Dos Lunares investigates and promotes the intersections between Flamenco and Romani/Gypsy culture through printed matter, film nights, and special events.

March 21, 2009

Updates from the European Roma and Travellers Forum

Filed under: General,Romani — Dos Lunares @ 1:41 am

Some updates from the European Roma and Travellers Forum

Violence against Roma in Hungary – ERTF President to visit Hungary to asses situation

Strasbourg, 06.03.2009 – Racist violence, particularly the recent attacks against members of the Roma community in Hungary, and measures that need to be taken against discrimination will be some of the main topics that the European Roma and Travellers Forum, will assess during the four day high-level visit to Hungary starting on 09 March 2009.

Mr. Kawczynski, the President of the Forum and his team will visit villages in which Roma were the target of attacks from paramilitary groups, and will meet with Roma NGOs and Roma leaders. The President will also hold meetings with government representatives, the Parliamentary Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights, and leaders of political parties .

The European Roma and Travellers Forum is deeply concerned at the anti-Roma feelings spreading through the EU countries and fears that the Roma are being forced out of their homelands and to look for security elsewhere.

At the end of his visit, Mr Kawczynski will present the Forum’s preliminary observations at a press conference on Thursday 12, March 09.

The time and venue of the press conference will be announced later

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), which has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe and a special status with this institution, is Europe’s largest and most inclusive Roma organisation. It brings together Europe’s main international Roma-NGOs and more than 1,500 national Roma organisations from most of the Council of Europe’s member states.

For further information please contact:

European Roma and Travellers Forum
c/o Council of Europe
F – 67 075 Strasbourg

Tel.: 00 33 3 90 21 53 50
Email: or


ERTF Press release: Roma victims at the altar of the rule of law

Strasbourg, 16.03.2009 – Following several serious and violent incidents during 2008 the Roma in Hungary feel insecure in their everyday life and fear becoming the next target of attacks This was the assessment made by Mr Rudko Kawczynski, president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum in a press-conference on Thursday, 12 March 2009 in Budapest following a visit to assess the human rights situation of the Roma community in Hungary.

“I came to Hungary in order to better understand what happened in Tatarsezentgyorgy and in other parts of the country and to see what can be done to avoid repetition of such unfortunate developments’ said Mr. Kawczynski at the press conference. Irrespective of the background and history of the tensions, it is unacceptable that Roma become the target of various attacks of para-military groups.

From the way the attacks were committed, and the fact that to this day the perpetrators have not been identified, the Forum believes that these criminal groups are somehow being protected. The rule of law is failing to protect the Roma community.

The ERTF urges the authorities to set up a specialised task-force at the highest level to examine criminal attacks against Roma and proposes that the chief prosecutor should be fully involved in this process.

The ERTF believes that the lack of confidence building measures/programmes is the main reason for an increase of anti-gypsy feelings in Hungarian society. Moreover, hate speech by various public figures and the way the media reported on various problems have facilitated the whole process. Therefore, the Forum urges the government to introduce a draft law on hate speech amending the existing criminal code in order to prevent and sanction offenders.

The Forum is also concerned that Government programmes are not successfully implemented at local level due to a huge communication gap between the two levels. The lack of political will at local level prevents the Roma from benefiting from various governmental programmes.

Mr. Kawczynski said that a detailed report of the visit will be addressed to the Hungarian Government, the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for National and Ethnic Minority Rights, political parties and various bodies within the Council of Europe.


Last news from Belarus:
Police use violence during anti-Gypsy raid

On 5 January officers of Partyzanski district police department of Minsk detained more than 80 representatives of Gypsy minority in the Suburb of Stsiapianka and took fingerprints from them.

All of the detainees were videoed for the police archive. The detainees accuse the police of self-will and lawlessness. One of them said that at 8.30 a.m. the police burst at the house where his family lived. ‘They did not knock on the door. They ran, knocked everybody down and shouted: ‘Lie down, bitches!’ We had to lie on the floor for almost 40 minutes almost nude, as most of us were sleeping when it all started.

Then they started a search without showing any warrant. They did not even tell they were from the police. They asked an elderly woman where she kept her gold. Then they lined us up and led to their bus…’ told one of the victims.

‘All our neighbors watched it… They took us to the police where there were about 70-80 Gypsies already. They told they would take our fingerprints and then would let us go. We returned home only at 4 p.m. They told us: ‘Have you heard about the terroristic action?’ Now they are making terrorists out of us,’ he added.

Some other people were detained outdoors. ‘While I was driving my car out of the yard, three people in masks overlapped the way. They pulled me out, threw me into the snow and started beating. I have a black eye, and they fractured my leg,’ said another detainee.

‘We told the police we would complain against them. They answered that then they would find some drugs at our place next time and would hold such raids every month,’ he said

Kalinin Nicolas

Delegate in European Roma Travelers Forum

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