MINELRES: Roma Rights 2/2005: Rights and Traditions

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Wed Aug 3 11:49:25 2005


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


Roma Rights 2/2005: Rights and Traditions
Quarterly Journal of the European Roma Rights Centre

Practices such as early and arranged marriages and certain sexual taboos
in Romani communities restrict the autonomy of individuals, deprive them
of their human dignity and prevent them from realising basic human
rights. Romani girls' educational careers are often interrupted at early
stages as a result of marriage. Many women are not able to undertake
public activities due to pressures exerted by family and community
conditioned by traditional perceptions limiting the role of the woman to
the family sphere. Homosexuality is considered an abomination in many
communities.

The debate about the conflict of individual rights with traditional
practices is now taking place among Roma. Beyond the arguments of the
many sides in the debate, however, it is important to see the political
implications of this debate. Awareness about contradictions between
human rights and customary practices has left the private sphere.
Resistance is no longer an intuitive reaction by a few brave individuals
 youths,
women or others  who do not accept the limitations of community
tradition.

Questioning issues considered by many Roma to be taboo not only has the 
potential to catalyse processes within Romani communities of rethinking 
their relevance. It also poses a challenge to the perception of Roma by 
large parts of the majority as a homogenous mass of people trapped in
the "primitiveness" of their own traditions. Furthermore, as seen in the
pages of this issue of Roma Rights, the problematisation of the
contradiction between rights and traditions exposes a host of problems
related to the inequalities facing Roma in society, resulting from past
and present discrimination condoned and unremedied by states. Thus, the
debate about human rights and tradition also betrays the arrogant stance
often adopted by governments, blaming "Romani tradition" for the failure
of states to fulfil basic duties. In this way, this debate, held
publicly, adds strength to the fight against anti-Romani racism.

This issue of Roma Rights examines matters related to a dual dynamic: on 
the one hand, abusive practices perpetrated on Roma by Roma in the name
of "traditional culture", and the general abandonment by the state of
the victims to the perpetrators; on the other hand, a tendency by state
officials to treat social problems in the Romani community with
draconian and disproportionate measures. In this way, we look at
embedded traditions leading to the systemic frustration of rights:
traditions giving rise to abuses by Romani perpetrators, and traditions
of abuse arising from state practices taking aim at Roma and Romani
traditions. We aim to provide a forum for voices within the Romani
community working to combat abusive traditional practices. We also try
to set in focus the context fostering abusive community practices. The
Table of Contents, with links directly to articles, follows here:

Editorial: Rights and Traditions
Savelina Danova-Russinova
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2289

Notebook

* Child Marriage a Cultural Problem, Educational Access a Race Issue?
Deconstructing Uni-Dimensional Understanding of Romani Oppression
Alexandra Oprea
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2295

* How to Talk about This to the "Outside"?
Mirjam Karoly
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2294

* Challenging Taboos: Testimony
Selvijan Rasidova
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2353

* Forced Removal of Romani Children from the Care of their Families
Jolie Chai
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2290

* The State and the Roma in Spain
Gunther Dietz
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2288

* Roma and Egyptians in Albania: From Social Exclusion to Social
Inclusion: Summary of the World Bank Needs Assessment Study on Roma and
Egyptians in Albania
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2285

News Roundup: Snapshots from Around Europe

Albania * Austria * Bosnia and Herzegovina * Bulgaria * Croatia * Czech 
Republic * France * Germany * Greece * Hungary * Ireland * Italy *
Kosovo * Macedonia * Romania * Russia * Serbia and Montenegro * Slovakia
* Slovenia * Spain * Turkey * United Kingdom
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2352

Legal Defense
ERRC Strategic Litigation Secures Victories for Roma Victims of Torture, 
Racially Motivated Crime and Discrimination
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2292

Research and Policy
In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time: Human Rights Prospects for Roma in 
Ukraine
Istvan Fenyvesi
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2291

Human Rights Education
Culture, Roma Rights and Human Rights Education: Conjunctions and
Disjunctions
Larry Olomoofe
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2287

Romani Language Publications

* Konvencia pala phagavipe/eliminacia svakone diskriminaciake formako 
mamuj/kontra dzuvlja : Romani-language translation of the United Nations 
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2296

* Romani-language translation of the Shadow report of the European Roma 
Rights Centre on the Kingdom of Spain's Fifth periodic report to the 
Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2297

Meet the ERRC: No Time to Warm Up
Dianne Post
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2293

Chronicle
http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=2286

Editor-in-chief: Dimitrina Petrova
Executive editor: Claude Cahn
Associate editor: Savelina Danova Russinova
News co-ordinator: Tara Bedard
Electronic lay-out: Patricia Devenyi
Cover photo: Julie Denesha

 July 2005 European Roma Rights Centre ISSN 1417-1503. The opinions 
expressed in authored pieces are not necessarily those of the European
Roma Rights Centre. The contents of this journal are free from all
copyright restrictions on condition that the source is mentioned and
reproduction is not for commercial purposes. The ERRC requests that
three copies of the reproduced text be sent to the editors.

Roma Rights is published quarterly in Budapest, Hungary, by the European 
Roma Rights Centre. This issue of Roma Rights appears only in electronic 
format.

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