At the recent 11th Meeting of the Council of Europe Dialogue with Roma And Traveler civil society held online on 29-30 April 2021 organized by the Council of Europe, Zoran Dimov from IRU also participated.
But after the meeting, CCD Vrastiri accused Zoran Dimov of allegedly "homophobic speech" and allegedly sent a petition to the Council of Europe to exclude the IRU from future meetings and invitations. Normally, the IRU and Zoran Dimov reacted to this petition (which by the way was not sent as info to the IRU either) to the Council of Europe, as well as a reaction, after which the petition was immediately withdrawn from the website where it was sent.
The denial and the reaction of the IRU and Zoran Dimov to Europe and to the global media reads as follows:
With great disappointment and disbelief I received the information about the reaction from CCD Vrastiri that it is preparing a petition to the Council of Europe on the occasion of what is stated "Homophobic statements of Mr. Zoran Dimov - President of the International Roma Union at the 11th dialogue with Roma and civil society of passengers "I feel a moral responsibility in the name of the IRU as its President and also as an individual - a Roma man to react and respond to the accusations by CCD Vrastiri which in my opinion are malicious and insinuating.
In this way, first a discrediting of the oldest international Roma organization is made, which is representative, and at the same time discrediting and slandering me and my personality, presenting me as homophobic. The fact is that I was part of the 11th dialogue with the Roma and the civil society of the passengers "and I had my own speech where, among other things, the Roma LGBT community was discussed. I hope that the whole event has its own audio and video version as well as a transcript of the conversation and it is very good to check all the details and parts of my speech.
I spoke Romani, but I could not say how faithfully it was translated and adapted in the translation of my speech, but I most responsibly claim that at no point in my speech did I express a homophobic attitude.
In my speech I mentioned several times (let the recordings be checked) that the IRU has never had anything against the LGBT community and at least against the Roma LGBT community. My intention during my speech was that it is much better for the LGBT Roma community not to be part of the plans, projects, platforms and strategies that are being prepared for the Roma community, but not to be doubly discriminated against and to be included (as a separate part) in the plans, projects, platforms and strategies of the general LGBT community, prepared by the European institutions.
This is emphasized from the aspect that the IRU is well acquainted with the conservative and patriarchal dress code of some Roma communities in some regions and countries. That is why that part was emphasized, and not understood as CCD Vrastiri says in its petition "homophobic attitude" of the IRU and my speech.
I will mention and emphasize once again that neither the IRU nor I as its president nor as a Roma have homophobic views. I claim that and it is not a problem for me if I am misunderstood or presented to publicly apologize on my own behalf and on behalf of the IRU to the entire LGBT community, including the Roma LGBT community.
But I sincerely believe that this is still an attempt to denigrate and discredit both the IRU and me personally. I support this with the fact that the petition letter by CCD Vrastiri mentions several other facts that do not correspond to the truth at all and are only flat and untrue and in the direction of discrediting both the IRU and me personally. It is mentioned in one part that: "Apart from public appearances by men who hold high titles such as 'president', 'commissioner', etc., we do not see public participation of Roma women and young people in this organization.
"This is proof that all these 'arguments' of the CCD Vrastiri are just 'low blows' and 'defocus' and flat accusations. The IRU is above all an open and transparent international organization. For the sake of truth, both the X (2016) and the XI Congress of the IRU (2020) in the IRU have affirmed the policy of greater representation of Roma women in leadership positions in the IRU, and equality (gender balance) in membership and functions in the IRU. In that attachment, I am submitting the IRU Brochure to you and to see for yourself whether there is no Roma woman in prominent and important positions in the IRU and whether there are no young Roma in positions with their activities.
But if the intention of CCD Vrastiri and the like is completely different, then we as the IRU will demand a public apology from the initiators of this petition and at the same time we will take over all legal instruments through the judicial institutions. - reads the denial of Zoran Dimov, President of the IRU