Recent Romnews postings


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Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 22:27:15 +0300 (EET DST)
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Subject: Recent Romnews postings

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Recent Romnews postings


In context to our petition about the wall in Usti nad Labem
 
_____________________________________________________________________
Office of the President of the Czech Republic
Political Department
 
Dear petitioners,

The President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel has entrusted me to
reply the signed petition you  have sent concerning the situation in
Usti and Labem, specifically the suggestion to erect a wall which
would separate the homes occupied by Romanies from those of other
citizens in the town. President Havel was disturbed with the
suggestion of separating citizens by the means of such a wall. He
cautioned that the problem of the relations of the majority with
Romanies was the most visible, most inflamed factor in a larger
concept, the respect for human rights. At the same time, he has
reminded us that such resolutions are unacceptable in a democratic
society, and he has publicly expressed his rejection of these and of
similar intentions.

The suggestion to build a wall was also immediately publicly rejected
by representatives of virtually every political presence in the
nation. The solution which you suggest would be the resignation of the
members of the local administration, specifically the town council.
This concerns, however, representatives who have been elected directly
by the citizens in communal elections. No political authority in the
state administration has the constitutional right or even the
possibility to recall them, not even the President of the Republic.
The decision lies entirely in the hands of the local citizens,
particularly as the current term for these representatives is coming
to an end and new communal elections will be held in November. We
remain convinced that the voters will prefer a positive change in the
city and that they will choose their new representatives responsibly.

I wish to express appreciation for the trust with which you are
turning to the president. I can assure you that President Havel will
use all the influence he can exert to see to a positive change in
society, in order to bring about a better intercultural coexistence
and mutual tolerance between the citizens of our nation.

Yours,

Dr. Jiri Pehe
Director, Political Department
---------------------------------------

Former forced labourers demand compensation

Germany /Frankfurt-Main 03.09.98

The Central Committee of Sinti and Roma has claimed to compensate the
2.600 holocaust victims for forced labour during the time of the
national socialism. The Committee filed several suits against German
firms. Due to the president of the Central Committee, Romani Rose,
there are still 2.600 Roma and Sinti living in Germany who were
persecuted and deported to concentrations camps during the time of the
national socialsm. More tha 500 of them were forced labourers for
Siemens, VW, and IG Farben, and another 600 had to work in
concentration camps.

On Wednesday, the Central Committee wrote  letters to VW, Siemens,
BMW, and Degussa taking up the demand for compensation. The Sinti and
Roma were planned to work themselvers to death", says Reinhard
Florian, a former forced labourer. He had been sent to Auschwitz when
he was 18 years od and had to work for IG Farben.

In the opinion of the Central Committee also banks and insurance
companiesb who have had profits of the national socialism should
participate in a fund for the forced labourers. A separate fund for
gold that was stolen in the concentration camps is being claimed by
surviving victims of Degussa. At present the Central Committee is
negotiating about subsidiaries for 5.000 - 10.000 surviving Sinti and
Roma who are living in East Europe. Due to the Central Committee,
23000 Sinti and Roma were deported to Auschwitz. 10.000 of them came
from the former Reich"-area. Amonst 20.000 Sinti and Roma were killed
in Auschwitz. As a whole there had been 500.000 holocaust victims in
Europe.
---------------------------------------

Is the "case Renz" becoming a political issue?

Germany/Stuhr-Seckenhausen 15.08.98

Businessman Ernst Renz suspects that the notice of his loans by the
Kreissparkasse Diepholz has a political background. As his wife is a
Sinti, the bank has acted "racial politically" and has driven his firm
to bankruptcy. Now the union of the Sinti has announced to participate
with 1.000 people in his demonstration against the bank on September
3rd and 4th in Diepholz.

Renz had caused a stir when he had driven pigs and rats through the
bank office and had protested with elephants in front of the bank at
the cancellation of this private and business accounts. In June he
founded the "association for bank experiences" in Diepholz, which,
however, is not yet registered. Meanwhile the Kreissparkasse Diepholz
has filed a suit against Renz.
---------------------------------------

No seat for Sinti and Roma in broadcast supervisory committees

Germany/Karlsruhe 16.09.98

The Central Committee of Sinti and Roma has no claim to a seat in the
supervisory committees of „Deutschland-Radio" and the „Hessischer
Rundfunk". Due to the resolution of the Federal Constitutional Court,
the law of equality is not affected by the fact that the Central
Committee of the Jews is considered in the supervisory committee, but
not the Sinti and Roma. The Central Committee of Sinti and Roma that
is resident in Heidelberg, is going to file a suit at the European
Court of Justice for Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The opinion of the court in Karlsruhe is as follows: It is true that
both groups were victims of the national socialistic persecution, but
the regional legislator has granted the seat to the Jews - like to the
catholics and protestants - as a confession. Opposite to this, the
Sinti and Roma are an ethnic minority with ist own language and ist
own cultural identity. The First Chamber of the senat explained that
the legislator is free to include also the Sinti and Roma in the
circle of ethnic and cultural minorities having the right to demand a
seat. But there is no constitutional claim to this.

The court dismissed the action of the Sinti and Roma against other
broadcasting laws as inadmissable, because of failure to meet the
deadline of one year.

The Central Committee called the resolution irresponsible. „It is
extremely cynical to state that the Sinti and Roma were to file a suit
within the period of one year against  broadcasting laws that go back
to the Fifties. 
(File No. 1 BvR 2487/94 - Resolution of August 25, 1998).
---------------------------------------

Bad Prospects for Carmen
Sinti and Roma complain about racism in Spain

Madrid:
"7000 Roma ask for more measures against racism from which they suffer
since 475 years" was a headline in the Spanish newspaper "El Pais".
The report said that the National Convention of the Roma ask for more
social programmes and an own television channel in order to improve
the bad picture that is given by the press about their people.

Due to surveys of the association "SOS racism", more than a third of
the Spanish population would like to throw the Roma out of the
country. Forty per cent of the Spaniards stated that under no
circumstances they would marry a "gitano" (Roma). Nicanor Suarez, the
president of the organization "Union Gitana" says: "In the newspapers
we are always portrayed as beggars, criminals, or even drug dealers.
They never report about our lawyers, professors or textile
manufacturers."

The government of Madrid has not yet replied to the demand. But most
of the Roma are certain that the government  will not support it.
Since 1994 the Roma are having a hard time with the government because
the corrugated-iron huts of 22 families were pulled down and replaced
by new wooden huts next to a rubbish dump. Only a few months ago they
finally reached a settlement. After a representative of the Council of
Europe had described the situation as unbearable for a developed
country like Spain and had promised financial aid, half of the
families were resettled to the southern outskirts of Madrid, about 3
km away from the next district.

>From this resettlement slums like La Celsa or La Rosilla developed.
And due to this many people automatically connect Roma with drug
dealing, criticizes the newspaper  "El Mundo".






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