ERRC publishes Roma Rights issue honoring the late Nicolae Gheorghe
The current issue of Roma Rights, the journal of the European Roma Rights Centre, is dedicated to the life and work of the late Nicolae Gheorghe. Guest editor Nicoleta Bitu compiled the issue.
Gheorge was a driving force in the European Roma movement. He founded Romani CRISS, a significant Romani NGO in Romania, and was the first-ever head of the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues in the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights at the OSCE. His career included activism, defending human rights, diplomacy and intellectual endeavor.
Contributors to the issue include Thomas Hammarberg, former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights; United States Senator for Maryland Benjamin L. Cardin; founder of the Roma Research Centre at the University of Sorbonne Jean-Pierre Liégeois; and Thomas Acton, Emeritus Professor of Romani Studies at the University of Greenwich. It also includes several interviews with Gheorghe.
Miranda Vuolasranta, a Romani activist from Finland, wrote to Roma Virtual Network to say the issue's recognition of Gheorghe's work as a Romani advocate is a sign of progress for the movement. She praised the role played by Romani CRISS in introducing the Finnish Romani mediator system to Romania, where it is still used today.
Vuolasranta also suggested that one way to memorialize Gheorghe would be to pay Romani mediators in Romania fair salaries and to formalize their work in the education and training system. She said that in Finland, mediators now are able to earn a Cultural Instructors Degree, which is a professional, recognized part of the education system there.
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