Romani Studies
22 April 2005
Laura Laubeova
Unit structure
Language, identity and culture
Ethnic group?
Roma and non-Roma. Multidisciplinary approach
International Romani movement
Resources and links
Case study: Czech Republic
– Historical background
– ECRI report 2004
– Education
• Public International Law and HR instruments
Terminology Basics
The Roma/The Romani people/The Romanies (12 m Worldwide)
Rom (sg. masc.) (husband) ; Dom, Domari
Romni (fem.),
Roma (pl.) or
Romani (sg.), Romanies (pl.) accepted by Sinti (Hancock)
She is a Roma (sic.), Romani, a Romni
Romipen, Rromanipen
Gentiles: Gadje, gadjo, gorgio (gaujo, gawjo, gawja Hancock)
Romani (international documents), Romany (literature)
Eg. Roma (sic.) movement, Romani Rights Centre
The Romani language, Romani, Romanes (in a Romani
way, Romanily - Hancock)
Vakares Romanes? Do you speak in the Romani way?
Kiravel Romanes. She is cooking in the Romani way
Sanskrit origins - end of 18 cent.:
1760 Valyi Stefan, University of Leiden, NL
Vienna Gazette 1776,
Rudiger 1782, Grellman 1783, Marsden 1785
Identity, culture, politics
Identity – reflects attitudes of majority - Withdrawal and separation (protect values and culture)
- Internalisation of stereotypes
Romani ethnicity: ‘descent, ancestry, kinship and marriage
patterns, language, social organisation, taboos, political
organisation, employments and economic organisation,
nomadism, codes of morality and…a particular state of mind’
(Mayall 2004: 220)
Culture & values - code of cleanlines, eating, washing up,
treatment of animals, funerals, sexual behaviour …
extended family
Romani organisations: Intl.Romani Union; Roma National
European level ERRC, ERIO, ERF (vide links bellow)….
Roma as an ethnic group
• National minority (CEE), ethnic minority group (UK - RRA).
Community / communities. Heterogeniety.
• Roma (Rumungro, Vlach, Romanichal, Kalderash, Kale,
Kalo, Lovari), Sinti, Travellers, playground and circus
people, bargee people, new age travellers etc
• Gypsy is not a lifestyle but race/ ethnic group (Hancock)
• Minorities autochtonous, immigrant
• Roma as European minority vs Roma as European
Europe's largest transnational minority;
Declaration on "non-territorial" nation (2001)
Romani identities- include international strategies
ethnogenesis- conscious attempt toward achieving for
the Roma the accepted status of a politically organized,
non-territorial (transnational), ethnic-national group
(Gheorghe 1991: 831),
Romani ‘political nationalism’, i.e. the political organization,
representation and participation in political life.
‘culture moves to politics’ (Gheorghe 1991: 842),
common space in which people of different ethnicity cooperate without allowing the differences to become the
predominant issue which would exclude communication.
political homogenization protects cultural heterogeneity vs
the process of ‘politicization of ethnogenesis’ leads to the
abandonment of ethnic identity as a part of Romani agenda.
Roma in society
Discrimination, racism, anti-Gypsyism, denial of racism,
reversed racism
Majority relations twds the Roma
(annihilation/extermination, persecution, segregation.
Assimilation, integration, accommodation, inclusion)
Major point of departures for Romani studies:
a) history – migration from India, early persecution
in 15- 18 cent., assimilation under Habsburgs and in
Portugal; Porrajmos – Romani holocaust (0,5 m)
b) family and values;
c) Romani language, identity and self-determination of
Romani nation
Multi-disciplinary approach
Romani Studies / Romology
Linguistics (Indology)
History (of repression)
Cultural and social antropology / ethnology
Culturology, Musicology
International Relations (UN, EU…)
International law (HR, minority rights law)
Public and social policy
Political economy (WB, UNDP)
Sociology (power issues)
Social psychology (in-group, out-group dynamics)
Psychology (of prejudice, stereotyping) etc.
Key Romani movements: IRU & RNC
1971 First World Romani Congress –> IRU
Intellectual interest (in lingustics, culture), Gypsy Lore Society1888
France CMG Communaute Mondiale Gitane 1959 (Ionel Rotaru),
CIT Comite Intl Tzigane (Vanko Rouda) –> 71 congress
Irish Traveller Community mid 60s
Finish Gypsy Association, Spanish Secretariado Gitano, Slovak
and Czech Assciations for Gypsies/Roma (68 –73) Facuna, Dr.
Gypsy Council in England 1966 Johnny Brazil
National Gypsy Education Council (1970 Lady Plowden) organised
next three IRU congresses
renamed to GCECWCR (for education, welfare and civil rights)
World Romani Congresses (IRU)
The first World Romani Congress, London, 1971:
16-spoked wheel as their international symbol,
flag (green and blue),
anthem (Roma arise),
proclaimed April 8 international Romani day
1979 Geneva (Jan Cibula)
1981 Gottingen Ge (Rajko Djuric)
1990 Warsaw (Rajko Djuric)
2000 Prague (Emil Scuka)
2004 Lanciano Italy (Stanislav Stankiewicz)
Rom & Sinti Union in Hamburg (80s) -> RNC, Rudko
Grassroot, militant, Romani refugees from Eastern
Europe – basic human rights approach
Pan-European Romani Identity
nationalist “Zentralrat “ of German Sinti and Roma (81)
Matras, 1998:49-63, Puxon, 2000:94-113
Useful links and resources
European Roma Rights Centre
European Roma Information Office
European Roma Forum
WB (2003)
UNDP (2003)
Roma in the Czech Republic
Charter 77
Useful links and resources - CZ
Czech Radio
Bratinka Report (1997)
Concept of Roma integration (2002) dtto
Compliance with Principles set forth in the FCNM
according to Article 25, Paragraph 1 of this
Gabal, Ivan (2000)
IOM report on Slovak Roma migration to CZ (Nov.
Maria Theresa and Joseph II. (1760-1784)
assimilation, sedentarisation
1927 Act on Nomadic Gypsies (identity cards)
Nazi holocaust (200 000 –1.5 m. died)
Ctibor Nečas
Paul Polanski
• Enforced + voluntary relocation to Sudetenlands from
Slovak shanty-town settlements (after removal of
Germans 1945)
• Large scale employment (low status jobs), decayed urban
• 1958 policy of integration (USSR model), population
• 1958 Act on settlement of nomadic persons
(repealed in CZ in 97)
• 1965 policy on transfer (from Sk) + dispersal, displacement
• 68 federalisation; Association of Gypsies-Roma (73)
• 1978 Charter 77 document: Information on situation of
Gypsies-Roma (Guy,2001:292 + „prophecy“ p. 293)
Charter 77 Document 23
about the situation of Gypsies-Roma in CS
• Denial of national minority status to R. „was dictated
by the desire of the ruling powers to reduce the size
of the minority problem“
• Criticism of sterilisation, housing + educational
segregation, use of 58 law – branded as „racist
• Challenged the government claim to have integrated
Roma into labour force (perpetuating disadvantaged
• Warning about vulnerability of Romani workers
when economy modernises
ROI (Romani Civic Initiative) a part of OF (Civic Forum)
Roma gained status as a national minority, Romani MPs
Bogardus scale of social distance – high hostility
Beauty Queen racist utterance
Racist attacks (1995 longer sentences, racism in police force)
Unemployment (70 % vs. national 5%- Bratinka 97);
stereotype of self-chosen unemployment
• Criminality (20% vs. national 3%) – criminalisation, abused
by Republicans (Sládek)
• Citizenship law 93 (de facto discrimination), put most
Roma in position of aliens, 96, 2000; led to 97 exodus
• Housing ghettoisation (barren flats), educational segregation
1997 - present
• 97 Emigration to Canada, UK → Bratinka report on
situation of R. community in CZ Resolution # 686
(Romani district advisors, RTA)
• Inter-departmental commission for Romani affairs
• 98 Social Democrats in government
• Framework Convention
• 98 UN CERD Concluding observations on CR, "de
facto” segregation in edu (article 5 ICERD)
• April 99 Draft Concept of Romani integration,
approved in June 2000
• „Conflict-free co-existence of the R. community with
the remainder of society“
• Safety, non-discrimination, improving social sit
(employment, housing, health)
• Equalising measures, no quota
“Exodus” to Canada
1996: 150 Czech Romani claimants
6 Aug. 1997: TV documentary
6 Aug.– 8 Oct. 97: 1500 claimants/ “Invasion” ,
i.e. 6% of all refugee claimants in 97
Re-introduction of visa requirement
Migration to UK and other EU countries
Bratinka report and Concept of Romani
After 1997 - cont.
2001 UK Immigration officers in Prague
(CHC Statement 29 Aug. 01), House of
Lords Dec 2004
2002 "Conception on Romani Integration",
(2004 reformulation/revision)
2003 Denial by pres. Klaus, BBC Hardtalk
Future visions
• Fulfilling the grim Charter 77 prophecy
• EU entry impact
• Double standards cf. Canada vs. UK asylum
claimants success rate
• IRU stabilisation policies
• Prevent mass unemployment + dependency on
social support
• Prejudice, racism, hostility, discrimination, social
situation (edu., empl., housing, health…)
ECRI 3rd Report on the Czech Republic
8 June 2004
Part II Specific Issues:Situation of Roma at the local
`ECRI expresses deep concern at the deplorable
situation of Roma at the local level. Roma
communities continue to suffer from accumulation
of social and economic disadvantage, aggravated by
changing economic conditions, discrimination and a
lack of willingness by local officials and
communities to adopt the necessary measures to
improve the situation.`
ECRI Report on CZ cont.
`ECRI deeply regrets that the majority of local
authorities seem not to be motivated to take
actions to improve the situation of Roma as such
actions are reportedly not popular with local
communities and can be politically costly`
`ECRI expresses its concern over a new trend to
maintain the system of segregated education in a
new form – this involves special classes in
mainstream schools.`
•Will Guy (ed), Between Past and Future: the
Roma of Central and Eastern Europe (2001)
•Zoltan Barany, The East European Gypsies.
Regime Change, Marginality, and Ethnopolitics
•Will Kymlicka, Can Liberal Pluralism be
Exported? (2001), mainly article by Pavel Barsa:
`Ethnocultural Justice in East European States and the
Case of the Czech Roma`, pp. 243-258
Education and Roma in CZ
Push factors for systemic change:
• 97 Canada visa imposition
• EU accession
• Obsolete education legislation
Bratinka Report on situation of Romani Community, October 97
(out of 44 tasks 11 were for Ministry of Education) –
Over two thirds of Roma children are in special schools (ss);
75% of children in ss are Roma
Concept of Romani integration (7 April 99), adopted in 2000,
reformulated "Conception on Romani Integration" adopted on 23
January 2002 - no quota but equalising measures
New Education Act (White Book) entered in force in Jan 2005
Now its impact being researched by the League of HR +ERRC,
see Romano Hangos Vol.7, No 4, 10 March05, page 1-2
Criticism by UN, EC, US government reports,
international NG0, etc
• UN CERD (Committee on Elimination of Racial
Discrimination) Concluding observations on CR, 1998, "de
facto” segregation (article 5 ICERD not fully
• UN CERD 2000 Report on CR
• UN CRC (Rights of Children)
• UN HRC (Human Rights Committee) Concluding
observations, July 01, "to eradicate segregation of in
its edu...„
• EC Opinion and Progress Reports on CR
Role of NGOs
Ostrava region, 27 times more in Special Schools, 5%
population, 50% in special schools
Save the Children Fund:
Denied a Future?, 2001
 230 - 250 Romani teacher assistants (introduced
in 1998) communication barrier, partnership
teaching, small group work, contact with
families, etc not systemic, inferior status, no
educated R. teachers, if not successful- blaming
the victim
 over 130 preparatory classes (since 1994)
 multicultural/ intercultural edu. programmes NG0s, community schools
 New School, ops
 re-standardisation of psychological
testing in the age of 6 - doubts about the
concepts itself
 subtractive versus additive bilingualism,
irreversible cognitive damage (abstract
thinking concepts - Piaget)
 institutional, unwitting, indirect racism+
denial of racism
D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic
• first challenge to systematic racial
segregation in education in Europe
• brought by 18 Roma children from Ostrava;
placed in “special” remedial special schools
• complaint filed in 2000 by ERRC - intensive
qualitative and quantitative research that
revealed racial disparities :
D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic
ERRC research results
• Over half of the Romani child population is schooled
in ss;
• Over half of the population of ss is Romani;
• Any randomly chosen Romani child is more than 27
times more likely to be placed in ss for the mentally
disabled than a similarly situated non-Romani child.
• Even where Romani children manage to avoid the
trap of placement in special schooling, they are most
often schooled in substandard and predominantly
Romani urban ghetto schools.
D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic –
ERRC research results cont.
standardized testing – used for placement in ss.
The expert "test" seen as a stamped seal on the
decisions of school directors who will not accept
Romani children into mainstream schools.
second class citizenship.
markedly inferior education
vocational secondary schools limited to training in basic
manual skills
unemployment rates
D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic
`Current educational arrangements in the Czech
Republic also fail entirely to prepare ethnic Czech
children for life in multi-cultural societies. In
Ostrava, the Czech Republic's third city, despite
the fact that Roma comprise approximately 10%
of the local population, more than 15,000 Czech
children of primary school age attend school every
day without meeting a single Romani classmate.`
D.H. and Others v. Czech Republic
The 18 applicants claim that they were
`subjected to degrading treatment in
breach of Article 3 of the Convention,
and to denial of their rights to – and
racial discrimination in access to –
education, in breach of Article 14 taken
together with Article 2 of Protocol 1`.
• EU
• CoE
• OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities
Lund, Oslo, and Hague recommendations
• OSCE ODIHR Roma/ Sinti Contact point
• WB (Decade of Roma inclusion 2005-2015)
• UN
• NGOs (OSI, ERRC, MRG ..)
• Romani organisations
• National governments, etc…
• Amsterdam Treaty (Article 13)
• two Directives (2000/43/EC, 2000/78/EC)
• European constitution (Treaty establishing a
Constitution for Europe) incl.
Charter of Fundamental Rights (Part II)
• CoE ECHR (constitutes general principles of the Union's law,
• ECHR Protocol 12 (that relates to Article 14)
• European Court for HR (Strassbourg)
• EUMC (on Racism and Xenophobia)
European constitution
ARTICLE I-2: The Union's values
„The Union is founded on the values of respect for
human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule
of law and respect for human rights, including the
rights of persons belonging to minorities.“
„These values are common to the Member States in a
society in which pluralism, non-discrimination,
tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between
women and men prevail“.
The Union's objectives
„It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and
shall promote social justice and protection, …
Charter of Fundamental Rights
Non-discrimination (ARTICLE II-81)
„ Any discrimination based on any ground
such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social
origin, genetic features, language, religion
or belief, political or any other opinion,
membership of a national minority,
property, birth, disability, age or sexual
orientation shall be prohibited.“
Discrimination – definition
Indirect discrimination shall be taken to
occur where an apparently neutral
provision, criterion or practice would
put persons of a racial or ethnic origin at
a particular disadvantage compared
with other persons, unless that
provision, criterion or practice is
objectively justified by a legitimate aim
and the means of achieving.
Role of NGOs in drafting the
• Policy actors: governments & public admin.,
private sector, intl. organisations, NGOs
• Role of NGOs
• Starting Line Group : ERRC, Interrights,
MPG –Cf directives 2000/43/EC and
Council of Europe
ECRI European Commission against Racisms and Intolerance
Specialist Group on Roma and Gypsies
European Commission for Democracy through law
The Parliamentary Assembly
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities,
Programmes to build inter community confidence in
Council of Europe monitoring department
CoE Commissioner for Human Rights
Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention
Improving housing conditions of Roma
and Travellers in Europe
• Recommendation Rec(2005)4 of the Committee
of Ministers to member states on improving the
housing conditions of Roma and Travellers in
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 23
February 2005 at the 916th meeting of the
Ministers' Deputies)
Council of Europe cont.
• European Charter for Regional or Minority languages
• European Framework Convention for Protection of
National Minorities (FCNM)
FCNM implementation- Eg. Office of the Government of the
Czech Republic: Information about Compliance with
Principles set forth in the Framework Convention for the
Protection of National Minorities according to Article 25,
Paragraph 1 of this Convention,
What commitments do State Parties undertake
when they ratify the FCNM?
Choice of identity
Promotion of effective equality;
Promotion of conditions favouring the preservation
and development of culture, religion, language and
 Freedom of assembly, association, expression,
thought, conscience and religion;
 Access to and use of media;
Linguistic freedoms:
- use of the minority language in private and in public as
well as its use before administrative authorities;
- use of one’s own name in the minority language;
- Display of information of a private nature in the minority
- Topographical names in the minority language;
- Learning and instruction in the minority language;
- Freedom to set up educational institutions;
Transborder contacts;
International and transborder co-operation;
Participation in economic, cultural and social life;
Participation in public life;
Prohibition of forced assimilation;
FCNM cont.
FC emphasises State Responsibilities rather than being a broad
expression of rights.
What is National Minority? No definition. Selected in good faith.
The existence of a minority is a matter of fact not a matter of legislation
by a State ( UN HR committee)
Monitoring of State compliance with the Convention: Advisory
committee (AC) + Committee of Ministers (CM),
State reports (every 5yrs or upon request of CM, if needed AC sends
States written questionnaires),
AC Country visits, alternative reports from NGOs
AC adopts an opinion,upon which the State can comment
CM adopts a resolution with conclusions and recommendation to the
State on the implementation of the FC.
Resolution incl Comments and opinion available on CoE web site
UN conventions and committees
Declaration of HR
Geneva Convention 51
UN Commissioner for Human Rights
Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
Article 1
„ all human beings are born free and equal in dignity
and rights. They are endowed with reason and
conscience and should act towards one another in a
spirit of brotherhood ( and sisterhood)“
Europe´s challenge is to work twds realisation of this right.
How to help transform established law ( national or intl.) from
pieces of paper to popular practice ?
Who are the key policy making and policy implementing actors?
NGO projects
Roma Rights and Access to
Justice in Europe
Overview Report and First Year Report
6th World Romani Congress pledges
fight against racism
Lanciano, 10. 10. 2004, 13:07
(Ustiben, by Grattan Puxon)
What next?
Decade of Romani Inclusion in CZpessimism
WB +UNDP Reports: chapters on CZ
Revision of the Conception of Romani
Integration in CZ 2004
Public policy vs public opinion:
International Romani Day 8th April, Intl
Day against Racisms 21 March

Introduction to Romani Studies