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The Roma in the 21 st Century Europe: the Case of Czech Republic. Laura Laubeova Unit structure. Terminology Language and histrorical context I dentity and culture . Ethnic group? International Romani movement . European policies and institutions Resources and links

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The Roma in the 21 st Century Europe: the Case of Czech Republic

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The Roma in the 21stCentury Europe: the Case of Czech Republic

Laura Laubeova

Unit structure

  • Terminology

  • Language and histrorical context

  • Identity and culture. Ethnic group?

  • International Romani movement.

  • European policies and institutions

  • Resources and links

  • Case study: Czech Republic

    Historical background



The Roma/

The Romani people/

The Romanies

  • Rom (sg. masc.) (husband; Dom, Domari)

  • Romni (sg.fem.)

    Roma (pl.) or Romanies (pl.)

    The latter accepted by Sinti  a Romani (sg.)


Terminology- cont.

Example: She is a Roma (sic.), Romani, a Romni

Romipen, Rromanipen



Romani (international documents),

Romany (literature)


Gadje, gadjo, gorgio (gaujo, gawjo, gawja Hancock)


The Romani languageor Romanior

Romanes (in a Romani way)

Linguistic evidence of Sanskrit origins:

1760 Valyi Stefan, Univ. of Leiden, NL

Vienna Gazette 1776,

Rudiger 1782, Grellman 1783, Marsden 1785

Northern India– Persia, Caucasus, Byzantine Empire into southern Europe


Half a million of Roma were

executed or killed

in concentration camps

Roma in Europe

7 to 9 million (WB)

12 – 25 million (IRU, ERF)

  • Romania 1 – 2 mil.

  • Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Turkey, and Serbia and Monte Negro 400,000 – 1 mil.

  • Spain 630,000, France 310,000, Germany 70,000, Italy 130,000

Identity, culture, politics


-Reflects attitudes of majority -

  • Withdrawal and separation (protect values and culture)

  • Internalisation of stereotypes

    Culture & values - cleanlines, eating, treatment of animals, funerals, sexual behaviour, extended family, etc

    Romani organisations: Intl.Romani Union; Roma National Congress

    European level ERRC, ERIO, ERTF (vide links bellow)….

Roma as an ethnic group

  • National minority (CEE), ethnic minority group (UK). Community / communities.

  • Heterogeniety.

  • Roma (Rumungro, Vlach, Romanichal, Kalderash, Kale, Kalo, Lovari), Sinti, Travellers, playground and circus people, bargee people, new age travellers etc

  • “Gypsy is not a lifestyle” but race/ ethnic group (Hancock)

  • Minorities autochtonous, immigrant

  • Roma as European minority vs Roma as European nation

    Europe's largest transnational minority;

    Declaration on "non-territorial" nation (2000)

Roma in society

Discrimination, racism, anti-Gypsyism, denial of racism, reversed racism

Majority relations twds the Roma (annihilation/extermination, persecution, segregation; assimilation, integration, accommodation, inclusion)

 Major point of departures for Romani studies:

a) history – migration from India, early persecution in  15- 18 cent., assimilation under Habsburgs and in Portugal; Porrajmos – Romani holocaust (0,5 m)

b) family and values;

c) Romani language, identity and self-determination of Romani nation

Key Romani movements,Politics and Policy Actors

International Romani Union (IRU)

Roma National Congress (RNC)

European Roma and Traveller Forum (CoE)

European Roma Rights Centre (US Law)

World Bank

Decade of Romani Inclusion 2005-2015

World Romani Congresses (IRU)

1971The first World Romani Congress, London:

16-spoked wheel as their international symbol,

flag (green and blue),

anthem (Roma arise),

April 8

1978 IRU in NGO section of UN

1990 April 8 proclaimed as international Romani day

2nd 1979 Geneva (Jan Cibula)

3rd 1981 Gottingen Ge (Rajko Djuric)

4th 1990 Warsaw (Rajko Djuric)

5th 2000 Prague (Emil Scuka)

6th 2004 Lanciano Italy (Stanislav Stankiewicz)


Rom & Sinti Union in Hamburg (80s) -> RNC, Rudko Kawczynski

Grassroot, militant, Romani refugees from Eastern Europe – basic human rights approach

Pan-European Romani Identity


nationalist “Zentralrat “ of German Sinti and Roma (81)


  • 1993 – Recomendation of the Concil of Europe No. 1203, about Gypsies in Europe

  • OSCE – Contact point for Roma and Sinti issues– ODHIR „action plan“

  • 1995– CoE - Group of Experts on Roma/Gypsies „MG-S-ROM“

  • 2004 – European Roma and Travellers Forum

European policies


  • France, Greece, partly Spain


  • Ie.: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Slovinia

  • Also: Austria, partly Germany, Nederlands

The Decade of Roma Inclusion

2005 – 2015

Official launch 2 Feb., 2005

WB, OSI, CEE governments

8 countries:

Czech Republic,

Slovakia, Hungary,

Romania, Bulgaria,

Macedonia, Serbia and

Monte Negro, Croatia

  • Education

  • Housing

  • Employment

  • Health

Core priorities

  • income poverty

  • gender equality

  • discrimination

Roma Women’s Forum (29 June, 2003)

„Romani women presented their own comprehensive policy agenda

to high-level officials from regional governments and international agencies”

from the final report

Roma Women's Forum

  • Education

    Early marriages, cultural obligations, lack of female teachers as role models, segregation, discrimination etc.

  • Economic Empowerment

    Lower life expectancy rates, educational levels, higher rates of fertility, mortality, unemployment, poverty, extensive social exclusion and gender-based discrimination, prostitution;

  • Sexual and Reproductive Rights

    Combat coerced sterilization, sexual taboos, arranged marriages and domestic violence

  • Grassroots Leadership and Political Participation

    Minority women, Romani women’s human rights, political participation, challenges, Romani women’s leadership and solidarity

Romani women movement

  • Started in 1999

  • Roma Women’s Initiative (RWI) - partnership between Romani women activists and OSI Network Women’s Program (NWP).

  • RWI promotes human rights by empowering Roma women activists in CEE

  • special emphasis on the participation and leadership development of young Romani women.


NGO Slovo 21 founded the Roma women’s group Manushe in the year 2000.

European Roma and Travellers Forum

  • Since 1993 - dialogue with CoE

  • 2004 - registration

  • Dec.2006 - 1st meeting, Strasburg

    42 of the Council of Europe’s 46 member states


  • body of community leaders and policy experts elected by Roma and Traveller institutions in all Europe

  • the largest and most inclusive Roma and Traveller’s organisation

  • brings together legitimate voices of Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities

Roma Diplomacy Program

European Roma Information Office (ERIO) and DiploFoundation

25 Roma from Europe

Personal meetings and online program




World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz dined with seven young Roma leaders on February 27 in Prague to get their views on efforts to empower the

Useful links and resources

European Roma Information Office

European Roma and Traveller Forum



European Roma Rights Centre


Roma in the Czech Republic

  • Background

  • Present situation,

  • Issue of Education

    Useful links and resources

  • Romea

  • Czech Radio


Maria Theresa and Joseph II. (1760-1784)

assimilation, sedentarisation (Otoman Empire more relaxed)

1927 Act on Nomadic Gypsies (identity cards)

PORRAIMOS virtually all Cz + Moravian Roma

Ctibor Nečas, Paul Polanski

Concentration Camp Lety


  • Enforced + voluntary relocation to Sudetenlands from Slovak shanty-town settlements (after removal of Germans 1945)

  • 1958 Act on settlement of nomadic persons (repealed in CZ in 97)

  • 1965 policy on transfer (from Sk) + dispersal, displacement

  • 68 federalisation; Association of Gypsies-Roma (73)

  • 1978 Charter 77 Document 23: Information on situation of Gypsies-Roma (warning if economy modernises)

 Petr Axman 2005


  • Roma gained status as a national minority, Romani MPs

  • Bogardus scale of social distance – high hostility

  • Beauty Queen racist utterance, Racist attacks

  • Unemployment; stereotype of self-chosen unemployment

  • Criminality (20% vs. national 3%) – criminalisation

  • Citizenship law 93 (de facto discrimination), put most Roma in position of aliens, 96, 2000; led to 97 exodus

  • Housing ghettoisation (barren flats), educational segregation

 Petr Axman 2005

1997 - present

  • 97 Emigration to Canada, UK → Bratinka report on situation of R. community in CZ

  • 98 UN CERD Concluding observations on CR, "de facto” segregation in edu (article 5 ICERD)

  • April 99 Draft Concept of Romani integration

  • „Conflict-free co-existence of the R. community with the remainder of society“

  • Safety, non-discrimination, improving social sit (employment, housing, health)

 Petr Axman 2005

After 1997 - cont.

2001 UK Immigration officers in Prg Airport

(CHC Statement 29 Aug. 01), House of Lords Dec 2004

2002 "Conception on Romani Integration",

(2004 reformulation/revision)

2003 Denial by pres. Klaus, BBC Hardtalk

2005 NGOism, HR ism

Education and Roma in CZ

Push factors for systemic change

  • 97 Canada visa imposition

  • EU accession, criticism by US Gov., UN, CoE

  • Role of NGOs, e.g. ERRC:

    Ostrava region, 27 times more in Special Schools, 5% population, 50% in special schools

    Cf. Brown vs Topeca Board of Education in USA, 50 yrs ago

  • NewEducation Act 2005

 Petr Axman 2005

 Petr Axman 2005


ð  Romani teacher assistants (introduced in 1998) communication barrier, partnership teaching, small group work, contact with families, etc not systemic, inferior status, no educated R. teachers, if not successful‑ blaming the victim

ðPreparatory classes (since 1994) cf Headstart USA

ð   multicultural/ intercultural edu. programmes -NG0s, community schools


ð     re-standardisation of psychological testing in the age of 6 - doubts about the concepts itself

ð     subtractive versus additive bilingualism, irreversible cognitive damage (abstract thinking concepts - Piaget)

ð     institutional, unwitting, indirect racism+ denial of racism

 Petr Axman 2005

 Petr Axman 2005


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