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August 12, 2022



International Romani Union seeks urgent humanitarian aid for Afghanistan's Romani population

2.9.2021 8:47
Zoran Dimov, International Romani Union President (2021)
Zoran Dimov, International Romani Union President (2021)

The International Romani Union (IRU) is concerned for the fate of Afhganistan's Romani population, who are living without any protection at this difficult time and in great fear for their lives and IRU President Zoran Dimov says Roma people must not become victims of the new ruling powers there. The IRU is calling on the United Nations, the US Government, and the European Union to arrange for immediate humanitarian protection for Afghanistan's Romani residents. 

During August, almost all countries with citizens in Afghanistan urgently evacuated them. "The IRU is asking that people continue to be evacuated from the country after the month of August," Dimov said.

"Romani people do not have a state of their own, nor do they have the necessary means to be evacuated from Afghanistan. Moreover, they are not recognized by the Afghan Constitution," the IRU President said. 

"The IRU is therefore asking the UN, the USA and the European Union to review the status of Romani people in Afghanistan, to provide them with protection, and to aid with their evacuation," Dimov said. In his view, the UN should protect those Romani people who are stateless. 

"Many Romani people have perished in various wars - during the Holocaust, during the Second World War, about 1.5 million Romani people lost their lives - and quite often they have been deprived of all their property without ever being compensated as part of wartime reparations and other redress processes," Dimov said. According to international estimates, the Panjshir Valley, north of Kabul, could become the flashpoint of a crisis that could result in Afghanistan sliding into civil war. 

Dimov also recalled that Romani people must be protected in relation to COVID-19. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which coordinates the distribution of vaccines worldwide as part of the World Health Organization's COVAX program, informed the Reuters wire service that since Kabul fell, the number of such vaccines available in Afghanistan has declined by 80 %. 

Half of the vaccine doses previously supplied to Afghanistan will soon expire, Reuters reports. "Romani people in Afghanistan also need medical protection," Dimov says in the conclusion of the IRU statement.

mar, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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