusion (July 25, 2000)

Meeting in Prague this week, Roma call for their own nation and a cessation of discrimination. The self proclaimed Gypsy King, Florian Cioba, declared that he will create a "Romany European parliament" to represent his people's interests and rival the EU parliament. (Agence France Presse)




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