8th of April Celebrations and ROMED

On 8th of April the world celebrates the International Roma Day, and within the ROMED Programme, local authorities, Community Action Groups and the National Support teams are mobilised to make the best of this day.

In Portugal, the Community Action Group (CAG) from Elvas is organising a Multicultural Solidarity Festival, to celebrate the International Roma Day. The event will take place on the 11th of April and it will be organised by Silaba Dinamica NGO (an association created by the CAG in Elvas) under the MUNDAR Project with the financial support of ACM (High Commission for Migration – National Focal Point for the ROMED2 programme in Portugal) as well as of the local authorities in Elvas.  Another related activity in Portugal is planned in Moura, organised by the Community Action Group together with the local authorities. This latter event will take place with the participation of the National Project Officer, Mr Bruno Goncalves and one of the ROMED2 facilitators in Portugal, Ms Olga Mariano. Both these initiatives are organised and co-financed under the framework of the “Escolhas/Choices” Programme.

In the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, three ROMED municipalities – Tetovo, Prilep and Stip – have decided to put up the Roma flag during the 8th of April as a result of the requests of the local Community Action Groups. A larger celebration around the International Roma Day will take place in Tetovo, an event organised by the Community Action Group with the support of local authorities and of the Roma community in Tetovo, and where around 100 persons are expected to participate. Live news and pictures will be posted during the day on our facebook page.

In Germany, our partner organisation Hildegard Lagrenne Stiftung has prepared a series of events starting with the 7th of April and until the 10th of April, the entire programme of the week is available in German here .The ROMED Programme Manager, Mr Marcos Andrade, will participate in the discussions concerning anti-Gypsyism taking place on the 8th of April.

In Bulgaria, the municipality of Shumen, members of CAG Shumen, the Center for Local and Regional Policies, the student organization Roma Versitas Bulgaria and other NGOs and activists celebrate the International Roma Day 8th of April.
In the morning Roma and non-Roma paid tribute and laid wreaths and flowers at the monument of the Unknown Soldier located in the city center. A similar event took place in Varna, where the CAG in cooperation with Municipality authorities honored the memory of fallen Roma soldiers who died for the freedom of Bulgaria in different wars. Wreaths and flowers were laid by members of the local Community Action Group, mediators and the Deputy Mayor of Varna, Dr. Lydia Marinova. The event was attended by representatives of the civil sector, employees from the municipal "Health" and  "Youth Activities" departments as well as by the Deputy Mayor of Asparuhovo district. At national level, our partner organisation - Integro -organised two events with the main aim of combatting hate speech towards Roma. An open letter was drafted and delivered to state leaders by a group of Roma women - an initiative covered broadly by local and national media. The second event consisted in a Round table addressing hate speech spread by media and/or taught in universities. This latter initiative was done in cooperation with the National Council for cooperation on ethnic and integration issues (NCCEII) with the participatin of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of labour and social policy and chair of the NCCEII, Mr Ivaylo Kalfin, as well as of many other institutions responsible for nondiscrimination policies. These initiatives are in line with the main concerns identified by CAGs in Bulgaria during strategy planning sessions, namely hate speech and discrimination.

In Ukraine, authorities from Shevchenkij district in Kiev together with Ms Zemfira Kondur, National Project Officer for ROMED2 in Ukraine and representative of the ROMED2 partner organisation - International Charitable Organization "Roma Women's Fund" "Chirikli", inaugurated the opening of a Roma information, cultural and educational center "Chirikli" on the 8th of April. This is a result of a series of decisions taken at national and local level in the past years, including the approval of the National Roma Strategy up to 2020 by the President of Ukraine in 2013 and the launching of the ROMED2 programme in Ukraine in May 2014. A video interview in ukrainian with Ms Zemfira Kondur can be seen here. An article on the socio-economic situation of Roma is also available here.

Within the Council of Europe, an afternoon of celebrations around the International Roma Day is scheduled in the Palais de l’Europe in Strabourg starting with 1 pm. Secretary General Jagland will be opening the series of events which include the opening of the “Model” exhibition by Roma artist Sead Kazanxhiu, a concert given by young Roma musician, Ms Bianca Alecu, as well as the private screening of an award winning film presenting the living conditions of Roma during slavery years in the Romanian principates.

Opre Roma!

Posted 08/04/2015

Disclaimer - © Council of Europe 2015 - © photo credit