From email@example.com Sun Nov 16 10:45:09 2003
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 2003 11:21:54 -0600 (CST)
From: “Michael Givel” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [progchat_action] IMPROVE SOCIAL CONDITIONS FOR ROMA OF UKRAINE
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Objective of the round table was discussion on perspectives of Roma community development and improvement of social conditions of Roma in Ukraine from the point of view of adoption of state program “Social and cultural renascence of Roma”, signed by Vise Prime Minister of Ukraine D. Tabachnik.
Overall number of Roma in Ukraine, according to the latest census of 2001, is more than 48 thousand persons, though real number is 80 100 thousand. Roma in Ukraine live practically in all the regions. More compact they live in Donetsk, Dnipropetropvsk, Transcarpathian, Mykolaiv, Odesa regions. Roma of central, east and south regions differ little from other residents. They do not wear specific clothes, their appearance is not very different from those around. However, Roma of these regions preserve the spirit of selfidentification, and in a number of camps language of communication. Life of residents leaves its mark on the life of Roma. With worsening of economical situation in Ukraine life of Roma sharply worsened. Discrimination and racism against Roma do not exist de jure, but exist de facto. It worsens even more difficult situation.
About 30 persons were present at round table. Roma organizations were presented by Brovary (Kyiv region), Vinnitsa, Transcarpathian region, Izmail and Kiliya (Odesa region), Lviv, Odesa, Kharkiv, Chernigiv. Governmental structures were also represented Institute of Legislation of Verhovna Rada (Supreme Council) of Ukraine (Kyiv), Department of Nationalities and Migration (Kharkov and Odesa regional state administrations), Regional Center on Employment and Regional Center of Health (Odesa regional administration).
Nongovernmental organizations were also represented by German Society of Odesa region and Women's Information Consultative Center (Kyiv). The work of round table was covered by mass media of Odesa, and also journalists from Roma newspaper “Romani Yag” were present. In their presentations the participants addressed to different aspects of life of Roma in Ukraine. Particularly, Yaroslava Reznikova, deputy head of Department of Nationalities and Migration, noted that as long ago as 1999 the Council of National and Cultural Societies of Odesa Region was created in the region. 7 Roma organizations work in the region. Not long ago the governor of the region had a meeting with their representatives. At the meeting they discussed both perspectives of development of regional program of Roma communities' development and negative problems, which demand solution. Regional administration tries to meet the demands of solving these problems however absence of economical base decreases effectiveness of work. In the educational sphere, in particular, absence of manuals and programs for Roma Sunday schools is noticeable.
A case, which became known not only in Odesa region but all over Ukraine, was decision of gathering of Petrivka village (Ivaniv region) about expulsion of Roma. Office of Public Prosecutor abolished unlawful decision. Money was given (37 thousand hryvnas) for helping Roma families, which incurred losses, and family which suffered the most, got material help for purchasing a house.
Olena Semjorkina (Institute of Legislation of Verhovna Rada of Ukraine) told about necessity of creation integral conception of politics on Roma. Absence of certain laws and legal acts creates additional obstacles in solving practical problems. One of such gaps is absence of precise legal regulations on creating and existence of Sunday schools. Schools, which national societies establish, are different from those, established by religious societies.
Very important is still the problem of mechanism of Roma participation in governmental bodies, which are involved in issues of improvement of life of Roma community. This also regards to state program being discussed. Government puts all responsibility to city/town councils. They can solve some of the problems, but not great number of others.
Eleni Tsetseku, the coordinator of projects of the Council of Europe, noted that for the last years European community more and more often addresses to problems of Roma. This is connected with several aspects: protection of rights of minorities; struggle with racism, xenophobia and connected types of intolerance; elimination of social exclusion.
While elaborating recommendations for government, it's important to make a stress on active and leading role of Roma in the process of realization of state program. For this a special body should be created (coordinative council, advisory committee, working group or other structure).
Sergiy Ermoshkin, head of the regional Roma Congress of Odesa region, talked about importance to carry out selfcensus of Roma with the aim of defining their real number, in comparison with that defined by 2001 census, which is several times different from the real one.
Another important question, requiring attention, is recognition of Crimean Roma as deported people. Absence of such documents apart the state forces Crimean Roma to register as Crimean Tartars to obtain appropriate status and help from the state. This leads to assimilation and dilution among other nationalities.
All the participants expressed their vision of problems and ways to solve them with participation of the state. Besides, attitude to the adopted program was expressed. The participants said that they are not satisfied with the adopted program however they admit positive steps of the state for recognition of existing problem of situation with Roma in Ukraine. To change the situation it is necessary to get Roma community on the level of the program implementation with the aim of creating efficient mechanism of realization and monitoring of planned actions.
Such recommendations for state program were proposed:
The program should have complex character and clear sections, e.g. education, culture, health, welfare, mass media.
Conducting self-census and system of passport giving to adult population is an integral part of improvement the situation of Roma in Ukraine, guaranteeing their rights to moving and choosing place to live.
Development of Roma people is impossible without studying its history, analysis, tendencies, etc. Center of Romology could undertake these functions.
Roma musical culture requires serious study, preserving and transference to future generations. To do this it is necessary to create musical educational institution, which would perform both educational and scientific functions.
Recognition of holocaust on Roma people and paying compensations to those who survived after it do not correspond with the scale it had. The state should raise this question again and make practical steps, as those who survived after holocaust are of declining years and their number decreases very fast. To get full information it is necessary to use archival organizations of Ukraine.
Health of Roma causes outstanding anxiety. Tuberculosis, illnesses of reproductive sphere, insufficient awareness of reasons of their existence require creating a system of Rooms for mother and child, first of all in camps. Regular invigoration of Roma children plays significant role in improving health of young generation.
Mass media often “adds fuel to the fire”, by publishing materials of discriminative character, blaming Roma for different disorders. It is necessary to elaborate and spread the program of antiprejudiced, antidiscriminatory study for journalists.
Roma women, who raise children, look after ill members of families should get a status of social workers. What is worthy of notice is experience of Kyiv city administration, which introduced experiment on giving such a status to mothers, who have disabled children.
To support higher education for Roma it is necessary to use assisting actions in form of quotas and other advantages during entering and study in higher educational institutions. Special attention should be paid to preparation of jurists among Roma youth.
The state should make constant investigations and monitoring of cases of Human Rights violations on Roma by officials of lawenforcement bodies.
In places of compact residence of Roma centers of legal assistance should be created.
With the aim to eliminate negative attitude to Roma in society, programs of antistereotypical character for state officials, pedagogues, medical personnel, etc. should be elaborated and implemented.
Longterm program of involving Roma in social life of the whole country should be in action.
To increase economical level of Roma it is necessary to create such programs, which would suit cultural traditions of people. For this it is necessary to define a list of traditional Roma crafts and create study programs of professional training and retraining of unemployed Roma. In the case of intention to start a private business to give initial material assistance.
Real legal opportunity for this exists, and there are also practices of such programs in some regions without addressing concrete groups of population.
Education for Roma children requires special attention. For this it is essential to elaborate conception of educational approaches for work with diversities, particularly, for classes where Roma children study. It is important to attract Roma children to preschool educational institutions to create groups of preparation for primary school.
At the end a resolution was made. It contains thoughts and ideas, expressed during the work of round table.