Romani (Gypsy) culture and social issues.
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Current News 16.10.00
The Image of the Roma in the Balkan Media  22.10.99
Amnesty International urges KLA to stop human rights abuses  05.10.99
The Roma Refugees of Kosovo  11.06.99
Focus on Human Rights in Kosovo  07.04.99
Roma of Kosovo: the Forgotten Victims  07.04.99
The Gypsy Caravan: A Festival of Roma Music and Dance 27.02.99
Romanian Journalists Find Tolerance a Hard Lesson to Learn 26.02.99
A Practice Guide to Travellers, Gypsies and the Media 15.02.99
Czech Journalists Say Coverage of Minorities Improving 21.01.99
Helsinki Commissioners Condemn Xenophobic Attacks  21.01.99
U.S. Keeps Focus on Romani Human Rights  22.01.99
European Coverage of Diversity Focus of Conference 17.11.98
The Murder of Hassan Elamin Abdelradi 27.11.98
The Wall in Ústí nad Labem  02.10.1998
Flooding in the Roma Settlement of Jarovnice  10.09.98

Canada as Haven for Roma  10.07.98
Roma Exodus from Czech Republic 10.07.98
Romani Education Programme, NSF 09.01.98
Great Britain as Asylum for Roma  22.10.97
Evosmos Roma Under Threat 06.11.97
Rights of Roma in the OSCE Region  19.11.97
Roma Awarded Human Rights Prize  12.10.97
NATO Acceptance of New Members  10.07.97
Beatification of Ceferino Jimenez Malla  05.05.97
Swiss Holocaust Memorial Fund  26.02.97
"Everyone has the right ... to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." 

First Australian Romani Congress to Convene

Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA (Updated 01 October 2000).
At the First National Conference of the Romani Organisations of Australia, it was decided that the First Australian Romani Congress would be held in Adelaide, South Australia, in October 2001. A RomFest is also planned to coincide with the Congress.

Estref Abduramanoski explained that although the majority of funding for the Congress would be through government funding and sponsorship, there would be a need for more funds which would be met by the participating organisations. A membership fee, as an initial contribution, was proposed by Estref Abduramanoski to establish participating organisations.

An RSVP date will be set as the date of the Australian Congress comes nearer, expressions of interest will be called for. If you would like to participate in ANY capacity, please contact Djuro Zahid at or write to:

Djuro Zahid
PO Box 779, Mail Exchange
Ringwood, Victoria, 3134.
- For more information on the planned First Australian Romani Congress, visit the Romani Union Australia website at <>.


Canadian Visa Requirements for Czechs to be Lifted?

PRAGUE. 31 May 1999.
During his visit to Canada, Czech President Havel was informed that visa requirements for Czech citizens entering Canada may shortly be lifted, after they were imposed in October 1997. The visa requirements were imposed to curb a flood of Czech Roma seeking ayslum in Canada and any change in the current situation would be the result of Prague’s promises that Canada would not have to deal with a repeat of 1997, when 1,500 Czechs applied for asylum. The Czech government itself admitted that it did not impose retaliatory visa requirements on Canadians because it was aware that it bore the responsiblity for poor living standards for Roma in the state.
- Copyright © 1999 Romnews, Roma National Congress.


New Roma Center Opens

COLOGNE. 29 May 1999.
Some 3,000 books, brochures, and papers are among the holdings of the new Archive and Documentation Center on the History and Culture of the Roma in Cologne, Germany, making it the largest publicly accessible Roma information center in Europe. A large portion of the archive is devoted to information on the persecution of the Roma over the centuries. Historical drawings, a large collection of picture postcards, and some 7,000 photographs show how European perceptions of the Roma have evolved. The archive also includes 250 films, as well as approximately 500 records and CDs documenting the Roma's rich musical heritage.

A project of the Association for the Advancement of the Roma in Cologne, the center was created with the help of a DM 300,000 grant from the Hermann Niermann Foundation of Duesseldorf. Kurt Holl, a member of the association's board of directors, said the archive is meant to be used not just as a source of information, but also as a cultural meeting place and network center for Roma organizations.

An estimated two million Roma currently live in the member states of the European Union, with 85,000 to 120,000 residing in Germany. In accordance with the Council of Europe's convention on the protection of minority languages, the German government is currently developing measures for the promotion of the Roma language, which is spoken primarily in the industrial areas along the Rhine, the Ruhr and the Main rivers.
- From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter


Czech Cabinet to Finance Lety Monument

PRAGUE. 18 May 1999.
The Czech government on 18 May agreed to spend 1 million crowns ($28,600) on improvements to the monument in Lety marking the site of a World War II forced labor camp for Roma, Czech media reported. Recently, the Czech cabinet rejected a proposal to remove a pig farm from the area, arguing that such a project would be too expensive. In response, the Romany National Congress has organized a boycott of Czech pork. In other news, Czech Interior Minister Vaclav Grulich on 17 May said the British ambassador in Prague has warned him that London may impose visa restrictions on the Czech Republic owing to a large increase in the number of Czech emigres to Britain, "Pravo" reported on 18 May. A total of 99 Czech citizens, along with their 109 relatives, applied for immigration in Britain in April -- the largest number for any one month since 1996. Czech diplomats cited by "Pravo" say the majority of these emigres are Roma. VG.
- Copyright © 1999 RFE/RL NewsLine


Macedonian Roma Organisation Appeals for Donations

MACEDONIA. 1 April 1999.
Asmet Elezovski, a 32 year old Rom medical technician, and a board member of the Roma National Congress (RNC), is appealling for donations to the Roma Community Centre "DROM"Kumanovo in Kumanovo, Macedonia. The influx of Romani refugees into Macedonia from neighboring Kosovo is straining the Roma Community Centre's resources and assistance is required to continue operations.

Contact information, address and bank account information for the Roma efforts:

Roma Community Centre "DROM"Kumanovo
Lokalitet Serava zgrada 106, objekt 5, prizemje 7a
91300 Kumanovo, MACEDONIA
Tel/Fax: +(389) 90127558

Stopanska Banka a.d.-Skopje
Bank account: 40100-623-79
ZPP-Kumanovo: 40900-678-6121

E-mail for Roma Community Centre "DROM" Kumanovo and for Asmet Elesovski of the RNC Board should be sent to:
- Copyright © 1999 Romnews, Roma National Congress.


ERRC Protests Government Destruction of Romani Dwellings in Greece

GREECE, ERRC Press Release, 1 March 1999.
On February 16, 1999, municipal authorities of the town of Aspropyrgos, Greece, razed five Roma barracks in  a local camp and destroyed other property belonging to Roma living there. The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the Greek Helsinki Monitor have interviewed victims; the ERRC has written to the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court urging for a prompt investigation. The ERRC expresses its solidarity with the Romani victims and protests against such degrading treatment.

According to information made available to the ERRC, on February 16, 1999, authorities in the Greek town of Aspropyrgos, approximately thirty kilometres southwest of Athens, entered the Romani settlement of Nea Zoi and destroyed dwellings and property. The camp has about 100 inhabitants; basics such as water and electricity supply, or a sewer system, do not exist. According to reports, six employees of the Aspropyrgos municipality, approximately twelve local police officers, as well as Deputy Mayor Mr. Constantinos Tsiggos, took part in the raid. Upon entering the settlement, the officials told the Roma that five of the barracks must be evacuated so that they could be destroyed. The barracks were then crushed by bulldozers and the remaining debris set on fire, while the Roma protested. The Roma were not shown any document authorising the action. The inhabitants of the destroyed barracks were reportedly not given enough time to remove all of their belongings from their homes. The inhabitants of some of the barracks were not in the camp at that moment. One woman who was present while her dwelling was destroyed was critically ill. The police watched the proceedings but did not interfere. The Roma present were allegedly told by raiders that the other barracks would also be destroyed and that the Roma would be evicted from the entire region.

The Roma of the Nea Zoi camp have previously been promised water supply, a sewer system, a water heater, etc.; nothing has materialised. In 1996 the government announced a plan for the creation of decent settlements for Roma living in similar conditions. Last year the local authorities urged them to move to a  camp in an adjacent municipality, but did not offer them any housing there. Had they agreed to move, the Roma would have had to build themselves new makeshift barracks of the same sort they already inhabited. The Roma refused on grounds that the conditions in the camp to which they were supposed to move (placed next to a dump) were worse than in their present location. In addition, they argued that their children would be too far from the school which they are now attending.

Instead of having their conditions improved, the Roma of Aspropyrgos camp are having their dwellings destroyed in order to evict them. Property belonging to them has been destroyed by public servants.

The way to solve the problem of homeless Roma is not by destruction of illegal housing. When done in winter conditions this amounts to inhuman treatment. Government policies should be directed towards creating the necessary conditions for legalising  all unregulated housing property which meets sanitary and safety standards. The same standards should be observed when, as a provisional measure, the government offers temporary housing to homeless citizens. The ERRC urges the Greek government to take the steps necessary for the prevention of similar acts of local authorities and for a fair and humane treatment of Roma in Greece.
- Copyright © 1999 by the European Roma Rights Center.


János Bogdán
Budapest/HUNGARY, RNN in co-operation with RPC, 9 January 1999.
János Bogdán, one of the most prominent representatives of Romani public life in Hungary, the headmaster and creator of the Gandhi High School in Pécs, the first Gypsy minority high school, died in a car accident. Bogdán was born in a traditional Beash Roma environment in the village of Görgeteg, in southeast Hungary. He received a degree in philosophy, Hungarian language, literature and history at the universities of Szeged and Budapest, and started his teaching career in Barcs. In 1992 he organised Europe’s first Gypsy high school, the Gandhi High School, as headmaster in 1994. Beside his educational activities he took an active part in Romani public life. He was a board member of the Roma Program of the Soros Foundation, a founder of the Roma Press Center, and a member of the Gypsy minority self-government in Pécs. His memory is commemorated by his widow, his four children, and countless friends and colleagues. With his death, an irreplaceable figure of Romani public life in Hungary is lost.
- Copyright © 1999 Romnews, Roma National Congress.


Remember the Lety Concentration Camp
Pig Farm Removal Action Group
CZECH REPUBLIC, 12 October 1998.
In consideration of the obstructionist tactics of the government of the Czech Republic with respect to removing the pig farm from the concentration camp site at Lety, the action group Remember the Lety Concentration Camp (RLCC) calls on the world to express its disapproval of that government and its policies. Our goal is to remove the pig farm from the site where so many were starved, beaten, tortured, raped, shot and worked to death.  Its present location is a callous display of disrespect to the memory of the dead and an insult to humanity.

We ask that you address your disapproval directly to the government of the Czech Republic as well as to the European Union, the United States government, the United Nations and any other bodies who have reason to be concerned. The email address for President Havel's secretary is

To receive RLCC petitions or further information on the Lety issue, to suggest action or join a visit to the site itself, contact:

Remember the Lety Concentration Camp
Pig Farm Removal Action Group
P.O. BOX 85
110 01 Praha 1, CZECH REPUBLIC
Voicemail: voicemail +(42) 0 2 9614 3636

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