Pressure to ban Czech far-right group after rioting

by Michael Smith

The Czech government has come under pressure to ban extremist groups after more than 500 supporters of the far-right Workers’ Party fought running battles with police who blocked their attempt to march through an area populated predominately by Romanies.

At least 14 people were injured and 15 arrested when police confronted about 700 marchers in the northern Czech town of Litvinov on Monday, a public holiday marking both the 1939 Nazi clampdown on Czechoslovak universities and the 1989 student protest that sparked the Velvet Revolution, which ended decades of communist rule in the central European country.

About 1,000 police using tear gas and water cannon, and supported by armoured vehicles and a helicopter, clashed with Workers’ Party supporters wielding bricks, sticks and petrol bombs when they tried to enter a large Gypsy neighbourhood.

“The police tried to get the demonstrators back to the planned march route but they started throwing flaming bottles,” said police spokeswoman Jarmila Hrubesova.

Fighting spread through the back streets of Litvinov as police pursued small groups of far-right marchers and prevented them coming into contact with about 300 Roma men who had gathered to defend their part of town.

“We discovered weapons – sticks, guns, pitchforks, machetes and other things – in the cars of extremists and also Roma people,” said police spokesman Vladimir Danyluk, after what was the second confrontation in a month between right-wing demonstrators and police in the town.

Obviously, they had to mention that they found also weapons with the Romanies; maybe they can now claim that it is really the Gypsies that are at fault here and not the Fascists. It certainly would not surprise me.

A number of leading Czech newspapers called for a crackdown on far-right groups, criticised local authorities for authorising such rallies, and urged police to stop supporters of the Workers’ Party gathering in large groups. Under pressure from human rights groups, interior minister Ivan Langer has discussed banning the party.

This idea has, in the meantime, been forgotten again, however, and the ministers have claimed that in the interest of freedom of speech and freedom of expression a ban would be counterproductive.

Roma communities are a common target for far-right groups across eastern Europe and the Balkans, where they endure very poor levels of employment, housing, education and healthcare and are widely seen as a major source of crime. In Hungary in early November 2008, two Gypsies were shot dead and their home burned down in a what can only be described as a racist murder.

Now, in the last days of November 2008, a Romani couple was murdered by a hand grenade having been thrown into their modest home while they were sitting watching TV. The children, who were already in bed were unhurt.

But when Gypsies then flee to other countries asking for political asylum they are claimed to be economic migrants and not real refugees.

In Hungary, as well as in the former Czechoslovakia and even in Italy, police have been known to stand idly by while extremists have attacked Gypsy men, women and children. So, what are the Romanies to do?

© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008

Roma rights ... A message to the European institutions

A message to the European institutions concerning the need to urgently modify the policies on the Roma ethnic group

The European Union has demonstrated over the last few years that it possesses neither the experience nor adequate means for facing the "racism emergency". The situation in Italy, where every EU directive (starting from the 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000) and every international charter for the rights of minorities have been systematically violated by the institutions in their policies involving the Roma and immigrants, is symbolic of how resolutions and warnings are not sufficient for obtaining results on a civil level.

The EU Parliament, Commission and Council of Europe have expressed themselves several times, through every political means; warning first the Prodi Government and then the Berlusconi Government to abandon the repressive actions and "de facto" expulsion of thousands of EU citizens belonging to the Roma ethnic group.

The camp clearances without the offer of alternative humanitarian solutions; the violence used, and threats from the institutions; the practise of taking children from families living in hardship and the denial of any socio-medical assistance for Roma citizens, has led to a mass exodus of Roma (particularly Romanian Roma) from Italy to Spain, France or back to Romania. Over the last few years, in spite of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (which began in 2005) and all the European directives and resolutions against racism and in favour of a policy for the Roma, the situation of the so-called "nomads" has gradually deteriorated and no projects for social integration, no local ordinances and no emergency laws have been initiated to protect this ethnic group. If in 2005 there were between 180 - 210,000 Roma in Italy, today there are – as confirmed by the census – only about 70,000 remaining, living in disastrous social and sanitary conditions. The exodus, the infant mortality, illnesses and acts of violence have drastically reduced the number of Roma in Italy and a new humanitarian tragedy is expected with the onset of the cold weather. We have already had the first victims, but unfortunately it is only the beginning of a terrible period for these troubled people, whose average life span has fallen to around 40, with an appalling infant mortality rate.

What could the European institutions have done to prevent and counteract this tragedy in an effective way? First of all, they could have listened to the witnesses and all those who possess great experience in the field, experts who are in contact with the reality of the Roma, and who are studying the spread of anti-Roma sentiments in Italy: Marcel Courthiade; Juan de Dios Ramírez Heredia and Union Romani; Saimir Mile and La Voix des Rroms; Roberto Malini and EveryOne Group; Nico Grancea and "The Red Wheel"; Santino Spinelli and the Coordinamento Nazionale Antirazzista (National Anti-Discrimination Coordination) "Sa Phrala"; the MEPs Viktoria Mohacsi and Els de Groen, to mention just a few.

It is also necessary to realise that it is impossible to solve such an important problem by simply setting aside funds and waiting for the Member States to dip into these resources. First of all, it is necessary to lay down solid foundations for integration, starting with the countries where the Roma population is the most numerous and where the problems to be solved are particularly complex: Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Macedonia, the Czech Republic etc. In Romania, for example, there are about two million Roma: a generation that is the child of endless persecution, six centuries of slavery, the Holocaust and deep-rooted discrimination.

Centuries of precarious living conditions and hardship have undermined the health of this ethnic group, which reveals a high percentage of serious congenital diseases and illnesses connected to poverty. We have to urgently set up a social assistance programme for these people, who make up at least 20% of the Roma population in Romania. We cannot speak (for human beings suffering from serious illnesses) of an integration based solely on integration into the workforce. We will be able to do that for the next generation if the tragedy of this precarious lifestyle is overcome by contemporary Europe. Another crucial point is the education of Roma children. It is not possible to think of integrating them into the school system if we don't first remove from society the racism that marginalizes them and puts them at a disadvantage before their peers. Schools should make a special effort to offer Roma children (especially those born into families living in extreme poverty) an "oasis" where they can find the tranquillity necessary for private study. Support groups, made up of teachers, but also parents, should be present to guarantee educational and psychological support.

For this part of the programme, we would ask you to read the Frame Statute for Romani People in the European Union, a document which is the result of many years of experience and knowledge, a document that should be studied in depth by the European institutions and maybe adopted in their policies for the Roma people. And then, jobs. Silvio Berlusconi, who does not know the reality of the Roma in depth and who is the promoter of repressive policies towards them, recently stated during talks with the Romanian Prime Minister Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, that "the Roma entering Italy from Romania have no professional skills and are therefore forced to resort to criminal activities". This is not true, because Italian companies, after years of propaganda from politicians and the press filled with racial hatred refuse to offer Roma citizens jobs, even when they possess all the requirements, as they forejudge them as being unreliable.

EveryOne Group has begun a programme of integration for Roma workers with Italian companies, but with poor results due to this widespread prejudice. It is true, however, that not even in Romania do Roma citizens have equal opportunities compared to other citizens, and if finding a steady job is difficult for everyone there, it is even more difficult for the Roma, who are subjected to discrimination and hostility. It is therefore necessary that the European Union becomes the promoter and sponsor of professional integration programmes reserved for Roma citizens living in Romania (and other countries with large numbers of Roma and where integration programmes are few and far between) both in the usual factory jobs, in commerce, agriculture and handicrafts; and in the traditional Roma activities: cattle-farming, biological agriculture, metalwork, and the recycling of materials etc. At the same time it will be necessary to encourage access to all forms of study for Roma students.

In short, seeing the failure of the majority of projects - which remain only on paper – created for the integration of Roma citizens within the Member States (badly organized by some states and not even attempted by others, Italy among them) it is probably time to "reset" the programme where the EU's policies for the Roma are concerned and concentrate on improving their conditions and their ability to grow socially in Europe by carrying out projects at the source - in the countries they have lived in for centuries. It will probably be much easier for the Member States of the EU to overcome their racist, xenophobic qualms when their borders are crossed by people from the Roma ethnic group who are in possession of significant qualifications and skills, instead of families coming from situations of great hardship and in precarious health. In order to tackle all the points in this letter with a full knowledge of the facts, we repeat the invitation to read the Frame Statute of the Roma People in the European Union very carefully as it contains answers to many of the questions that cause anguish, when it comes to the subject of the Roma people, in the countries of modern Europe.

Source: Gruppo EveryOne

ENAR condemns racist violence against Roma in Hungary and the Czech Republic

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns the recent violent attacks against Roma in the Czech Republic and Hungary and urges the Czech authorities to put an end to such attacks and take all the necessary measures to ensure the protection of their Roma community.

At a march organised in the town of Litvinov in the Czech Republic on 17 November, about 500 demonstrators linked to the far-right Czech Workers’ Party chanted anti-Roma slogans and threw stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs with the intention of attacking the Roma community. In a related development, two Roma were shot in Nagycsecs, Hungary a few weeks ago as they fled a house set ablaze in an arson attack.

These events are extremely worrying, especially as ENAR’s 2007 Shadow Report on racism in Europe reports an increase in extremism and racist violence in a number of Member States of the EU and the emergence of extremist, semi-military organisations in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

These events are a reminder of the urgent need to formalise the adoption of and implement the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia. This Framework Decision is a crucial European instrument to fight racist crime and was agreed by all 27 Member States at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 April 2007. More than one year on, the adoption has still not been formalised.

ENAR President Mohammed Aziz said: “This is yet another sign of the worrying trend towards increasing racist violence and crime that can be noticed across the EU. The EU Member States must live up to their commitment on the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia.”

ENAR Director Pascale Charhon said: “It is also urgent that all relevant EU institutions take action to curb anti-Gypsysm across Europe. The European Union must adopt a comprehensive and ambitious approach to the Roma that will secure real change in the lives of the ten million Roma in Europe.”

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is a network of European NGOs working to combat racism in all EU member states and represents more than 600 NGOs spread around the European Union. ENAR aims to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals, and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European initiatives.

Soure: ENAR

Intolerance against Romani-Gypsies in Europe is on the rise

by Michael Smith

The Council of Europe Secretary General said with regards to recent happenings: “70 years almost to the day after the Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust, a stone throwing mob tried to attack a Roma suburb in the Czech city of Litvinov. The analogy only goes so far. In 1938 the attacks by the storm troopers were orchestrated by the Nazi regime, and it would be totally wrong to draw any parallels with the Czech Republic where the authorities are doing everything they can to prevent these attacks against the Roma.

“I congratulate the Czech authorities on their determination in stopping the violence and also express my solidarity with the policemen who were wounded by the mob. At the same time we must recognise that this incident took place against the background of increasing intolerance and violence against Roma people in Europe. All Governments across Europe also need to look urgently at the situation of the Roma communities in their countries and act decisively to protect them against discrimination, intolerance and violence.”

While the Council of Europe Secretary General may decide to congratulate the Czech authorities on their determination of stopping the violence we also know how often the authorities, in the Czech Republic, as well as in other EU member states, are complicit with the perpetrators of racially motivated crimes against the Romani-Gypsy. Italy is but one example when not only the authorities stood by and let burning happen. Nay, they criminalized the entire Gypsy population and forced them to give DNA samples and fingerprints, even small children.

The Council of Europe, who after all is the real EU command and control, is doing very little in practical term as to protect the Romani minority in the member countries of the European Union. There is lots of talk, like this address by the Council of Europe Secretary General but very little else and the authorities in member countries get away with murder, literally, on Gypsy citizens.

But, as someone from the Gypsy community in Germany said: “It has happened before, it is happening and will happen again – we must fight against it and defend ourselves”. He is right, you know. Ourselves Alone! We must do it. We cannot depend on others to do it for us. The problem is, though, that if we do it the authorities will claim that we are in the wrong.

Where does that leave us, yet again?

© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008

Anti-racism demonstration 10.12 in Prague - demonstrace proti rasismu 10.12 v Praze

On 10 December at 18:00 there will be a march in Prague to commemorate International Human Rights Day and draw attention to the rise in violence, racism and xenophobia in this society. It is being organized by Tolerance.

The route: Náměstí Jana Palacha - Mánesův most - Klárov - Úřad Vlády - Pod Bruskou - Gogolova - Letenská pláň - Nad Štolou, ending at the Interior Ministry building.

The organizers are looking for volunteers to assist them, please contact them at to volunteer.

10.12.2008 - 18.00 hod
Náměstí Jana Palacha - Mánesův most - Klárov - Úřad Vlády - Pod Bruskou - Gogolova - Letenská pláň - Nad Štolou (Ministerstvo vnitra).

účel shromáždění:
Připomenutí vzniku Mezinárodního dne lidských práv - Upozornění na nárůst násilí, rasismu a xenofobie ve společnosti.

Momentálně sháníme dobrovolníky různých profesí - mohou se hlásit na naše maily


Review by Michael Smith

GYPSIES STOP tHERE by Miriam Wakerly
ISBN: 978-0-9558432-0-4
Price: £7.99 (+ P&P)
Published in 2008
The book is available in the United Kingdom from Waterstone’s or from

This novel, set in Surrey/Hampshire 2007, is written from the viewpoint of a non-Gypsy woman who has her own intriguing tale to tell. It also brings us up to date with where Travellers are in the 21st century. This makes it topical, showing a balanced understanding of the problems they still face. Romany Gypsies, who have been with us for over 500 years, are an ethnic group that even today suffer open racist abuse and discrimination.

Will uprooting herself from London to live in the country help Kay escape guilt-ridden memories of her husband's death? Far from finding a quiet life, she is caught up in the age-old village conflict where passionate opinions on Romany Gypsy Travellers divide the local people.

A young Gypsy woman, Lena, and her two small sons, enter her life, unwittingly putting Kay's plans on hold. Kay struggles not only to come to terms with her emotional past but also to resolve Lena's problems, those of the village and the Gypsies. And another relationship blossoms that she would never have dreamed of ...

To find out whether or not and what and the rest you will have to read the book yourself. I am not going to give away anymore of the plot. Sorry folks, but you have to get the book and read it yourself.

GYPSIES STOP tHERE is a brilliant story that brings to life the issues that Gypsies face on a daily basis in this country, at each and every place that they stop or try to stop; all the prejudices and all the rest of discrimination without most of the non-Gypsies having ever known any Gypsy personally.

While I cannot, and neither does the author via this book, so no fear there, condone the recent acts of buying land by Gypsies and other Travellers, then moving onto that land and presenting the local councils with a fait acompli, with the attitude “we are here and here to stay”, in each and every case nearly, and then seeking retrospective planning consent, I do also make the call for Gypsies to be given adequate sites and also and especially the possibility to set up their own on their own land. In other words; a little bit more leeway in planning law to make it possible for Gypsies to set up and run their own sites. But, oh dear, I again digressed.

This book I think, will be a good vehicle to further some understanding amongst the non-Gypsy population, if they will but read it, as to the need of Gypsies for sites, whether local authority ones or their own, and aid, I hope, in lessening the NIMBY-ism concerned with Gypsies coming into an area to live. Only a small minority, as in other communities, do live by scamming and by fraud and theft, and I am always prepared and willing to admit that we have our rogues and our villains. But there are many more good Gypsies than there are the bad ones; as with all people.

GYPSIES STOP tHERE is definitely a great read that provides an entertaining way for people to understand more about Gypsies (and Travellers) in Britain and their life and their life's problems.

The story is one of a very few that I have read from this perspective that puts Gypsies in a real light. It neither vilifies nor romanticizes them.

I could not put this book down and only did so with great reluctance. The story is fast moving and you want to keep turning the pages to find out how is goes on. This is a real page-turner for sure. When I finally finished it was left feeling bereft. I hope a sequel of this story is in work and coming out soon. I cannot wait to find out how it continues.

GYPSIES STOP tHERE is a book that definitely should be read by all, adults and young people alike. Especially, however, those that are prejudiced towards the Gypsy People should take some time to read this book.

The author has created a story and characters that are believable and has presented the Romany-Gypsy community in a positive light without making them appear too perfect or too romantic.

Some of the words of the Romani used by the characters, especially by Lena, are Traveller slang and not Romani Chib. “Scan” for food, for instance is NOT Romani; it is Traveller slang. The Romani word used by the Romanichals in Britain (and elsewhere) is “hoben”. This is directly related to the Romanes word for food, that is to say “chabe” with the “ch” being pronounced like the “ch” in “loch”. I do know, however, that “scran” is also used by the Romanichal communities. The Romanichals are the Romany-Gypsy in Britain, by way of explanation to those that do not know this. And while they are Romany (Romani) they are not Roma. Oh, but I digressed again.

The sprinkling of Romany words within the book, even the Traveller slang, for those words also find themselves being used by the Romany at times, makes this story so good, aside from the brilliant story line and the writing style.

I think this is one of the fist novels of this kind that addresses this subject in the way that it does. Let's hope for lots of people reading it and taking the message to heart.

Miriam Wakerly has a BA Degree in Combined Studies – English, French, Sociology and Politics, from Leicester University. She has combined bringing up a family of a son and two daughters with writing and working. She lives with her husband in Surrey and is a member of the Society of Authors.

Copies of GYPSIES STOP tHERE should be in every public library, in every school and if you know someone who is anti-Gypsy for this or that reason maybe give him or her a copy for Christmas or just as a gift generally. The price of this book could make a lifetime of a difference as far as attitudes are concerned and from one reader the effects could snowball. I am certain this book has that potential.

I can definitely give this book full marks.

© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008

Daily Express commits incitement to racial hatred

by Michael Smith

On Monday, November 17, 2008 the British tabloid newspaper – though newspaper may be a far fetched term for this rag – published a piece entitled “FAMILIES MUST SELL LAND FOR GYPSY CAMPSITES” claiming that and I quote “THOUSANDS of homeowners across Britain could be forced to sell their land to make way for gypsy sites. Private gardens and fields could be taken by the Government in a “land grab” to create permanent campsites for 25,000 travellers”.

This may make for great headlines and for great incitement of racial hatred against an ethnic group, namely the Romani-Gypsy, but it is utterly false and based on lies. But, then again, it is such lies and half-truths that seem to sell newspapers of this ilk.

The Daily Express continues in its Editorial with the following: From DAILY EXPRESS Editorial: “
GRABBING LAND TO SETTLE GYPSIES IS OUTRAGEOUS - The Left has a deluded view that gypsies live a romantic life, travelling the byways in gaily painted horse-drawn caravans. The reality is that many are Irish and East European tinkers, pulling monstrous mobile-homes behind gleaming 4X4s and making a good tax-free living from State handouts and the proceeds of crime.”

Firstly, while the Irish might be referred to as “Tinkers”, if the paper would like to do so, as they are Travellers and not Romani, the Eastern European are, in fact, Romanies of the Roma groups in the main and hence are not “tinkers”, as claimed by the Daily Express, but of the Romani Race, of the tribes belonging, as said, to the Roma. To use the term “tinker” in this instance is derogatory and could be regarded as a racial attack.

While it is true that the editorial and the article itself could be seen to constitute incitement to racial hatred and that newspaper should, theoretically, be prosecuted under the Race Relations Act we all know that that is never going to happen. We, the Romani, are simply the wrong color and the wrong religion. We are neither black, nor are we Muslims or Jews. Hence nothing is going to happen. There is but one way: we have to fight it in different ways. How? Well, I leave those thoughts to other forums.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sadiq Khan said: Let me deal with the hon. Lady's first point. Local authorities spend £18 million a year on enforcement action on unauthorised sites. If we can reduce the number of unauthorised sites by encouraging local authorities to provide authorised sites, that will reduce that bill.
Secondly, I know from a letter that I have been passed by the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Wright), that the hon. Lady has been involved in a campaign that some would characterise as scaremongering about compulsory purchase orders in her community. There is no truth in the headlines. There is no requirement for local authorities to compulsorily purchase land for Gypsy or Traveller sites. I would ask, caution and counsel hon. Members to use their words carefully and to temper them when it comes to spreading stories that are factually incorrect.

So here we can see from the statement of a member of the current Labor administration in this country that this member of parliament, the Hon. Lady that Sadiq Khan refers to in his statement would appear to be Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing (Con), and it would further appear from the statement by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that this MP has a record of bending the truth, especially when it comes to the issue, so it seems, of Gypsies and Travellers.

With all what is happening in mainland Europe, primarily in European Union countries, in atrocities committed against the Gypsy population there how long will it be before we have, in this country; similar demonstrations like recently in the Czech Republic and Hungary, if Members of Parliament and local politicians carry on rabble rousing and are inciting the people against the Gypsies in this country?

All across Europe the specter of anti-Gypsy pogroms – and no, pogroms are not predominately against the Jews and never have been – is rearing its ugly head again and in some countries they are, once again, ugly almost daily reality for Gypsies living there. No wonder many of them take the opportunity to come to the slightly better countries such as Britain, for instance.

While, maybe, we should not call for a newspaper, even though to call that rag thus is nauseous, to be banned and censored, the Daily Express should be held to account and it Editor should be fired from a cannon into the farthest away black hole.

However, in recent years this very same smut rag also told us that we were going to be faced by an invasion of Gypsies from Eastern Europe as soon as countries such as Romanian and such were going to be part of the European Union.

It is such a shame that the people still are still prepared to actually pay money for that rag full of lies.

This country has a bad enough record as far as the Romani-Gypsy goes and also, as regards the Irish Travellers – though my concern is with the Romani – throughout history and even in modern times, and not just the case of Gypsies fleeing Nazi persecution on the European Mainland during the Nazi rule in France and such having been sent back to whence they came while other refugees were welcomed with open arms. One set of rules for others and another set for those that are Gypsy. Not much has changed there, really, despite all the talk.

People, especially, still have the same attitudes and those are not helped by the likes of the Daily Express. If calling for a boycott of that rag and a boycott of their offices would have any effect I would do so but...

© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008

Higher court overturns previous ruling in Gypsy sterilization case

by Michael Smith

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, November 2008: A hospital does not have to compensate a young Gypsy woman it sterilized without her consent, an appeals court ruled recently.

In overturning the Czech Republic's first monetary award for forced sterilization, the court said the statute of limitations had expired.

This is not surprising seeing the people are concerned are people without a real voice. They are not Jews or Muslims but they are simply poor downtrodden Romani-Gypsy.

While Anti-Semitism is immediately jumped upon and nowadays also anything that is said against Muslims, so it would appear, Anti-Gypsy-ism is alive and well and no one cares, especially no one in the various bodies of the EU and the UN.

While there would be, I am sure, no one mentioning “statutes of limitation” had this heinous crime of forcible sterilization been committed against a Jewess or a member of any other ethnic group and the outcry would be great, as it is only Gypsies no one cares.

Human rights groups believe hundreds of women from the Czech Republic's Gypsy minority of about 250,000 people were sterilized against their will.

Under communism, which ended in the Czech Republic in 1989, sterilization was a semiofficial tool to limit the population of Gypsies, whose large families were seen as a burden on the state. The practice, however, ended only recently.

In other words, Gypsy women were still forced or or otherwise sterilized without their consent even into the time of EU membership of the Czech Republic. So, at least, it appears.

How, pray, was the Czech Republic, in the same way as other newer EU member states, ever allowed to join the EU with such appalling records on human rights, as far as one of the largest ethnic minorities on its territory?

Iveta Cervenakova, now 32, was illegally sterilized without her consent in 1997 after she gave birth to her second daughter by Caesarean section.

She filed a lawsuit in 2005. A lower court ruled two years later that the hospital in the northeastern city of Ostrava had to pay compensation and apologize for violating her rights.

Court spokesman Petr Angyalossy said the 500,000 Krona ($26,330) judgment was overturned because the award came after the 3-year statute of limitations in the case had expired. He said the hospital needs only apologize.

Neither an apology nor financial compensation, in all honesty, can compensate any Gypsy woman for the loss of being able to bear any (more) children. Nor can anyone ever compensate the woman nor the People as a whole for such crimes. Neither money nor apology will cut any ice. Not until such a time that the Romani People will be given the same respect and consideration as other minorities.

The Czech League for Human Rights sharply criticized the ruling and said it would appeal it to the Supreme Court. A lawyer of the League for Human Rights, who consulted with Cervenakova's attorney, said she will argue that there should be no statute of limitation applied in sterilization cases.

Several other Czech Gypsy women are also seeking damages from hospitals for illegal sterilizations. Not that they will get anywhere with this, I am sure, seeing the recent outcome. The European Union also is not in the least interested as to what happens to the Romani People, and this is blatantly obvious as to the happenings in Italy – that are all being but kept very quiet now.

Any Rom who still believes that the EU and/or the UN have the interests of the Romani People also at heart need to wake up, finally.

No one will every have our People's interests at heart if we, the Romani People, do not do it for ourselves. Ourselves Alone.

Ava Ame Shai! Yes, We Can!

© M Smith (Veshengro), November 2008

Racism in Italy: a spiral of violence and intolerance which calls for an active commitment from everyone.

Let us take, for example, the Romagna-Marche coastline, which has a reputation for being an area of hospitality and tolerance. From Pesaro to Forlì, from Cesena to Rimini the situation of the homeless and the Roma communities is totally unacceptable, due to increasingly violent and widespread intolerance, aided by the enthusiastic support of politicians (both right-wing and left-wing) and the authorities. This persecution is looking more and more like the period of the racial laws, and it appears the ethnic and social cleansing underway suits everyone.

The events on the Adriatic coast, however, are just a small part of what it taking place all over Italy where the effects of racism are now out of control. The members of EveryOne, instead of receiving support for their commitment, have received all kinds of intimidation and threats, both from the institutions and from racist groups. Roma members of the group have been beaten up, they have received death threats, insults and other forms of police and judicial persecution.

EveryOne Group, however, will continue to report this frightful sequence of crimes against humanity and to call on the intervention of all those who consider themselves anti-racists (if there are any left).

We are combining the news of the latest attack on a homeless person and the video-testimony, complete with medical report - of a young Roma man who was subjected to the usual "treatment" from members of the police force. But that's not all: today (November 11th) a young girl was beaten up in Florence.

EveryOne is collecting witness accounts and medical reports in order to take further action.

We will be supplying other material concerning this new episode very soon.

In the hope that our reports and the continuous episodes of racial hatred bring about positive actions and not just empty messages of solidarity, we send you our best regards

Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, Dario Picciau
EveryOne Group

Anton Caldarar interview (with english subtitles)



Policies Toward Sustainable Integration Discussed by Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians of Kosovo with the Kosovo Government and the International Community

On October 22, 2008, the Project on Ethnic Relations (PER) held an international roundtable to discuss challenges and prospects of sustainable integration of Kosovo Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians in host countries and in Kosovo itself. The event was held at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna and was organized by PER with the support of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The meeting gathered representatives of European governments, international organizations, Kosovo government representatives and Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians.

The topics debated during the roundtable included: prospects for integration of these communities in host countries, the return process to Kosovo, living conditions for Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities in Kosovo, and conditions for integration of returnees in Kosovo.

Following major conclusions have emerged from the discussions:
  • The policies of forced returns by the host countries are ineffective and insustainable as many of those returned by force leave the country shortly after their return;
  • Voluntary and informed return, as argued by some participants, can be sustainable, provided that it is well coordinated with the Kosovo authorities;
  • Romani participants were against forced return, pointing to the evident fact that presently there are no conditions in place in Kosovo to ensure sustainable livelihood;
  • Kosovo authorities generally acknowledged that they have limited resources to provide for successful reintegration of returnees, especially in large numbers;
  • Participants acknowledged some improvements in Kosovo with regard to these communities, but not to the extent necessary for UNHCR to change its position regarding the protection of these groups; there are still safety-related concerns maintaining the recommendation against forced returns.
A more detailed report will be available soon on PER’s website.

PER is an international non-governmental organization with offices and representations in Central and Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that works towards improving ethnic relations in the region. PER has a long history of engagement in facilitating interethnic dialogue in the Balkans. PER has been working on issues important for the Romani communities in Europe for almost two decades.

Source: PER