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Czech job centres put an "R" on Gypsies The British Government will penalize the parents of the children that miss school
Gypsy Culture, main character for thirty days
The War in Kosovo is not over
Spanish legionaries arrest four people in Kosovo who shooted against a Gypsy
Rroma Press Center
Former News
A magazine published by the University of Granada dedicates one issue to Gypsy Culture



A magazine published by the University of Granada dedicates one issue to Gypsy Culture
The cultural magazine "El fingidor" (The faker), published by the University of Granada, dedicated its monografic pages of the September-October issue to Gypsy culture. Literature, music, history, linguistics and so on with a common feature, the Gypsy culture and what it has been representing along history. All the texts, gathered under the name "Gypsy Presence", invite to reflection and discussion on a reality which although, being controversial and many times avoided, has abundant undeniable artistic achievements, as it is stated in the editorial of the publication. In the central pages, there are included the following articles: "1990: A year for historical repairs" by Antonio Gómez Alfaro, "Calo vocabulary in Spanish Language" by Miguel Ropero Nuñez, " Federico García Lorca and the Gypsies" by Juan de Dios Luque Duran, "Like father like son" by Wenceslao Carlos Lozano, "Gypsiness and Spanishness: A shared linguistic reality" by José Heredia Maya, "About indian roots of flamenco" by María Luengo and Antonio Pamies, "Specific semantics (Childhood memories)" by José Heredia Moreno and "These pre-logics" by Félix Grande.
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Czech job centres put an "R" on Gypsies

For many years, Czech job centres have been marking with an R, coming from Rom (main Gypsy  ethnic group in the Czech Republic), the files of Gypsy people who go there looking for a job, as Vladimir Spidla, Minister of the Work and Social Affairs Office, admitted last October the 28th.  This revelation is the result of a journalistic investigation and it has raised a great controversy within the Czech Republic after knowing, the week before, that the Czech Airlines were stamping a G on the tickets of those passengers considered as Gypsies by the current employee.

Zdenek Prouza, Director of Ostrava's job centre  (in North Moravia), confirmed that till 1993 there was a requirement to put an "R" on all the unemployed Gypsies for statistical purposes, as it must be done with sex, age or professional level.

According Efe, up to current time, the number of job centres which are still following this method have not been confirmed yet, but it is know that many of these job centres carried on doing that after 1993, when the Czech Republic and Slovakia split up in two States.

The Employment Act which was implemented at the beginning of this month states that the right to work can not be denied to any citizen for issues related to race or ethnic and social origins. However, unemployment specially affects to 300,000 Czech Gypsies and taking into consideration that the national unemployment average is by the 9%, among Gypsies this percentage increases up to 50%, according to the results of surveys.

 translated by E.O.
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The Social Affairs Council gives a prize to the andalusian Rromani woman for the developed work
With the aim of divulging the Romany culture and spreading it out from the quarters were it is normally concentrated, the Month of the Gypsy Culture Rromanipe. It was organised by the association "Romano Drom " together with the Social Affairs Office of the Government of Andalusia, took place in Huelva last November. The program of acts consisted of several cultural and sports activities, such as exhibitions, cinema, talks followed by a discussion, a football match and the First International Gypsy Music Festival. The awarding of a prize to Gypsy women as a reward for her job and the raising of the Romany flag closed the calendar of activities which made possible the meeting and discussion among Gypsy Associations, Social Entities and the rest of the population.

The program of activities for the Month of the Gypsy Culture was opened with a collective exhibition of works carried out by students of the Arts and Crafts School "León Ortega", inspired on sixteen poems from the books " Color de Bronze" and "Duquelas" written by the poet Rafael Fernández Santiago. The exhibition could be visited at the Provincial Museum of Huelva and it was extended due to the great attendance of people. Another activity carried out along that month was the showing of the film "O Gadjo Dilo" (The mad foreigner) by Toni Gatlif; a film that, due to its contents, invites to meditation, sensitising and awakening about the right to diversity. The role of Gypsies in the third millennium was the issue that Juan de Dios Ramirez-Heredia, a former deputy and President of the Romany Union discussed along his presentation. With this talk, it was intended to approach to all the inhabitants of Huelva the true social and cultural reality of the Gypsy Community, banishing the stereotype of the Gyspsy in a ghetto. 

First International Gypsy Music Festival

Juana La Tobala, El Pecas, from Huelva, the Italian Alexian Group and the components of the Romanian group Raijkogpsy Music Group filled up the sports centre Andrés Estrada with Gypsy sounds, old and new. Hundreds of young people from Huelva attended the festival and they took part with great enthusiasm. The following day, the festival took place at the Provincial Prison of Huelva, where the four groups, voluntarily and free, played again Romany melodies and transmitted through music their roots. The prisoners filled completely the assembly hall and took part of the show having access to the stage where they show off the expression and creativity that characterise the Gypsy people.

The activities planned for the Month of the Gypsy Culture went on the following day with a peculiar football match at the Colombino Stadium, in which the team of the Gypsy association played against the one of the local police. After the match, played with a charity purpose, there were collected 18,000 pesetas that are going to be invested in the Children City.

Award for Gypsy women

The job carried out by Gypsy women from Andalucia for the social integration of the Gypsy Community was rewarded, on Monday the 22nd, the Day of Gypsies, with the award of the III Gypsy Prize. Isaías Pérez Saldaña, the Social Affairs Minister, handed the prize in the name of the Government he represents. The award was given to representatives of associations of Gypsy Women from all the provinces of Andalucia. This prize is also a tribute to Gypsy women, who are the mainstays of the transmission of their people culture and who are, at the same time, the main characters of the changing process that this community is going through at the moment. The Minister encouraged Gypsy women to achieve the revolution within Gypsy ambit and he stated that the effort of Gypsy women is very important in the field of the fight for equality, "because they have more difficulties to be integrated due to their marginal situation". 

The month of activities during which Romany culture was the main character ended with the award of this prize and the raising of the International Gypsy flag. This was an emotive act celebrated at La Rábida, in which Pecas, a singer from Huelva sang the world-wide Gypsy hymn, Gelem Gelem, and in which the identity of Gypsies from Huelva was recognised.

The Gypsy association "Romano Drom" has done a positive balance of the activities because "a very different view, different from the stereotyped one, has been shown, fomenting with this the real culture of the Romany people ". Moreover, as organisers stated, these activities have been worthy for the invigoration of the Gypsy people in different areas, such as educational, labour or social ones. M.F.

translated by E.O.
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Spanish legionaries arrest four people in Kosovo who shooted against a Gypsy

Two spahish legionary patrols belonging to KFOR arrested last sunday four people who shooted againts a man from the Gypsy communitty, who was moved to the military spanish hospital in Istik, according to what the Defence Ministry has informed.

The attacked man explained to the legionary patrol who helped him that some individuals knocked on his door, in the kosovar village of Drenje, and, when he was opening it, they shooted him with an automatic weapon and they run away.

The other patrol went immediatelly there when they listened the shooting in two armoured vehicles. When they arrived to Drenje, the legionaries cornered a vehicle which was trying to get out quickly from the village. They searched into the car and the found an AK-47rifle "Kalashnikov"with the barrel still warm. The four people inside were arrested.

(Publised by "La Razón" the 17th of November of 1999)
 
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THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WILL PENALIZE THE PARENTS OF THE CHILDREN THAT MISS SCHOOL
The penalties can reach the amount of 5000£
in the United Kingdom a 15% of the children enrolled in school misses some day without justification. This fact constitutes a ballast for the British educative system. The Minister of Education, David Blunkett, thinks that school absenteeism is responsability of the parents and, in order to solve it, he has adopted the following measures: from Autumm on the parents whose children miss school can be obliged to pay a maximum of 5.000£ of penalty, and, if the situation gets worse and they are appointed by the court with no success, they can even be arrested.
The Minister has stated that the absentee children of today are the delinquents of tomorrow

 
1. ¿Do you consider the measure adopted by the British Government appropriate?
Yes No
2. ¿Do you think that the Government of your country should adopt a similar measure?
Yes No
3. If a similar measure was established in your country, which would be the reaction of the Gipsy community?
In favour AgainstIndifferent
4. ¿Did you know that in some cities there are persons paid by the Administration or the authorities in charge of watching that children attend school?
Yes No
5. ¿How would you evaluate the task of these persons? (Please, answer to this question only if you have a direct or indirect knowledge of the task they develop in a concrete place)
CorrectIncorrectNormal
6. If you know of some Gipsy community, mark the percentage of school attendance in the following table
Almost all the children attend school everyday
Only a 75% of the Gipsy children attend school
Only a 50% of the Gipsy children attend school
Only a 25% of the Gipsy children attend school
Less than a 25% of the Gipsy children attend school
If you want to keep your identity in secret, please fill in the following epigraphs
 City:       Postal Code 

 Country: 
Man Woman 
 Are you a Gipsy Yes No
 
if you want to reveal your identity, fill in the following epigraphs (besides from the previous ones)
  Name: 
  E-mail: 

Address:  Address:   City:   Country: 
 Postal Code: 

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ODHIR Meeting on Roma Youth aof the 21st Century The Social Affairs Council gives a prize to the Andalusian Rromani Woman for the developed work The Major of the Czech city Usti Nad Laben has built a wall of 70 metres to separate the Gipsy community from the rest of citizens NATO's General Secretary Javier Solan Agrees to interwiew with the Roma from Kososvo and the spanish Romani Union
 12.10.1999
12.01.1999
11.10.1999
06.17.1999





The Major of the Czech city of USTI NAD LABEN has built a wall of 70 metres to separate the Gipsy community from the rest of citizens
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY UNION ROMANI (11.10.1999)
The permanent Comission of the Managing Committee of the Unión Romaní, association which I have the honour to preside, applies to you in order to ask you to express our protest for the wall of 70 metres long built by the authorities of your country in the city of USTI (North of Bohemia), in order to separate the Gipsy community from the rest of the population. 

Therefore, we want to make clear the following statements: 

First: To proclaim with all our energy the racist and unsuppotrive attitude of the Major of USTIN, Ladislav Hrusta, who, following the fascist motto of 'calm and order' -achieved through the violation of the most elementary human rights- condemns the Gipsies of the city  to the margination and to the social destruction. 

Second: We, the Spanish Gipsies, know that our brothers in the Czech Republic are the last in enjoying the goods that the society of their country produces. As far as the educative level and the life rate are concerned, the Czech Gipsies are in a lower rank than the non-Gipsy community in general. In the same way, the percentage of unemployment is ten times higher in the Gipsy community. 

Third: The European Gipsy community is extraordinarly alarmed for the savage attacks of radical groups of which many Czech Gipsies are victims. This violent groups, of a marked Nazi trajectory, have both the collusion and the inhibition of the froces of the public order.  In the same way, we certainly know that the Court condemns only very few times those who are cleary guilties of the attacks to Gipsy women and children. The list of assaults to the Czech Gipsies is extraordinarly long and the international community knows about the constant demands of the Gipsy organizations from the Czech Republic and from the surrounding countries. 

Fourth: The Major of USTI NAD LABEN makes a reactionary and demagogic use of the protests of the citizens about "the noise" and the "dirtiness" of their Gipsy neighbours. Mr. Hruska uses unworthiliy the minority of the Members of the Parliament that voted in favour of the construction of the wall when he threatens to present to the High Court the majority and democratic decision of the Czech Parliament to prevent the construction of the wall. 

Fifth: The permanence of that wall constitutes a serious outrage not only against the Gipsies in LABEN but against all European Gipsies. It is for this reason that we are going to appeal to the European Parliament, the European Comission, the European Council and to the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe (OCSE) in order that each one of this institutions, in the field of their respective powers, demand to the authorities of your country the immediate demolition of that wall that so many bad memories brings to the citizens of Eastern Europe. 

The Spanish Unión Romaní wants, nevertheless, to express our gratitude to the Parliament that voted against the decision of the City Council of USTI NAD LABEN, as well as to the President of the Republic, Vaclav Havel, good friend of the Gipsies  and defender of our community at all time. 

Tank you very much, Mr. Ambassador, for dealing with this letter, which, we hope, will reach the First Minister of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman. 

With our best and most respectful regards. 

ANTONIO TORRES 
General Secretary
JUAN DE DIOS RAMÍREZ-HEREDIA 
President

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The Social Affairs Council gives a prize to the andalusian Rromani woman for the developed work
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE UNION ROMANI (06.29.1999) 
The Social Affairs Council of the Andalusian goverment has recognized with the III Gipsy Prize the tasks developed by the Andalusian Gipsy woman in favour of the social integration of the Rroma community. The Rromani woman constitutes the mainstay in the transmission of her community culture and, at the same time, she is the main character in the changing process that the Gipsy community is nowadays undergoing.

Isaías Pérez Saldaña, andalusian consultant of Social Affairs, is going to give this prize the next 22nd of November during a 

ceremony in Huelva. The prize will be recieved by representants of Gipsy women associations.

Nowadays, a 50% of the Spanish Gipsy population lives in Andalusia, and more than a  30% of them live in extrem situation of poverty and complety isolated. To palliete this problems, the Social Affairs Council in 1998 spent more than 820 milions of pesetas to support children escolarization, to train and to insert young Gipsies in society and labour, and to help the Gipsy associative moviment. 

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NATO's General Secretary Javier Solana agrees to interview with the Roma from Kosovo and the Spanish Romani Union
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE UNION ROMANI AND THE GLS (7.3.1999)
The President of the Spanish Romani Union Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia has got from NATO's General Secretary Javier Solana the certanty that the Alliance forces will protect the Roma ethnic minority living in Kosovo from any attack they could receive on the part of the ELK extremists.

    He also acceded to the request of the Spanish Romani organisation to have a meeting with him and with the presence of some Kosovian Roma, who know better than nobody the tragedy they are suffering. 

    The Unión Romaní wants to remind the Spanish and European public opinion that there are more than three 

thousand Kosovian Roma -mainly women, children and old people- living in overcrowded conditions in an abandoned shcool close to Prizen, among misery and death threats from the ELK.

    It is tragic to see that while the ACNUR says that it is a task of the Red Cross to deliver the food and medicines, this organization declares itself powerless to assist the victims because its members need protection to move around the area. The case is that several thousands of helpless Roma die from starvation while the ELK members rape their women and torture their men.

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ODHIR Meeting on Roma Youth of the 21st Century
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE UNION ROMANI (12.01.1999) 
With the title "Towards an European Roma Youth Common Platform" a meeting of Roma Youth of the 21st Century will be celebrated in Kumanovo, Macedonia. The meeting is organized by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the OSCE.

The main aim of this workshop, which will take place from the 11th to the 16th of December, is to join the representatives of the main Gipsy youth associations in order to facilitate the dialogue and the co-operation among the 

existing, autonomous Romani platforms to empower the Roma young movement on an international scale.  Other goals to be achieved during these days are to strengthen the network of Gipsy youth, to disseminate OSCE knowledge and skills on managing crises, particularly  those in the Balkans, in which Roma communities are involved, and to explore possibilities for better advocacy of Roma Youth interests in relation to the main intergovernamental organisations such as the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the European Commission.
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.  RROMA PRESS CENTER .
The Roma Press Center is a nonprofit news agency established in 1995 to provide balanced coverage on Roma issues to the printed mainstream media in Hungary. The first such Roma wire service in Europe, the goal of the RPC in to incrase the public awareness of issues and problems of the Romani community ant to influence public discourse. Romani and non-Romani journalist work together in a network of correspondents throughout the country, providing daily information on Roma issues and communities. Since its inception, the staff of the Roma Press Center has written well over 500 news itesm 60 percent of which has been published in at least one national newspaper, as well as about 60 longer articles. As a primary news source on Roma issues for most Hungarian media outlets, the Press Center feels that it has had significant impact on improving the representation of Roma in The mainstream printed media.

     The Press Center has extended its reach beyond being merely a wire service. It launched the first newsroom diversification project in Central and Eastern Europe last year. Through the Roma Mainstream Media Internship Project, talented young Roma with a secondary education degree have the opportunity to go through a rigorous one-year journalism training program in the classroom and newsrooms of printed and broadcast media. We allied with the Center for Independent Journalism in Budapest in 1997 and have continued to improve the quality and intensity of the program. Interns receive newsroom and classroom training for over 30 hours per week, attend monthly woekshops on political issues to augment their knowledge of Hungarian and European institutions, and regularly visit places of political or historical importance in Hungary.

     Also in association with the Center for Independent Journalism, teh RPC developed a training program for Roma non-government organizations on a media relations. The two-to-three-days seminars begin this April in Budapest and then move to contryside cities throughout the year. As a tandem project, the trainers of the program are training local media outlets on how to cover monority issues. The final session of each seminar is a roundtable discussion with the media professionals and representatives from the Roma NGOs on how to improve working relations. The idea for this project originated after we orchestrated several media compaigns to call attention to cases or practices of discrimination. The Press Center in now working on the organization of a network of correspondents reporting on Roma issues throughout the region.

     The Roma Press Center has received national and international attention for its work. In 1997, it was awarded the Tolerance Award in the Printed Media category from the Foundation for Self-Realizance. Other roma news organizations in the region have expressed interes in establishing a press center modeled after the Roma Press Center in their own countries. Although many projects have been started in the countries of the region to establish half-an-hour weekly programs for Roma, no attempt has been made so far to launch a radio program with such comprehensiveness and professional quality on a daily basis and to create an information bridge between all sectors in the society.

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For more information contact with the central services for the UNION ROMANI that are located in Barcelona in the following address:
      UNION ROMANI
      Apartado de Correos 202
      E-08080 BARCELONA (España)
      Tel.: +34-93-412.77.45 
      Fax: +34-93-412.70.40
 
 
Ing. Milos Lexa
Czech Republic Ambassador in Spain
 

     Dear Sirs,
     I have recived your letter of the 2nd November 1999 and I am pleased to inform you that I have handed it to Czech Authorities.
     The case of the wall in Maticni Street is the result of many unfortunate circumstances. Other examples of relationships with ethnic minorities- such as the one in Cesky Krumlov- show that this is not a tipical situation neither in Czech reality nor in Czech Government actions. So, I am delighted to see you have noticed the reaction of the Czech Parliament as well as the position of the President. I am sure that they will soon come up with a solution and it will confirm its isolated nature.
     However, a fair appropiate solution for this general problem has a more complex dimension and it needs a long-term sistematic effort, based on a wide educational process and on social and cultural programmes. This implies an increasing responsibility, maturity and will for Czech citizens.
     One of the priorities of the Czech Republic Government is to attend the needs of  socially and culturally disadvantaged groups. In the last years, it has implemented measures of social and educational compensation.
     This measures are being carried out through direct help (for example, through the Government's Commission on Gypsy communities issues), but also by giving advice to non-governmental associations, by educational programs, by laboral and professional training, training of Gypsy educators and mediators, and by organising campaigns for the implementation of the interculturalism.
     In this context, I would like to highlight a very important aspect. From the interest you have in the destiny of your friends abroad, I deduce you have an international experience and knowledge of Gypsy communities situation in other countries. The main features of your criticism  are not only focused on Czech reality. It is more general and the situations presented also exist in other countries, therefore, an international solution is needed.
     In this sense, the Czech Republic has been the pioneer in the strenghtening of the Contact Center on Roma and Sinti issues, together with the European Council. This center is having a great success in all European countries. All Czech Embassies around Europe are taking part in this activity, including the Czech Embassy in Madrid.
     To conclude, I fully agree with the unacceptable nature of Racism. I would like to mention that Czech Criminal Code condemns all offences of racist or fascist nature (for the most serious crimes, punishment goes from 12 to 15 years of imprisonment - Article 219 of the Act 140/1961).

Yours faithfully,

MILOS LEXA 


 
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u-romani@pangea.org