MINELRES: ERRC Welcomes Creation of Romani NGO Network in CIS and the Baltics

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Sat Feb 8 10:38:40 2003

Original sender: European Roma Rights Center <errc@errc.org>

ERRC Welcomes the Creation of a Unified Romani NGO Network in the
Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic States and Urges a
Rights Agenda

February 3, 2003

The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) welcomes the creation of a
unified network of Romani non-governmental groups of the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) and the Baltic states. The decision to create
an association coordinating the work of Romani non-governmental groups
in this vast geographic region was taken at the Congress of the Roma
Communities of the CIS and the Baltic countries in Smolensk, Russian
Federation, January 31-February 2, 2003. The ERRC believes that the
creation of the Association of Roma Communities of the Baltic Countries
and the CIS (ARBCIS) is the first significant step towards a strong Roma
rights movement in the CIS and the Baltic states.

Anti-Romani sentiment in the CIS and the Baltic states provides rich
soil for serious violations of the fundamental rights of Roma. Due to
intense anti-Romani sentiment, since the collapse of communism in the
former Soviet Union, Roma have increasingly become targets of racially
motivated violence, in the form of police abuse, attacks by
nationalist-extremist groups, or community violence, as well as of
discrimination in accessing basic rights and freedoms, including access
to justice, housing, education, and public goods and services.
Protection provided to Roma by authorities against human rights
violations is often inadequate or unavailable, and governments
throughout the CIS and the Baltic states have failed to act to reduce
widespread discrimination and anti-Romani sentiment. Officials in these
countries have tacitly and in some cases even explicitly appealed to
racist sentiments to garner support, arguably contributing to the
creation of a public culture in which abuses of the fundamental rights
of Roma are tolerated.

The ERRC believes that the newly born ARBCIS can be a key player in the
Roma rights movement in the CIS and the Baltic states, and therefore
welcomes its establishment. The ERRC encourages ARBCIS to place human
rights issues at the top of its agenda.

More information on the creation of ARBCIS can be found at:
More information about the ERRC can be found at http://www.errc.org.


The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93

Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201



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