International Roma Day
By Sabine Llewellyn, photos Vidoje Vujacic.
In the framework of The International Roma Day, on April 8th, the Office for Human and Minority Rights of the Governement of Serbia, and the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, organized a concert at Dom Omladine, on April the 7th.
A real success for this night, which gathered people from all generations, who came to applause the world famous Belgrad band KAL and their young fellow from Grubb. KAL’s music style has been defined by western critics as Rock’n Roma: they talently mix traditionnal Roma music and instruments, with Rock; Romani, Serbian, and English lyrics. True virtuoso musicians, they also put a lot of humour in their songs, and shows.
Their young fellow from the Grubb band from Nis, also full of energy, play a more urban style of music, as announced by their name: Gypsy Roma Urban Balkan Beats. Numerous were their young fans among the audience!
A good claim for tolerance, and intercultural dialogue, a way to combat prejudices, through “education”… by showing some part of their culture that is quite recognized. The tickets to the concert, although free, could be won by answering to a questionnaire about Roma culture…
But this is not to forget daily discrimination that the community faces all around Europe. As far as Serbia is concern, Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic, recalled, in a quote from B92, that “there is no room for satisfaction with the speed of their integration into society”.
In Belgrade after having been evicted from informal settlement in Belvil, and Gazela last year, some Roma families have been relocated in five containers settlement; but this Monday , day of Roma People, at noon Belgrade Mayor, Dragan Đilas and Head of EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert signed an agreement on implementing a housing project. This agreement will concern 202 families.
This project is founded by the European through the United Nations Office for Project Services.
In Belgrade, as well as in some other municipalities consultations were held between public authorities and representatives from the community.
On Monday, President Tomislav Nikolić, received a delegation of representatives and on Thursday, 4th, Roma Women organisations were received at the Parliament.
So here is the aim of this day, promoting Roma Culture, while drawing public attention to their Human Rights’ situation
It was officialy declared in 1990, At the 4th world Romani congress, on the anniversary date of the International Romani Union’s creation.