Roma from Romania want recognition from India as a minority in the diaspora

Roma from Romania want recognition from India as a minority in the diaspora
Roma from Romania want recognition from India as a minority in the diaspora

Dorin Cioabă, the self-proclaimed international “king” of the Roma, is running for a new mandate at the executive head of the International Roma Union (IUR) and wants the Indian government to officially recognize the Roma minority in our country.

He says he wants a closer relationship with the European Union and says he plans to ask the union to spend money dedicated to the Roma minority more effectively. At the same time, Ciobă states that he will resume the request to the leadership of India, to recognize the Roma minority, as belonging to the Indian people, so that “they have someone to represent us at the international level”, writes

The “king” of the Roma says that during the years of the pandemic “we could do almost nothing, that it affected us a lot, as it affected everyone”. He says that on Friday, September 23, the elections for the position of president of the UIR will take place in Sibiu, in his candidacy program one of the projects is to obtain a “solid partnership with the EU”.

“The EU is looking for a serious partner to roll out a very large fund of money that is allocated to the Roma minority. But because the Roma associations have not presented a strategy so far, they have all been left aside. Now we have also prepared a new logo that we want to promote, in which we have also introduced the colors of the EU: that is, we somehow want to get closer to the EU and obtain this partnership”.

Between September 23-25, the International Festival of Roma Culture will take place in the center of Sibiu, an event that has reached its 8th edition and is financed by the Cultural Agenda of Sibiu. On this occasion, the Roma crafts fair will also be organized in the Small Square in Sibiu.

“The biggest part that I have been able to achieve so far is the cultural part. I took care of this, the promotion of traditions and customs, because in the 21st century, the century of speed, no one stays to see traditions and customs anymore, and then I said that we are losing our identity. During this festival, we also invited international leaders for a symposium on our culture and identity in the European space, but also for elections within the international Roma organization. That is why it is a double event – both cultural and political, which is happening in these 3 days in Sibiu. Practically, Sibiu will be the capital of the Roma around the world. It is like an important summit for the Roma community and for our projects for the future”, Cioabă told us.

Ciobă believes that what will be debated in Sibiu and what will be adopted at the level of international delegations “will have an impact on the future of the Roma and our coming generations”.

“First of all, we want to keep our identity. That’s why, for 3 days, the Sibiu Square will be transformed into a real tent (…) That’s why the European context is very important for us. It is known that most Roma have left for the community space and they face many difficulties there. In the sense that in these improvised camps, let’s say that they were allowed by the EU states, children were born, but they are not registered, they have no documents, they are not recognized by the respective states, nor in the country. And now the children have reached a certain age and they cannot go to school, they have no identity. We want to solve these problems in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the embassies of the respective countries. I actually went to Spain and they told me that they can’t come home because they don’t have documents. No one asks them for documents there, but they can neither get social assistance nor send their children to school. And then at least that much the Romanian state could do, to give them an identity. It is very important that Roma send their children to school. And we welcome Germany’s decision that obliged the Roma, that if they let them go to school, it creates living conditions for them: it even conditioned their social assistance. After some years, now some Roma elites have started to appear in Germany. That’s how it should be in Romania, somehow forcing people to send their children to school, but also helping them with supplies and other aids (…)”.

According to Cioabă, he would have obtained for the Roma the right to request compensation from the German government following the effects of the Holocaust. Many have filed and are due to receive pensions for having been deported to the Nazi camps. Some of them have received, others are in the process of being resolved. There are also Roma from Sibiu who also received the money. They were given a retroactive pension, they received around 7,000-8,000 euros, after that, as long as they lived, because we are talking about elderly people, they got 150 euros a month. There were around ten people in Sibiu – basically, we are talking about the children of those who were deported”.

“We will send an ultimatum to India: to recognize us”

“We will send an ultimatum to the government of India, to recognize us as a nation living in the diaspora, and if they do not do this, as they have promised for decades, we will go to an international tribunal, because we want to have recognition official: that we are part of the Indian people. We don’t want to go to India, we don’t want to put pressure on the Government of India to help us, but we want to have recognition, to stop being nobody’s people: the Romanians tell us that we are not theirs, the English – that we are not theirs their. When we’re good, everyone says we’re theirs, when we’re bad, everyone chases us away. It would be normal to be treated as a minority living in diaspora with Indian nationality. It would also help us at the United Nations, because then the Indian government could also speak on our behalf. If they don’t want to do it normally, we will go to court”, said Dorin Cioabă.

6 years ago, India’s foreign minister declared that the Roma were “India’s children” and that about 20 million Roma needed to be documented.

“He told us then that he was going to recognize us, but nothing concrete is being done, I don’t know why it’s being postponed,” emphasizes Ciobă.

According to the organization headed by Dorin Cioabă, UIR would have approximately 6 million members internationally. “There are around 900,000 members in Romania. Sibiu is not the county with many members – somewhere in the 5th-6th place in the country. There are around 20,000 members in the county. Regarding the number of Roma in Romania, we do not know what happened in the last census. But many are no longer in Romania, they are gone everywhere. There are whole villages where practically only the old people are left. So, we would no longer be able to say that there are now 3 million Roma in Romania, when there were in the 90 census. I don’t think there are even half. Because of fear and dread they no longer declared themselves. Now we don’t know if there will be 100,000 with how badly this census went. You realize that if they came to me on the last day, then to the others in the community. In any case, we announced that these data will be very weak and not representative”, explains Ciobă.

The article is in Romanian

Tags: Roma Romania recognition India minority diaspora

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