Tag Archives: Romas

Can Romas Be Integrated Within Hungary?

During the past sixty years, many European nations have confronted issues of ethnicity and national hatred in working toward a European Union based on respect for human rights. However, the issue of where do Roma citizens belong in countries like Hungary has produced considerable talk, but scant action at government levels. Zoltan Balog of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee, recently told a business group it was time “to find a language to speak clearly about the problem” without offending Romas. He noted the political rise of the nationalist Jobbik party which fosters fear and hate of Romas as a symptom of what must be addressed if this issue can result in equal citizenship for all who are members of the Hungarian community.

Recent surveys of Hungarians reveal over 60% of the population believes criminality is “in the blood of Romas.” In the view of Balog any solution begins with providing meaningful work for Romas so they can earn a decent living and cease requiring government assistance. A sensible solution.

Hotel Discriminates At Discrimination Seminar

She was invited as a member of the Swedish Roma community to appear at a Discrimination Seminar being held at a hotel. The woman was repeatedly halted by members of the hotel staff and asked what the heck she was doing in their hotel. They even prevented her form having a cup of coffee since it was reserved for hotel guests, not some Roma who had wandered in without an invitation. A Swedish court held “it is almost impossible to imagine that hotel staff in practice approach every single guest they do not immediately recognize.” It awarded the Roma woman compensation for the insulting experience.

On the other hand, it is only logical for a hotel to discriminate if someone is holding a seminar on discrimination within its facilities. By discriminating the hotel proves there is validity in holding such seminars. How else will those at the seminar get first hand knowledge they are learning about discrimination?

P.S. The hotel had no comment about the incident.

Romas Face Hatred In Finland

Historically, Romas and Jews have confronted hatred in Europe on grounds they are “different” or they “look different.” A recent influx of Romas into Finland has unleashed a backlash among conservatives and nationalists who do not “those people” living in “their country.” Amnesty International complained to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen concerning lack of action to prevent the ongoing campaign against European Union citizens. “The lack of action on the part of the EU is shocking” and he demanded programs be instituted that enable Romas to obtain meaningful work. A Finnish member of Parliament, MP Hakola is introducing legislation that would make begging a crime. In other words, if one is poor, the best way to deal with poverty is to place the person in jail.

I was raised during the Depression when millions were reduced to begging due to poverty. The best response to poverty is always -WORK!

Czech Republic Discriminates Against Romas

A recent report by Amnesty International(AI) indicates Romas are subject to discrimination on the part of police and there is need to retrain those who supposedly protect human rights. AI says prejudice is most apparent in housing, health care, employment and education. Roma complaints that their children were more prone to be sent to special schools where they never attained a solid academic education and thus were prevented from pursuing higher education was validated by the European Court of Human Rights. The Czech Republic is the only European Union nation which lacks an anti-discrimination law.

There is a massive record of Czech police violating human rights, particularly those who are from minority groups or lack money and social standing. Perhaps, the first step in dealing with issues impacting Romas is to re-educate those in authority so they adhere to EU laws regarding human rights.

Positive Move For Roma Rights In Czech Republic

The situation for Romas in eastern Europe is more often than not marked by prejudice and denial of basic rights such as a decent education for their children. Ten Czech towns have joined a program sponsored by the Agency for Social Inclusion that seeks to integrate Roma residents into the general community. Town government can spend money on developing a social services infrastructure or create clubhouses for children and centers dealing with housing. Money has also been set aside for Romas to work on government projects.

Reality is best described in the Czech Republic by the percent of Roma children who complete elementary school –50%. No education translates into lacking skills for modern jobs.

If You Are Roma, Don’t Sleep Near Us!

The Romas in Finland are there due to an inability in their native lands elsewhere in Europe to find opportunities for work and a decent life for their families. An illegal Roma camp was set up by a group of beggars in Helsinki, but it was broken up and the people dispersed on order of the City of Helsinki. Another camp nearby was also dismantled by authorities. The Romas who come mainly from Romania, picked up their meager belongings as city workers tore down their plywood structures. Of course, city authorities had absolutely no idea where the Romas could go for shelter, but, apparently, that was not their main concern. After all, allowing people to beg on the streets of Helsinki sends a wrong message to tourists.

A Roma woman, Virginia Moldova, said “I;ll just put a mattress down on the ground and sleep there. Maybe we’ll be able to find some kind hearted soul who will help us.” Mayor Jussi Pajunen said Romas were EU citizens and were to be treated like any other tourist, and while in Finland Romas must obey the nation’s laws.

Fella, they are not tourists. They are people seeking work, education for their children, and a place to lay their head on. How about finding job opportunities so they can earn money and secure lodging?

Romas Flock To Canada To Escape Hungary Prejudice

Romas have endured constant prejudice and hatred in Hungary which has led to a desire on the part of many to seek new places where they can be accorded respect as humans. A Canadian immigration official noted his nation has been witnessing a dramatic surge in refugee claims from Hungary, and many of these immigrants are of Roma background. The number of Hungarians applying for entry into Canada has risen from 172 the initial three months of the year to 750 during the next quarter.

Finnish immigration authorities report a surge in application from Romas to their nation. :When an EU citizen seeks asylum in any member state, it is considered a safe country of origin,” noted immigration sources. Until Hungary addresses issues of discrimination against Romas hundreds, if not thousands, will be leaving for new destinations.

Silence Of The Vatican!

The record of the Catholic Church in World War II was rather mixed with examples of great heroism on the part of some priests and indifference on the part of many others. The behavior of Pope Pius XIi during the Holocaust remains a source of dispute, but most evidence suggests he could have done more than he did. Czech Roma groups are shocked at the indifference of Pope Benedict XII to the rampant prejudice against them in the Czech Republic. Roma spokesman, Vaclav Miko of the Roma Realia, commented: “we are witness of a historical moment when Rommanies are being betrayed by the Vatican in the form of silence and no statements, although the head of the Catholic Church is now on a visit to the Czech Republic.”

The movement has attempted to meet with the Pope in order to discuss issues of bigotry and oppression, but they have yet to achieve that form of dialogue. Once more the silence of the Catholic Church damages the lives of innocent people.

Roma Helpers Can Be Unhelpful!

The Finnish Ministry of the Interior has helped create the job of “Roma liaisons” whose task is ostensibly to assist Roma immigrants in the nation to secure housing and jobs. However, the Finnish Minority Ombudsman, Johanna Suurpaa, believes there is evidence the liaisons quite frequently interfere with efforts by Romas to live in certain communities. For example, in the Roma culture, two people whose families are at odds, might be prevented from obtaining housing in an area in which his “enemies” currently live. A Roma who is moving to another location must consult with a liaison.

Undoubtedly, Roma immigrants to Finland are in a strange country and do need assistance. The issue, most probably, is how to provide assistance that empowers people to make their own decisions.

Why Are Romas Leaving Czech Republic For Canada?

The decision by the Canadian government to again require visas for those in the Czech Republic to come to Canada is without question an effort to confront issues related to migration of Romas from their nation. Most Romany activists believe well-educated Czech Romanies who are integrated within the society may have decided it was wiser to leave before things become worse in a nation which contains a sizable number of right wing bigots who openly display hatred toward those who are “different.” It is also believed poor Romas are leaving for the simple reason they can not find good jobs and Canada appears to offer better economic opportunities for success.

Jozef Holek, who specializes in Roma issues, argues, “A common romany without education has almost zero chance to find a job and his position in society is completely frustrating in all aspects.” There is also the possible explanation that many Romas do not possess a deep patriotism for a society which regards them as inferior and they may well prefer seeking the patriotism of fellow countrymen who live in Canada. An unanswered question is whether or not key leaders of the Roma community are leaving.