50th International Roma Day: Standing up for Recognition and Justice

On the occasion of the International Roma Day, we greet the Roma communities throughout the world. On 8th April 1971 Romani activists hold the First International Congress calling for a stronger awareness raising of the persecution faced by Sinti and Roma and for the demand of equal participation. This First Congress set a milestone for the civil rights movements of Sinti and Roma in Europe. Fifty years after, the Roma communities are facing an antigpysyism on the rise in form of hate crime, hate speech, forced evictions, racial profiling, school segregation and structural discrimination in our societies. We, the consortium members of the Project CHACHIPEN, call up to European institutions and members states for strengthening their efforts for combatting antigypsyism throughout Europe.

CHACHIPEN (meaning ‘truth’ or ‘rights’ in Romani language) is the name of a joint project, led by CEPS Brussels-based think tank, together with European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, the Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña (FAGIC) in Spain and the Asociatia Fast Forward Romania. Through CHACHIPEN, project partners aim to advance the recognition and response to historically rooted and systemic antigypsyism. The project employs the Truth and Justice approach to review past rights violations and ongoing structural discrimination towards Sinti and Roma that hamper them to participate equally in society.

“The 8th of April, the International Roma Day, is an important occasion to remind politicians and society of their historical responsibility. It is shameful that the largest minority in Europe, with 10-12 million members, still faces exclusion, discrimination, apartheid and violence today, and that their basic civil and human rights remain denied to a large extent. The causes of these deplorable conditions lie in antigypsyism. Its outlawing is not firstly the task of the minority itself. It is the task of the society as a whole and of its institutions; it is the task of the European institutions and the European states because Sinti and Roma are equal citizens of their countries.”, stated Romani Rose, President of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.

“International Roma Day is about recognizing Roma as a diverse European people contributing to the European fabric with their distinct cultural heritage, languages, history and traditions. On the 8th of April, we celebrate our uniqueness and richness, while we continue to raise awareness on the severe economic and human rights situation of our communities at national level, in an effort to enable greater solidarity and better state responses to the social marginalization and racism faced by the Roma. As CHACHIPEN partners, we believe that change happens locally and therefore we invest in building national civil society coalitions to further advocate for the recognition of antigypsyism and the creation of national mechanisms for truth and reconciliation processes for victims of persecution, racist policies and antigypsyism, said Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of the European Roma Grassroots Organisations”.

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Monday 29 Mar 2021
International Conference of “CHACHIPEN” project: towards recognition and justice for antigypsyism