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The World Roma Congress 2023 in Berlin


Around Roma Resistance Day (16 May), Roma from 30 countries met to discuss the pressing issues faced by the community worldwide.

On 15 May, the congress started with workshops for people from Roma organisations and activists from the community. The workshops ran over three days. The central topic was the discussion on Crimes against Roma, which covered various aspects of deprivation of rights and human rights violations, including wars. The Emergency Room discussed the current state of the Roma movement worldwide and ways out of the emergency situation of the Roma community.


The public part of the congress began with a panel on the situation in Germany. Nizaqete Bislimi-Hošo, lawyer and chairperson of the Federal Roma Association, spoke about deportation and the right to stay. The problem of long-term tolerations is still topical. Isidora Randjelović from RomaniPhen spoke about the recommendations of the Independent Commission Antiz****ism, which have hardly been implemented so far. She is co-author of the most important study commissioned by the UKA: on Roma experiences of racism in Germany.


The Roma Philharmonic gave an interview on their work and the influence of Roma on classical music. Imer Kajtazi from REU Jekhipe proposed the concept for a Europe-wide network that can quickly intervene in cases of discrimination.


In speeches, Roma from different countries reported on the situation on the ground. The European dimension was discussed from different perspectives in the second panel. This included the threat of right-wing extremism to the Roma community in Hungary, the negative impact of the Corona pandemic on migrant Roma and police violence - including the case of Stanislav Tomaš and the lack of solidarity in the world in such cases.


At the ceremonial opening on the second day of the congress, Roma Resistance Day, the Roma Philharmonic Quintet conducted by Riccardo M Sahiti played moving pieces. Speeches by Saraya Gomis, the former Berlin State Secretary for Diversity and Anti-Discrimination, Grattan Puxon, the Secretary General of the First World Roma Congress in London in 1971, Mehmet Daimagüler, the Federal Government Commissioner against Anti-Z****ism, Andrea Despot from the Foundation EVZ, Jasna Čaušević from the Society for Threatened Peoples and other speakers addressed the significance of 16 May, Roma resistance and the history of the World Roma Congresses. Such a congress was held in Germany for the last (but also the first) time in 1981. It finally led to the recognition of the racially motivated genocide of the Sinti (and not so much of the Roma - we are still waiting for this today) by the then German government in 1982.


Orhan Tahir spoke about the political significance of the World Roma Congresses in his speech. Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez of La Orden del Fenix spoke about the unknown history of the Roma movement, which began well before 1971. In particular, he introduced us to the life and work of Shakir Pashov. The Bulgarian Rom was born on 20 October 1898, fought in the First World War and for the rights of workers from the Roma community and against sexism. He joined the resistance during the Second World War.


Did you know that Roma Nation Day is on 7 May?


Yes, what has been 8 April since 1971 was previously 7 May. On this day in 1932, the Bulgarian Roma held a conference in Mezdra. The United Roma Organisation Ekhipe was founded to represent the global Roma community. Members were Christian and Muslim Roma over 18, regardless of gender and social background. Its aims included:

    - the fight against fascism and against anti-z****ist and racist prejudices;

    - the promotion of Roma national feeling and consciousness;

    - the introduction of the Roma language as a spoken and written language among the Roma;

    - to educate non-Roma public opinion about the needs of the Roma population.


It is hard to believe that almost 100 years have passed since then. Many defeats had to be endured. The association founded by Pashov was banned by the fascists only a few years later.


The Second World War still casts its shadow. But we also have to deal with the consequences of further wars.


At the Kosovo panel on 16 May 2023, the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo after the war in 1999 was discussed, when 150,000 Roma were expelled from the region and stripped of all their possessions. Today, the majority of Kosovar Roma live in the global diaspora. Many still have no secure status. The Kosovo Roma Rights Coalition demands justice for these people. This includes the recognition of 13 June as the official commemoration day of the expulsion of Roma from Kosovo.


During the Syrian war, many members of the Dom community - the Roma of the Middle East - were displaced and now live in Turkey. Kemal Vural Tarlan of Kirkayak Kültür spoke about their situation, which was made worse by a severe earthquake in the Turkish-Syrian border region in 2023. The current war in Ukraine and discrimination against Ukrainian refugees from the Roma community was a central topic, which Izabela Jaśkowiak from the Polish Roma organisation Harangos spoke about, among others. Other topics of the evening included the forced sterilisations of Romnja in the Czech Republic and the consequences of Brexit for migrant Roma in England, about which the participants from European Drom spoke.


On the third day of the Congress, we commemorated the victims of the Roma genocide at the memorial for the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered in the Nazi regime. Speeches were held in particular to commemorate 16 May 1944, the day on which all the Roma remaining in Auschwitz were to be murdered. These more than 6000 people resisted the SS and were thus able to survive for the time being. Resistance was not only offered on this day - many Roma fought as partisans and in the Red Army. In this way they not only made an important contribution against persecution, but also to the liberation of Europe. Alfreda Markowska carried out another form of resistance. The Polish Romni rescued children from the trains to Auschwitz and looked for their families or, if they no longer had any, a new home. Her story and the story of the Roma who stood up for their right to stay at the memorial in 2016 and were then forcibly evicted are told, among many others, in the app that RomaniPhen developed and launched at the event. The app will become part of the memorial as a digital element, adding to it the narratives of the Roma community.


The Roma Center/ Roma Antidiscrimination Network spoke about the Samudaripen - the ignored genocide of the Roma of Europe. The fact that this genocide was not limited to the Sinti and the German area is not particularly well known, neither in Germany nor in other countries. The invasion of large parts of Europe and the occupation of these countries led to the persecution of the Roma in these areas. They were forced into concentration camps, deported for forced labour and murdered in mass shootings.


With the end of the Kosovo War, the greatest catastrophe for Roma since the end of World War II began: Kosovo was ethnically cleansed, the UCK and other (Kosovo) Albanian nationalists expelled almost all Roma from Kosovo, especially from 13 June 1999. The ethnic cleansing against Roma was combined with torture, rape, murder and mass looting and destruction, which the Kfor soldiers stood idly by. About 20,000 Roma houses were destroyed. After the expulsion of 150,000 Roma from Kosovo, the abandoned houses and properties were occupied by Albanians. To this day, many Roma have disappeared from Kosovo. We remembered these people and those who are known for sure to have been murdered with a banner that we unfurled towards the end of the speech. It contained the names of the disappeared Roma.


At the press conference and debate in the Alliance Forum, the recommendations and demands of the Roma from 30 countries were presented and discussed. This included the declaration on comprehensive legal, social and political issues as well as the declaration of the Kosovo Roma Rights Coalition and a discussion on the current emergency situation. This was followed by the last, but certainly one of the most important panels: Visions of Roma for Europe - a discussion on ways out of the vicious circle and rays of hope for the generations to come.


The public parts of the congress can be viewed here: ROMADNESSStrangeMovies/streams


The declaration of the congress will be sent to the politics. It has already been handed over to the first MEPs and other actors from politics and international organisations.


With the congress we have installed a platform where the urgent concerns of the Roma community and ways out of the current emergency situation are regularly discussed. The next congress will take place in 2025. Between the congresses, the plans made will be implemented in practice.


Here you can read the declaration in several languages:

German English Romanes Serbian Slovak

Declaration of the World Roma Congress 2023

The World Roma Congress met from 15 to 17 May 2023 in Berlin with participants from 30 countries all over the world: India, USA, Germany, France, Belgium, Kosovo, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Denmark, Sweden, Belarus, Slovakia, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Macedonia and many more to address the urgent challenges faced by Roma communities worldwide. The focus was on the current situation of Roma: worldwide discrimination, the situation of Roma refugees and the threat to the community from the rise of right-wing extremism. The discussion on the state of the Roma movement was particularly intense. The Congress was streamed worldwide online, allowing thousands to follow the presentations and discuss on social media. It was agreed we must insist on our self-identity as a nation, rejecting categorisation as an ethnic minority.

The discussions are urgently needed because we are in an emergency situation. Despite the ongoing struggle against discrimination, racism and anti-Romaism, they continue to rise worldwide. The Ukraine war poses a great threat – not only to Roma in Ukraine, but also to our communities in the countries to which the war threatens to spread. Many Roma live in these countries, and it is in these countries that they have little state protection and experience a high level of structural and institutional discrimination.

Roma do not occupy territories, do not commit terrorist attacks, do not wage wars and have pursued emancipation through non-violent means.

Nevertheless, we are among the most hated people. Therefore we have resolved not to repeat mistakes, especially in connection with past and current wars and conflicts. Roma did not receive the necessary protection even as war refugees.

The transformation processes after the end of the Cold War increased the socio-economic exclusion, discrimination and marginalisation of Roma in many countries. The rise of nationalism and other reactionary ideologies made Roma scapegoats. The wars in Yugoslavia left many Roma homeless. They still live in the diaspora today.

The forgotten war in Syria was also reported. The fact that the Dom community, the Roma in the Middle East, was displaced by this war goes unrecognised.
Structural and institutional discrimination in particular is often not recognised or even ignored in all European countries. Racist violence is a serious problem in many countries. Right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in politics and society threaten Roma communities all over Europe.

We have no time to lose. With the World Roma Congress we have created a platform where every two years we will meet to inform the Roma population worldwide about the current situation, to confront current politics, and to discuss strategies, structures and demands. A general reform of Roma policy is necessary.

We hereby declare the following needs and demands to ensure a better future for the Roma nation:

In the field of rights and justice

  • to take appropriate measures to recognise and reconcile the genocide against Roma all over Europe during the Second World War;
  • recognition of 13 June as the commemoration day for the Roma expelled from Kosovo in 1999; raise the question about the property of Roma stolen from them during and after the Kosovo war; compensation for the destroyed Roma houses; compensation for the injuries suffered from being forced into lead-poisoned camps;
  • to develop a simplified admission procedure for Roma seeking refuge from war zones; Undocumented Roma must have the same rights as documented ones;
  • to provide a protection status for Roma seeking refuge from pogroms, state and non-state persecution as well as structural and institutional discrimination;
  • to work towards establishing laws against anti-Romaism and other positive legislative changes, including to implement existing anti-discrimination legislation;
  • advocacy of the full rights of Roma in all aspects and levels of social, health, economic and political participation;
  • to form teams for monitoring structural, institutional and individual discrimination as well as hate crimes against Roma;
  • intervention against all such crimes against Roma;
  • to promote legal and social counselling specialised in the protection and representation of Roma rights and to work against anti-Romaism in all countries.

In the area of raising awareness and foster solidarity

  • to advocate for the establishment of teams for educating workers in public institutions and international organisations against discrimination and anti-Romaism;
  • to raise awareness among the majority population for balanced reporting regarding Roma, to fight stereotypes about Roma and foster cultural understanding;
  • set up a Roma Media Network, that brings together media from Europe and promotes cooperation with Roma media to strengthen the Roma community;
  • the Network should support the professionalisation of Roma media, promotes diversity in reporting and encourages general media organisations to report on Roma challenges and promote mutual understanding;
  • to deepen Romani solidarity and strengthen cultural relations with India and Middle East;
  • to take measures to raise awareness of solidarity among Roma and non-Roma, including the strengthening of democracy and activism.
In the area of political changes

  • to promote the political participation of Roma at the United Nations and its agencies, within the European Union and other regional and international bodies;
  • to promote Roma as active members of the political scene, including their participation in the strengthening of democracy, and democratic processes;
  • to support anti-discrimination measures in education, employment and housing; the focus must be on decreasing structural and institutional discrimination;
  • to promote political representation: public institutions should ensure that Roma are adequately involved in political decision-making processes. Promote Roma leaders, representation in parliaments and  governments, create mechanisms for Roma affairs;
  • to create a permanent representation of the Roma nation in Brussels, built on transparent structures; the office is responsible for international enquiries and emergencies of the Roma community as well as communication and undertaking lobbying activity;
  • to establish a European political Roma party to represent the interests of the Roma at European level.

We stand united in our commitment to protect the rights of the Roma nation, promote the well-being, and ensure the equality of Roma individuals worldwide. we shall endeavour to leave behind the passive attitudes. We have to join forces and support each other. We pledge to stand up for the needs of all Roma and thereby take charge of our own future. We need strong and supportive structures in our community. For our generation and the generations to come.

Berlin, 17 May 2023

 WRC declaration 2023 deutsch WRC declaration 2023 englisch  WRC declaration 2023 romanes WRC declaration 2023 slovakian WRC declaration 2023 serbisch 

London April 8-12, 1971

By Grattan Puxon
Most were unknown to each other before that long April weekend. By the end of it delegates to the 1st World Roma Congress had turned a page in history.
The event that took place at Cannock House, a private school in south London, is now celebrated by Roma communities around the globe. For adherence to a culture, yet there is great diversity; to a common language though many don’t speak it; to a unity which never existed but is gaining reality through the worldwide web.
The political significance of 8 April 1971, the opening day of the Congress, grows exponentially each year.
Decisions were taken that are considered irreversible. They concern status. Delegates declared Roma to be a nation. A nation with ambitions to achieve self-determination. None could say what degree this might reach. But the process was set in train by their call for an end to all those misnomers which signify denigration. Among them cigani, Zigeuner, gipsy. Each a pitch-cap torturing succeeding generations. Disfiguring the image of a people who trace ancestry to Mother India.

Once enslaved in the Balkans and more recently the victims of genocide by Nazi Germany, Roma at the time of this congress were still hampered by the barbed wire and rival ideologies of a divided Europe. Despite the Iron Curtain these delegates came together for a purpose which continues to defy political orthodoxy. Yet it was a humble enough affair. It garnered modest media attention and few photographs survive of Congress sessions, protest activity over the death of children in the West Midlands, or the culminating pre-billed Gypsy Festival on Hampstead Heath, featuring Raya Bielenberg, former artiste of Moscow’s Romen Theatre.
For those of us active within the Romani movement of the last century, that first congresswas the most significant happening since the end of the Second World War.
Tentative steps had been taken at a 1934 Bucharest congress but the event in London proved to be the one that counted. Forty years later Margareta Matache, a fellow at Harvard, could say that 8 April 1971 was the date when Roma chose the symbols of their nationality; flag, anthem and national day. Ðorđe Jovanovic, director of the European Roma Rights Centre, has written of it as the most historic for all of the estimated twenty millions in the worldwide Roma diaspora. Quote: Nothing could oblige us to mark 8 April more than the moral imperative and hunger for self-definition.
There is a widespread conviction that the London Congress marks a vital moment in the Romani emancipation movement. The blue and green flag, embossed with a red ashok chakra is seen everywhere, adopted by countless NGOs and other bodies. Lately, 8 April has been the occasion for the European Union’s Roma Summits in Brussels, for debate in the British House of Lords, statements by Hilary Clinton, while US Secretary State, and much other official fanfare. This fulsome recognition continues to grow. Yet one notes a subtly downgrading of original intent. Roma Nation Day is now frequently referred to as International Roma Day, or simply Roma Day. I conclude there are those who want to see Roma nation progress stalled by the rising anti-Gypsyism of the new millennium.
The dearth of records must account in part for the myths which have grown up around the Congress in the intervening years. Drawing on memory and minutes taken during the plenary and commission sessions (which have remained in my possession as its elected general secretary) I here attempt to recall the main facts and the personalities involved.
To begin with it must be remembered that the Nazi plan to exterminate Gypsies had cost a huge number of lives. Eichmann is heard to say in the transcript of an oral interrogation […] recorded before his trial and execution in Israel that half a million were rounded up and transported between 1943 and the end of the war alone.
The figure suggests that the often repeated estimated total of half a million deaths must be too low. Survivors carried the scares of those years of relentless hounding, when many hands were turned against them in the occupied countries. Alienated, afraid, bewildered by post-war chaos and continued hostility, few were in a state of mind to organize let alone seek reparations. Latter efforts were, in any case, confined in East Europe and the Soviet Union to state authorities. Hence political activity was slow to recover.
As to the Gypsies in Britain, the Nazi menace drew closest in 1940 after the defeat at Dunkirk. Invasion under Operation Sea Lion would have brought death.
The Gypsy Council, which hosted the London Congress, did not come into existence until 1966. Frederick Wood, its first president, had been with a British Army unit at the liberation of Bergen Belsen, one of the big concentration camps on German soil. That experience made a life-long impact on Wood. When opportunity came he was keen, with others, to make up for lost time.
Another key player was Weer Rajendra Rishi, then an attache at the Indian High Commission in London. He had earlier served in Moscow, acting on occasion as interpreter for Khrushchev. Contrary to some reports, India did not assist the Congress. Rishi attended in a private capacity and contributed greatly then and in the following years.
The Congress was paid for out of private pockets and in practical terms owed its location and logistical needs almost entirely to one man. Bryan Raywid, a Welsh Traveller and occasional contributor to the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society. Having broken off his itinerant life Raywid had become a cook at Cannock House School. He prevailed upon the headmaster, Mr Baker, to let the Gypsy Council have the use of the residential school free of charge for this international gathering. Raywid fed us all, working in the kitchen and leaving himself little time to attend the plenary sessions. All for no reward except the satisfaction of contributing to these unique four days in Romani political history.
Aspiration for such a congress had been building up in Paris for a decade. The French capital was a magnet for Roma from many countries. For performers from Spain; Roma with roots in Russia, Romania and Hungary, most of them also musicians. The biggest influx in the late fifties was from Yugoslavia. Alone of the socialist countries, nonaligned Yugoslavia allowed citizens to travel to the West. Thousands of Roma lived in the shanty-towns of the Paris suburbs. One of the largest bidonvilles existed in Montreuil-sous-Bois. It was here that Vaida Voevod, nom de guerre of writer Ionel Rotaru, opened an office and founded the organization known in French as la Communauté Mondiale Gitane. Born in the Ukraine, Rotaru arrived around the time of the publication in French translation of his novel La Rhapsodie Roumaine, written originally in Romanian. He had lost both parents, three brothers and two sisters, in the Nazi-led war-time genocide.
Vaida’s leadership role was still paramount when he visited me in Ireland in the mid-1960s. The CMG wanted to unite all, across clan and class barriers, in a national movement.
He believed war crime reparations could pay for the establishment of Romanistan, a Romani state and promoted this idea wherever he went. Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany. People in Mitrovica, Kosovo, remember him. There is speculation that in Bulgaria he met with Shakir Pashov, founder of Ekhipe (Unity), an organization that predated the CMG and pursued similar aims. At a 1964 London press conference Vaida announced the CMG would seek recognition by the United Nations. A world congress would be held at the UNESCO Palace in Paris.
For the next several years plans for a congress were discussed with varying degrees of reality, hope and expectation. Recruited to the CMG (and later CIT) directorate I was party to such talk, both with Vaida and his successor Vanko Rouda (an alias of Jacques Dauvergne). The possibility of creating a Romani colony, or token mini-state was pursued with diminishing prospects. Canada, Soviet Siberia, Somalia, Djibouti, and lastly the Kingdom of Bhutan visited by Rouda, dropped away as conceivable locations.
Looking back the debate seems futile. However, the draw of obtaining a recognizable territorial entity remains. In theory. After all mini-states exist. Vatican City has a seat in the UN.
By mid-summer 1970, nine months before the London Congress, plans had been modified. Comité International Tzigane, led by Rouda, was concentrating on obtaining global status. In terms of UN recognition the CIT did not succeed. Meanwhile Vaida, and with him the Romanistan ideal, had faded from view. Legally registered, the CMG had become a target of the French authorities. It had enemies in the establishment due to its campaign against the Law of 1912 which obliged nomadic Roma (mainly Manouches) to carry a special anthropometric identity card.
More embarrassing was the CMG claim against West Germany. In 1967 the CMG was deregistered and members questioned by the police. A parting between Vaida and Vanko became inevitable.
The small publication La Voix Mondiale Tzigane, which had first appeared in 1961 became the organ of the CIT. Individual compensation cases were filed in the Germany courts and became a resource for research into Nazi war crimes, in which I participated.
By then a place existed which could provide a spiritual and cultural home. The township of Šuto Orizari, built after the 1963 Skopje earthquake, had a population of 30,000. A municipal council and its own MP. These gave Shutka a status no other mahala enjoyed.
Yugoslav media referred to Shutka, half in jest, as the Romani state.
The party brought by Vanko Rouda from Paris when they arrived late in the afternoon consisted of his brother Leulea, Žarko Jovanović, composer; Mateo Maximoff, novelist and evangelical preacher, and three delegates direct from Yugoslavia. Writer Slobodan Berberski, Macedonian MP Abdi Fajk, and Cuna Bedzet from Kosovo. Also with them, and whom I embraced most warmly, came Dr Jan Cibula. He had travelled from Switzerland.
We had got to know each other three years earlier during the Prague Spring Cibula was then the house-doctor at a state-owned factory. Expectations had been to a pitch. So that when I was brought to the home of engineer Anton Facuna, the atmosphere was electric. Only days before Bratislava had been the venue for a Warsaw Pact conference condemning liberalization. Now, under clandestine conditions, Cibula, engineer Anton Facuna and university dissident Milena Huschmannova, their long-term friend, planned the formation of a Romani organization. I got out of Czechoslovakia shortly before Russian tanks rolled in. Cibula fled the country. However, the union they created lasted until 1973 when it was forcibly dissolved.
Cibula remained with me at the door, while someone guided Rouda and the others to a dormitory on the second floor. He must have spotted a second party for he dropped his case and ducked out of the colonnaded porch. I saw him join the newcomers. Then they veered out of sight. From the voices, and gestures when they reappeared, I saw that these newly-arrived delegates were in a heated dispute with Cibula. One of the early tensions of the Congress resolved itself late that night. After we hosts had settled some forty people into the boys’ bunk dormitories, I sought out Cibula. It emerged that the official Czechoslovak delegation was objecting to his participation. Anton Holomek, a military prosecutor, and the milder Miroslav Holomek and teacher Anton Daniel, were expected to tow the party line. Cibula had become persona non grata. Eventually, Roma loyalties won over communist discipline and by midnight they were reconciled.
After the unfamiliar offerings of an English breakfast provided by Raywid through the kitchen hatch, delegates assembled in the school library for the session. Words of welcome flowed. Our guests then had to be warned of the presence in the locality of an anti-Gypsy vigilante group. At a protest meeting in the parish hall £4,000 had been raised. It was going to be spent on the erection of barriers to stop Gypsies camping on the roadsides. Some of them would be attending the Congress. Meanwhile, our meetings in Cannock House had to be kept secret.
Rouda rose to speak. His words caused consternation. He said the CIT had authorized the gathering as a forum at which would be discussed the holding of a world congress in Paris. Juan de Dios Ramirez responded in rapid Spanish. Donald Kenrick, who had volunteered his help as an interpreter, struggled to keep up. People looked at each other, perplexed and unhappy. The room became charged. There was a momentary damming up of expectations. A thwarted collective will.
Several delegates protested. Žarko Jovanović got to his feet. He had been in on CIT meetings and knew the score. He put his message forcibly, in Serbian and Romani. Žarko proposed Slobodan Berberski for president of the World Congress. Like himself Berberski had fought as a partisan. His influence within the Yugoslav League of Communists would be an asset. The congress, he said, must take place here. The relief was palpable. Though few of us knew this Belgrade intellectual, in the excitement of that morning we took Berberski on tust and elected him without hesitation. Vanko Rouda looked as pleased as anyone.
Berberski’s acceptance speech, quoted here from a published report, set the tone for the coming sessions:
“The purpose of this Congress is to unite and activate Roma throughout the world; to bring about emancipation according to our own intuition and our own ideals – to make progress at our own speed. A great deal needs to be discussed and worked out and we cannot say at once what methods we shall use, or what direction we shall take. But whatever we do will have the stamp of our own particular personality upon it – it will be amaro Romano drom, our Romani road.
What we have to combat is exemplified by bureaucracy. Officialdom, now overgrown in every state, represents a monster whose job it is to squeeze out human feelings, monopolize decision-making and stifle initiative – qualities which are the very essence of our being. The administrative machine, concerned with standardization and control, cannot by its nature understand that national consciousness – the collective desire to be ourselves – is the well-spring that alone can refresh and re-new the world.
Our struggle, to evolve according to our own genius, is the same struggle for liberation being waged all over the globe – aiming to prevent the continents being turned into deserts by war, expropriation and misgovernment.
Our people must combine and organize to work locally, nationally and internationally. Our problems are the same everywhere: we must proceed with our own forms of education, preserve and develop our Romani culture, bring a new dynamism into our communities and forge a future in accordance with our life-style and beliefs. We have been passive long enough and I believe, starting today, we can succeed.
The deliberations of this Congress are of historical importance to our people. It is for every one of us to bear our responsibilities with dignity and pride and henceforth to encourage, help and counsel one another in times of need.
I ask you now to rise and observe two minutes’ silence for all of our people destroyed by fascism in the last war – and for all those who have suffered and died as the result of prejudice and persecution over the centuries of our dark past.”
Grief and hatred, prudence, pragmatism and a desire to find a way forward. All these elements vied in the hearts and minds of delegates as they filed out of that first plenary session. Strong emotions had been stirred. Much showed in their faces. Melanie Spitta, a Sinti from West Germany, who with Raya comprised the only female representation, had lost close family members in Auschwitz. Others too were children of survivors. At fifteen, Žarko had experienced a narrow escape from the blockade of his hometown Batajnica, close to Belgrade. In that 1941 action, five hundred Roma had been rounded up and murdered. Mateo Maximoff, writer and evangelist, had been interned in France. More such stories were shared over the coming days and nights. Meanwhile, it was with some relief we moved to the several ground floor classrooms for meetings of the scheduled commissions.
I followed Abdi Fajk to the room allocated for the Social Commission. You could feel a fresh intake of optimism. Here a reconstruction might begin. Elected chairman, Fajk said he was a son of the blacksmith and spoke of his own constituency, the district municipality of Shuto Orizari. The township had achieved a degree of self-governance. It was a melting pot of many groupings, with links to Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. He himself had relations in Izmir. From Shutka people were migrating to Germany, France and Belgium. He wanted to see an organization, institutions, created that could draw everyone together, stimulating self-reliance and emancipation.
The Social Commission tasked itself with drafting reports to the Council of Europe and the UN.
The reaction to Fajk was immediate, plain and unreserved. He had a presence and powerful leadership qualities. His words struck like hammer blows. One sensed a bitter undercurrent. But if beneath the surface, not always hidden, there existed a motivating desire to throw off the yoke of gadzo domination, Fajk held his feelings in check. He had confidence in the new road. He had a vision. If as I witnessed later he used a hard, disciplinary hand, there was enlightenment too. His methods helped drain off the internalized hostility, the black bile of fear and hate engendered by long distain, marginalization and overt suppression. I saw that Fajk stood in opposition to Vaida Voevod. He was the antidote. Vaida, with justification, had drawn on the well of hatred arising from the genocide. Both, however, viewed the extreme war-time experience as a source of a hot, goading energy which would be necessary for the achievement of liberation.
Vanko Rouda, who knew him best, remained tight-lipped about Vaida throughout the Congress. The notion of Romani statehood was a topic to be avoided. Ronald Lee, then an advocate of Romanistan, had recently emigrated to Canada. That afternoon, Rouda was in another room, participation in the Holocaust Commission. Donald Kenrick, whose Jewish family had suffer losses, steer the discussion there. I had made my choice to follow Fajk. I had no direct connection with the Holocaust. My war had been in London.
I remember Fajk chided Berberski for his incessant smoking and consumption of black coffee, which Berberski liked to lace with slivovica, the Yugoslav plum brandy. A man of middle-age and weak health, he was certainly shortening his life. Berberski died at seventy in 1989. During a span of forty years he created an abundance of literature and was considered a pioneer of Romani poetry. He is due our respect. The second night after Berberski’s election, Fajk acted out a cruel little charade of Slobodan tripping, tipsily across the dormitory in his loosened pyjamas.
Brief news reached me that night from the other commission meetings.
A full account appeared in the June issue of Race Today, journal of the London-based Institute of Race Relations. There I hinted that in seeking a new direction the Congress could not do otherwise then put its faith in change. Change would come in Europe and, hopefully, the Romani movement could advance with it.
Before I could turn in, there was a phone call from Pop’s Johnny Connors, then leading the Gypsy Council campaign in the Birmingham area. He was expecting us the next day in Walsall.
The lurching of the coach as it burrowed its way through the swirling smog silenced the cheerful jocularity of the East Europeans. High spirits gives way to a fuggy anxiety. For them we are on the wrong side of the road. Congress delegates have no notion where they may land up, nor what they are getting into. I had booked this bus two weeks before determined to bring what political benefits there might be from the Congress to the Gypsies and Travellers in the West Midlands. The police and local authorities are on their backs daily. Jackboot Justice Pop’s Johnny Connors calls it.
Anti-Traveller policy had commenced with the eviction by Birmingham City Council of fourteen council houses in the Sparkbrook area. The city’s Labour Party leader had posited the proposition that “One has to exterminate the impossibles.” Since then a hot lava of harassment has been poured over the whole region. Walsall town lies at its volcanic centre. Three children have been burned to death there in a caravan fire following an eviction.
From behind the driver, one can barely see ahead. The headlights burn a short yellow funnel. He is navigating by the cats eyes. The bulk of a huge articulated lorry seems almost to brush the windows. I wonder at the risks I am taking. They are a disparate lot the people filling the coach. Different out looks, mixed ideas. Expectations of which I am not yet aware. For those from the socialist countries, nomadism is outdated. Already in the past. These delegates may look askance at the Travellers. They look a poor lot camped out on bits of wasteland.
Rows back, the Yugoslav contingent have come to life again. Žarko is strumming his balalaika. He stops frequently, as if interrupted by the constant pitching. He is writing something. Now he pulls himself out of his seat and starts down the gangway, the balalaika above his head. He announces to all that he has composed the lyrics for a Romani nation anthem. He wants us to sing along. By the time the bus reaches Balsall Heath Dzelem Dzelem, to the tune of a traditional melody, is adequately rehearsed. We pile out onto a hilly piece of ground dotted with caravans. Visible on the rise the buildings of Birmingham University. The Travellers are waiting. A bender tent has been erected and Congress delegated gather round as it is set alight. The flames leap up. We sing the anthem, a tribute to the children of Walsall; to all who have perished under persecution. Someone holds a make-shift poster.
There is no time to eat the sandwiches laid out in a local hall. The party press on to Walsall police station. Officers are aghast at our sudden appearance. It’s an occupation. Miroslav Holomek introducing himself as a Czech military prosecutor, confronts them with the facts. Caravans towed out from Slackey Lane. No court order. An illegal operation. The children still inside. Left on George Street, a caravan catches fire. Through a translation, and prompted by Johnny Connors, Holomek, accuses police and council of conspiring together to run the Travellers out of town. He calls it a pogrom. Connors leaves promising that “That my heavy curse will fall on your jackboot mob.” Later he gives an account of the deaths to the European Commission for Human Rights.
Back at Cannock house, the Congress draws to a close. The final plenary session in the assembly hall is packed out. Gypsies from the local roadsides have come to participate. They had lost Corke’s Meadow and been towed out of Darenth Wood, stopping places used for generations. Now many were camped on the side of the A2, menaced by the heavy traffic, and frequently visited by the police. Jasper Smith was there and Abe Cooper, along with others who had joined the Gypsy Council. Women held infants in their arms. Children were soon kicking restlessly among the chairs. They had been told of the visit to Walsall and expected a similar intervention here in Kent. Some of the items went over their heads.
A decision had to be made on the adoption of a flag. Rouda had brought one from Paris and now exhibits it aloft. Two plain fields, blue and green, divided horizontally. It has a fringe of gold. He tells us this is the flag he carried at the Arc de Triomphe, when with Vaida Voevod (mentioned for the first time) Roma had laid a wreath. From the podium, Dr Cibula says this design has the authority of the pre-war Bucharest Congress. A hubbub of discussion arises. From the back of the hall, a woman’s voice calls. She wants a red flame added. It will signify a new start. Their civil rights campaign. I recognize the flushed face of Louise Brown, next to her young husband Solly. They are on a site at Star Lane, which the local council has tried to close. Other delegates want to hear from Rishi, the attache from the Indian High Commission. They have in mind to forge a symbolic link with India. A national minority needs the protection of its motherland. Thus argues Berberski, asserting his authority as Congress president. He has not been at ease chairing the session. He speaks now with new confidence of the friendship between president Tito and prime minister Indira Gandhi, both leaders of the non-aligned. It will work in favour of Roma aspirations.
Rishi responds in Russian, the second language of the east bloc delegates. He has interpreted for Jawaharlal Nehru, for Khrushchev too. In his professional element, his voice is soft and authoritative. Rishi proposes the Congress embellish the flag with an Ashok Chakra, a version of the wheel on the Indian flag. “This is the way to re-engage with India,” he exclaims, eyes on the podium. “The wheel represents truth and motion, forward movement. Public and politicians will understand your intention immediately.”
A feeling of approval travels through the hall. Hands are raised. Whether a vote has been called, or merely more questions no one knows. Seeing the confusion, Dr Cibula intervenes. He is next to Berberski on the platform. His dark face wreathed in uncertain good humour, Cibula insists that the wheel shall be red. The fitness of this idea is instantly apparent. Hands are again in the air. But this is more than a simple vote. One is aware of something exalted happening. With unanimity comes discovery. During these minutes the metaphysical reigns. We are in the realms of the unseen. A standard has been raised. A profound faith is being placed in this flag. It will fly in the vanguard. Around it the Roma nation will gather.
Only the local Gypsies have been left aside. They remain restless and unsatisfied. What is a nation to them? Nobody has come to them at the verge side camps. Abdi Fajk sees what has occurred and addresses the back rows. “Any of you blacksmiths?” he asks, scanning their faces. Hearing the translation, old Abe Cooper has something to say. “We don’t know that trade no more. Me puro dad beat out copper. But that’s gone a long time.”
“All right,” continues Fajk. “I’m no blacksmith now but my father was. And a disciplinarian. He had us sweat at that anvil. He taught us that if you want something you have to beat it out yourself.”
He went on to put this into a parable. Not the version you will find in the New Testament. Fajk was a Marxist with a Muslim heritage. His message came from his own experience. He said if he were fisherman he might spend all day and at the end of it feed a few of the world’s hungry. They would soon be hungry again. “No my brothers, what we have to learn, and learn collectively, is to catch fish for ourselves.”
It was, he said, a big sea, an ocean that confronted the Romani people wherein they must catch and secure their universal rights.
Before his departure on the final morning, Fajk sought me out. He had those reports to write and needed my help. We collected mugs of coffee from the kitchen hatch and found an empty classroom. People were milling about in the lobby saying their goodbyes. Outside a tepid morning light had spread over the Cannock House grounds. He had been surprised at my knowledge of Serbo-Croat and I spoke now of several previous visits to Yugoslavia. I had once tried to hitch-hike across Macedonia. Seen a wedding in progress in Skopje. Fajk recounted how the new Romani settlement was growing up.
At the end he urged me to come and stay with him in Šuto Orizari. That invitation awoke a desire to return to Yugoslavia. Perhaps permanently.
We shook hands on it before he left. I was excited. Next month was the Gypsy festival at Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. I would go there, as I had once before as a child, and then head for Yugoslavia.


London April 8-12, 1971


Kotar o Grattan Puxon

Pobuter lendar isine bi pengjardutne jek jekeske odole lunge vikendeske ano Aprili 1971. Gji ko agor delegatja Jekto Lumjake Romane kongreseske irinde e rig historijake.Manifestacija koja lela kotor ani privatikuni skola Kanok Haus, akana festijunela Romano komuniteti ani sa e lumja. Kulturake ikeribaske kote  egzistirinela baro ulavdipe; jekhetahne qhibjake sajek so pobuter olendar ni kerenela lafi; gji ko jekhipe kova na egzistiringja, lela qaqipe  lumjake netvorkeske dromea.

Politikako barjaripe e 8 Aprilesko 1971 bershekse, ano dive puteribasko e Kongresesko, eksponencijalno bajrola sakova bersh.

Andile decizije kola ikerenape sar bi-irinibaske. Kerelapes lafi palo statusi. Delegatja avazinde e Romen sar nacija. Nacija kola isila ambicije te resel biumlavdipe. Nashti isine nijek te phenel gji kola gradate isi shaipe akava te reselpes. Andar akava procesi, isine qivdo ano pampuri-treno lenge avazipa ko lejipa fundo sa odole bange-manushengo kola samnosarende e sovlji(bilaqe-lafjengo), sar soj  mashakr lende  Zigeuner, Ciganja. Sakova olendar dukhavela o generacije kaj avena. Te rumine o photo jeke narodeske kova tradel poavipe gji ki daj Indija.

Gji ko jek vreme taro panglimata-rob ko Balkani, a ki ponevi vrama viktime Nazi-Genocidesko kotar e Germanija, Roma ani vrama akale kongresesko isine panda upral peste pharipa posavde sastrunestar thaj rivalitikune ideologijencar ulavde Evropake.Fakteja kaj  isine Sastrunali perda-poda  akala delegatja kedisalile jeke gendoja kova ka del holi ortodoksno politikake.Sajekh , akava isine resipaski harni-tikni afera. Akava crdingja resipasko medijako vardipe-dikhipe,  thaj ciknno,numero fotografiejngo nakhavgja o beshipa Kongresesko, avkivitetja pande protesteja sebepi meripa e qavengo ano Midlensi, vaj kulminacija ali po-angleder ko Romano Festivali ano Hemsted Hit, ano kova lela kotor o Raya Bielenberg, poanglutni aktorka Moskvake-Rimeske teatereske.

Amenge kola isijam aktivistja ano Romano mishkope-pokret poanglutne vekoske, odova Jekto Kongresi isine majmahatno cherdipe-kedipe  ikerdilo palo II Lumjako mareba. Ano Kongresi ki Bukureshta 1934 bersh lelile chinande  phiramne, beshipa e Londonesko lelape maj-egzatno ano gendo. 40 bersh palo akava beshipa Margaret Matache , kotar o Harvard univerziteto shaj isine te phenel kaj 8 aprili isine dive keda o Roma alosarde pere nacijake simbolja ; bajrako-flago, himna thaj nacijako dive.

Ðorđe Jovanovic direktori ano Evropako Centro palo Romane Hakaja (ERRC) hramongja palo akav sar jek maj historikune beshipa sa e Nacijake, Nacijake koja genela 20 miliona kotar sa e Lumja. Citat: Nashti na delamen obligacija te ramongjol akava 8 Aprili na pobuter kotar moralikuno imperativ thaj bokalipe palo korkoripeski-definicija.

Isi pobuvlo phiravdo chiravaripe-gendipe kaj Londonekso Kongresi markirinela vitalikuno momenti ano Romano mishkope-pokret pali emancipacija.  Vunaci –plavo vinata-zeleno bajrako bajrardi lole qakrake prahoa dikehlapes sakotar, bajrako kova adoptirinde pobuter Biraikane organizacije (NGO) thaj javera. Ano posluni vrama 8 Aprili ovela sebepi Romane samitenge EU-ke ano Briseli, debatake ano Britanijako kher e lordengo, dekalracija Hilari Klinton gji isine Amerikaki Rashtraki sekretarka, thaj javera oficijalno manusha. Akava perdo pengjaripa phiravgjola thaj bajrola. Vaj, jek lendar dikhela suptikaluno tiknaripe kotar o jekto so gendisalo. Dive e Romengoro avdive but ver akhargjola mashkar themutno dive e Romengoro na pobuvle Dive e Romengoro. Dava agor kaj isi odola kola mangena anglunipe Romana nacijako te ovel aqavdo sebepi barjaripa e anti-gyspysismesko ano nevo milenijumi.

Mularipe e hramome lafeskoro, musaj te avel pashe mitologijake koja bajrlili trujal o Kongresi ano intervetno bersha. Hramodoj ano leparde sune thaj minutja  kola lelile ano phiravdipe e plenarno thaj komisijake beshipa (kola aqile mande, sar olake alosarde sekretareske) akate dema godi bazikune faktenda thaj personaleja  kola isisne inkludirime-qivde ano akava Kongresi.

Poshmibaske mangelapes te ovelpes ko dikhipe kaj o Nacistikuno plano  koslibasko e Romengo isinele baro kosti-molipe (cena) lejipa pobuter manushengo gjivdipa. Ajhman shungjola kaj phenela ano transkripti oralikune puqibasko […] rekordirimo poangleder leske kriseske thaj mudaripe ano Izrael , kaj ekvash milioni isi dendo thaj transportirimo mashkar 1943  bershgji ko fundo e marebasko.Kava numero dela proposal-prepozicija  kaj but ver lepardo ano dikhipe numero kotar o kvash milioni mularde musaj te ovel hari sar numero. Odola kola aqile gjivde akharena e dar dole bershengi , bilaqe astaripe e manushengo, vrama keda sine but vasta irinde kontra lende ano phuvja kola pele tali odoja vramaki Germanija. Ulavde, daravde, nashalde palo-marebaske haoseja thaj bi-aqavde bi-amalipaske, hari koi sine ano asavki situacija te organizirinelpe , thaj te rodel reparacija.posluno dejipa e zoresko, isine kvashal qinavdo ani  post komunistikake Evropake phuvja thaj Sovejetesko Unija kotar e rashtrako guvernipe..Keda ano dikhipe Britanijake Romengo, Nazi rezhimi majpashe isine 1940 Invazija tali operacija “Operation Sea Lion” , operacija koja anela isine but meripa.

Romano Konzili, kova kergja organisipe Londonekse Kongresesko, na isine sar Roamo Kozili gji ko 1966 bersh. Frederick Wood, lesko jekto prezidenti, isine  Britanijake armadaja ano muklipe e Bergen Belsen jek kotar pobaro koncetraciono logori ki Germanijaki phuv. Akaja eksperijenca isine pozitivikune buqaripe upral leste- o Woodi. Kana ali situacija kaj shaj isine  te kerel diso ov isine holamo , javerenacar, palo nashaldi vrama.

Aver manush kova isinele bari rola isi Weer Rajendra Rishi, ani doja vrama atashe kii Indijaki uqi komisija ano Londoni. Angleder isine ani Moskva, thaj vrama ki vrama isine translator e Hrushqeveske. Kontra disave raportenge, Indija na azhutiringja o Kongresi. Rishi lela kotor privatno thaj dengja baro phikodejipe ano dova thaj avutne bersha.

Kongreso isine pokimo kotar o privatikune love, thaj praktikune isi borxhi pere lokacijake thaj logistikake mangipaske ano sa, samo jeke manusheske  Bryan Raywid, Welsesko Traveller thaj kotar I vrama gji ki vrama butikerutno Zhurnalesko Gypsy Lore Society. Sar mukla poro itirenatno gjivdipa Rejvid ulo chiravdo-kuvari ani Cannock House shkola. Sheruno Rajo Bejker pagorsagja le ano lafi , kaj o Romano Koncili bi lovesko del e shkolako than akale mashkar-themutne  beshibaske. Rejvid sarinen amen parvargja, kerindoj buti ani chiravdi-kuhinja , mukindoj peske hari vrama kaj shaj te lel participacija plenarno beshibenge.Sa akava kerdilo bi dajeke pochin-nagrada jek samo qalaribe andra, jeke gendoa kaj te da amari kontribucija   akale 4 divenge jekhipaske ani Romani historija.

Mangipe akale Kongresesko qerdile 10 bersh ponagleder ano Parizi. Parizi isine magneti e Romenge pobuter phuvjendar. Muzikantenge andi Shpanija; Romenge kola pere koreno isilen ani Rusija, Rumunija, Ungaria kolendar pobuter lendar muziqarja.  Najbaro avipe Romengo isine ano von 1950 kotar Jugoslavija. Ulavdi kotar javera socijalikune phuvja Jugoslavija mukela isine pe manushen te len peske drom ani Evropa. Mile Roma gjivdienana isine ano tikne kera e Parizeske avrijalune beshibaske kotorende.  Jek kotar pobare beshibaske thanege isine ano

Montreuil-sous-Boisu.  Akate Vaida Voevod nom de guerre hramomestareja  Ionel Rotarua, pravgja kancelarija thaj vazdingja organizacija pengjardutni ki francijaki qhib sar Communauté Mondiale Gitane (CMG). Bijando ani Ukraina , Rotaru resla ani Francuska ani vrama keda kerelapes isine translacija leske romaneske La Rhapsodie Roumaine, kova ani jekto verzija isine hramomo ki Rumunijaki qhib. Ov nashalgja daja thaj dade, trin pralen thaj duj phenen , ano maribasko genocid kola phiravde o nacistja.

Vaidesko shertune manusheski rola isine panda majmahatno, keda kergja mange vizita ani Irska ko mashkar besha 1960. CMG mangla te kerel ko jekhipe sarinen, sa odolen kola isinelen klaneske thaj klasake barijere ano nacionalikuno mishkipe-pokret.  Pakjavgja kaj pokipeja e harpeske reparacija shaj isine te kerelpe Romanistani, romani rashtra, thaj akaja ideja kerela isine promocija kaj nakela isine. Belgija , Holandija, Germanija , thaj but manusha kotar I Kosova ikerena le ki godi. Shpekulirinipe kaj ani Bulgarija isinele resipe e Shakir Pashoveja, manushe kova vazdingja o Ekhipe, koja isine anglal  CMG-ske, thaj isinela barabar gendo.  Ki press konferencija ikerdili ko London 1964 bersh Vaida  prezentiringja kaj o CMG ka rodel pengjaripe kotar e UN thaj  Lumjako Kongresi kaj ka ikergjol ano palata e UNESCO-ski ki Pariz.

Ano avutne bersha dikelape isine planja Kongreseske savena dikhibaske realititeja, azhuripasta thaj aqurdipasta. Palo miri regrutacija-qivdipa  ko CMG (povon CIG) isinema vakeripa sar Vaideja, thaj palo leste e Vanko Rouda (aliasi e Jacques Dauvergne). Shaipe kerdipaske jeke Romane kolonijake, mini-rashtrake pohari pohari nashalela isine piri perspektiva, soske phuvja kola isine sar prepozicija sar soj, Kanada, Siberia, Somalia, Djibuti ko fundo i Bhutan  , kola isine vizitirime kotar o Rouda, inicijativa koja  isine frdime kotar akala phuvja.

Dikindoj nalpalal debata diklola sar nashaldi, angova sa ideja pali pengjardutni teritorijalno etniteti aqola gjivd ki teorija. Ideja  mini-rashtrake  egzistirinena sar  soj Vatikani kova isile beshibasko than ano UN. Gji ko mashakr e 1970 bersheske nilajesko, 9 masek anglo Londonesko Kongresi, kerdili modifikacija e planegiri. Comité International Tzigane phiravdo kotar o Rouda koncetrishimo isine kaj o Roma ovelen globalikuno statusi.Ko UN pengjaripa CIT na isinele sukseso  .Ano sa akava, Vaida thaj lesko Romanistanesko ideali, pohari nashaldilo kotar o dikhibe. Legaluine registrimo , CMG ovela ki ajk e Franuskake rashtrake. Isinele (CMG) dushmanja ano piro qerdipe,   sebepi pere kampanjake kontra e Kanunekse ando 1912 bersh , kanuni kova kerela isine obligacija e Nomadikune Romen  (Manusha) te akharen pesa specijalno antropmetrijako personalno dokumenti. Po bilaqi isine doshlaribe-bangaripe kontra e Germanijake. Ko 1967 bersh CMG isine de-registrime thaj leske participantja isine puqlarde kotar e policija. Ulavipe mashakr o Vaide thaj Vanka isine krisimo. Tikni publikacija ando 1961 bersh La Voix Mondiale Tzigane ,  ulo sar statusi e CIT-sko. Individualno kompenzacijake slucaja dendile gji ko Germansko krisja , thaj ule resursi investigacijake palo nacistikune marebaske qelaripaske, ki akaja buti me lelum participacija.  Ko odoja vrama isine than kova dela siguripe ruhune thaj kulturake khereske. Shuto Orizari, kerdilo palo zerzela-kelavdipe e thanseko ki Skopla ano 1963 bersh, koja isinela 30000 mile bershutne manusha. Komunako konzili thaj reprezento ko Rashtarko parlamenti. Akava dengja Shutkake statusi kola javera mahale nashti te oevelen. Jugoslavijake medije referinena isine e Shutkake sar Romana rashtrake.

Festa koja angja o Vanko Roda kotar Pariz pere von resipa kerela isine lesko pral Leulea, Zharko Jovanovic kompozitori;  Mateo Maksimof romanengoro-hramomo thaj evangelestikako popi , thaj 3 delegatja direktno kotar I Jugoslavija, hramomo Slobodan Berberski, Makedonijako Parlamenetesko membro Abdi Faik thaj Cuna Bedzet andi Kosova. Lencar alo andi Shvajcaria I o rajo dr. Jan Cibula kole majzorale lelum angi angaj.  E Cibula gjangjum 3 bersh poangleder panda kotar e Nilaj e Pragesko, kote o Cibula isine kheresko doktori ani jek rashtraki fabrika.  Agjikerdipe isine ko than. Kana andema ko kher e inzhineresko Antona Facuna, atmosfera isine elektrishimi.  Anglo disave  dive  Bratisalva isine than kote ikerdili Warshavake pakteski konferencija kote krisinipe isine e liberalizacija. Talo garavdo o Cibula, inzhineri Anton Facuna thaj lengiri but bershengiri amalinka univerzitesko disidenka Milena Hushmanova planirinde te keren romani organizacija. Muklum e Cheho-Slovakia panda te kuven ando late o Rusijake tenkja. Cibula nashla kotar e phuv. Unija koja organizirinde kergja buti gji ko 1973 bersh, palo kova isine zorea pandi.

Cibula aqilo mancar ko vudar, gjiko javer e Rouda thaj javeren igalgja gji ki sovibaski soba ko dujto kati. Shaj dikla javer festa , soske vazdingja pe vasta kotar akava thaj kuvgja ano panja e kolonijalizmesko. Diklumle sar pashola isine akalenge so avena isine neve. Palo akava nashaldilo kotar me akja. Kotar o glasja thaj lengere gestja lelum khan kaj sine ani zoralo kontra-vakeriba e Cibulaja. Jek kotar poanglutne Kongresesko na lejipa khan maskar amende agorsarili von raqate. Palo akomodacija 40 manushengoro, ano mushikane sovibaske thana ko kati, rodingjum kaj o Cibula. Mothavdilo kaj Cheho-Slovakijaki delegacija isine kontra leske participacijakoo ko Kongresi. Agjikerdilo kaj o Anton Holomek militarno prosekutori,  Miroslav Holomek  thaj sikavno Anton Daniel te ciden nakhari partijaki (komunistikaki) linija, Cibula ulo person non-grata. Ko fundo , Romano lojaliteti pachivingja-phagargja upral komunistikaki disciplina thaj mashkari rat on palem ule jekh. Palo jek bilaqo vakeripa kotar Englesko sabahesko habe kova dendilo kotar o Raywid andar kuhinjaki penxhera, delegatja kedisalile ani shkolaki bibloteka ko mitingo-beshipa. Lafja shukar avipaske  avena isine jek palo jek. Amare dogjaregjen-misafiren, magelapes isine te dalen ki godi kaj na dur lendar , isi  prezenca anti-Romane bilaqe grupako.Ko lokaluno parohijalno protesti isine kedimo 4000 funte. Planirimo isine akale parencar te vazdenpes barijere kontra camping e Romengoro uzalo drumo. Disave akale Romendar ka lena isine participacija ko mitingo. Odoleske , beshipa ano Cannock House mangelapes te kerelpes garavdo.

Rouda lela kotor te vakerel. Leske lafja sarinen arakla ani situacija. Ov phengja kaj o CIT mukla te ovel kedipe sar forumi ano kova ka ovel lafi palo ikeribe Lumjake Kongresesko ano Pariz. Juan de Dios Ramirez iringja leske ko sigutno Shpanski. Donald Kenrick kova volontiringja sar translator dengja zor te kerel translacija. Manusha dikehenapes isine mashkar peste nashalde thaj bi.bahtale Hala perdili.  Isine momentalno panglo azhuqaripe.  Phagardo isine kolktivikuno kamlipe. Pobuter delegatja kerde protest. Zarko Jovanovic ushtigja ko pre. Isine ko beshipa kola ikerdile kotar o CIT a gjanela I savo rezultati isine. Pere lafja dengja zorea ki Romani thaj Srbijuni qhib. Zharko dengja prepozicija kaj o Berberski te ovele presedateli Lumjake Kongresesko. Sar ov thaj o Berberski  isine ano maripa sar partizanja ano II Lumjako mareba. Leski influenca ani Jugoslavijaki Liga e Komustjengi isine lesko aduti. Kongresi mangelape te ikerelpes akate. Diklolapes kaj situacija uli pomukli. Uzal. Thaj kaj pobuter amender  na gjangjam akale Beogradeske intelektualce ano sa akale sahabesko bi agjikerdi situacija, igargjam Berbeske ko than thaj sigate kergjamle presedateli.  Vanko Rouda dikisalilo loshalo , sar saren javera.

Berberskesko akceptiribasko vakeripa, citirimo akate kotar o ikaldo raportiripe, qivgja toni  beshibaske kola ka ikergjon:

“Gendo akale Kongresesko isi te pandel thaj te aktivirinel e Romen ani sa e Lumja; te ana gji ki emancipacija ano niveli korkorutne personalno idealengo, te nakha angle amare korkorutne sigutnipa. But dolestar mangelapes  te dikhelpes thaj te buti kerelpes , nashti te phena akana kola metode ka qivenpe ani buti, thaj ani koja rig ka nakha. Bilo so te kera ka ovele tato-peqati amare personalitetesko upral peste- odova ka ovel amaro Romano drom.

Soja mangelape te marajamen isi ekzamplo e birokratijako. Publikune, akana bajrardi ani sakoja rashtra, reprezentujnela daravipe kaski buti isi ikalel manushikane haqaripe, te monololizirinel andipa e decizijengo thaj te mudarel inicijative-kvaliteti kova isi qaqipe amare  manushipaske. Administracijaki mashinerija, pali standardizacija thaj kontrola, nashti pere natura te lel khan kaj nacionalikuni godi- kolektuvuni mangin te ova soj isijam, shukar nilaj  kova shaj te refreshinela, thaj palpalem te pravel nevi lumja.

Amaro mareba, te evolurina  premal amaro korkorutno genij, isi gasavo mariba muklipaske kova ikerelape ani sa e lumja-jeke gendoja te da zor aqavibaske kaj o kontinetja tena marenpe mashkar peste, ekspropracijake thaj bange rashtripaske.

Amare manusha mangelapes te kombirinel thaj te organizinenpe te keren buti lokalno, nacionalikune thaj internacionalno. Amare problemja isi sakotar sajek: musaj te phirava amare korkorutne formengo e edukiripasko, te garava thaj bajrara amari Romani kultura, qiva nevo dinamizmo ani amaro komuniteti thaj te marda amaro avutnipa ano niveli amare gjivdipaske stileske thaj pakjavibaske. But vrama isijam pasivikune thaj phakjava kaj poshmiba kotar adive shaj te ovelamen sukseso.

Diklaribe akale Kongresesko isi historijsko baripe amare nacijako. Upral sakova amendar isi kaj barikaneste thaj upre sherea sakova te akharel piri irin thaj dotar te da losh, da vastipe , shukar vakeripe jek jekeske ani vrama kane mangelapes.

Isima rodipe gji tumende kaj akana saren te ushten thaj te den 2 minutja bizovakeriba, sa amare manushenge kola mudardile fashizmeja ani posluno mareba- thaj sa odolenge kola cidinde thaj mule sar produkto nashukar gendipaske thaj paldipaske mashakr mile bersha amare kale naklipaske.”

Duk thaj holi, gogjaveripe, pragmatizam, thaj mangipe te arakelpes drom te gjalpes anglal. Sa akala elementja pandile ano vilo thaj gogji e delegatjenge gji iklona isine kotar jekto plenarno beshipa-mitingo. Zorale emocije tardile. But dolestar diklola isine lenge ko muj. Melani Spita, Sinti kotar e Germanija koja e Rejaja isine gjuvlane reprezentja, nashalga pere familijake manushen ano Aushvic. Javera da isine qavore odolenge so mule ano mareba.  Zharko pere 15 bershencar ano mareba nashla kotar qivdi blokada ani Batajnica – Beograd. Ki doja akcija 1941 bersheste Mateo Maksimof hramomo thaj evangelista-popi isine internirimo ani Francuska. Pobuter kotar akala gjivdipaske vakeripa isine ulavde javerencar ano avutne dive thaj rakja. Mashkar i vrama, jeke lokhipa naklam ano podrumeske klasake thana ko beshipa-miitingo komisijengo. Me gelum palal o Abdi Faik  gji ki soba koja isine ulavdi Socijalno komisijake. Shaj isine te lelpe  khan kaj si jek doza optimizesko. Akate isine shaipe te poshminel I rekonstrukcija. Alavdisirarilo sar presedateli Faik Abdi, vakergja kaj isi kovaqesko qavo, thaj palo komuna Shuto Orizari. E diz resla gji ko jek niveli korkoripaske. Akava isine jek lonco kova bilagvjola sa e grupencar , pandlipa e Srbija, Bulgarija, Grcija, Tukrija.  Ov korkoro isinele pandlipe e Turkija. Kotar e Shutka manusha kerena migracija ki Germanija, Francuska, Belgija. Mangla te dikel organizacija, thaj institucije kola shaj te keden sarinen ko jekh than, kerdindoj stimulacija vash korkoripaske thaj emancipacijake.

Socijalikuni komisija lela upral peste te kerel raporti gji Konzili evropako thaj UN.

Reakcija upal Faik isine momentalna, normalna thaj bi-rezervako. Isinele lidereske kvalitetja. Leske lafja kuvena isine sar qekiqi. Manush andral peste sar kaj isienle jek holamo kandipe. Te isine mulipasko kotor na sakova drom garavdo, isine motivishimo mangipa te frdelpe ani jama-rupa gagjikani dominacija, Faiko ikerela isine po gendipa tali kontrola. Isinele konfidencija ano poro nevo drumo thaj isinele vizija. Sar so diklum ki jek rig isine pharo disciplinako vast, ki javer rig sine racionalisti. Leske metode azhutiringe te ikalelpes internacionalno dushmanluko-bikamipe, kali zhuq  daraki thaj bikamibaski phiravdoj lunge distanciripaja, marginalizacija thaj bare mashkar-marebaja. Diklum kaj o Faik ulo opozicija Vaida Voevod. Ov isine sar kontra-zeheri. Vaida qaqikune poro dikhipe lela isine kotar o genocidesko bikamipasko bunari. Solduj vaj isinelen ekstremno marebaski eksperienca, kova dikhena isine sar tati qivdipaski energija bizo kolake naka ovela isine muklipe.

Vanko Rouda kova majshukar pengjargjale, aqilo panglo e Vaideja kotar o sa Kongresi. Ideja e Romane rashtrabipaske isine tema kolatar mangelape te nashelpes. Roland Li , kova vakerela isine palo Romanistan emigriringja ki Kanada.Dole diveste, Rouda isine ani dujto soba, kote lela isine kotor ani komisija palo holocaust. Donald Kenrik, kaski Jaudijengi familija nashalgja pobuter ano mareba, kerela isine diskusija odote. Andgjum decizija te gjav palo Faik. Na isinema bari konekcija e holokausteja. Miro mareba isine ano London. Ikerava ki godi kaj o Faik dengja kritika Berbereske kaj but pijela cigara-tutuni thaj konzumirinela but kafa, kote o Berberski  sar pobut akalesta konzumirinela isine I shlivovica- alhoholi kotar I Jugoslavija. Manush mashkarutne lugipa, na-zorale sastipa, definitivno ciknarela isine po gjivdipa. Berberski mulo 1989 keda isinele 70 bersh. 40 bersh kergja baro hramipa thaj icherdipe sar jek pioniri Romane poezijako. Leske mangelapes te kerelpes respekti amendar. Dujto rat palo alosaripe e Berberseske Faiko kergja jek bilaqi rola Slobodaneske pervardipa, mato prekalo sovibaski soba ani piri pixhama.

Tikne nevipa kerde reakcija odoja rat javere komisijenge beshibendar-mitingja.

Celo raporto iklilo ano Junesko numero  zhurnali Race Today, koja iklola kotar o Londonesko institute palo rasikune puqimata. Odote anglavakergjum kaj ano rodipe neve dromeske Kongresi nashti pojaver, soske ka qivel poro pakjavibe ano promiba. Promiba ka shaj te aven ani Evropa, thaj pakja, kaj romano organizipe akale promiba ka gjal anglal. Panda te na iranaman, alo telefonesko akharibe kotar Pop’s Johnny Connors, ano doja vrama presedniko Romane Konzilesko Kampanyako ani Birmingenesko than. Ov agjiekeralen tajsa te nakha ano Walsall.

Azhquripe e treneresko kova nakhavi nakhal kelardo parnimata-magla, kovlargja losale Romen  ando Istok Evrope. Shukar reslipaske mukela than kovle thangipaske. Olenge isijam ki bangi rig e drumoskeri. Delegatja Kongeseske na gjanena kaj shaj pheren ani har, thaj ano so mukenapes. Kergjum rezervacija akale autobuseske 2 kurke poangleder panda te anav decizija savi politikako laqipe kaj shaj avel kotar o Kongresi e Romenge thaj e phirutnenge ano West Midlands.

Policija thaj lokaluine autoritetja sakodive isi lenge ko dumo. Johnny Connors akava akharelale Jackboot Pravda .

Kontra politika ando Travellers poshmingja ikaliba kotar o khera 14 khera kotar o Birmigenesko Dizako Konzili ki Sparkbrook than.  Najbaro reprezenti kotar I Laburistiqko partija ikalgja teza kaj “musaj te ikalellpe odova so nashti”. Kotar odoja vrama tati vuklaneski lava phiravelapes ani sa e regija. Diz Walsall beshela ano mashkar akale vulkaneske. Trin qavore tablile ani jag e karavaneski palo ikalibe kotar o khera. Ando manush so tradel o busi na diklola isine nishta. Farja e buseske tharena levako. Dudi nakhela ko akja e maqkenge. Najbaro kotor bare arktikuishime kamionenge sar diklola kaj tovela o gjamja. Puqama palo riski kova lelum. Odola manusha I bilaqe kola perena e trenere. Javer dikhibe , hanavde-mixime  ideje. Odova so ka agjikerav kova panda na avela mange ki godi. Akalenge kotar o socijalistikune phuvja nomadikuno gjivdipe I prhiravdo kotar generacija gji ki generacija. Panda ano naklipe. Kala delegatja  shaj e Travellers dikhen bangeste. Diklona qorole, but olendar qerena kamping ano phuvjako halo than. Irindoj napalal, Jugoslavijako kontigenti palem gjivdisalilo.

Zharko palem phiravi piri balalajka. But ver aqola , sar kaj aqavile biaqavdo frdipa. Hramonela diso. Crdelape kotar piro beshibasko than ano busi, thaj ko iklovipe phiravi balaljka upral po shero. Sarinenge mothavi kaj kompoziringja o lafja Romane himnanke. Mangela amendar sarinen te gjilava. Gji ko aviba ko Balsall Heat Dzelem Dzelem uzal tradicionalno melodija te ovel praksirimi sar so mangelape. Ava perde ko than kaj arkhenape o karavanja. Than kova diklola kotar Birminghamsko Univerziteti. Travellers agjikerena. Vazdilo o shatori thaj Kongreseske delegatja kedisalie mashakr peste sar kaj aterinde. Tikni jag tabili. Gjilavaja e himna dejipa godi e  qavorenge ando Walsall, sa odolenge kola mule talo zor. Disave ikerena improvizikirane plakatja. Na isijamen vrama te has maro-sendvichja kola kerdile amenge kotar e lokalno sala. Sa akava dela zor Walsall policijake. Policijako stafi isine bi-agjikerdo amare avipa. Odova I profesija lengi.  Miroslav Holomek prezentujnela per sar Chekiako militarno bangardo thaj arakhipe faktencar. Karavani isi cidimo kotar Slackey Lane.Nisavi kriseski decizija thaj is jek ilegalno operacija. Qavore si panda andre. Muklo ki Geroge Street, karavani lela jag. Kotar e Johnny Connorseski translacija, Holomek bangeri e policija thaj o Konzili Dizjako, kaj kerde konspiracija solduj, thaj  te ikalen e Travellers avrijal dizata. Ov akava akhargale pogrom. Connors mukela amen kote dengja alav-sovlji “ Miri sovlji ka perel ki tiri mafija”  Majpalal dela raporto palo qavorengo meriba gji ko EU komesari palo manushikane hakaja.

Napalal gji ko Cannock kher, Kongreasi pashola pere agoreske. Posluni plenarrno beshiba-mitingo,  parlamentarno hala isi perdi. Roma kotar o lokalune thana-droma ale te len participacija. Nashalde manusha kotar  o Corke’s Meadow isine igarde ko Darenth Wood, than ano kova beshena isine generacijencar. Pobuter lenda kampesa isine ki dromesko A2 rig ,   kova phiravdo bare trafikeja-nakhiba vordencar, but drom isinelen vizita kotar e policija. Jasper Smith isine odote thaj Abe Cooper, sa odolencar kola pashile ko Romano Konzili. Romane Romna ikerena isine tikne qave ano vast. Qavore mashkar peste kuvenape isine. Phendilo lenge pali vizita ko Walsall thaj isine agjikerdilo intervencija I akate ko Kent. Disave buqa nakle lenge kotar o shero.

Mangelapes isine te anelpe decizija pali adopcija e flagesko. Rouda angja jek kotar o Parizi thaj mothavelala ano vazduho. Duj normalno kotora plavo thaj zeleno, ulavde horizontalno. Isinele o fundo kotar boja e zlatoski. Phenela amenge kaj akava flago akhargja ko Arc de Triomphe-Triumfalno vudar keda kupate e Vaida Voevod o Roma  qivde luludja-venco.  Ando podijum de Cibula phenela kaj akava dizajn isile phikodejipa kotar o anglo-marebasko Kongresi kova ikerdilo ano Bukureshti. Avela gji ki diskusija. Kotar o holi e salako avela gjuvlano avazo. Mangela te qivel ando flago loli jag.Kova ka ovel jek nevo poshmiba. Lengiri kampana palo dizutne hakaja. Pengjargjum o muj akala gjuvlako odoja I Louise Brown a kuzalo late lako terno rom Solly. On beshena ani lokacija akhardi Star Laneu kova Lokalno Konzili dengja zor te pandele.  Javera delegatja mangena te shunen e Rishi, attaché kotar e Indijaki Uqi Komisija. Isilen ki godi te keren simbolikako phandipa e Indija. Nacinalikuno minoriteti mangelapes te ovel protektirimo kotar piri dajaki phuv. Akaja argumentacija avela kotar o Berberski kote ov akaleja konfirmirinela piro than Kongreseske presedateleske. Na sine leske lokeste te phiravel o beshipa-mitingo. Ov akana vakeri neve konfidencija-pakjaviba sar presedateli  Tito thaj premijerka Gandhi solduj kotar o biulavde phuvja. Ka kerel ano laqipe e Romengoro. Rishi irinela ki Rusijaki qhib, dujto ghib e delegatenge kola avena kotar e Istoqna Evropa. Kergja intepretacija e Jawaharlal Nehru thaj e Hrusqoveske. Ano lesko profesionalno elementi lesko avazo isine kovlo thaj autorativno. Rishi del propozicija Kongreseske kaj o flago te laqarelpes Ashok Chakraja sar soj, verzija e qakraki ko Indijako flago. “ “Akava I drumo kaj shaj palem te pandajamen e Indija”  ov vakergja a o akja isine nakhar o podijumi. “ e rota mothavi o qaqipe thaj phiribe, phiribe anglal. Thema thaj politikanja ka len khan so mangena te phenen” Dikhisalilo kaj akaja prepozicija agjikerdili shukar kotar saren, Vasta azdisalile, a na rodindilo odova. Dikhindoj nashaldipe Dr. Cibula kergja intervencija. Ov I pashe Berberskeske ko podijum. Cibula insistirinela kaj e rota te ovel loli. Lelalpe khan soske akava mangla. Vasta palem vazdime. Akava alosaripe isi pouqo kotar javera alosaripa. Manush isi ki godi kaj diso uqe kerelape. Uanimno avelape gji ko nevipe. Ano akala minutja ani zoralipe isi metafizikako rashtripe. Isijam ano than e bi-dkhipasko. Standardi vazdisalilo. Horeste pakjav qivelape ano akava flago. Ka urjarel ani avangarda. Talo leste Roamni nacija ka kedelpe.

Lokaluine roma isine mukle ki rig. Aqile bi-mudre thaj bi-qalarde. Soj olenge nacija? Nikoj na alo lenge ano kampi. Dikhindoj so ovela, Abdi Faik lela lafi thaj vakergja odolenge kaj isine ko fundo e salako: “Isi li tumendar dajek kovaqi?” puqla, kote akale puqiba kegja skaning lengere mujengoro. Shunindoj e translacija o purano bershencar Abe Cooper isinele te pehenel diso: “ Na gjanaja pobugter odova zanati. Mo puro dat kerela isine bakeraja. Kotar odova nakla jek lungi vrama.”

“Shukare , lungargja o Faik. “ Me akana pobuter na sijem  kovaqi mo  dat isine. Disciplinaro isine. Teri qordaja isne ko odova amuni. Sikjavgjamen te mangeja diso, mangelapes te maretut odoleske.”

Qivgja akava lafi sar jek parabola. Vezija akale lafenge ka arake ano Nevo Testamenti. Faik isine Marksisti muslimaneske  avipa. Lesko mesazhi alo kotar leske korkorutne eksperiijencatar. Phengja pandar manush kova astarela maqen mangelapes soldive te nashalel ko fundo te del maro na-but gjenenge . Palpalem akala ka oven bokale. “ Na mere prala, odova so mangelapes te siklova thaj te siklova odova kolektivno, isi kaj e maqe te astara korkori amenge.”

Isi, ov phengja, jek baro phani , okeani, kova alo kontra e Romane nacijake kote on mangelape te astaren thaj te sigurinen pere univerzilakune hakaja.

Panda tena gjal peske, Faik rodingjama. Isinele te hramonel o reportja thaj mangla mandar azhutiripe. Lelam amencar kafa, thaj araklam mukli skolako soba. Manusha ano holja-hodnikja phirena isine thaj jek jekeja jeftisarena qeripa bahtalo drom jek jekeske.  Ko Cannock House than, buvlilo o dudi e sabahesko. Isine andekhata –pajekvarate  o Faik mere gjandipa e Serbikune-Kroatisko ghibjaja , kote odote mothavgjum leske palo mere poanglutne vizite ki Jugoslavija. Jek drom dengjum zor auto-stopeja te nakhavav e Makedonija. Diklum jek prandipaski ceremonija ki Skopla. Faik mothavgja sar bajrilo nevo Romano beshibasko than ani Skopja.

Ko fundo akhargjama te avav thaj te aqovav leja ano Shuto Orizari. Akava akharipe vazdingja mo mangipa irinibaske palem ki Jugoslavija. Shaj permanentno.

Dengjma vast jek jekeste panda tena gjal peske. Isinum loshalo.  Javer masek isine Romano festivali ko Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. Gjava isine odote gji isinum qavoro, a odotar lelum drumo Jugoslavijake.

In the imagination of the Roma, the 20th century is "the time of crying", "the time of camps, gas chambers, shootings, persecution, unpunished crimes and criminals", the time of unemployment and muddy shoes. We trusted people, states and foreign politicians, we believed in humanity, solidarity and the international legal order. And nothing came of it!

On 8 April 1971, Roma representatives from many countries met in London for the First World Roma Congress. This congress was the result of more than ten years of organising by Roma, mainly from Yugoslavia, Romania and other European countries and is still the most important event of the Roma civil rights movement. It was about the recognition of the genocide, as many representatives were themselves survivors of the Holocaust against Roma, about equal rights and the preservation of language and culture as well as the fight against discrimination. This also included the rejection of all foreign names. An own flag, an own anthem and 8th April as the day of the Roma nation were the results of the congress.

In 51 years since the Congress, there has been much change, there have been many struggles. However, over time, the spirit of the equal rights movement has been lost. Instead of equal rights, the focus was only on "integration" into society, even though we have been living in these societies for centuries. Critical voices were not heard, discrimination continued to increase.

With the Congress we want to bring a new way of thinking and create a platform where the real problems are to be solved. A general reform of Roma policy is necessary.

The democratic process ensures political legitimacy and empowers the Roma nation on the path to full emancipation. Therefore, at the Berlin Congress, we want to introduce an election system that includes voters throughout our global diaspora.

The transformation processes after the end of the Cold War have strongly pushed the exclusion of Roma in many countries. The wars in Yugoslavia in the 1990s displaced many Roma and deprived them of their livelihoods.

Roma were never accepted as equals in society, but remained second-class people. To this day, the problem of discrimination is not systematically addressed. To this day, certain forms of discrimination are ignored or not recognised:

Structural discrimination in the education system robs Roma children of their future. They need equal opportunities. School segregation and special schools must be a thing of the past.

In many countries, child removal is a common method of institutional discrimination against poor Roma families. Instead of supporting the families, the children are taken away from them when the parents lose their housing. Or for other economic reasons. The best interests of the child are used as an excuse to impose state paternalism.

The media have traditionally produced and reproduced stereotypes against Roma since the beginning; the majority society is negatively influenced by this. We can no longer accept this. We need anti-discrimination laws and laws against racist agitation against Roma.

There is hardly any reporting on racist attacks against Roma. We need statistics on racist violence so that we can take action against it at the political level.

Instead of punishing police violence, violent police officers are praised by politicians, as we saw in the case of Stanislav Tomáš.

Right-wing and far-right politicians sit in many national parliaments and in the EU Parliament. Especially before elections, they run hate campaigns against Roma and use them as scapegoats to divert attention from the fact that they have no solutions to real problems. Roma settlements are regularly illegally destroyed and the inhabitants deprived of their livelihoods. In some countries, politicians work with far-right "vigilantes" (paramilitary groups) or hooligans to terrorise, intimidate and expel Roma. There are hardly any reports of these groups being punished. This behaviour is unacceptable in a democracy.

The expulsion of the Roma after the Kosovo war, the crimes committed against them - torture, rape, murder, the destruction and occupation of their homes and property - are still ignored today. There is hardly any documentation about the ethnic cleansing. The people have been living in the diaspora for more than 20 years, some of them without secure residence status, often severely traumatised, with permanent fear of deportation and no right to their property. There is no political will and no representatives who can solve the problem. 13th June must be recognised as a day of remembrance for the expelled Roma from Kosovo, so that it is never forgotten that Roma were expelled from Kosovo after more than 600 years.

Many of us left our homes, our mothers and fathers, our sisters and brothers. We left our Roma settlements, our caravans, our mahallahs, our homelands, in search of a safe country, work and a better future for our children. The time of false equality. The winds of destruction and evil blew across our planet. For 80 years we believed in democracy, and again nothing came of it! We still believe in it, even today! Freedom and democracy without the joy of life. Dishonest politicians, silent intellectuals and an international legal order deprived of any responsibility.

Roma women have been forcibly sterilized; collective punishment occurs; Roma settlements in many countries have no or limited access to electricity and drinking water; settlements are regularly evicted or attacked. This list can be continued endlessly. Structural, institutional and everyday discrimination is a commonplace for Roma. The Roma political representatives are not able to solve these problems.

If everything has its own time, then the time has come for this crying time to be over and for our mahallahs to start developing, for our children to find employment, the time when the Roma will take our fate into our own hands. That time has arrived. It is now or never!

At this point in time, none of us Roma and no Roma organisation has ready-made solutions or proposals. Through the congress we want to discuss these problems and find solutions. We want to reach as many Roma organisations as possible to work together on these solutions. So that we can create a better, a fairer future for our children and the generations to come.

We are an alliance of many Roma organisations and invite other organisations to join us.

It is necessary that the majority societies develop a self-critical awareness and actively promote equal rights for all.

We want to come together on 16 May 2023, Roma Resistance Day, to unite and create a future for all.

It is time for us to unite in these difficult times.

Freedom of movement and protection for Roma from Ukraine!

Not all Roma leave Ukraine and not all are victims of discriminatory treatment. But reports of discrimination against Romnja* at the borders are increasing. They are not taken in cars, bus companies turn them away. In the places of arrival they are separated from the „white“ Ukrainians for unknown reasons. There are also difficulties in the places of arrival in Germany.

Large spaces are needed
Most of the refugees are women and children, with young people and sometimes relatives in need of care. They had to separate from their husbands of „military age“ and do not want to split up further. In addition to the war traumas they suffered, they report massive discrimination and insults along the escape routes to the West.
Ukrainian Roma are descendants of survivors and victims of persecution and extermination during National Socialism. We would like Germany in particular to provide funds and offer protection now.

Many Romnja speak Romanes, Ukrainian or Russian, but not the languages of the countries to which they flee. Some cannot read, and if they can, they know only Cyrillic characters. The whole situation is extremely unsettling and threatening. Family members and friends, who support each other, do not want to separate in this situation and would like to stay together, also to be accommodated together. That is why there is a need for larger accommodation facilities where people can be housed together.

Racism affects Roma also now
The structural discrimination that unfortunately existed also before the war includes the fact that many Roma in Ukraine are undocumented and have no passports. Of the estimated 400,000 Roma living in Ukraine, about 20 percent, or tens of thousands of people, have no papers. Others have lost their documents in the course of fleeing. For all these people, it is significantly more difficult to cross the borders and reach safety from the war.
This particularly vulnerable group has so far not been included at all in the groups of people who can officially receive protection in the countries of the European Union in the current situation.
They may or must fight even without papers, but fleeing is a problem. There are reports that the Ukrainian border guards do not allow paperless Roma to cross the EU borders. Therefore, they have to cross the border into the Moldavian Republic. There, the white Ukrainian refugees are housed separately from the Roma refugees. European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) human rights activist Jonathan Lee calls this practice segregation and also criticizes the very desolate accommodations on the ground.
No members of the majority society from Ukraine were found in these specially segregated centers. The ERRC obtained an overview on the ground and found that the authorities in Moldova are transporting hundreds of refugee Romnja from Ukraine to the Romanian border. The Romnja are not informed about how the immigration process works and are often turned back at the border because they do not have the right documents or no documents at all.

Equal rights and opportunities for all refugees!
According to Al Jazeera news channel, the authorities in Moldova are being pressured to draw up a redistribution plan for fleeing Roma that does not require them to produce any documents. The channel does not report by whom they are being pressured. Moldovan MP Dorian Istratii, coordinates work at the Manej refugee center. He says the Moldovan government is working to persuade the Romanian government to take in fleeing undocumented Roma from Ukraine so they can be granted asylum there. Under EU law, however, this would mean that they would then have to stay there. This would be a clear discrimination of the undocumented, since all other Ukrainians can currently choose their place of stay in Europe.

Permanent right to stay also after the war
We know from the wars in Yugoslavia that many of the Roma who fled at that time are still only tolerated („Duldung“) in Germany or other countries 30 years later and are still being deported. A repetition of this history must be avoided. However, the current treatment of the paperless Romnja from Ukraine gives reason to fear this.
We know from experience that in 1999 there was ethnic cleansing against Roma in Kosovo after NATO operations. Due to war and expulsion, people lost their property. After the war ended, they could not return to their old lives. There are already large numbers of Roma in the diaspora in Europe who can never go back.
The arming of the Ukrainian armed forces, but also of paramilitary fighters and, of course, neo-Nazis, will not be reversed so quickly in the coming years, even if the war is over. It is to be feared that members of minorities such as Roma will become defenseless in an extremely armed society. The riots against Roma in 2018, for example, raise fears of the worst.
The situation is also potentially dangerous for other people belonging to minorities. We fear for these people. For us, this means that we are already advocating for those affected by racism, anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia to be granted permanent secure rights to stay.

We need:
  • A reception program for undocumented Roma in Western European countries (as well as transportation from the Ukrainian borders and shelters on the escape routes). Roma must be able to choose the destination of their flight just like all other Ukrainians.
  • This includes the consideration of Romnja and Roma – especially without documents – from Ukraine in the direct admission of refugees from Moldova, which has already been announced by the German Foreign Minister Baerbock.
  • The immediate stop of all deportations to Ukraine’s neighboring countries (Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia).
  • Provision of places where groups of 10-20 people can be housed together. Suitable vacant state buildings, hotels, youth hostels or similar should be freed for this purpose.
  • We urgently need funds to establish support structures – for example, (psychological) telephone counseling (Romanes/ Ukrainian/ Russian). Counseling about registration possibilities and the registration of paperless persons, support in cases of experienced discrimination, networking offers, discrimination- and language-sensitive counceling for Roma refugees, coordination of accommodation offers and search.
* * *
In this text we write predominantly „Romnja“, because mostly women are on the flight.

Bundes Roma Verband e.V. • Roma Center e.V./ Roma Antidiscrimination Network • Romani Phen e.V. • Romani Kafava Wilhelmsburg e.V. • Gruppe gegen Antiromaismus • Wakti Romano e.V.
Arbeitslosenselbsthilfe Oldenburg e.V. (ALSO e.V.) • Amadeu Antonio Stiftung • Amaro Foro e.V. • Anlaufstelle / Netzwerk Pro Sinti & Roma • Arbeitskreis Asyl Cuxhaven e. V. • ARRiVATi – Community Care • Balkanbiro e.V. • Bellevue di Monaco • BLACK COMMUNITY Hamburg • BLACK COMMUNITY Coalition For Justice & Self-DEfence • Bezirksverband Neukölln der Partei DIE LINKE • Bildung in Widerspruch e.V. • Bündnis der Roma Organisationen – B.R.O. • Bildungswerk für Friedensarbeit e.V. Berlin • Entwicklungspolitisches Informationszentrum Göttingen (EPIZ) • EsCULcA – Observatorio para a defensa dos dereitos e liberdades, Galiza • european playwork association • Flüchtlingsrat Baden-Württemberg e.V. • Flüchtlingsrat Brandenburg • Flüchtlingsrat Bremen • Flüchtlingsrat Hamburg e.V. • Flüchtlingsrat Niedersachsen e.V. • Flüchtlingsrat RLP e.V. • Flüchtlingsrat Schleswig-Holstein e.V. • Flüchtlingsrat Thüringen e.V. • Sächsische Flüchtlingsrat e.V. • Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht & Migration e.V. • Förderverein Roma e.V. • human-aid-collective e.V. • Institut für angewandte Kulturforschung e.V. (ifak) • Institut für Berufsbildung und Sozialmanagement (IBS) gemeinnützige GmbH • Internationaler Kultur und Sport Verein der Roma Carmen e.V. • KLIK e.V., Berlin, Wohnungslosen- & Jugendhilfe • die kommunistische songgruppe die anticapitalistas • Komitee für Grundrechte und Demokratie e.V. • Medibüro Berlin – Netzwerk für das Recht auf Gesundheitsversorgung aller Migrantinnen • Medinetz Halle (Saale) e.V. • Mülheimer Flüchtlingsrat e.V. • gesamtes Team des Projektes Meilenstein der Nds. Beratungsstelle für Sinti und Roma e.V. • Nachbarschaftsheim Neukölln • Netzwerk für traumatisierte Flüchtlinge in Niedersachsen (NTFN e.V.) • Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, Landesverband Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V. • Philharmonischer Verein der Sinti und Roma Frankfurt am Main e.V. • people4people e.V. • Poliklinik Hamburg Veddel • PRO ASYL • PSZ Düsseldorf e.V. • Queer Roma • Rat für Migration • Refugio e.V./Café Zuflucht, Aachen • Romanes-Arbeit Marburg e.V. • Romano kongreso Odesako chakreste (Odessa regionaler Roma-Kongress) • RomaRespekt • save space e.V. • Seebrücke Niedersachsen • Seebrücke Lüneburg • 1. Sinti-Verein Ostfriesland e.V. • Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas • Stiftung Zusammen_Wachsen • trotz alledem! – Kommunistische Zeitschrift • U.R.Y.D. Union des Roms de l’Ex Yougoslavie en Diaspora / Association Fleuve Ibar • Verein Zuflucht – Ökumenische Ausländerarbeit e.V. • Verband Deutscher Sinti und Roma – Landesverband Hessen • VVN/BdA kreisvereinigung oldenburg/friesland • VVN-BdA Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg • Volkshilfe Flüchtlings- und MigrantInnenbetreuung, Amari Buki • Virtuelles Denkmal „Gerechte der Pflege“Wir packen’s an e.V. – Nothilfe für Geflüchtete • with WINGS and ROOTS • Zentrale Bildungs- und Beratungsstelle für Migrantinnen e.V. (ZBBS)
Asylpfarramt der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Württemberg, Pfarrer Joachim Schlecht • marita blessing, dipl.-psychologin • Gerd Büntzly • Ann Margreth Date G29 Amnesty/Malmo • Peter Forrest • Esther Heling-Hitzemann, Vorsitzende der Gesellschaft für christlich-jüdische Zusammenarbeit in Göttingen (GCJZ Göttingen e.V.)  • Friedrich Wilhelm Höper • Ernst-Ludwig Iskenius • Susanna Kahlefeld, Fraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen • Dr. Anne Kossatz, Pastorale Mitarbeiterin Pfarrei St. Marien, Bad Homburg, Friedrichsdorf • Gabriele Lang, Riedlingen • Jutta Meier-Wiedenbach • Arnold Neugebohrn, Mitglied für Die Linke im Gemeinderat Schwanewede, Vorsitzender der Gruppe FDP/Die Linke • John O • Grattan Puxon, Democratic Transition • Niko Rergo, Vorsitzender Romano kongreso Odesako chakreste (Odessa regionaler Roma-Kongress) • Beate Schädler • Dr. Linda Supik, Soziologin, Goethe Universität, Frankfurt am Main • Okan Uludasdemir • Esma Veselovski from a Romani women group Romane domacice • Eva Weber


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Am Leinekanal 4 37073 Göttingen, Germany


Am Leinekanal 4 37073 Göttingen, Germany