Young Roma demand UN representation
During the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka last month a declaration was issued by young Roma demanding representation for the Romani nation at the United Nations. News server Romea.cz publishes the declaration in full:
We demand independent voice in the UN
Apparently, lobbying and third-party representation has not produced tangible results, and has in fact had a detrimental effect on the lives of all communities and groups. The time is ripe - there are highly-educated and devoted young people, capable of advocating for the voiceless. It is time that the unheard and marginalized speak for themselves. As such, Roma must be given the chance to represent themselves.
Why the Roma?
- Roma is a stateless nation, which is not yet represented in the United Nations and deserves to be heard just like any other UN member-state.
- Not giving voice to the Roma is equal to ignoring a massive 12 million community spread all over the European Union alone, amounting to an estimated minimum of 40 million persons worldwide. This act of neglect is neither constructive nor reasonable.
- Roma have been subject to eviction from homes and obscene human rights violations for hundreds of years, including events as recently as 2011 and 2012 in Europe.
- Roma were persecuted and executed along with Jewish people during World War II. However, their right to independent representation is still disputed and outright denied (as it has happened in most sessions of the World Conference on Youth in Sri Lanka 2014).
- The high level of discrimination against the Roma seems to be ignored by the United Nations. We do not think, that it is necessary to undergo a second Holocaust in order to obtain the same level of public awareness about the Roma issue, however, this may well be the case. We are surprised to find that there is a general lack of awareness of the extreme poverty and discrimination Roma live in today.
Introduction of quotas to ensure representation
We call on the UN and national governments to design appropriate laws and policies to introduce mechanisms of meaningful and effective representation of the unheard and marginalized by means of quotas and to actively involve young Roma in policy-making to facilitate their economic and political participation.
Specific budgets dedicated to marginalized youth
We call on national governments to implement effective outreach programs and build accessible, affordable and quality social infrastructure, including health services, education, employment, opportunities, especially in settlements with high concentration of marginalized youth, in order to help young people realize their full freedom of human rights, development and empowerment.
Support us if you think that the unheard and marginalized communities must have their voice heard!
This declaration is in perfect tone with the words spoken by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon himself during an audience with Pope Francis I (Rome, 9th May 2014): "Inequality is growing. Injustice is prevalent. There is too much intolerance among peoples and faiths… Across the UN agenda, I see the need for calm, compassion, cooperation and courage."
You can sign the petition to the UN here.
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