11 July 2008 – In a letter to the Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Lazăr Comănescu, and to the Serbian Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Mr. Rasim Ljajić, Romano Them has strongly criticised the planned transfer of expertise between the two countries in the field of reintegration of forcibly repatriated Roma.

Romano Them reminded that the right to leave one’s own country is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which also guarantees the principle of equality of all the people. According to the organisation, the forced repatriation of Roma fits into the same pattern as the policies of containment which have been developed in Europe since the end of the 15th century and which culminated in the genocide of Roma under the Nazis.

Referring to the conclusion of a readmission agreement between Serbia and the EU which went in parallel with negotiations over visa facilities for Serbian citizens, Romano Them said it considered it unacceptable that Serbia, which currently also chairs the Roma Decade, decided to trade off the freedom of movement for Serbian citizens with the forced repatriation of its Roma minority.

Romano Them also said that Romania would be better advised to use the 180,000 Euros that have been earmarked for this assistance programme to improve the situation of its own Roma population, reminding that Romanian Roma continue to flee the country in hope for a better future. It called it particularly shameful that Germany, with its guilt-ridden past, continues to be one of the first countries to deport Roma

Romano Them concluded by asking for increased efforts to improve the situation of Roma in the countries, where they live, in order to make sure, that freedom of movement becomes a real choice and not a constraint as it has been for centuries.

Romano Them (www.kosovoroma.wordpress.com) is an independent internet platform advocating for the human rights of Roma from Kosovo and against forced repatriations.

Romano Them

For further information please contact us:

e-mail: kosovoroma@gmail.com

See also:

România/Ministerul Afacerilor Externe: România împartaseste expertiza în integrarea etnicilor romi, 03.07.2008

Divers: Romania offers expertise for the integration of the ethnic Roma from Serbia, July 2008

EHO: Violations of rights of Roma returned to Serbia under Readmission agreements, April 2007