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Book Launch

"Between Past and Future - The Roma Center for Eastern Europe", Will Guy (ed.), 2001

"State of Impunity, Human Rights Abuse of Roma in Romania" - European Roma Rights Center, 2001

"On the Margins, Roma and Public Services in Romania" - Open Society Institute, 2001

OSCE Conference - Side Events

The side events for the OSCE Conference on Roma and Sinti Issues were like a breath of fresh air compared to the serious agenda of the Conference itself, with its many workshops and round tables. Their diversity and dynamism stood out and many participating guests would have liked to attend them but time was too short.

Side Event
Traditional gowns and other cultural offerings

Tuesday, 12 september 2001
Princess Luminita Cioaba, leader of the Roma Social-Cultural Foundation "Ion Cioaba", in Sibiu, presented the OSCE Conference an exhibition of Roma traditional costumes, copper objects and books written in Romani language.

The feminine traditional gowns, full of colour, are made from fabrics which are more than 100 years old. Nowadays similar gowns may be found only in the Punjab, Northern India.

On the same occasion, Luminita Cioaba launched a "Romanian-Romani Conversation Guide", and two volumes of poetry.

Source: Roma News

Some side events were scheduled every hour and others ran right through the Conference, such as the Phoenix Art Exhibit with its many paintings and live painters. Many NGOs such as The European Roma Rights Center and the Ethnocultural Diversity Resource Center insisted on launching their new books at the Conference in order to gain exposure from the 300 delegates from all over Europe.

Writers, such as Professor Will Guy from the University of Hertfordshire, with his book Between Past and Future: the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe, were able to meet with university students and anthropologists who had read his book and wanted to discuss it with him. In that sense, the side events provided a platform for the participants to broaden their contacts and their horizons. They were also open to the media and several stories were published in the Romanian press as a result.

Book Launch:

Between past and the future - The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe

September 11th 2001
Will Guy - Sociology Professor at the Bristol University - launched his book Between past and future - the Roma of Central and Eastern Europe at the Marriott Hotel, in Bucharest, location of the OSCE Roma conference.

As the title suggests, the book is focused on the situation of the Roma in Central and Eastern Europe in this period of transition. It analyses how the Roma became political and economic victims of the communist regime.

The main themes of the book are: the history of the Roma; the experiences that the Roma had in the communist period in all the countries of the region; and the situation of Roma refugees. The book also offers a critical perspective of the NGOs and the field researchers concerned with the Roma situation. Also, the author presents the World Roma Congress held in Prague in July 2000. Nicolae Gheorghe, Thomas Acton, Tracy Koci and others gave their contribution to this book.

Source : Roma News

The Roma - India Task Force Meeting brought together businessmen from New Delhi, coming especially for the event, with local Romani representatives. They talked about the ties between the Roma and their historic homeland India and the means by which they could help establish and strengthen their ties.

Roma India Task Force

Back to the Roots

Tuesday, 12 september 2001
On the 2nd day of the OSCE conference Equal Opportunities for Roma and Sinti- Translating words into facts, the working group "Roma people and India - back to the roots" was opened by Nicolae Gheorghe, ODIHR/ OSCE Adviser on Roma and Sinti, with the proposal that the meeting continues the New Delhi international conference held between 8- 14th of April this year.

In his speech Roma people and India, Nicolae Gheorghe proposed improved relations between the Indian Government and Roma organizations from Europe and Balkans. The OSCE adviser said that the Roma situation is particularly tragic in the Balkan region, considering the wars which took place the former Yugoslavia, and that many Roma people were victims.

Nicolae Gheorghe discussed the linguistic connections and the cultural links binding Roma, Sinti and Indians and encouraged the Indian Government to consider the possibility of offering scholarships to Roma students. In the same time, he asked for political support at an international level for the Indian Executive to recognize Roma and Sinti and to grant them legal rights.

Another issue of the debate was the collaboration between Roma and Indian organizations from all around the world in order to develop common interests programs.

The OSCE adviser on Roma and Sinti closed his speech encouraging Roma solidarity and underlining the importance of involving Roma politicians and intellectuals in integration programs.

Source: Roma News

The effervescence was such that some side events were initiated spontaneously by the participants themselves, such as the Roma in Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements & the Council of Europe meeting. Some events, such as the Roma from Transnistria Meeting were very intense and presented pictures and exclusive material that some participants were seeing for the first time.

The Debriefing on Debates on Roma at the United Nations Conference against Racism and Xenophobia in Durban, South Africa meeting succeeded in sharing information about the Durban conference for those who could not attend it. This event was one of the most successful one in terms of attendance.

Each one of the side events was a success in itself; each was a unique presentation providing a meeting ground for the participants to broaden their horizons and stimulate their creativity in order to find solutions to the challenging issues the Romani people face today.

This comment was written by Katja Lee Eliade, a volunteer who organised the logistics of the Side Events at the OSCE conference. Most of the Side Events were conceived by Nicolae Gheorghe and facilitated by Romani CRISS, to whom a big thanks is due. For any more details, please contact Romani CRISS at criss@dnt.ro or telephone 01 231 4144

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