In the most recent IRU meeting, the most salient issues/points related to current situation of the Roma in Europe, and decided to set forth the following recommendations:

Romani communities in Kosovo

The situation created by the Declaration of Independence of the Kosovan Parliament has direct implications for Romani communities of Kosovo, both those presently living within Kosovo and those outside its borders.

There is a continuing danger that European States in which Kosovan Roms have found shelter could return them by force to Kosovo in the assumption that it has become a sovereign and secure state.

As a matter of fact, not only individual protection against physical violence and ethnic persecution has to be granted to potential returnees, but also a viable stability in terms of schooling, housing, access to health care, and employment.

In any case return should be the result of a free choice by the considered person or family and by no way an administrative decision thrust upon them.

Special care should be devoted to the material and social reconstruction of Romani settlements (mahalle) in all localities, especially in Mitrovica where substantial but unechoed efforts have been developed by Roms originating from this borough. These efforts have to be supported politically by Romani and other international bodies, including ERTF in Strasbourg and the OSCE Roma und Sinti contact point in Warsaw and integrated into the overall effort of reconstruction of Romani communities in Kosovo.  

IRU declares its willingness to act as a possible mediator to dialogue between Kosovan Roms and recognized local authorities in Kosovo, as well as with mainstream mass media in the area.

In addition, the IRU urges the European Union institutions to engage Romani observers – approved by the IRU – for the purposes of monitoring, assessing, and designing concrete policies for the future. In addition, IRU is planning an independent Romani monitoring, assessment and advisory body for this purpose.

The IRU recommends the inclusion of a Romani legal expert into all exploratory missions to be set up by European international or supranational organizations.

Romani communities in Serbia

The IRU also would like to urge the Serbian authorities to implement the protection in particular of those displaced Roms from Kosovo who may face hostility due to their Albanian and/or Muslim names.

Romani as a European language and in IT

The IRU appeals to European authorities and to authorities of countries where Romani communities live to recognize Romani as a national language on a foot of equality with other European national languages. It will launch the appropriate proceedings to achieve this recognition primarily at the level of the UNESCO, the European Union and the Council of Europe.

In this respect, the IRU supports the Stockholm-Uppsala Declaration of the International Rromani Language Conference, dated January 7 – 9, 2007 and emphasizes the significance of ? 6, giving “a mandate to one group [of experts] to examine with IT specialists how to develop as soon as possible a Rromani system in all electronic devices and on the Internet”. The expert group will be hosted at Inalco University in Paris (in 2008) ; this group will be also in charge of following up the process of recognition mentioned above.

The IRU endorses the working document “Requirements for Support of Written Rromani Language in Data processing systems” and expect further technical developments in other fields like You-Tube, a Romani domain suffix similar to the Catalᮠ[.cat] etc.

The IRU will delegate a group of experts to participate in the Language conference organized by the Council of Europe at the end of May 2008.

Education of Romani children and young people

IRU urges the responsible European Union institutions as well as authoritative bodies in its Member States who have joined the Decade of Roma Inclusion to conduct an objective assessment of funds and effectiveness of the expenses engaged.

Primary concern should be focused upon education of Romani children and youth, in such a way that school systems have to be adapted to the needs and genius of the Romani students and not the latter to be excluded from a schooling systems which anyway are not any more appropriate to present-day civilisation. The Romani students should not be blocked or send to so-called “special schools”, resulting direct victims of a worldwide civilization phenomenon which has no connection with an alleged lack adaptation of the Roms to education as such.

Other fields: Health, Housing, Employment, Media

IRU remains very much concerned by other fields of life, like health, housing, employment and media, which have not witnessed any improvement during the last decade in spite of the political and financial efforts addressing them.

One can conclude from this that the efforts were not used widely and this was usually the case indeed, due to the lack of consultation with Romani bodies.

In this respect, the IRU expresses its willingness to actively engage with all decision making bodies in order to push its new political vision, based mainly on the recognition of the Romani people as a European transfrontier nation – not a social group, participation and exchanges on an equal footing between Romani structures and other entities at local, national and international levels and respect of cultural diversity through acceptation of genuine Romani values (like the Romanipe or Romani weltanschaaung, Romani kris, Romano legal system, etc…) by European national cultures recognized in earlier historical processes.

The powerful contribution of the Roms to economic, social, and cultural and artistic life in Europe and on other continents should be recognized as an element fostering mutual respect and co-existence between Romani and other communities in Europe.

Stanislaw Stankiewicz                                                                      

President of the International Romani Union (IRU)                   

Dragan Jevremovic

Chair of the World Roma Parliament (IRU)