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Race, Racism and the Law 
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Roma Nation and Travelers

NGO Forum, World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban, South Africa, August 27-Sept 1, 2001

This page is part of much larger document. Please be sure to read the Overview, the Declaration-Guiding Principles, Programme of Action-Guiding Principles, and Programme of Action - Legal Measures which provide the context for understanding this page. Click here to Download Word Document.




175. Anti-Tziganisms is a specific form of racism and racial discrimination against Roma , manifested by stigmatization, flagrant violations of their fundamental human rights, denied access to public services, education, employment, denied participation to decision-making processes at local and central administration levels, persecution, abuse, violence, forced deportation, ethnic cleansing, extermination and ethnocide.

176. Drawing lessons from history, we declare as crimes against humanity the slavery of Roma, the ethnocide / forced assimilation and genocide against Roma and the extermination of Roma during the Holocaust.

177. Acknowledging the transnational character of the Roma identity and its common roots from India, we strongly support the right of Roma to be recognized by the UN, by the regional inter-governmental bodies and organizations, by States and by the whole world, as a non-territorial nation.

178. Deploring the public educational policies that deny the development of the esteem of children and youth of Roma, we strongly condemn monocultural autarchic and inflexible educational systems which ignore or stigmatize the Roma cultural identity.

179. We deplore the lack of equal access to employment and social services, including justice, citizenship, housing, schooling, health care and public information for Roma and particularly Roma women, strongly condemn those legislative provisions and public policies that encourage such practices or avoid measures to combat them and consider this fact as being institutionalized racism.

Programme of Action

435. We urge the United Nations to elaborate and propose for adoption to its members states legally binding instruments on the Roma rights, such as an International Charter on Roma Rights, in order to protect and guarantee the collective rights of the Roma people.

436. We urge the United Nations to provide adequate Roma representation in relevant internaoitnal and intergovernmental organizations by receiving seats in the United Nations as elected representatives of the Roma, on equal footing with the other nations of the world.

437. We recommend the United Nations and other regional bodies to provide for adequate Roma representation in relevant international, regional and intergovernmental organizations by receiving seats in the United Nations as elected representatives of the Roma.

438. We call upon governments to review, adopt, strengthen and enforce national legislation prohibiting racial discrimination against Roma as well as to adopt and implement affirmative action policies for Roma in employment, education, housing, social security and healthcare services, in order to protect the members of these communities and to prevent and punish such practices. Furthermore, appropriate monitoring bodies, with a local network, need to be established to ensure that governments fullfil their human rights obligations.

439. We recommend States to include the issue of combating racial discrimination against Roma as one of the major topics in bilateral and multilateral treaties.

440. We urge the United Nations, Council of Europe, and the Organisation of American States to establish under thier jurisdiction, a Permanent Roma Forum, as a body of elected representatives, which shall monitor and report on the Roma situation in the world and on the implementation of international standards addressing the Roma issue.

441. We welcome the CERD General Recommendation XXVII „Discrimination on Roma" and urge governments to implement these recommenations.

442. We urge governments to ensure the institutional development and full participation to central and local administration, to ensure the right to free movement of the Roma, to support the preservation and development of the Roma cultural identity, and to provide adequate camping places with all necesary facilities for those Roma who preserve the nomadic life-style.

443. We urge Governments to take concrete measures and support the full development of the Roma children and youth positive self-esteem, the deconstruction of their internalized stigma and the Roma identity awareness, by establishing identity assertive education institutions and by promoting the Roma history, Romani as teaching language and ethnic assertion education programs in the mainstream school.

444. We call upon States to provide the Roma children with equal access to quality education by the desegregation of the schooling system, by enabling Roma parents to take part to school processes and decision; by training and employing Roma teachers and school mediators; and by the development of a more sensitive, inclusive and flexible education systems and school curricula, including non-formal education and distance education, internet classes in places for encampment.

445. We urge governments to fully support the intercultural education, including the provision of adequate funding, for the inclusion of the Roma history in text books and school curricula.

446. We strongly urge governments to draw lessons from history, to acknowledge and publicly condemn the Roma slavery and the German Holocaust against Roma during the Second World War, and we also call upon States which are responsible of these crimes against humanity to fully assume their responsibility, to provide public appology and prompt, adequate and fair reparation and compensation to Roma communities and individuals who were victims of such policies and practices.

447. We urge the United Nations to use its influence to immediately stop the Germany policy of Roma deportation to Former Yugoslavia, a region of ethnic cleansing and war.

448. We urge States and inter-governamental bodies to immediately call upon the involved forces to stop the genocide and the ethnic cleansing against Roma in countries where it takes place. Beginning in 1999, Roma were ethnically cleanesed from Kosovo by ethnic Albanians. Kosovo is the worst catastrophy for Roma since the Holocaust.


States and Governments should pay particular attention to and adopt immediate and concrete measures to eradicate the widespread discrimination and persecution targeting Travellers including through the establishment of structures and processes, in partnership between the public authorities and representatives of the Traveller Communities.

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