International Romani Union (IRU) boycotted OSCE's conference

24. 10. 2005

On October 20th-21st, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE) held a joint international conference on the implementation of policies and Action Plans for Roma, Sinti and Travellers, and measures against the anti-Gypsyism phenomenon in Europe. Instead of focusing on the policies and of the Action Plan, the IRU focused on their non-pariticpation because of an invitation that was sent at the last minute. The IRU boycotted the meeting declaring the lack of respect for the IRU by the OSCE.

The late invitation sparked outrage among many involved with the IRU. President of the IRU Stanislaw "Stahiro" Stankiewicz stated that the [late] invitation for participation at the conference on the part of the Administration's assistant, Nikolae George, is pointing that the organizers of the conference do not have basic respect toward the International Roma Union (IRU).

Additionally, General Secretary of the International Romani Union Mr. Zoran Dimov stressed his support of the non-participation stating that the "IRU doesn't have any intention to be only an organizational decoration at the conference and to only fulfill an empty place in the agenda."

The International Romani Union first appeared in 1971 with the first Roma World Congress held in London. Since then the IRU has aspired to be the major representative body for Roma worldwide. The IRU focuses on advocating for Roma as a collective 'Nation;' and works to organize the Roma World Congresses. The largest World Congress of the IRU ever held was in Prague in July 2000, at which time the lawyer Emil Scuka, Rom from former Czechoslovakia, became the President. Scuka was replaced by Stankiewicz as president in 2004 at the 6th World Congress in Italy.

(Written for Dzeno Association by Trevor Hagen and Jakub Krcik)

I find it rather amazing that the IRU boycotts such a conference because of late notification but is itself guilty of this with it last congress that many could not attend due to the fact that they gave short notice. However, it appears that there is one rule for the IRU and its minions and one for everyone else.
Furthermore it must be said that Roma is not the collective 'Nation', while Romani is. What the IRU advocates is largely irrelevant to the grassroots Romani People, as the IRU happens to be so out of touch with them that the grassroots would not know what the IRU is if they would fall over it.