Alliance against Antigypsyism: Antigypsyism is a major obstacle to equal citizenship for Romani people
On 5 July the Alliance against Antigypsyism published its "Reference Paper on Antigypsyism", which is a specific form of racism against Roma, Sinti, Travellers and other groups stigmatized as "gypsies" in the public arena. The paper, among other things, proposes a working definition of the concept.
"This was a necessary step: The term antigypsyism is increasingly used, but there is no common understanding of its scope, depth and implications," says Gabriela Hrabaňová of the European Roma Grassroots Organizations Network, which initiated the creation of the Alliance against Antigypsyism.
The NGO coalition against antigypsyism was created on the occasion of the publication of its first Reference Paper. The coalition supports equal rights for Romani people and advocates for better understanding of the essence of the phenomenon called "antigypsyism".
The Alliance currently includes more than 70 organizations from all over Europe and more are gradually joining. The current list of members along with the Reference Paper itself can be found at www.antigypsyism.eu.
The Reference Paper primarily offers a debate about the characteristics and consequences of antigypsyism. The paper strives to raise awareness of those characteristics and of the scope of antigypsyism among a broader circle of persons empowered to make decisions politically, and its aim is to aid in formulating effective responses to this phenomenon.
In response to the publication of the document, Rita Izsák-Ndiaye, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, called the paper "A compelling contribution to the debate; international organizations, including the UN and the European Union will have to take note of this call to shift their perspective on Roma inclusion." Cipiran Necula, State Secretary at the Ministry of EU Funds and Contact Point for Roma for the Government of Romania, said European racism toward Romani people relies mainly on ignorance.
"We need to practice our citizenship in our countries and work for equity and solidarity," Necula said. "The reference paper convincingly defines antigypsyism as a major obstacle for equal citizenship."
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