EC does not know how much money goes to EU projects on Romanies

(PDM staff with CTK) 29 September - The European Commission (EC) does not yet know how much money the European Social Fund (ESF) will give to projects to improve Romany integration, employment and education, Hana Velecka from the Commission told CTK Tuesday.

Velecka, who works at the office of the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, said that a database of the projects which the ESF supported is yet to be made.

"We depend on the EU member countries. We send them money for projects, but they do not have to send us information on them," Velecka said.

The EC wants to have the information from the countries by the end of October. The planned database should monitor not only cash flow, but also the effect of the projects focused on Romanies. The Czech Republic may draw some EUR 13.5 billion by 2006 from the ESF for projects supporting employment, establishing new jobs or on education.

The Czech side has to pay 20 to 50 percent of the whole budget.

Velecka said that Romany projects must be part of a larger strategy and be related to each other. Projects on Romanies in the social integration programme or services make up about one-fourth of the applications for ESF money. About one-fourth of these projects are supported by the EU, said Zdenka Kucerova from the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry.

"Only a minority of projects succeed as many of them are of low quality. Their authors are not prepared to create complicated projects," Kucerova said.

CTK news edited by the staff of the Prague Daily Monitor, a Monitor CE service.

Well surprise, surprise - NOT. How could they know if they never seem to request accounts and accountability of the recipient organizations such as the IRU, the ERTF and others? Money is being poured into those projects but they never seem to achieve anything with the exception of creating a nice little earner for those that administer those projects, and the bulk of the money seems to end up in the black hole of the pockets of the Baros and Bulibashas instead of benefiting the poor Romani at grassroots level, even though those projects, in their claims, are supposed to alleviate the poverty of the grassroots Romani in the various countries.

Romany as Official Language in Spain?

27. 9. 2005

Today the Catalonian republican party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) proposes to the Spanish Parliament to adopt Romany as one of the official language of Spain.

ERC bases its proposal on the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages of 1992. The Charter has been ratified by 19 of 46 members of the Council of Europe, including Spain. The document aims to protect and promote regional and minority languages as a threatened aspect of Europe's cultural heritage and to enable speakers of a regional or minority language to use it in private and public life.

In Spain there are about 700,000 Roma and, in spite of the strong assimilation policy, some of them continue to speak Cale, a dialect of the Romany language. Spain already recognize Catalan, Galician and Basque as co-official languages in the regions where they are spoken.

Romany is nowadays the language of milions citizens of the EU and the number of Romany speakers might grow after the next enlargement.

However, according Dzeno's information Romany has not been considered as official language by any EU member state yet. Romany remained unoticed also on Sptember 26 established as European Day of Languages. (Dzeno Association)

I wonder whether anyone has actually asked the Gitanos (Cale) as to whether they want their Romano Calo Chib become an official language of Spain. Because the pitfall of that would be that all and sundries, including payos, would be able, under the law, to learn the language in schools and such and demand a right to learn that language whether or not the Gitanos would want this to happen or not. This issue is being discussed right now in a similar manner in Germany and the majority of tatcho Sinti are vehemently opposed to the Sintitikes language being available, by rights of law, to Chale (non-Romani).

Inquiry rules Gypsies must move

An inquiry into a Gypsy site in North Curry has ruled that the group must move within the next 12 months.

Several residents in the Somerset village have been fighting to have the 16 families evicted since they arrived last autumn.

The group, who had bought the field in Oxen Lane at auction, have put up fences and built roads.

Taunton Deane Borough Council had refused them permission to stay and a planning inspector upheld the decision.

The ruling was backed by the deputy prime minister, John Prescott.

The report stated the application was rejected because of "compelling objections .. on highway, landscape and residential amenity grounds".

It said the use of the land was a "material change" and that retrospective planning permission would not be granted.

John Williams, leader of Taunton Deane Borough Council, said he was pleased with the decision.

Councillor Williams said "common sense" had prevailed and "the serious injustice that had been inflicted on the community of North Curry has not been upheld".

Story from BBC NEWS: Link

Published: 2005/09/26 17:45:50 GMT


Are those Gypsies Gypsies that is what I want to know first or are they, like in the Dale Farm issue, nothing but Irish Trailer Trash who have no right to even claim the title Gypsy and in Eire they will vehemently rant against anyone addressing them as Gypsies and they will insist to be called Travelers. However, as soon as they are in the UK they will make the Gypsy racial claim. Well, being in trailers don't make one Gypsy.

Gypsies dispel myths though film

By Carla Pickering
CBBC Newsround

Young Romanian Gypsies, or Roma, living in the UK have helped make a film about their lives to dispel some of the myths surrounding their culture.

Sex, teenage marriage and persecution in Romania are some of the subjects touched on in the 30-minute film.

Produced by The Children's Society, it shows several young Roma interviewing their families and each other.

Together with a report, the video is designed to give teachers and other professionals an insight into the Roma.

Costel, 12, who moved to Nottingham in 2002, was involved in the video project. He said: "It's about trying to help the Roma by not having the same problems as we did in Romania.

"Things were very different back there and there were problems with the police. We were also bullied and beaten in school and called names just because we were Roma."
"That's Who I am: Experiences of young Romanian Roma in London," was launched at the headquarters of Network Rail offices in London on 20 September.

The video and report were produced after consulting 31 young Roma people, aged between 10 and 23, from towns all over Romania, as well as experts and professionals working with the Roma.

School 'vital'

Funded by the Railway Children, a charity working for runaways and abandoned children who live on or around the world's railway stations, the report concludes that schooling is vital to help Roma children integrate into UK society.

Project worker for The Children's Society and author of the report, Heather Ureche, said: "The most important single factor in the life of a young Roma is early, permanent and continuous inclusion in school."

The study leading to the report and video was established in 2003, in response to a growing number of young Romanian Roma living on the street and being picked up by the police.

With persecution and racism in their homeland on the increase there are consequently a greater number of asylum seekers in the UK, triggering a growth of anti-Roma feeling within sections of the community - Children's Society

The Children's Society strategy director, Penny Dean, said: "We realised that we had little knowledge about the Roma culture and there appeared to be a similar need for information in the professional sector.

"The aim of the report and video is to disseminate learning, knowledge and increased awareness to promote better services and outcomes for the Roma children."


Many of Europe's 10 to 12 million Roma live in central or eastern Europe, making them the biggest ethnic minority in the region.

While there are laws in place to support them, discrimination, leading to poverty, hunger and a lack of medical treatment, is the main reason given by young Roma for leaving their homeland.

In Romania, from where the Roma originally hail, seven in 10 do not have access to running water, according to data released by the United Nations Development Programme in February 2005.

The summary of The Children's Society report states: "With persecution and racism in their homeland on the increase there are consequently a greater number of asylum seekers in the UK, triggering a growth of anti-Roma feeling within sections of the community."

It goes on to say that a lack of understanding of Roma culture, including teenage marriages, large families and a different way of dressing, is more of a problem than overt racism.

It also states that the Roma suffer three fold-prejudice in the UK. Firstly because they are Gypsies, secondly because they are often asylum seekers or refugees and thirdly because they are Romanian.


In February 2005, leaders from central and eastern European countries, including Romania, launched what is being described as the first international effort to improve living conditions for the Roma.

The project, called the "Decade of Roma Inclusion," aims to improve Roma education, housing, employment and health care.

In 2007, Romania is set to become a member of the European Union, giving Romanian nationals leave to live and work throughout Europe.

Entry depends on the pace of reform which includes securing rights for the Roma.
The European Commission report tracking the country's preparation for membership will be published in November.

Entry into the EU will mean Roma people living in Europe will no longer be classed as asylum seekers or refugees.

Like the Children's Society, the children involved in filming and editing the video hope this will lead to a better standard of life for the Roma.

If you would like a copy of the video on CD Rom, please contact Heather Ureche from The Children Society on 020 7 639 1466 or email her at

Not much that I can say with the exception that, personally, I would disagree with the statement of "School 'vital'", as I do not see school, as in government brainwashing institution, as a very good idea for Romani chavies at all, if it can be helped. I am all for education - with a capital "E" even - but in the context of Romanipen and with other Romani.
I shall try to get a-hold of a copy of the video, which I hopefully shall be able to then watch on the PC, and maybe able to comment more at a later stage.

Village homes 'not suitable'

By Cat Bartman

19 September 2005 09:35

Funding has been withdrawn from an affordable housing scheme in a South Norfolk village after councillors agreed it was not a suitable location.

It follows a recent unsuccessful planning appeal by gypsy families in Denton, near Bungay, who wanted to stay at an unofficial site they had settled on.

The planning inspector said one of the reasons for the decision was the site's unsuitability in term of accessibility to services and facilities.

Planning officers told South Norfolk Council's Cabinet that this had raised a number of issues that make it difficult for the council to continue to support a scheme to provide eight affordable houses in the village in partnership with Flagship Housing Group.

They said that the funding earmarked for the scheme should be used to provide affordable homes elsewhere.

A report to Cabinet said: "We now have guidance that we believe supports the view that Denton is not an appropriate location to support further housing development.

"We should have a consistent approach to site location with regard to gypsies and local needs housing because of its remoteness from services under policy criteria.

"As Denton is not considered an appropriate location for sites for gypsies, it is not appropriate for local needs housing."

Cabinet members agree that steps should be taken to seek approval from Norfolk County Council to transfer £125,000 of second homes money earmarked for the Denton scheme to one in Bressingham, near Diss.

A survey has established housing need there and a site has been found which planning officers would recommend approval for development.

It was also agreed that the £60,000 for the Denton scheme should be used elsewhere.

Denton Parish Council asked that some of the funding be carried forward so a way can be found to deliver a scheme in the village, and that the councils work together to try and make the village more sustainable, for example by creating a community shop and doctors' surgery.

But officers said that by making Denton more sustainable the council would in future want to be able to consider sites in the village - and in others with similar levels of services - as potential gypsy sites.

Local councillor Murray Gray put forward another recommendation, asking that once policies have been updated under the Local Development Framework process, Denton's position is reviewed as a matter of urgency and, if appropriate, its needs be given the highest priority for future funding for affordable housing.

This was also agreed by members.

It again and again surprises me that local governments will decide that a certain location is not suitable for a Gypsy family to live because of the lack of services and amenities or the distance from them despite the fact that the people would be quite happy living there.
It has also occurred previously that a Gypsy family would be turned down on those grounds, the land then went to developers and viola houses were built there and there was no problem as regards to being too far away from services and amenities.

Kosice's Lunik IX estate may be without heat in winter

Kosice, 19. 9. 2005, 20:42 (CTK)

Inhabitants of the largest Romany estate in Slovakia, Kosice's Lunik I, will probably spend another winter without warm water and heating over their high debts for rent and water, it ensues from today's meeting of the government and local representatives. The Lunik inhabitants' debts have amounted to 500 million crowns in the past few years.

The government commissioner for Romany issues, Klara Orgovanova, who discussed the situation with the Kosice officials, admitted that the housing estate with some 5,000 inhabitants again faces a threat of being without warm water and heating, which occurred last winter.

"The problematic situation of the Lunik IX inhabitants would be solved only if they finally started to pay," Kosice Mayor's spokeswoman Zuzana Bobrikova told reporters after the meeting. She pointed out that the people not only owe money for the heat supply, but they also leaked warm water, 1,000 up to 2,000 cubic metres a day, from the heating system. Under such conditions, the heating plant is not able to secure heating in the flats, she added.

Moreover, during the summer season, the Lunik inhabitants dismantled thousands of radiators and carried them to the salvage point.

However, Frantisek Horvath from the local guards at Lunik IX denies this information as mendacious. He said that an inspection found out that only 111 radiators had been dismantled and taken away. Those were over 25 years old and already rusted, he added. Bobrikova however objected that most of the 250,000 inhabitant in Kosice have such old radiators too, but they do not sell them as scrap material.
Lunik IX Mayor Ladislav Sana complained after the meeting that he can do practically nothing as he has no powers to force people to pay rent.

However, not all the Lunik inhabitants are rent defaulters. Some 200 out of the 800 households living in 666 flats, pay rent as well as water and sewage fees properly.
Kosice Town Hall officials said that these families could be relocated to one or two blocks of flats where warm water supplies and heating could be provided, while those who are not willing to pay would have to stay in the houses with "a lower standard." Kosice Mayor Zdenko Trebula told reporters today that he is dealing with the situation at Lunik IX constantly. At the same time he admitted that the talks between the Lunik IX self- government and the Kosice Town Hall had "frozen" over the unwillingness of local representatives.

Orgovanova confirmed it. She also said that the inhabitants of the Romany estate should show more initiative to find a solution to the current situation.


'Gypsy' Car Theft Ring Hit South Bay Dealers Hard

(Bay City News) SAN JOSE Beginning a year ago, a group of self-proclaimed "gypsies" struck several South Bay car dealers using false identities and financial information to steal at least 113 vehicles, authorities announced at a news conference Tuesday.

Approximately 25 people have been arrested and police are seeking more than 50 additional suspects as part of a scam that lasted from August 2004 until approximately early February of this year, according to San Jose Police Lt. Vaughn Edwards, head of the Regional Auto Theft Task Force.

"The suspects were self proclaimed gypsies," Edwards said. "They were all connected either by family or some other connection."

Gypsies from across the country came to the San Jose area to participate in the scam after it was posted on an Internet chat room used by gypsies, according to Edwards.

"There is in fact a pretty good communication network via the Internet," Edwards said. "It's a very close knit group."

Suspects have been arrested as far away as Alaska and cars stolen in San Jose have been recovered across the country in states including New Jersey, Texas and Florida.

Authorities did not even become aware of the scam until late February when the car dealers finally reported it.

By then, the gypsies had largely stopped working the scam because car dealers had tightened their procedures for verifying a car buyer's financial information before allowing a vehicle to be driven off of the lot, Edwards said.

The car dealers targeted by the suspects were Capitol Honda, Carl Chevrolet, Courtesy Chevrolet and Chris's Dodge World. The most popular cars taken by the suspects were Honda Accords and Civics but some suspects took Hummers and Corvettes, Edwards said.

While these nomadic criminals appear not to be targeting South Bay car dealers any more they often move about the country doing the same type of scam over and over.

"Philadelphia and Chicago, they got hit with a ton of these," Edwards said.

Some of these criminals may remain in the Bay Area perpetrating other scams such as elder abuse. Residents, especially the elderly, should be cautious and report any suspicious activity or contacts to police, according to Deputy District Attorney Tom Flattery.

"The best way to prosecute these cases is to make sure they don't happen in the first place," Flattery said.

Authorities have placed photographs of the suspects still at-large in this case on the Web sites of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office,, and the San Jose Police Department,

Anyone with information on the suspects' whereabouts or any information about this case should call Morrow or Detective Joe Mamone at (408) 808-4555.

"Self-proclaimed Gypsies", states this article, are those supposedly responsible for those car thefts but no one even asks as to whether those people are Gypsies, as in Romani, by ethnicity. I would suspect that those "self-proclaimed Gypsies" are more than likely so-called Irish Travelers who are not ethnically Gypsies, as per the dictionary, but Irish non-Romani trailer trash, living, in the main from scams of various degrees and types. Instead of using "Gypsies" in their article and by the police departments in their press releases maybe it would be a good idea if they would be more precise, instead of accusing all Gypsies, yet again, as thieves, vagabonds, rogues and criminals of all kinds. But then, it would appear, the police departments in the land of the free and the home of the brave, a country that wants to be the world's policeman, can use racist remarks without impunity. But, knowing the ignorance of many US police officers, like US citizens in general, I am not surprised about such attitudes. People, who rarely ever get outside their county let alone their state and definitely not out of their own country but still think they know it all and have rather a pigheaded attitude against other cultures, cannot react in any other way. This can also be seen in the war on terrorism where they certainly will never win the hearts and minds of the people. I wonder whether they would dare to say "a Jewish Car Theft Ring" is the people all be Jewish??? Well, dosta penavas.

Italy: Roma Market in the Italian Capital

21. 9. 2005

If you are a tourist in Rome and you want to spend an alternative Sunday morning, the cooperative Pharalipe' (Fraternity) organizes a weekly flea-market of Romany crafts' objects and products.

Copper pots, hand-made wooden spoons and flowered shawls are some of the products that you will find in the Romany market. The Phralipe' s initiative also proposes a market of second-hand clothes and an antique exposition. Moreover, for all that are interested to delve into these topics, an exposition of Romany and travelers' culture and history is available.

The Phralipe' cooperative was founded in 1989. Its first aim is to involve the ca. 7000 Roma of the Italian capital in the labor market avoiding the individual base in the respect their family-based organization.

For all the people that are interested, the Romany market takes place every Sunday from 8:00 in La Rustica area, Mirtillo Street, in the east part of Rome.
(Dzeno Association)

Christian radio programs for the Romani to be produced in Albania.

September 23, 2005

Albania (MNN)--The Roma people of Eastern Europe are often ostracized and forgotten. Researchers estimate the worldwide Romani population at 44 million.

About half the people group are nomadic and, even when they do settle down, generally shun cultural integration. Thus marginalized, they are the most unwanted people group in Europe.

As a result, there are very few things developed expressly for them. When Christian radio began sharing the love of Christ, the message gained momentum.

That's especially true in Albania, says Words of Hope's Lee DeYoung. "For the last two years, a station in southern Albania has been broadcasting these programs over FM, and even majority Albanian people living in that signal area of that station enjoy hearing the programs."

Words of Hope's Romani programs began airing from Trans World Radio's 500,000 watt AM transmitter in Albania.

Their response makes it possible to expand even more. "We're looking forward to producing some Balkan-Romani programs inside Albania in the future. Up till now, all of them have been produced in Bulgaria. We were able to go to a number of Romani neighborhoods and different towns, and we were able to play program samples for the people. The response was very encouraging."

Romani people tend to be suspicious of outsiders, but this barrier was overcome by using native Romani speakers to host the programs.

A member of the Gospel Communications Network.
Report problems to:
©2005 Mission Network News. All Rights Reserved.

A radio station such as this about the Gospel and such is just what the poor and neglected Romani People needed as much as a hole in the head. They do not need evangelizing and being "brought to Jesus"; they need to be allowed to live their own way and their own Traditions. The Christian church is hell-bent on destroying the Romani Communities everywhere in the same way as they are with Native Americans whether North or South America and in-between. No, I do not hate God, it is his fan club that I object to.

Belgorod Roma Family Savagely Attacked in Their Own Home

(September 19, 2005)

With military precision, a group of youths attacked a Roma (Gypsy) family in their own home in Belgorod, Russia, according to a September 13, 2005 article in the local newspaper Meridian. The attack took place late at night on August 25, as the Nikolaenko family was asleep in their home. Armed with knives and metal pipes, a dozen or so masked attackers cunningly placed a detour sign on the road to avoid the risk of passing motorists interfering with their plans.

Screaming "Beat the Gypsies!" the youths threw smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails through the windows and lay in wait for the Roma to run out. Ivan Nikolaenko was the first to escape the burning home, and was immediately set upon by some of the youths wielding pipes. As he was defending himself, he witnessed his son being stabbed and his wife being pummeled with pipes as she lay on the ground.

Fortunately, the Nikolaenkos had some overnight guests, and when they emerged from the house, they startled the attackers, who didn't expect so many potential opponents. The attackers fled, except for one, whom Mr. Nikolaenko managed to grab and unmask, exposing the face of a local youth. Mrs. Nikolaenko had her arm broken in several places and was hospitalized, along with her son.

Police arrested several suspects. At this point, the article states, the facts become murky. The article cites rumors that some of the attackers were students at a local MVD (police) academy, and that they have been released by sympathetic police officers. A local police official denies this, but was reluctant to provide further details about the identity of the attackers.

One of the suspects reportedly confessed to being a skinhead, but local authorities are playing this down. The author of the article was dumbfounded that all the suspects are being charged with "hooliganism," despite the obvious organized and racially motivated aspects of the crime.

It would not surprise me should the rumors of some of the attackers being MVD academy students. They would just the kind of people who would know how to obtain detour signs and such. The question also arises as to whether "smoke bombs" are articles that "ordinary" skinhead hooligans would be able to lay their grubby little hands on without help from certain sections in the security apparatus. Well, maybe one day the truth will emerge but I do have my doubts simple because it was only, as the authorities in Russia and elsewhere see things like that, "dirty Gyppos" that were attacked and nearly murdered.

The truth about Travellers (If you believe that you believe everything - Ed.)

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Reporter: Jodie van de Wetering

Presenter: Wayne Shearman

What do you know about Gypsies? Are they roving vagabonds, stealing horses, kidnapping children and telling dodgy fortunes?

That's the stereotype of the "Gypsy", and it's an image most Roma people find highly insulting.

The Roma are the minority ethnic group that migrated from India through the Middle East into Europe over the past thousand years.

Their exotic appearance led many Europeans to assume they came from Egypt - hence the word "gypsy".

Today, they are often referred to as Travellers, and many still embrace the traditional nomadic lifestyle.

Right here in Queensland, a group of people are keeping traditional Roma music and dance alive, and teaching the public the truth about this race.

Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania is a performance group, playing re-creations of traditional Rom music and performing dances like those the 14th century Roma would have done.

Their co-ordinator, Margaret Cunningham, says it's a hard job piecing together a historically accurate picture of the Roma lifestyle.

"Over the centuries, these people haven't been very well liked or highly regarded," Ms Cunningham explains.

"Nobody thought to write anything down, or depict Roma people in paintings."

The troupe's costumes blend historical Indian, Persian and Spanish elements, and their dances combine primitive versions of Flamenco with Middle Eastern "belly dancing" moves.

Margaret Cunningham was drawn to the Roma re-enactment movement through her training in Eastern dance.

"Roma dance influenced a lot of Eastern dance styles, and it's a bit of a mystery in dance circles - what is Roma dance?"

Shuvani Romani takes their name from the Shuvani tribe, which inhabited southern Spain, Andalusia and Granada in the 15th century.

The troupe are predominantly entertainers, but some members do have Roma ancestry.

"We're primarily here to perform," Margaret says, "But we also educate."

"Sometimes people will come and see us, and tell their children 'be careful, they'll take you away or steal from you because they're Gypsies'

"We gently point out that every culture has had periods of high crime, it's hardly something unique to the Roma."

Original Internet Source (this should give everyone a good laugh)

I have reproduced the article above in full without editing it directly though it was very tempting…
I have rarely read as much bull dust as this article and this dance troupe is giving Gohja folks an entirely false perception - not that they need being helped in that - about the Romani (not Roma) People. There has never been, for instance, such as tribe as the Shuvani Tribe, and definitely not in Spain. The Romani (not Roma) of Spain, a.k.a. as Gitanos, are Cale and do not have such tribal names. This is all concocted bull dust and it is time such insults to the Romani People are stopped once and for all.
The in the initial statement it is being said: "What do you know about Gypsies? Are they roving vagabonds, stealing horses, kidnapping children and telling dodgy fortunes? That's the stereotype of the "Gypsy", and it's an image most Roma people find highly insulting". Here it must be pointed out, yet again, that not all Romani are Roma and that the Roma are but one group amongst the Romani People, and those that are not Roma find it also highly insulting to be referred to as Roma. In addition to that the stereotypes mentioned are not only an insult to our People; the bull dust that is being perpetuated by Gohja masquerading as Gypsy, and claiming to represent our People authentically, while they are not, that too is an insult and more so, maybe even, than stereotypes. Misrepresentation of our People by folks who claim to all and sundry to have researched the subject and that they are representing the truth is worth, in my view, than are the actual stereotypes. Like the SCA Gypsies of the Renaissance Fairs in the USA and elsewhere who live in "cloud cuckoo land" the Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania dance troupe misinterprets our People in exactly the very same way. But then it is not really surprising when now even Romani organizations have gatherings that are nothing more than Ren Fairs where pretenders gather and play Gypsy in fancy dress and all that. They may, like some of the members of the Shuvani Romani Dance Kumpania claim "Roma" ancestry but with many of them, like with those of this dance troupe, I very much doubt it.

Simon Wiesenthal died

In Obituary

With regret, the news was given, today, that Simon Wiesenthal, passed away, peacefully in his sleep, in Austria where he had been living.

Simon will certainly be remembered with much affection and respect by those few remaining Sinti and Roma that had survived the horrors of the Nazi regime.

Despite his devotion to exposing the horrific treatment of his fellow Jews, at the hands of the Nazis, Simon will be remembered for the prominent part that he played in attempting to bring to light the suffering experienced, along with his fellow Jews, by the very many thousands of Sinti and Roma.

In a world that appears unwilling to accept that "the Gypsy" were made to suffer wholesale extermination on racial grounds, Simon Wiesenthal will be long remembered for his efforts to expose the true situation of our Romani People at the hands of the Nazis and their sympathizers, throughout Europe.

May Simon's light remain undiminished, shining bright in a world made dark by hatred!

Amare Devel amensa

Tom O
International Romani Guild

A holocaust survivor

Mehru Jaffer

It might be 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, but Ceija Stojk, who was persecuted during World War II, remembers Auschwitz "every waking moment of my life."

Her hands brought together in traditional Indian greeting - the namaskar - Ceija Stojka, 71, stands in her Vienna apartment, and says that it is she who is Aryan, not Adolf Hitler. After all, Europe's gypsies are proud to trace their origins to India, despite the fact that the Nazis persecuted them during World War II, for being too bohemian, dark-skinned and curly-haired.

The navy blue ink of the identification number - Z 6399 - that was tattooed on to her left arm by the Nazis, when she was barely 10 years old, still glistens in the grey light reflected by a snowstorm outside. Behind Ceija, the television screen shows scenes from a sombre ceremony in Poland.

The year 2005 marks 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, the death camp where 1.5 million people were killed between 1940 and January 1945 because the Nazis considered them impure of race.

While most of those killed were Jews, the others included Poles, gypsies, homosexuals and political opponents of the Nazis. From Ceija's extended family of over 200 people in the 1940s, only her mother, four brothers and sisters survived the Holocaust.

And ever since then, Ceija dyes her long, dark tresses blonde in defiance of Hitler's cruel politics of pitching one race of people against another. In her apartment, Ceija - pronounced like the Indian name Chchaya - is surrounded by photographs of family members both dead and alive.

The musician, painter and writer's apartment is also full of paintings of flowers, forests, and the caravan that first brought gypsies from India to Europe about a thousand years ago.

She says she is able to smile today only because the zest for life is a gift from God to the gypsies. This longing to live to the hilt is best portrayed through an ongoing exhibition of paintings in Vienna, titled `Ceija Stojka - Alive'. The exhibition will travel all over the country and abroad throughout 2005.

Ceija was born in 1933, into a Lovari family, considered to be an extension of the Indian community of ironsmiths (lohars) and traders in horses. In the same year, politicians met to discuss the "gypsy question" in Austria. At that time, there was a proposal to deport the country's 11,000 gypsies to an island in the Pacific. The then prevailing race laws put them on par with millions of Jews.

The Roma were the only other population besides the Jews who were targeted for extermination on racial grounds. They arrived in Europe about the year 1300 A.D., having departed from India between 1000 and 1200 A.D. Their entry into Europe, from the Byzantine Empire, was a result of Islamic expansion.

As non-Christian and non-white Asian people, possessing no territory in Europe, the Roma were considered outsiders in every country. Their distinct Romani culture too encouraged a social distance between Roma and gadje (the non-Roma), further reinforcing their difference from the Europeans.

In his book, Genocide of the Roma in the Holocaust, Ian Hancock says that when the Nazis came to power in 1933, German laws against the Roma had already been in place for hundreds of years. For instance, not having a permanent home or job, and not being on taxpayer's register, were punishable offences.

Gypsy children were forbidden to attend school, and the first orders to intern them in a forced labour camp followed after the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938. This, of course, was a transit camp on the way to extermination.

Ceija's seven-year-old brother, Ossi, was used for medical experiments at Auschwitz; and he died in 1943. Along with her mother and an aunt, Ceija was transferred to another camp for women.

When British troops finally liberated the concentration camp in 1945, only 2,000 of the 11,000 Austrian gypsies survived, and returned to Vienna. Since travelling and camping were forbidden during the years after the War, Ceija was unable to follow the family tradition of trading in horses. So she sold carpets instead.

The little girl, who had constantly wondered why her father didn't return home, got evidence of his murder in 1942 at a Nazi concentration camp, much later in 2003. Her book, We Live In Seclusion: Memories Of A Romni (published 1988), was the first book written by a gypsy about the fate and suffering of the Roma in the concentration and extermination camps.

"I have survived on paper and pieces of leather when I was hungry and it is not just today but I remember Auschwitz every waking moment of my life," says Ceija who chose to drown her misery in music, painting and poetry.

"I am unable to go to places in my mama's beautiful wagon but that does not prevent me from roving in my mind," she says. She does not believe in hating even those who have harmed her in the past. But what disturbs her is right wing fascists winning elections in both Austria and Germany. "I have no room for hatred in my heart but what about some of those around me," she asks.

Women's Feature Service

Original Internet Source

More Sites not More Enforcement - Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition - Press Statement

London, 14. 9. 2005, 12:34 (GTLRC)

Joseph Jones will be speaking at the Local Government Association (LGA) conference on Gypsies and Travellers on the 15th of September in London. The minister Yvette Cooper MP will also be speaking. Joseph will state: "We are aware that the LGA is calling for stronger enforcement powers against Gypsies and Travellers living on land without planning permission but existing ones, which include fines of up to £20,000 and even imprisonment are severe enough. Councils will jump to take up any such new powers but not lift a finger to make more sites".

" More sites is the ultimate solution and councils need to be under a statutory duty telling them to provide and facilitate sites. The last Conservative Government scrapped the duty on councils to provide sites, at a time when there was already a shortfall, andexacerbated the national shortage of sites, the problem was compounded by Labour's failure to return the duty. Many Gypsies and Travellers were forced to provide for themselves and hollow promises were even made in a planning circular that councils would help them but they didn't. Figures show that almost 90% of applications from Gypsies and Travellers were refused, as against less than 20% from others. For that reason some desperate homeless families have had to move onto their land and then put in a planning application. Now politicians like David Davies MP for Monmouth and Michael Howard have the cheek to call such Travellers law breakers. Will these same Conservatives castigate Conservative councils like Brentwood which are wilfully defying new obligations the Government have set out on Gypsy and Traveller accommodation? Just who is breaking planning law?"

"The Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition calls upon the LGA and Government to establish a moratorium on forced eviction until the shortage of sites has been addressed at a local level. Families living on unauthorised developments are victims of policy failure not criminals who should be herded off their land by bulldozers and bailiffs. We would hope that Gypsies and Travellers like those at Dale Farm could be granted planning permission. Failing that alternative land should be offered. In 21st century Britain forced eviction should not even be considered. This is Mugabe politics right here in Britain today. If the sites are created then the need for and cost of enforcement is cut away and more Gypsies and Travellers can get the chance to become part of a community and to make the contribution they want to make and are capable of making. Don't fight with us but work with us to find a solution. This w! as the approach that David Atkinson the Conservative MP who promoted the Traveller Law Reform Bill in parliament took, in truth he did more for us than many other politicians and his example of promoting not just more site provision but dialogue and mutual understanding is one all the political parties need to follow and learn from".

Joseph Jones is a committee member of the Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition and founder member of International Gypsy and Traveller Affairs.

The conference will be at Local Government House, Conference Centre, Smith Square, London SW1.

Andrew Ryder, The Gypsy and Traveller Law Reform Coalition

Romany family condemned to homelessness by court

KARVINA, North Moravia (PDM staff with CTK) 16 September - The district court in Karvina yesterday ordered a six-member Romany family to leave a city-owned apartment hotel in Bohumin, North Moravia.

The town hall had bought the apartment from the local firm Zelezarny a dratovny Bohumin and it wants to build flats there. Some Romany families living in the apartment building have refused to leave, including the family of Renata Scukova, whose case the court ruled on.

Scukova, has four children, some of whom are ill, and her husband is hearing impaired. She has been unable to pay her rent.

Scukova's lawyer tried to convince the court that the family was unable to find a new home and that it does not want to join an asylum center as it could be split up there.

"I will appeal the verdict, I am at a loss. I have come here chiefly for my children's sake and expected to receive a replacement home. This is discrimination," Scukova told journalists.

Her lawyer told the court that the town hall preferred some new tenants at the expense of the socially disadvantaged whom it wants to move into a ghetto or out of the town. The state attorney rejected this accusation. She said that if the court had decided to the benefit of Scukova, it would set a precedent and any city hotel guest could ask for a new home.

In all, the Karvina district court is to deal with four lawsuits from Romanies threatened with eviction.

The court ruled today that Scukova had to move out within 15 days after the verdict takes effect.

Romany families had to move out of city dwellings in other towns, too, in north Bohemia in particular, on the basis of a court order.

The court in Most, North Bohemia, for instance, has approved the evictions of tens of tenants and people who had no right to use the flats.

In the Chanov neighbourhood in Most, which is chiefly inhabited by Romany families, rent defaulters owe tens of million crowns. Some of them have been relocated to a town hall center for rent defaulters.


Roma Back Dale Farm Against Bulldozers

13. 9. 2005

Dale Farm residents, who face the bulldozing of their homes by an extreme right-wing Tory council, led a procession through St Paul's Cathedral yesterday (11 September), marking London's 10th.

Racial Justice Sunday. Flanked by Polish, Czech and Bulgarian Roma, along with members of the Peace & Progress Party, Dale Farm chairman Richard Sheridan told a rally outside the cathedral that the 85 families in the settlement still hoped to obtain planning permission from Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott.

"We'll not give up our homes without a fight," Sheridan said. "All our hopes are invested in the land we have bought and we won't go - even if they bring bulldozers."

At the start of the service, Travellers and Roma were welcomed by the Bishop of Southwark Tom Butler, who told the packed congregation that Gypsies were among the most discriminated against people in Britain.

Another speaker. Sam Bekoe, of Pan African Legal Services, said Roma, as well as English Gypsies, were the targets of racial treatment by the authorities. Romani children were being snatched from schools by immigration officers to be forced back to eastern Europe.

Janette Gronfers, from Finland, representing the International Romani Women's Network, said afterwards they would continue to campaign for Dale Farm. She accepted an invited from residents to visit the village settlement shortly.

"We are raising the issue of Dale Farm with both EU and UN human rights commissions," said Gronfers, who is working closely with the UK National Association of Gypsy Women. She has recently started teaching Romani children in East London.

Hagir Ahmed, steering committee member of the Peace & Progress told Ustiben that the deteriorating situation of Travellers in Britain was an indication of just how much intolerance and racism had increased in recent years. What happened now at Dale Farm would show whether this racism can be halted.

Members of the Trans-European Roma Federation, linking Bulgarian and Czech Roma, and the Roma Support Group, representing Polish Roma, also took part in the service. Speakers included Kieran Conry, president of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and Archbishop Gregorios, of the Greek Orthodox Church.

"This was a beautiful event," said Wickford resident Anna Kobayashi. "I'm glad to see that Dale Farm families are gaining so much national support, especially from the churches."
(Ustiben, by Grattan Puxon)

Why Roma and Romanichal in this country would even consider backing the Dale farm issue, which has nothing whatsoever to do with Romani People, beats me. Do they think to have the Irish Travelers, a.k.a. Irish Gohja in Trailers, will help them if they, the Romani, face eviction from wherever they, the Romani, may be encamped? Far from it. The truth is that those Irish trailer trash will be there to help drive them off if not even before, probably by using firearms even.

UEFA suspends for the first time in history a stadium for racism

Bucurest, 14. 9. 2005, 12:34 (ERIO)

On Friday, September 8, 2005, UEFA announced that it would increase the initial fine for racist incidents against Romanian football team Steaua Bucuresti, and suspend their stadium for their next UEFA game. This is the first time a stadium has been suspended for racist acts. These actions followed President of UEFA Lennart Johannson's courageous declaration: "We are concerned about racism, particularly in Bulgaria and Romania."

Racism plagues stadiums all across Europe. However, there is a growing awareness about anti-Gypsyism at the national and European level, and UEFA's officials are interested in finding out more about it and they are ready to look for ways to curb it.

The first step has already been taken.

UEFA officials made a very strong statement. They made clear that they are serious about stopping racism in the stadiums and sent a chilling message to the European clubs whose supporters are prone to racist behaviour.

In Romania the news provoked an open debate about racism, perhaps the first of it kind. Despite an initial defensive reaction, most of the Romanian mass media has responded with articles on the problems of racism in sport, which has been largely ignored until this point. UEFA's action has raised unprecedented awareness and debate on the issue.

Steaua Bucuresti was hit hard by the sentence, and some Romanians feel that UEFA has been too harsh on them. It is a painful process for Steaua's supporters, and indeed most Romanians, to accept that Steaua has been punished for racism.

During the last three days ERIO has been flooded by phone calls from Romanian TV stations, radios and newspapers in regard to racism and especially anti-Gypsyism in Romania and in the stadiums. For the first time, ERIO has had the opportunity to promote a pro-tolerance message and talk openly about anti-Romani prejudices using major mass media outlets in Romania.

UEFA has made a major step forward in stopping racism. ERIO hopes that other public personalities, major politicians and European and international institutions will follow UEFA lead.

The Romanian National Council Against Discrimination -CNCD also deserves congratulations for its courage and strong position against racism in Romania.


Romanies attack town hall employees at culture festival

Prague, 4. 9. 2005, 20:00 (CTK)

Police had to intervene against participants in the "We Can Communicate" minority festival in Olomouc during which a large group of Romanies attacked Olomouc town hall employees on Saturday, the tabloid Nedelni Blesk writes today. Several police cars arrived on the sport to put an end to a large brawl that broke out between Romanies and the town hall employees with whom they played a soccer match. The organisers say, however, that nothing serious has happened.

According to one of the civil servants, his colleague pushed a Romany player who had previously kicked him in the neck with his fist. About 50 Romanies then ran onto the playing field and a brawl broke out.

The Romanies shouted at the civil servants that they would kill their families, a member of the town hall said. Two the most aggressive assailants were identified by the police, but the case will probably be solved as a misdemeanour, a police spokeswoman said.

The organisers of the festival said that no drama occurred at the playing field.

Regional coordinator for ethnic minorities Renata Koettnerova told CTK today that according to some participants in the event, it was members of the town hall who provoked the clash.

"The chairwoman of the Society of Romanies in Moravia pointed out during the game that a member of the civil servants' team injured one player and attacked an underage player. She voiced the suspicion that the team of the civil servants was under alcohol. But she did not want the organisers to enter the playing field, however," Koettnerova said.

She said that when the police arrived the chairwoman proposed that members of both teams were subjected to alcohol tests. The town hall team then left the field prematurely.

"The case should be thoroughly investigated. Romanies were leaving the event with a feeling of injustice that no one will believe them. It is very difficult to build confidence between the majority society and Romanies and the established fragile relations can be completely frustrated during several minutes," Koettnerova said.

"It is an absolutely marginal incident, no one has noticed any hell that allegedly broke loose," Dusan Dvorak, one of the organisers of the festival, said.


This is yet another incident that does not make for good relations and a good name of our People. We must get away from things like that. Yes, Gohja also do those things but… when it happens to be Romani People it is, "the bad Gypsies" and such, and, very much like the way the Jews used to be vilified so are we. Theoretically it is illegal to use the ethnic description but it is being done and when people see Gypsies/Romani as the culprits they will see us as being a problem (as usual). Therefore we - all of us - have to be especially careful as to how we behave, especially in public view.

Racist youths attack people on the streets of Prague

Prague, 13. 9. 2005, 12:03 (CTK)

Attacks by young skinheads in Prague do not have to be aimed "merely" at people of a different skin colour but also at those that simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, writes the daily Mlada fronta Dnes in its Prague regional supplement today. What may seem particularly horrifying is the young age and brutality of the offenders.

A man from Prague whose appearance does not seem to make him an obvious skinhead target was hospitalised with serious injuries after he was attacked by a young skinhead. The man became the object of the skinhead's ire when he objected to the young brute's racist slurs. The man has since acquired a handgun for self-defence.

Only last weekend three skinheads, aged between nineteen and twenty-four, attacked a Romany man and his pregnant wife in the Narodni trida subway station in downtown Prague. Prior to that, the three skinheads had been almost incessantly shouting the Nazi salute on the streets. Soon dozens of Romany men appeared on the scene and a wider clash was avoided only thanks to a timely intervention by the police.

"The trio was accused of harming the health of others and of supporting and promoting a movement aimed at suppressing the rights and freedoms of an individual. They are criminally prosecuted without apprehension," police spokeswoman Iva Knolova told MfD.

A mere day later an eighteen-year-old youth sprayed gas into the face of a dark-skinned foreigner and stabbed him with a knife. The incident occurred in broad daylight in Ciglerova street in Prague 9.

"The eighteen-year-old youth faces a prison sentence of up to ten years," said police spokeswoman Daniela Razimova. Psychotherapist Michal Kolar told MfD that some parents tolerate the pastime of their skinhead children because they are under the impression it helps bring order.

"They may then covertly or even overtly support their child in its attitude. More commonly, the families simply resign to the fact or don't even know what their child does in its spare time," Kolar told MfD.

Skinheads also benefit from the fact that they all look alike, sporting shaved heads, similar clothes and heavy boots. "It is hard to prove who specifically was kicking somebody, who lashed out strikes with his fist. Only few of them end up in court," Prague state attorney Martin Omelka has said earlier. Omelka prosecuted skinhead Petr Zbornik for stabbing a Sudanese student to death in 1997. Zbornik received a thirteen- and-a-half year jail sentence for his deed.

Another factor working in the skinheads' favour is human indifference combined with the fear of witnesses. Psychologist Karel Blaha, an expert on crisis situations, told MfD that it is not always advisable for witnesses of verbal assaults to directly intervene.

"You have to take into account that few people will come to your aid. The provoking groups often just need someone to come forward for them to pick a fight," warns Blaha. He instead advises monitoring the incident from a distance and in time discreetly calling the 158 police hotline.


Three youths attack Romany couple in Prague centre

Prague, 4. 9. 2005, 17:54 (CTK)

Three young people attacked a Romany couple in the centre of Prague on Saturday night, the iDnes server has informed. The youths, probably skinheads, first assaulted the couple verbally and then physically attacked an 18-year-old pregnant young woman and her 21-year-old boyfriend. Both suffered light injuries. Police have detained the assailants, iDnes said.

The men aged 24, 21 and 19, have been charged with inflicting bodily harm and support and propaganda of movements aimed at suppressing the people's rights and freedoms, Prague police spokeswoman Iva Knolova told i-Dnes.

The couple was attacked near a refreshment stall. The perpetrators first assaulted the young man and when his girlfriend started to defend him, turned against her. The attacked were taken to hospital where they received a treatment and were released afterwards.


Romany band Kale ends cooperation with signer Bila

Prague, 9. 9. 2005, 11:17 (CTK)

Kale, a well-known Czech Romany folk band, will terminate its cooperation with signer Vera Bila as she is no longer striving for art but seeking money, and her qualities as a singer have declined as well, Kale manager Jiri Smetana says in today's issue of Mlada fronta Dnes. When he established Kale, a five-member band, nine years ago, Smetana based it mainly on Bila. Many critics welcomed their first CD, Rom Pop, as one of the best achievements of the year. In 1999, when Kale's second CD appeared, the band had already completed several successful tours abroad.

"She started to organise concerts of her own. She did not mind that we had planned a concert [for the same date] long in advance," Smetana told the paper, referring to Bila. This reportedly happened before Kale's concerts in Madrid and Freiburg, among others.

"Freigurg was flooded with posters [advertising a Kale concert], but she preferred going to perform in Slovakia," Smetana said.

He said that Bila had issued her own CD in Slovakia without Kale's knowledge. She reportedly sent a message to her colleagues and friends that she would never return to the Czech Lands. Bila, 51, is known as a passionate gambler, who often allows gambling machines to swallow up her pay.

Kale had also more and more often to cope with Bila's imbalanced performance as a singer. "The most recently, she remained our mascot rather than an efficient member of Kale," Smetana said.

In 1996, Bila was given conditional sentence of eight months for drawing social allowances worth 80,000 crowns which she was not eligible for. In December 1998, she received another, 12- month conditional sentence for unauthorisedly drawing further 47,000 crowns in social allowances.


Romany Children in the Schools still Problems

15. 9. 2005

The Czech Press Agency (CTK) reported today that Romany children will be separated into a new 'special class' in the elementary school Maj II in Ceske Budejovice, a city in Southern Bohemia.

The decision to create a separate class for first year students of Romany ethnic origin was taken by deputy mayor Vlasta Bohdalova, and the new class was formed five days ago, nine days after the official beginning of the Czech school year. So far, 19 Roma children have been enrolled in the class. The new class is supposed to help alleviate the so-called 'maturity gap' between Romany children and ethnic Czech children. However, according to CTK, the reasons for the change might have more to do with the fact that parents of non-Romany children had threatened to remove their children from the elementary school after they discovered that there were Romany children in the same classes.

Such segregation on the basis of ethnicity appears to be a violation of Education Act No. 561 of the 24 September 2004, which states that education in Czech schools 'shall be based on the principles of equal access of all citizens of the Czech Republic or nationals of any other European Union Member State to education without any discrimination based on any ground such as race, color, sex, language, belief or religion, nationality, ethnic or social origin, property, kith or kin, or the health condition or any other status of a citizen.'

Moreover, segregated schools constitute a direct violation of the right to education guaranteed under such international human rights agreements as the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms Protocol I, Art. 2 , and the European Social Charter.

Roma children in schools are considered 'problematic' not only in the Czech Republic but also in Italy. A similar incident occurred this school year in the small village of Villanova Marchesana, in the north east of Italy, when several parents decided to remove their kids from the local elementary school after they discovered that 18 Romany students would also be attending the school. Children of both foreign and Italian parents have already pulled out, and have re-registered at other schools in the area.

(Dzeno Association)

Surprise, surprise - NOT. It is rather common for Romani children to be separated, and not just in that particular place in the Czech Republic but it is common practice, so we understand, in Germany and Austria, as well as, I understand, in France. It should not be, we all know that, but it is being done and being done wholesale. The answer? In my view there is only one: schooling our children ourselves.

ERRC: Children's Rights Concerns in Hungary

Budapest, 13. 9. 2005, 12:58 (ERRC)

Today, the European Roma Right Centre submitted a shadow report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) concerning Romani children's rights issues in Hungary. The CRC will formally review Hungary's compliance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in January 2006. Prior to that, in October 2005, a pre-sessional working group of the Committee will meet to assess preliminary issues and main areas of focus with respect to Hungary. The ERRC's comments are intended to provide information on the situation of Romani children in Hungary, to supplement the Hungarian government's report to the Committee.

The ERRC comments focus on the following issues:

Anti-discrimination law: Hungary adopted a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in December 2003. The ERRC shadow report addresses areas of concern with respect to the scope of the law, as well as its implementation.

Ethnic statistical data: The ERRC submission also addresses issues related to the lack of adequate statistical data on the situation of Roma including Romani children in Hungary.

Child protection: In its discussion of issues related to the best interests of Romani children in Hungary, the ERRC describes the worrying phenomenon of high rates of removal of children from Romani families. The shadow report also notes problematic features of the child protection system in Hungary. The ERRC notes imprecision in the definition of key terms operative in the child protection system, as well as the influence of arbitrary criteria in decisions to remove Romani children from families. The ERRC also calls the attention of the Committee to reports of racial discrimination in adoption and related matters.

Racial segregation in schools: The ERRC submission notes very high rates of racial segregation in schooling. The ERRC also provides the Committee with statistical data on rates of advancement to secondary education by Romani children, noting differences in rates of advancement between children coming from schools with greater or lesser percentages of Romani children.

In addition, the ERRC notes a number of areas of concern in which problematic policies and practices in Hungary with respect to Roma generally have pernicious effects on Romani children. These include:

Health care: According to some studies, approximately 17% of the total Romani population in Hungary lives in settlements where there is no general practitioner. The ERRC shadow report also presents data about discrimination experienced in hospitals and other health care institutions or by general practicioners, as well as worrying statistics concerning the refusal of provision of ambulance service.

Housing: Forced evictions, racial segregation and refusal to allocate social housing for Roma are practices that dramatically worsen the housing situation of Roma, as well as hindering the ability of Roma to realize a range of other fundamental human rights. In its shadow report to the Committee, the ERRC notes concrete cases concerning the above phenomena, as well as surveys concluding that many Romani settlements in Hungary are manifestly inadequate for living. According to the World Bank, 54.9% of Romani households in Hungary do not have access to hot running water, 34.7% do not have access to cold running water. More than half of the houses do not have indoor toilets and 13.2% have one or more members sleeping on earthen floors in their homes.


A Report on Romany Children Submitted to the UN

14. 9. 2005

On September 13, the European Roma Rights (ERRC) submitted a report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) concerning Roma children's rights in Hungary. The CRC will formally review Hungary's compliance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child in January 2006.

The ERRC comments focus on several general issues: the 2003 Hungarian anti-discrimination law, the lack of precise data on Roma population in the country, forced evictions and racial discriminations against Roma.

Concerning Romany children, the ERRC focuses its attention on the worrying phenomenon of high rates of removal of children from their families. For example in 2002, the number of children in the special state care was 17,813, large part of them are Roma.

As the education is an issue very often mentioned in the context of Roma, also this ERRC's latest report calls to attention for the rate of racial segregation in schools is very high as well as the differences in rates of advancement between children coming from schools with greater or lesser percentages of Romany children.

The summary of the ERRC on Hungarian Roma children is available at

(Dzeno Association)

Chad Wyatt remembers Milena

Washington, 14. 9. 2005, 18:30 (Chad Evans Wyatt)

Dr Milena Hübschmannová came to my photo-portraiture project, RomaRising/Romské obrození very early in the effort, only months after its start. My good friend the celebrated photographer, Ivan Pinkava, had suggested that I contact this legendary figure in letters and in the emancipation of the Roma of the Czech Republic. I presented her with my hopes for this project, and she readily offered help, indeed, put me in contact with some of the work's eventual subjects.

One cannot describe adequately the broad heart and deep compassion of this person. Through self-sacrifice and tenacity, she was responsible for the codification and lettering of the Romany language, previously only an oral tradition. Then urged those she found to write the stories and histories that were its part.

And she served as eminence grise to the giant of a photographer, Josef Koudelka, in his history-bending work on "Gypies" and "Exiles" of the late 1960's and early 1970's. It was my humble gratitude that she also considered the RR/RO work worthy. Her last written words to me, just six days before her tragic death, were "I went to see the exhibition (at the Prague Castle's Belveder) - it is excellent.."

Thank you, dear Milena. Many more than I can ever know mourn your untimely passing, as they celebrate your passage within our lifetimes.

Chad Evans Wyatt

Huebschmannova taught Romanies to be proud of their roots

Prague, 13. 9. 2005, 12:37 (CTK)

The founder of Romany studies in the Czech Republic, Milena Huebschmannova, who tragically died in South Africa last week aged 72, supported Romanies' self- confidence and taught them to be proud of their ethnicity, the daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes today. "As a highly educated and above all wise woman, she knew that only those people who are aware of their own value can be satisfied," Jana Horvathova, director of the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno, south Moravia, writes in LN.

She recalls Hubschmannova's contribution to the studies of the Romany language and culture and her sincere interest in the life of ordinary Romanies in the country.

From her childhood, Huebschmannova had a dream to learn Indian languages. At the age of 14 she started to learn Bengali, and a year later the Hindi and Urdu languages. Later she studied these three languages at Charles University's Faculty of Arts in Prague.

As a 20-year-old student, she started to visit Romany settlements where she uncovered another fascinating Indian language. And since then she has devoted her time to Romanies. "...all of a sudden I saw that Romanies looked like Indians. This was one thing which fascinated me. The other one was that I recognised Hindi words in Romanies' conversation. So I started, with great enthusiasm, to learn the Indian language...spoken all around me," Huebschmannova recollected in an interview from 2004. Her deep knowledge of Romanies' mother tongue opened her the gates to their relatively closed community in then Czechoslovakia. She decided not only to research into the Romanies' unknown culture, but primarily to understand their life and practically help Romanies at the edge of society. Huebschmannova was one of the first Czech experts pointing to the negative effects of the Communist integration policy which was to completely assimilate Romanies and thereby liquidate their roots.

After the failed reform movement in 1968, crushed by the Warsaw Pact troops' invasion of Czechoslovakia, Huebschmannova started to work in the first Romany organisation in the country, The Association of Gypsies-Romanies (1969-73), where she headed the social-scientific commission, Horvathova writes in LN. In a couple of years, the Communist regime, however, officially terminated the organisation's activities out of fear of Romany emancipation which was at variance with the assimilation efforts. Communists view Romanies only as a social group, or possibly as "a dying ethnicity," a stance which Huebschmannova opposed throughout her life.

She could not cope with the regime efforts to uproot the basis of Romanies' culture - their language, being convinced that "no nation can be understood without its language, in which the nation's soul rests," Horvathova says.

Huebschmannova focused on Romany language and traditions in a number of articles and studies. In 1993 she published a book We Can Communicate, disclosing the sources of conflicts between Romanies and the majority society.

"I was lucky to experience the Romany culture and language still integrated, working as harmonic, classified and comprehensive systems...Romany culture is inspiring for it goes beyond to other worlds. The civilisation under the sway of technology, rationalism and material values cannot find satisfaction. Only recently it started to search for and uncover these worlds again," Huebschmannova wrote in her book. In 1994, Huebschmannova founded the magazine of Romany studies, Romano Dzaniben, which has kept its high professional level ever since and enjoys respect abroad. She is also a co- author of the so far only one Romany-Czech and Czech-Romany dictionary.

Huebschmannova's work has been appreciated by many awards. In 1996, she received the Charter 77 Award of Frantisek Kriegel. In 2002, then Czech President Vaclav Havel presented her with the medal of merit, 3rd grade, and a year later she was awarded the medal of merit, 1st grade, by the Education Ministry.

However, Horvathova adds, no medals could fully express Huebschmannova's contribution to the reawakening of the "humiliated Romany self-confidence." She spent her time with ordinary Romanies and thanks to her support a number of them uncovered their hidden talent for writing, art and other intellectual activities.

"Huebschmannova is the real founder of the literature in Romany language," Horvathova says.

For over 24 years Huebschmannova was also teaching and inspiring hundreds of students. In 1975-91 she worked as a teacher at a language school in Prague. From 1991, following the collapse of Communism, she became a lecturer in Romany studies opened at the Indological Institute of Prague's Faculty of Arts where she educated a new generation of Romany scholars. Exactly Hubschmannova's enthusiastic students, devoted to her legacy, can guarantee that her work will continue in the future, Horvathova points out in the paper.


Milena Hübschmannová died

9. 9. 2005

Senior lecturer Milena Hübschmannová, a woman of outstanding human qualities and the founder of Czech Romany Studies died, aged 72, in a car accident in South Africa. The sad news was broken to Dženo Association by fellow students from the Romany Studies department.

Milena Hübschmannová was born in Prague on June 10, 1933. She first became interested in Romany language after she had graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, where she had majored in Urdu, Hindu and Bengali. Since Romany was not taught anywhere in those times for political reasons, she mastered it among the native speakers with whom she became close friends.

She played a major part in the running of the Association of Gipsy-Roma (1969-1971), in which she chaired the social science committee. Thanks to her unyielding effort, the first course of Romany was opened at the School of Languages in Prague in 1976. Later, in 1991, a separate department solely for Romany Studies was established at the Charles University. She had been the head and the very heart of the department until her tragic death.

To say that she dedicated her life to Romany people and their culture entirely is hardly an overstatement. During the communist era, she fought against the assimilation practises of the regime and against the violation of the rights of Roma. Throughout her life, she collected Romany folklore, assembled materials documenting Romany cultural heritage, encouraged the use of Romany as a language and helped develop Romany literature.

In spite of her scientific ambitions, she always preserved a primarily human attitude to Romany people. She was well loved for her modesty and her willingness to help among Roma both in the Czech Republic and abroad. We knew her as a loving, good-hearted woman and we will remember her as such.

Mi del o Del amara Milenake loki phuv! Amen na bisteraha!

Personally I have to admit that I did not have much time for her and neither do I for any other Gohja Gypsyologists and those researching our Language and Culture. This should be done by Romani, and only by Romani, for Romani.

MP criticised in gypsy grant row

A row has broken out after a Conservative MP criticised a £48,000 lottery award for a project for schools on gypsy and travelling communities.

Monmouth MP David Davies has written to the Heritage Lottery Fund asking for the same amount to make a film about the "settled community".

The fund has given a grant to Hampshire Council for a project on the traditions of travelling communities.

A spokesman for the Gypsy Council said Mr Davies' comments were "distasteful."

'Raise awareness'

Mr Davies, who is Assembly Member as well as MP for Monmouth, said on his personal website that he made his comments after reading a national newspaper report about the award to Hampshire Council to fund a project on "gypsy travellers".

The Heritage Lottery Fund award of £48,800 was made to the project called "Living Album-Gypsy Heritage" which aims to produce a DVD, touring exhibition and website for schools and aims to "raise awareness...of the gypsy community and culture".

(He's) making a mockery of attempts to build bridges between gypsies and non-gypsies
Ann Bagehot, Gypsy Council

In his letter to the lottery fund, Mr Davies said: "Following the £48,000 you gave for the production of a video aimed at giving schoolchildren a greater understanding of the culture and traditions of "gypsy travellers," I am very keen to commission an equally "useful" and "informative" piece of film that will serve to educate said "gypsy travellers" on some of the ancient traditions and communal practices of another group of people, who we might called "settled folk".

"I use the term to describe that large group of people in Britain who opt to live their lives in houses or flats.

"I should like my film to focus on such issues as the importance which the "settled community" place on property rights, their rigid adherence to an ancient code which they refer to as "planning regulations," and the time honoured custom of clearing up one's rubbish.

"Should time allow we could also include a section about the cardboard circle which settled folk purchase annually from post offices and use to adorn their vehicles - known as a tax disc."

'Playing games'

A spokesman for the Gypsy Council described Mr Davies' comments as "distasteful," while the council's secretary, Ann Bagehot, said she considered them to be "just schoolboy thoughtlessness".

She added that Mr Davies was "making a mockery of attempts to build bridges between gypsies and non-gypsies".

Chris Myant, director for the Commission for Racial Equality Wales, added: "He's trying to play on people's prejudices. He's playing games which isn't really the way serious politicians should engage in public debate."

A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) spokesperson said it was not prejudiced in its allocation of grants.

'Much to learn'

The spokesperson said: "Of more than 16,000 projects supported by the HLF in the last 11 years, so far we have funded some 11 which focus on the heritage and history of traveller communities - often working with local organisations to bring communities together.

"It's a nonsense to suggest that there is any kind of prejudice against settled communities in our grant giving - we simply reflect the vast range of heritage in the UK."

Responding to the criticisms of his website article, David Davies told the BBC Wales news website: "Gypsy travellers seem to have the view they are different.

"If that's the case, then surely they have as much to learn from the settled community.

"I haven't said anything unreasonable - this highlights the double standards."

Published: 2005/09/07 © BBC MMV


By Ben Pindar, Community Newswire

A major new project which aims to promote a better understanding of gypsy and traveller culture amongst schoolchildren in Hampshire has today been handed a £50,000 Lottery cash boost.

Charity chiefs at the Heritage Lottery Fund have backed the scheme which will see a learning pack and DVD sent to schools throughout the county.

The project aims to help raise esteem among gypsy children in schools by introducing activities which incorporate their culture.

The Living Album initiative, which is being spearheaded by Hampshire County Council, will also invite gypsies and travellers in the county to visit museum and archive collections to gather information which will help to raise awareness of their own heritage.

"These resources will be used as part of an educational programme of activities in schools, particularly those which are attended by gypsy children - helping pupils to develop a greater understanding of gypsy and traveller lifestyles," the council said.

The council's executive member for recreation and heritage, Margaret Snaith, said: "Everybody who is involved in this project is enthused by this opportunity to highlight the many positive aspects of the history of the gypsy community in Hampshire.

"This initiative is an excellent example of how the archives can be used to reach out to ethnic minority groups in the county and encourage these communities to make the most of learning environments such as libraries and museums - which are available for everyone in the county to use."

About the project it says "aims to promote a better understanding of gypsy and traveller culture amongst schoolchildren" claiming, yet again, a single Gypsy and traveler Culture. There is NO such thing as a single Gypy and traveller Culture. There is the Gypsy/Romani Culture and then the whatever of the Irish travellers, a.k.a. Irish trailer trash.

No Gypsies Allowed: the Scandal against Romany

7. 9. 2005

Although racial discrimination is a crime in Austria, the owner of the tourist campsite in Tassenbach posted a sign last August reading "No Gypsies Allowed". This sign was intended to inform his customers that Roma people are not welcomed at his campsite.

Camp owner Johann Weiser justified his actions by explaining that if he accepts Roma in his campsite, his camp will be rated poorly by camping guidebooks. Mr. Weiser alleged that the guidebooks Duch Publishing House and German Club for Motorists have previously degraded his camp for accepting campers who are in fact not campers at all.

Mr. Weiser has recently removed the sign from his camp and is in danger of receiving a penalty for racial discrimination. The Zara association for fighting racism was informed about the case at the beginning of this week.

The case in Tassenbach is the most recent in a series of similar instances of discrimination against Roma by accommodation providers throughout Europe.

Further evidence of racial discrimination against Roma in Europe is stated by Sweden's English Newspaper, The Local. An investigation by Swedish Radio's Ekot program has revealed that Roma people with Swedish citizenship face discrimination at the country's campsites. Of 20 campsites called by Ekot, 10 said they did not allow Roma guests.

The program called a couple of campsites to establish whether or not there were places free. Ten minutes later, the producers sent a Roma family to the site. In both cases they were refused entry.

Sweden's Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination, known as (DO), has already identified people of Roma origins as common targets of discrimination in Swedish society. Indeed, DO is already investigating five cases where Roma Swedes have reported campsites.

"It makes me sad and concerned," Keith Palmroth told The Local, himself of Roma origin, at the anti-discrimination office in Gothenburg. "Now you see the truth in black and white, that it is actually the case that Roma do not have a place in society on the same terms as everyone else." Keith Palmroth concisely states the contemporary condition of Roma throughout Europe.

(Dzeno Association, Trever Hagen)

And the same occurs regularly in Germany, France, Holland, etc. - in a number of countries that pride themselves to be non-discriminating. So they may be when it comes to coloreds and such but NOT when it comes to "dirty Gyppos".

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