To whom it may concern.

We, the membership of the International Romani Guild, along with those many other Romani of integrity, wish to state and make quite clear the following.

Notwithstanding earlier and ongoing efforts within some sectors of the European and international political arenas to enforce and establish the term "Roma" as a generic reference for all of the collective peoples recognised as belonging to the ethnic group correctly styled as "Romani", (Romany in the English setting), and otherwise known as "Gypsy", it should be made quite clear that we strenuously object to the use of the term "Roma", (sometimes set as "Rroma"), for it is quite inappropriate, even offensive, when applied to any Romani that is not of the Roma Nation-Tribe, such as those that are of the Sinti (Cinti) or the Kalé (Calé), including the many that prefer to style themselves "Romanichal".

It appears, to us, to be remarkable that bodies of authority, such as the Council of Europe and the European Union, whilst purporting to be reluctant to use the term "Gypsy", (Or its equivalent in other languages?), due to a risk of offering offence, can then condone or instigate the use of the term "Roma", as a blanket-term for all Romani, given that it is widely known and recognised that in many countries of Europe, Rumania for instance, to address someone as "Roma" can be considered quite offensive and even lead to violent, physical retaliation

Whilst the Sinti and the Kalé will invariably recognise the Roma as being 'Romani', many among the Roma do not recognise the Sinti or Kalé as being Romani, even to the extent of referring, directly to their face, to the Sinti or Kalé as "Gadžé", or the equivalent in the dialect used.

Given this 'lack of acceptance' on the part of the Roma themselves, and joined with the almost universal objection by mainstream Sinti and Kalé, we hold that the continued and deliberate misuse of "Roma" as a generic reference to all Romani is nothing less than "racism", pure and simple. This hypocritical action has been and is being pursued by organisations and bodies that are, themselves, declared to be determined to eradicate racism and racial inequality?

We are intrigued to be informed, by offices that have their sourcing in the EEC and/or the Council of Europe that 'the term "Roma" has been internationally accepted for all Romani People and includes all Travellers'. This begs the question; "By what authority and whose intelligence?"

Those among us that strive to improve the social and welfare standing of the Romani, and are active in the political field, not motivated by fame and personal profit, are well aware of the influences effected by certain "Academics & Gypsy Experts" (sic), working hand in glove with ill-informed and ill-advised politicians, who are often aided and abetted by self-seeking "Roma Emperors or Kings", (Unrecognized by a vast majority of Romani Fohki), along with, (largely self-appointed), 'Baros' and/or 'Gypsy leaders'. Such persons are generally considered to be Gohja doshmane, (Non-Romani enemies), or simply traitors to their race, as the case may be. However evil their intent; however innocent their goal; however selfish their ambition, these individuals and groups have great influence upon the Gohja powers that be.

We demand answers to the following:

1. Who exactly decided that such term of reference was "Internationally acceptable" and on what intelligence?

2. Were the people concerned, such as the Sinti and Kalé, who - definitely at grassroots level - do NOT wish to be called "Roma", ever consulted?

3. Which individual or group is responsible for attempting to include 'Travellers' in the same ethnic category as "Romani"?

Though some Romani, particularly in the UK, may sometimes use the term 'Traveller' in self-ascription, (even when the family has lived for generations in normal housing), they will never, consciously, use the term as a mode of reference with regard to any 'traveller' that is not of Romani (Gypsy) ethnicity, without adding a qualifying prefix such as; "Irish", "New-age", etc.

We have already seen the effects of the widespread, though mostly covert, campaign to have the meaning of "Gypsy" changed from being synonymous with 'Romany' to one of wider embrace that will have no regard for ethnicity but will include all and any that follow a travelling lifestyle, such as Irish travellers, 'Newagers', etc. the majority of whom share not one drop of Romani Rat but are, purely and simply, Gohja that have dropped out of the housed society. This change of definition, if achieved, will mean, however, that those Romany that have adopted or been born to a 'settled' lifestyle, be that in normal housing or 'stationary' mobile-home (?), will no longer be able to claim "Gypsy" status and the legislative protection that such status, theoretically affords, though very rarely gives? (As the Commission for Racial Equality response to the 'Firle bonfire incident' clearly demonstrates?)

The cynics among us strongly suspect that, apart from the potential for personal exploitation and gain, (As aptly demonstrated already with the misappropriation of millions of Euro allocated funds?), there exists an extreme danger, to we Romani, of a similar loss of human rights via the attempted change to "Roma" as a generic term for all Romany. We've already seen how the Sinti, for example, are, increasingly becoming lost, in the Roma smokescreen that is covering historical references to, and reparations from, the Gohja inspired Holocaust that spread from Germany through much of Europe. Now, apparently, only the Roma are to be mentioned in this connection?

To paraphrase the words of wisdom by George Orwell, in his book "1984": 'He that controls the present, controls the past, and so controls the future.'

Tom O. (Romanichal)
Press & Media Officer - IRG

Soros to propose plan to improve Romany situation

(PDM staff with CTK) 10 November

American philanthropist George Soros may submit to the Czech government a plan for the improvement of the situation and life of the Romany minority, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek told journalists after meeting with Soros yesterday.

The Czech Republic could then use certain plans that succeeded in Hungary and Romania, he said.

Soros, 65, is a Hungarian-born Jewish-American financial speculator and philanthropist who established the Open Society Fund, an international network of foundations. He is the president of the Open Society Institution that has initiated, jointly with the World Bank, the Romany Decade project. The project was joined by eight countries of Central and Eastern Europe this year, including the Czech Republic. It is expected to improve the level of Romany education, employment, health and housing in the next 10 years.

"We have agreed with Mr Soros that he will submit such a plan and we will discuss it and initiate public debate on this topic," Paroubek said.

The plan should more involve non-profit organisations in the solution of Romany problems, Paroubek said. "I think that this cannot be only a matter for the government," he added.

Some representatives of Romany organisations have criticised the government in the past for its failure to solve Romany problems. For instance, according to Ivan Vesely, head of the Dzeno association, the government has failed to solve the problem of enormous unemployment among Romanies.

According to Paroubek, Soros is to come to the Czech Republic at the beginning of next year. They will then discuss activities and the plans of his foundation.

Paroubek said he the key to solving Romany problems "lies mainly in increasing the level of their education and their integration with society." The Czech Republic could also find financial means for educational programmes for the young Romany generation in European funds, he said.

Soros came to Prague to take part in a meeting Thursday of the Madrid Club, which is a discussion forum of former presidents and prime ministers.

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

Gypsy Integration In Europe Urged

BUCHAREST, Romania, Nov. 17, 2005

(AP) American philanthropist George Soros on Thursday called for the integration of Gypsies in Eastern Europe, saying it could prevent an outbreak of unrest similar to the recent rioting in France.

Soros, who was in Romania for a conference on the region's Gypsy communities, said government action to end the discrimination and social isolation of Europe's 8 million Gypsies, or Roma, could avoid a rebellion.

"There is a deep level of distrust between Roma and the wider populations," Soros told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the two-day meeting. "Stereotypes will persist as long as there is an underclass."

"In France there is a society that is ripped (apart) by segregation, poverty and hatred. In America, (Hurricane) Katrina exposed to the whole world the terrible divisions in American society," he said.

The meeting brought together participants in the Decade of Roma Inclusion, a program endorsed by nine governments in central and Eastern Europe to ensure Gypsies have better access to education, housing, employment and health care.

Soros' Open Society Institute has spent $70 million to combat anti-Gypsy discrimination. He said the most serious problems were in Slovakia, partly because the government there is less active on the issue.

The meeting in Bucharest addressed concerns that unrest in France, led primarily by the children of Muslim immigrants from North Africa, could be repeated in Eastern Europe's poor, marginalized Gypsy communities.

"It is essential to speed things up if we are to see Roma in the mainstream of European society," said Shigeo Katsu, the World Bank's vice president for Europe and Central Asia. "The isolation in cities across France provides dramatic testament to isolated groups."

Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu also said he wanted to reduce prejudices.

"We have to change old mentalities which lead to isolation and create fears and discrepancies between ethnic groups," he said.

Several countries in the region, as well as the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations Development Program, have drafted individual action plans developed in cooperation with Roma leaders.

Again it is the "Roma" leaders that "Papa" Soros is talking about and when he talks about "Gypsy integration in Europe" he also only sees Eastern Europe. Could someone tell me please why this is so?

Trial court finds discrimination by inference and awards Romani victim compensation in full

Sofia/Budapest, 16. 11. 2005, 17:51, (ERRC)

With ERRC support, a young Romani man has won a judgment by the Sofia District court, finding that the refusal of a private business to hire him constituted direct discrimination based on his ethnicity. The court has awarded him the full amount of compensation he sought for non-pecuniary damages -- the approximate equivalent in Bulgarian Leva of 300 Euro. The ruling, which is based on the Protection Against Discrimination Act, Bulgaria's comprehensive anti-discrimination law, is the first to find discrimination by inference, in accordance with the special rule of the shifting burden of proof in discrimination cases.

The facts of the case are as follows: In December 2003, the claimant, Mr. Metody Assenov, age 22, sought to apply for a job as a food production worker with the respondent, Lubimka Ltd. In response to a job advertisement in the paper, he placed a telephone call to Lubimka Ltd. to inquire about the terms and conditions to apply. An employee told him that there was no requirement other than to be a male younger than 30. She also told him, explicitly, that no Roma need apply, as no Roma would be hired. In February 2004, the job advertisement reappeared, and Mr. Assenov called again, making no mention of his ethnicity. He was invited for an interview. At the interview, the employees of Lubimka Ltd. treated him less favourably than other job applicants present by trying to ignore him, and by discouraging him from expecting to be hired. He had to insist to be interviewed, and to have his details recorded. He was told the job was too hard, and he was not likely to enjoy it, and that there were many other applicants. Several weeks later, upon inquiry, he was told that he had not been hired. He was not offered any explanation of the reason for the refusal.

In court, representatives of Lubimka Ltd. argued that their refusal to hire Mr. Assenov was not race-based, but for a legitimate reason, which was the claimant's lack of proper qualifications. The court did not consider this sufficiently established, as there was no evidence that Mr. Assenov had lesser qualifications than the applicants who had been hired. The court found that there was enough circumstantial evidence to point to a causal link between Mr. Assenov's ethnicity and Lubimka Ltd.'s refusal to hire him. In addition, the court found Lubimka Ltd.'s hiring practices to be non-transparent, lacking clear, pre-set, duly published criteria. The court held that it was impossible, therefore, to exclude the conclusion that selection was arbitrary and discriminatory. The court further ruled that this constituted sufficient grounds to presume that the claimant was denied a job because of his race, and to shift the burden of proof to Lubimka Ltd. to rebut the inference of discrimination. When representatives of Lubimka Ltd. failed to do so, the court ruled that discrimination had been established in the case. The court's reasoning includes express language on the principle of the shifting of the burden of proof in discrimination cases, in line with established case law in the European Union.

On the occasion of the ruling, ERRC Legal Director Dianne Post said: "The court's ruling in this case not only brings compensation to a Romani victim; it also importantly for the first time implements key elements of the EU anti-discrimination law acquis in Bulgaria."

Counsel for the claimant was the ERRC's Sofia-based consultant on race discrimination litigation, Margarita Ilieva, in cooperation with local "Romani Baht" Foundation lawyer Daniela Mihaylova. The judgment is not final.


Romany Opera shown in Hungarian Theatre

15. 11. 2005

The Belvaroszi Szinhász will show a performance of Romany Legend - Romany Rock Opera written by Sir Gusztáv Varga, a Romany musician and director of the famous Hungarian Roma music band Kalyi Jag band and the Romany cultural association.

The opera describes the road of Roma from India to Europe. During their long way from India, Roma amalgamated national cultures of many nations as well as their own. The audience will thus have a chance to see and foremost to hear how Roma people influenced musical and dance traditions of countries in which Roma stopped.

Czech court rules in first-ever case heard on 'coercive sterilisation' of Roma women

Helena Ferencikova and her husband Jan always wanted to have a girl. But the young Roma
couple's simple dream may never be realised, for in October 2001 -- when she was just nineteen years old -- Mrs Ferencikova was sterilised against her wishes, after giving birth to her second son. On Friday, the regional court of Ostrava stopped short of awarding damages but ruled that the hospital which performed the sterilisation owes Mrs Ferencikova an apology. The court's decision, once finalised in writing, would be the first finding in any Czech or Eastern European court of legal violations concerning the coercive sterilisation of Roma women.

From the 1970s on, Roma (Gypsy) women were routinely sterilised in Communist Czechoslovakia. There was an official policy in place to curb the "high, unhealthy" birth rate of that minority group, which authorities - and society at large - considered problematic. Social workers were authorised to give state money to women who underwent sterilisation - and are alleged to have used the threat of enforced foster care to get reluctant Roma women to agree to the operation.

This policy was decried by the Czechoslovak dissident initiative Charter 77, and extensively documented in the late 1980s. The international pressure group Human Rights Watch concluded in a 1992 report that the practice ended in mid-1990 -- but in recent years, human rights groups in the Czech Republic and Slovakia have unearthed evidence that doctors and hospital staff continue to pressure Roma to undergo sterilisation.

In the case heard in Ostrava on Friday, doctors claimed they were right to sterilise Helena Ferencikova because, after two caesarean sections, a third would have endangered her health. The hospital in question intends to appeal the court decision. Mrs Ferencikova says she was in the throes of labour at the time and would have signed any paper doctors had put in front of her; she didn't understand its contents and doctors ignored her request to consult the matter with her husband.

Lawyer Michaela Tomisova is representing nearly seventy Roma women who have filed complaints with the Czech Public Defender of Rights, or "ombudsman's office", over sterilisations allegedly carried out without their "full and informed" consent. She says that the Ostrava court case set an important precedent: just because a woman signed a release form, doesn't mean the procedure was legal.

"The case of Mrs Ferencikova is a typical case from the nineties or early in this decade; what is quite alarming is that the commission founded by the Ministry of Health found the case of Mrs Ferencikova completely okay, without any violations. But the court expressed a different view, and there are more cases very similar to this one [pending]."

Helena Ferencikova was the first to have her day in court. Dozens more cases are certain to follow, says Ms Tomisova, a lawyer retained by the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest and the League of Human Rights, a Czech advocacy group.
Last year, faced with a public inquiry by the ombudsman, then Health Minister Milada Emmerova appointed a commission to investigate the Romany women's claims. In nearly every case, an interim report found, hospitals had failed to follow elementary legal procedures and made "serious errors" in the paperwork.

Government campaign spotlights successful minorities

(PDM staff with CTK)

10 November

This year's government campaign "Together Against Racism" presents successful people from ethnic minorities and foreigners living in the Czech Republic, and not victims of racial attacks, the campaign creators and government representatives told reporters yesterday.

The already 6th government campaign against racism is to support mutual tolerance and help remove prejudices against minorities and foreigners in Czech society.

"We are fighting against racism by respecting every individual," government human rights commissioner Svatopluk Karasek (junior ruling Freedom Union, US-DEU) said.

The campaign organisers pointed out that the situation in the Czech Republic and the public stance on foreigners has been gradually improving.

Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said that racism and tolerance are political topics of major importance in all civilised countries.

However, he added, political slogans must not conceal lack of interest or incompetence to cope with racism which is not yet "a unique phenomenon" in the Czech Republic, but its manifestations reflect a stance deeply rooted in Czech society.
As in past years, the government earmarked CZK four million for the campaign against racism in 2005. The finances were spent on ads in the press and in the streets, as well as on websites, T-shirts and postcards.

They depict faces of successful representatives of ethnic minorities, for instance Romany driver Ivan Saray who graduated from university, Romany Andela Haluskova who succeeded in the Czech Miss beauty contest and Russian actor Alexandr Minayev currently starring in the popular TV series Street.
"They are no artificial celebrities. The campaign should show that every man is unique," Filip Smoljak, one of the campaign authors, said.

Within the campaign, the Archa theatre in Prague and the Refugee Facilities Centre have organised a joint theatre performance with asylum seekers playing.

The campaign is also accompanied by courses for clerks and judges to inform them about regulations concerning cases of unequal treatment and discrimination.
The new penal code, which the lower house is debating, should implement more severe sentences for racial acts and manifestations.

Deputy justice minister Ivo Hartmann said that entrepreneurs and restaurant keepers who refuse to sell goods and services to people because of their race or nation can face one year in prison and a ban on their business, or possibly three years in prison in case of repeating such acts.

(USD1=24.911 crowns)

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

Roma in Belarus

11. 11. 2005

"The most negative one is when the equal sign is put between the words Roma and lawbreaker. It's a pity, but the official mass media and representatives of power bodies treat us this way," says Nicolas Kalinin, chairman of Belarus Roma organization Ekhipe (Unity).

In what respect do the Roma that live in Belarus differ from those living in other countries?
In Belarus there are three main groups of Roma. There are Russian Roma, who call themselves Ruska Roma. Most of them live in the territory of the Vitebsk region, in Polatsk and Vitebsk. There are about three thousand of them there. They came to Belarus from northern Russia. I am a representative of this group. My relatives live in Pskov and St. Petersburg. This migration took place after World War II. Polish and Baltic Gypsies constitute the second group. They live in Minsk and call themselves Haladytka Roma. They have relatives in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and the Czech Republic. The third ethnic group consists of Ukrainian and Moldovan Roma: Servi. They live in the territory of Homel and Mahiliow regions. It's worth mentioning that these ethnic groups are so different that there are not even marriages between them. They have completely different cultural backgrounds. The mentality of Ruska Roma is similar to that of the Russians. Russian Gypsies are rough-tempered, more bellicose, so to say. The Roma that live in Minsk have come from Poland. They are quite rich. In Minsk there are the richest Roma who can be compared only to the Moscow Roma in the level of material welfare. What concerns Servi - they are amateurs of music and singing, like the entire Moldavian-Ukrainian group. There are no large differences in the language these groups speak.

Are there any internal rules within these groups?
These ethnic groups are closed, especially for the majority. This closeness can be called extreme. It is expedient. Otherwise, Roma would have disappeared as nation. Assimilation into society would do no good to Gypsies but we want to be integrated in social life. There are marriages with other nationalities, but that has never been welcomed. In Roma society there immediately appears the question to which nationality the child will belong to and which way of life the man who married non-Roma will chose. In this respect the very fact of inter-ethnic marriage is not accepted. However there are cases of such marriages and the families are quite strong. There’s a very interesting point: one can't be half-Roma. One can be half-Ukranian, half-Russian, but not half-Chechen or half-Roma. Some Roma even leave the community and live among Belarusians but continue being Roma

There are too many stereotypes about Roma; for instance Roma - nomads. Is it true that representatives of this nationality don't live long in one place?
Now there remains only a small group of the nomadic Roma who move from one place to another. They live in Zakarpattya region of the Ukraine, on the bordering territories of Poland, Hungary and Romania. These Gypsies really don't have a stable place of habitation and, what is the most interesting, feel excellent.
There are no nomads among the Roma who have settled in Belarus. The was a period of active immigration of Roma from Tajik Gypsy Diaspora. They call themselves Luli and speak Persian. The have lost their own language. Belarus wasn't their final destination. As far as I know, they have settled in Western Europe, probably in Scandinavia.

How do Roma differ from other nation minorities?
Roma are more like Moslem peoples. The main characteristic is their respect to elderly people. You'll never find a Roma in a retirement home; besides, we have quite specific family and marriage relations. They are virtually identical to those that the Koran defines for Moslems. It is a special status of men in the family relations. The marriage and family Code that exists in the Republic of Belarus is completely unacceptable for Roma. We have a completely different tradition. For instance, registration of marriage or signature doesn't mean anything to us.

Which public organization do you represent?
Our organization deals with the rights of national minorities. Volunteers work in our branch. There's no financing for our activity. The representatives of our nationality, who face law violations and national discrimination, apply to us. We try to help. In most cases they need juridical support. Our organization unites ethnic Romas and Non-Roma, who have juridical education. Unfortunately, there are few of them, but we have managed to unite our forces. The work is going on. We have regional representatives. We work most actively in Vitebsk region.

Is there any international organization of Roma that unites representatives of your people from different countries?
There is the International Union of Roma (IRU) it is headed by a citizen of Poland. Surprisingly enough, the European Commission and Council of Europe are working a lot on Roma issues.

Which issues are the most acute ones for representatives of your nationality?
Discrimination against Roma exists everywhere; Belarus is not an exception. In many countries Roma can't find a job. For instance in Finland, Roma public organizations file about 100 suits of discrimination per year. In Belarus the situation is similar. It is enough to compile only one figure: 93% of Roma in Belarus don't have job, last year this figure was compiled by the Roma NGO. It means that a whole nation is unemployed. For instance, in Germany this figure is only 15%. There is a state program of liquidation of illiteracy and unemployment among Romas. There is strong discrimination in everyday life. Belarusians are not very tolerant. In this respect Romas feel here very expendable. However, even having education and letters of recommendations, it is almost impossible to get a job. I am a lawyer and I receive refusals only because of my nationality. It is difficult for Romas to enter higher educational establishments.

How many people are there in the Roma community In Belarus?
It is difficult to say now, because the numbers vary greatly. Some уears ago this figure was about 65 thousand.

What perspectives and aims could you call for your organization and the whole national group?
There is little knowledge about Roma and this information is mostly negative. It lives in the conscience of ordinary people. We must work to break these stereotypes. The most negative one is when the equal sign is put between the words Roma and lawbreaker. It's a pity, but the official mass media and representatives of power bodies treat us this way. There are plans to establish a Roma school or Roma classes, not as an alternative to basic education, but as a complement to it. In June 2004 the Ministry of Education applied with this proposal. We need it for the possibility to teach and learn our national language. Our government didn’t want to open Roma classes or Roma schools. We have big problems with democracy relations altogether.

Do people apply to you with such problems?

At present we work within the project of defense of the rights of Roma. We plan to hold monitoring. We also give juridical support for free to the Roma in Belarus who face human rights violations. At present we can cover a big number of people.

Do people apply to you with such problems?
Yes. We have even gained certain popularity. There are many applicants from Vitsebsk region, for instance, from Polatsk. People report groundless refusals of employment. This problem is very important. The second is the self-will of the police towards Roma. Investigative measures are held with gross violations of all rights. For instance, if there's the permission to search only one house, they search almost half of the street, only the houses where Roma are living. We also face so called court mistakes made by Roma. There is only one principle: If you are Roma, you are guilty of something. This is opinion of Belarussian policeman. People are defenseless, they are looking for support. Government advocates didn’t want to write complaints to investigators or to police and to spoil relations with them by the Roma causes. However, we have a lot of victories. We work, but it is very difficult to find support. I think that International Organizations must do more for Roma in Belarus and for Belarusian citizens. We are not guilty because we are living in Belarus. We are not guilty that we were born in this country. We are people like everyone else.

(Dzeno Association/Ekhipe)

Gypsies have a week to leave land

Nov 10 2005

GYPSIES occupying land in Leatherhead have just over a week to move off the site before facing possible eviction.

The gypsies have been living on the site in River Lane for two-and-a-half years.

In November last year, after 18 months of occupying the land in defiance of planning laws, the group was served with an eviction notice from Mole Valley District Council, giving them a year to move on.

It came as a bitter result for the families who bought the land for £56,000.

The council, had wanted the gypsies to leave within three months, but the office of the Deputy Prime Minister concluded this was inadequate and extended it to 12 months.

The deadline, of November 18, is now fast approaching.

The council's legal adviser, Chris Harris, said: "They were served with an enforcement notice back in December 2003."They applied against the refusal of planning permission, but they lost their appeal.

"We've been speaking to them about alternatives, including other sites which are not in our district, and also offered them applications for conventional housing."

German policeman suspended over Gypsy slur

4 November 2005

BERLIN - A German police officer was suspended and facing disciplinary action Thursday after publishing a text saying Gypsies in Germany were living like parasites, officials said.

"Gypsies have explained to us that one feels like a 'maggot in fat' in Germany's wealthy society," the text in "Der Kriminalist", a magazine of the Federation of Criminal Police said, using a German metaphor for somebody who has a comfortable life without effort.

The article said that Gypsies in Germany were responsible for far more crime than other citizens, but they felt justified when stealing or illegally taking social welfare payments because of their persecution under the Nazi Third Reich.

Historians say that between 90,000 and 219,000 Gypsies were murdered by the Nazis.
"Is it really prejudice when citizens complain that Gypsies drive to the social welfare offices in a Mercedes?" asked the police author.

The Central Council of German Gypsies and Roma slammed the article as "race-baiting."

In reply the Bavarian state interior ministry issued a statement saying the officer who wrote the article had been suspended and that state prosecutors were looking into the case.

"A general criminalizing of a single part of the population, as here with the Gypsies and Roma, is totally unacceptable," said the statement.


Well, let's not speak of the real figure, ever. The one that was put forward from the Frankfurter Fachhochschule some years ago and which states, and this is a figure that is being widely accepted now, of 1.5 million Sinti and Roma and Jenische; so why, yet again, the numbers game of making the suffering of the Gypsy People appear less?
As to the police officer's comments: why is anyone surprised about such? Germany has never changed, only on the face of it. There to this day, even though it is being vehemently denied, the police keeps records on all Gypsies in the country, in the same manner as was done in Bavaria, and that not until so long ago publicly, in the "Police Office to Combat the Gypsy Menace". The same collection of records still exists. The only difference is that now it has gone underground and publicly the existence is being denied.

Missing teen could be with gypsies

By Adam Leech

NEWTON - A local mother is asking for help locating her 16-year-old daughter who has been missing since Sept. 24 and who she believes is traveling with a band of gypsies.

Linda Bien said her daughter, Amanda Bien, is with her 15-year-old boyfriend who she says is one member of a family of scam artists from Salisbury, Mass. Linda said she wants to get her daughter home before the gypsy family leaves for Florida.

"I have to get my daughter out of there," said Linda. "I feel like she's in a cult ... and they have no respect for anyone or anything."

Linda said Amanda went to elementary school with her now-boyfriend when they lived in Salisbury and re-encountered him not long ago. Since then, Amanda, a junior at Sanborn Regional High School, doesn't want to go to school and has needed to be retrieved by police from Salisbury a number of times.

Amanda, who will be 17 years old next March, is 5 feet 6 inches tall and approximately 110 pounds. She has hazel eyes, brown hair and a pale complexion. She has pierced ears and a pierced navel and may be traveling with her boyfriend.
Any information regarding her whereabouts should be reported immediately to the Newton Police Department at 382-6774, or the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at (800) 843-5678.

Police Chief Larry Streeter said Amanda has had 15 contacts with police, mostly with runaway issues and a variety of delinquency issues.

"She has been a repeated runaway, and it's a result of a relationship with a male companion," said Streeter. "We do not believe her disappearance was combative or hostile, but that doesn't take away from any possible endangerment she could face."
Streeter said the department has been in constant contact with the Salisbury Police Department, and Amanda has been broadcast by NCMEC as an endangered runaway. He said police have driven to the boyfriend's residency, but no one appears to be home.

Linda said she drives by the home every day, she calls every day, and has friends drive by the house every day, but either no one is there or the person answering says Amanda is not there.

"I just don't know what else to do," said Linda. "I miss her a lot. I'm really concerned and I just really want her home."

Linda said she had a great relationship with her daughter before Amanda got involved with her current boyfriend, which prompted a series of runaway attempts. On the morning of Sept. 24, after seeing her go to bed the night before, Linda said she woke up and Amanda wasn't in her bedroom.

Amanda called five days later to say she was OK, but didn't provide details as to where she was. Linda has not heard from her since then.

"I asked if she would come home and she didn't answer," said Linda. "And when I asked her where she was she got nervous and said she was with friends."

Linda said the gypsies, a close-knit family of more than a dozen, may not be allowing her to leave. But she also said they would give her lavish presents from scams they pull and allowed her to smoke cigarettes.

"I'm sure to a 16-year-old all the money and stuff is very appealing," she said. "But I want her home."

Linda said she has done everything she can do to try and get her daughter home and she fears she's running out of options.

"It's a heart-wrenching thing I never thought I'd have to go through," she said. "I'm glad to know she's OK. It's just all so frustrating."


Yet again Gypsies are equated as "scam artists" and as people steeling children, not that that young lady (oh dear) would qualify still as a child in most countries bar the USA. She is nearly 17 years old and in many countries she would be working already and in times past she would definitely be working by now or have a family.

Austria finally facing its past, restitution head says

Staff Reporter

Hannah Lessing
Former Austrian president Kurt Waldheim's lying about his past in 1986 forced the country to come to terms with its own guilt, says an Austrian-Jewish woman who oversees the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution to her country's Holocaust survivors.

"For we Austrians, what was relevant was that he lied [about his membership in the SA stormtroopers]," Hannah Lessing told a breakfast gathering at the Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom. "It was shameful."

Lessing, 42, is a member of the Austrian Parliament and in charge of a special fund that pays financial compensation to Austrians and their families, wherever they live, who were subjugated, tortured and murdered by the Nazis.

The individual amounts, she said, are little more than symbolic - on average between $5,000 and $10,000 - but the symbolism is nonetheless crucial, since no amount can compensate for the suffering that took place in the same country that gave birth to Mozart and Sigmund Freud.

The numbers speak for themselves, Lessing said. Prior to the war, Austria had about 200,000 Jews. Some 130,000 escaped Austria, but of the 65,000 who remained, all but 2,000 perished.

About 800 Austrian survivors live in Canada, some of whom told Lessing in Ottawa that they craved, more than anything else, a sincere apology.

"They told me that they want a letter saying, 'We are sorry and aware that nothing can compensate for what happened.'"

Unfortunately, Lessing said, that was a long time coming. Even when Austria initially took "legal" responsibility for the suffering of its Austrian citizens under the Nazis, moral responsibility was another matter, lost in the European postwar mentality of self-victimization.

It all came to a head with the Waldheim affair, which culminated in chancellor Franco Vranitzky's exhorting his fellow Austrians - a month before the 50th anniversary of the Anschluss - into accepting the fact that they were both victims of and participants in the horrible evils that took place on their land.

In 1995, Lessing, who has a business background, put her own name forward to administer the Austrian National Fund to compensate Austria's Nazi victims.
According to its website, the fund has so far paid out $215 million (Cdn) to 30,000 applicants persecuted by the Nazis, with another $255 million to 20,000 persons who lost property.

As well, a General Settlement Fund of $260 million, which Lessing also oversees for "gaps in restitution," is due to be distributed pending the resolution of class-action lawsuits in the United States against Austria.

Lessing, in an interview after her talk, said that being Jewish was a relevant, although not overriding factor in her being named to administer the fund.

"It helps," she said, "but a lot of people don't even know I am Jewish."

The fund, she noted, also compensates non-Jewish victims of the Nazis, such as the Romani (Gypsies).

Lessing, whose own grandmother perished at Auschwitz, sees as integral to her work the need for her and her staff of 160 - all of them non-Jewish, she pointed out - to reach out to Austrians in communities outside Israel and to help those who approach her department.

"They need to be listened to, to be seen, each and every one of them, as individuals." She said the hardest part of her job was witnessing the deaths of those claimants she has grown close to.

Lessing said that despite its history, Austria now has a lively Jewish community of 8,000, including many from Russia and about 1,000 survivors. The community includes different Jewish religious, social and political groups, including Chabad and Bnai Akiva, and they continue to pray at the one synagogue that remained standing in Vienna after Kristallnacht in November 1938.

Personally, Lessing has absolutely no qualms about wearing her Magen David necklace publicly, and not once has a fellow Austrian made an issue of her Jewishness.

As in any society, she said, anti-Semitism does exist, and much of it today is rooted in Islamic extremism, but she added that since the Waldheim affair, society in her country has made great progress in a sincere effort to face up to its past.

Austrian programs include trips to Israel where participants visit Yad Vashem, working with Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, compulsory courses on the Holocaust in public schools and the Gedenkdienst program that allow young Austrians to defer military duty by working at Holocaust museums, including the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.

"It's the key to redemption and remembrance," Lessing said.

Lessing also spoke to a group at the Gelber Conference Centre.

About time too, is all one can say. For far too long the Austrians have pretended to have had nothing to do with things and have pretended to have been victims of a Nazi takeover. This is not the case. They were some of the most ardent Nazis and they, in the main, did welcome the Nazi troops marching thru the border points on the day of the Anschluss. We also must not forget that Adolf Hitler was not a German but an Austrian.

Romany Koran Published In Bosnia

2 November 2005 -- Muharem Serbezovski, a Bosnian Roma singer of Macedonian origin, today presented his translation of the Koran from Arabic into Romany in Sarajevo.

This is the first-ever printed copy of the Koran in that language.

Serbezovski took seven years to complete his translation, and its presentation was timed to coincide with the Eid el-Fitr holiday -- known locally as Ramazanski Bajram -- that marks the end of Ramadan.

He said he will soon begin promoting his translation throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina and distribute free copies to local Roma. His next project is to translate the Bible into Romany, since many Roma in former Yugoslavia are Christian.

The former Yugoslavia had a large Roma population, although their exact numbers are difficult to determine despite the fact a census was taken there every 10 years. Many Roma either declared themselves to be members of another ethnic group to avoid discrimination or had no contact with census takers because of their nomadic lifestyle.

Estimates of Bosnia's Roma population range from 10,000 to 40,000. Serbia, Kosova, and Macedonia also have large numbers of Roma.


Oh, how very useful.

Three youths go to prison for racist attack against Romany couple

JESENIK- The Jesenik court sentenced three youths to prison for a brutal attack on a Romany couple in Jesenik.

The court sent Martin Stiskal to three years in prison, Martin Jasa to 4.5 years and Petr Blajze to 3.5 years. According to the indictment, they broke into the Romanies' flat in June 2003, using the pretext that they are police. They hit a pregnant woman into her eye with a cobblestone and they cut the man.

The youths immediately appealed.

"The defendants deliberately caused them severe bodily harm due to their ethnic group. They committed the criminal activity in a brutal and hideous way. Early in the morning, they assaulted the helpless residents," judge Dusan Jedlicka said.

The Jesenik court already punished the youths in January 2004, but only with suspended sentences. The verdict caused a number of public protests.

The regional court returned the case to Jesenik for more expert reviews. Expert Ilja Sin told the court that the woman had permanent bodily harm and her eye-sight was seriously impaired.

The judge issued the same verdict as proposed by the state attorney.

"I am satisfied. It has been proved clearly that the acts of all accused were racially motivated...No other motive has been proved," said state attorney Katerina Krcova who took time to consider a possible appeal.

The damaged Romanies and their authorised representatives said they are only partially contented with the verdict.

"They [the culprits] appealed once more, it will be dragging on again. I do not know if there will ever be peace in Jesenik," said Jan Ziga whom the young men caused lacerations.

Zdenka Polakova, authorised representative of the victims, said she does not agree with the sentence level for Stiskala.

"The prison sentences are all right. The question is whether the most aggressive attacker should have received the lowest sentence," she said.

Karel Holomek, deputy head of the Government Council for Romany Issues and chairman of the Association of Romanies in Moravia, also attended the trial to hear the verdict today.

Holomek pointed out that the court's statement that the accused had lived a decent life before the crime was simply ridiculous since the men are well-know neo-Nazis in the town.

"The sentence should be one year longer," he told reporters.

The accused men, aged 20 to 23, refused to comment on the verdict. Stiskala only said he expected the sentence, but he does not agree with it.

The Regional Court will deal with the case as the accused appealed the verdict.
According to the charges, Blajze, Jas and Stiskala, drunk at the time of the crime, tried to get into a Romany couple's flat in June 2003. The Zigas opened the door because the young men claimed they are policemen. The Romany woman, who was then pregnant, was hit in the eye with a cobblestone and the man ended up with cuts in his face and chest.

The culprits admitted that they attacked the Romanies. They, however, defended themselves, saying they only wanted to scare them. They denied having injured the Romanies.

According to an eye doctor, the Romany woman suffers from permanent troubles after the attack and she is practically blind on the left eye.

The young attackers got into a brawl with Romanies earlier already. Blajze and Jas were behind bars for other racially motivated attacks. Stiskala was prosecuted, too, but he was acquitted of charges then.

Autor: CTK. (CTK)

And what is the bet that the appeal's court judge will overturn the sentences? It would not surprise me. They might get away with something like suspended sentences, if anything at all. Maybe they will claim that it was the Romani couple's fault and be set free. Nothing would surprise me.

British gypsies in court over squatting

ESSEX, England, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A group of 86 gypsy families in England is challenging eviction orders for building homes on parkland without permits.
The group first moved to the Crays Hill area of Essex five years ago in trailers, with the permission of a local council, Sky News said.

But since then, they have been purchasing neighboring land and building permanent housing without permits. Local officials served an eviction notice, which was challenged, and are awaiting a court hearing.

Gypsy spokeswoman Kathleen McCarthy said there are other gypsy settlements in England, but to get into one could mean years of being on a waiting list, the report said.

The report said if the eviction goes through, it will cost local and national officials about $3.5 million to enforce and clean up afterwards.

© Copyright 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Kathleen McCarthy in NOT a Gypsy but an Irish Traveller therefore she cannot be a Gypsy spokeswoman. Only Romani can be referred to as Gypsies as only the Romani People fit the dictionary description of what a Gypsy is "one of a wandering race (sic) from Northern India".
There are no such things as "Gypsy settlements" in England. They are called "official" Gypsy sites and are Council/local authority operated and many have been taken over by force, nigh on, by Irish Travellers with the resident Romani being displaced and forced back onto the road. Calling Irish Travellers falsely Gypsies is an attempt to give them the ethnic minority protection that is due only to the Romani-Gypsy in the UK.
What stops the Irish Travellers from living in ordinary houses? They are nothing but Gohja (non-Gypsies) in trailers claiming to be Gypsies. In the USA many people would refer to them, rightly, as "Trailer Trash". But living in houses in ordinary areas does not make the placing of trucks and rubbish all that easy. Nuff said!

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.

Property scam gypsies strike again

A GYPSY couple, known as Túlia and Nelo, who have used a legal ploy to pocket money from phoney property purchases, have struck again according to reports at the weekend.

At least five establishments have so far been targeted by this scam (see front page story in last week's edition of The Resident).

The well dressed couple express an interest in buying an apartment in a luxury condominium and pay an initial deposit - anything between 15,000 and 45,000 euros. The following day, dressed in their everyday gypsy clothing and with troublesome
children in tow, they return to create mayhem on the estate. The seller, under pressure from other residents not to sell a property to the 'problem family', cancels the contract, and is obliged by law to return double the original deposit to the would-be 'buyers'.

The most recent 'target' of the couple was allegedly the condominium of Má Partilha in Alvor. The episode reportedly ended at a police station in Palmela, near the developer's home, after he had informed police of the situation and made an appointment with the couple to sign the escritura. The couple, seeing their intentions dashed, accepted the return of just the deposit in question - 20,000 euros.

Authorities now suspect that the group is extending its activities to the rest of the country.


I would still like to see proper proof as to those people being Gypsies and not just being falsely referred to as such as no real Romani people would behave in the way described in the previous article on this matter.
I wonder what the world would say if one would substitute "Jews" for the word "Gypsies" with the same scam?

Refund for runaway bride

Sofia - A traditional Roma court ordered a runaway bride's family to return the 40 000 leva ($24 500) that the abandoned groom has paid for her, local newspapers reported on Monday.

In a customary arrangement, the man had bought the 22-years old bride for that sum from her parents. She however appeared less of a traditionalist and ran away before the wedding.

A court of more than 100 senior Roma men from throughout Bulgaria conferred for hours and eventually ruled that the money must be returned.

The court mainly resolves family and not very well documented financial disputes among the Roma in Bulgaria. It is not official, but is faster and more fair than the real Bulgarian courts, they say.

The around 800 000 Roma, or Gypsies, make up more than 10% of Bulgaria's population. Most of them are not socially integrated and live in settlements on the outskirts of cities.

The isolation of the Roma is partly attributable to their poverty and prejudice they face, but partly also to their own reluctance to accept the rules and standards of modern-day life.

The purchasing of a bride is ONLY something that ever happens amongst Roma and not amongst the Sinti or Cale (Kale) and therefore, yet again, shows the differences between those Romani groups.

Romanian President: Roma must be considered as Holocaust victims

26. 10. 2005

Romanian President Traian Basescu has sent a bill back to parliment requesting that the definition of the Holocaust include Roma. The request follows an open letter Mr Basescu received from rights activists and European lawmakers, which asked him change the wording of the Holocaust in the bill. The bill will ban Holocaust denial and aims to make racism illegal.

The previous legislation excluded Roma by defining the Holocaust as "state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborators between 1933 and 1945." The signatories of the open letter declared that it is "outrageous that the draft law makes no mention of the Roma as victims of the Holocaust."

According to the letter, not including Roma in the definition of the Holocaust can lead to serious consequences with regard to Romania's efforts to adhere to the European principles of reaching reconciliation with its own history. Furthermore, the absence of Roma from the text of the law means that the Roma minority will be excluded from any discussions about the Holocaust. This will make it impossible for the citizens of Romania to receive proper education on the Holocaust. Moreover, this law will fail to apply in the case of the denial of the persecutions of the Roma.

The letter is based on the report of the International Committee for the Study of the Holocaust, which states that both Jewish and Roma people were victims of the Holocaust and of the deportations to Transnistria during the wartime regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu. The regime was responsible for the deaths of more than 11,000 Roma and between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews.

Over 600, 000 Roma died during World War II due to the Holocaust. Additionally, thousands of Roma were killed during active fighting against Nazis as members of various national armies. Many others were murdered without any record.

In the Czech Republic, it is becoming increasingly apparent that only 10% of Roma survived Holocaust fury. Even more disconcerting is the fact that in the place of a former concentration camp in Lety u Pisku-where more than a thousand Roma and Sinti were sent to die during the Second World War-now stands a pig farm.
(Dzeno Association)