IRU

IRU Reaction

The International Roma Union - IRU is deeply disappointed and at the same time reacts most openly regarding the tragic event that took place on Saturday, June 19, 2021 in Teplice - Czech Republic. The IRU is reacting to the fact that there are attempts to minimize this case, and to have a different direction. In regards to that is the statement of the Czech Minister of Interior Mr. Jan Hamaćek who openly supports the police officers who having in mind the indications, may be directly responsible for the death of the young Roma man. What is even more devastating is the fact that they deny any responsibility and say that the cause of death was drug use by the late Roma man. Such passive attitude of the police towards this case is obvious, and that is why the IRU calls upon the Czech Ministry of Interior, the Czech state institutions, as well as the European Institutions to make this case a priority in the investigation and to have a thorough investigation that will be public and transparent.  And at the same time, the IRU will make every effort to ensure that these case and the like will not be repeated ever in the future, and to put an end to such proceedings, no matter where they occur.

The International Romani Union – IRU will mobilize its membership and partner organization and monitor the situation, and in any way, will defend the interests of the Roma community in front of every institution. This means to combat any form of brutality against Roma and their discrimination. Regards, Zoran Dimov President of the  International Romani Union – IRU

Skopje – N. Macedonia 06.23.2021

The IRU Delegate from Japan, Yusuke SUMI introduced the Japanese with the Roma and their history, culture, language and tradition

In 4th of June 2021 Yusuke SUMI who studied under prof. Gheorghe Sarau in Romania gave a lecture on the Romany language and Culture at Kanda University of International Studies, Japan.

His speech was entitled „The Romany Language – The Wanderers’ traces”. The presentation was held online because of the state of emergency and around 80 students and professors invited by the Multilingual Communication Center attended.

He taught basic things about the history of Roma showing the short video made at the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the IRU. After that, he talked about the culture and the language of the Roma.

Here are some comments from the attendants gathered after the speech. As you can see, we realize that Japanese students don’t really know about the Roma:

“I thought that the Roma live all together in a country. It was surprising that they don’t have a common religion or customs.”

“It is impressive that they have the official name, flag and anthem, but they live in different countries.”

“It was the first time to hear about the Romany language. I didn’t know that the Roma people had been killed the most after the Jews in WWII.”

“I heard ‘Gypsies’ but ‘Roma’ never. Hearing ‘Roma’ for the first time, I thought that they are people living near Rome in Italy.”

“I really liked the speech of the President of the IRU in the movie ‘the IRU is one family’.”

However, it was a good occasion for young Japanese people to take an interest in the history and the culture of the Roma.

The Multilingual Communication Center of Kanda University of International Studies is now planning to organize the Romany language course, inviting Yusuke SUMI as a lecturer in the future.

In Memoriam: Longtime Roma activist and IRU member Eshtref Abduramanoski dies in Australia - Perth

On January 19, 2021 in Perth, Australia, at the age of 82, died a longtime Roma activist and member of the International Roma Union - IRU Eshtref Abduramanoski.
Abduramanoski was born on August 23, 1938. He has been with the IRU for over 20 years and is a prominent member and delegate. His position at the IRU was as President of the IRU for Australia and New Zealand. Abduramanoski was also known for organizing various events in his country Australia to preserve the Roma identity, culture and tradition. At the same time, the Roma radio functioned within the Roma organization in Australia.
Abduramanoski's funeral is planned for January 27, 2021.
At the same time, the IRU also sent a telegram of condolences to the Abduramanoski family by its chairman Zoran Dimov.

Brazil marks Brazilian Roma Day, video address by IRU President Zoran Dimov

Organized by the IRU, members from South America - Brazil, Elisa Costa and Michelle Christon, organized an event on May 21 via video conference to mark May 24, the day of the Brazilian Roma. This day was established in Brazil 15 years ago. This time the organizers tried to buffet made it to a higher level, and it involved senior officials from the top state of Brazil. Among others, the President of the IRU Zoran Dimov, as the main promoter of this celebration, had his return via video link. In that honor, the IRU delegates from Brazil, Elisa Costa and Michelle Christon, awarded and recognized by the IRU for the special contribution of 12 other representatives, various representatives who have been fighting for the Brazilian Roma for many years, such as the fight against Romanophobia and anti-Gypsyism, youth , misinformation, equality, justice, further education, literacy, inclusion, women, human rights, pandemic, culture, respect for the right to work, decent housing, peace negotiations, cultural heritage, music, Romani language, availability of vaccines, Roma literature and public politics, etc.

International Romani Union Participates in Biden-Harris Inauguration During the “National Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19”

The First Nationwide COVID-19 Memorial to Lives Lost is Part of The Inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris

By Ann Gilbert

Billings, Montana — The International Romani Union was among a select few organizations that were featured in the opening ceremony for the inauguration of 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

The National Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 began in Washington D.C. with remarks from President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. It was the first national memorial held in the US for the 400,000 victims who have so far been lost during the pandemic.

“To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today. Between sundown and dusk, let us shine the lights in the darkness, along the sacred pool of reflection, and remember all whom we lost,” said President-elect Biden as the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool illuminated with 400 amber lights, followed by the Washington Monument.

The stunning scene was replicated across the United States as prominent landmarks were bathed in amber light and church bells rang in a national moment of unity and remembrance. Broadcast nationally by ABC and covered by every major news network, the nationwide memorial was a significant event in the inauguration. Only six locations were featured by ABC, including the Washington National Cathedral, the iconic Empire State Building, and a sacred Indigenous site in Montana.

On the morning of the event, Tom Rodgers, President of the Global indigenous Council (GIC), confirmed that GIC and the International Romani Union in conjunction with the Montana-based Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, and the Pretty Shield Foundation, were participating in the National Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19 and had been selected for nationwide focus.

Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA), senior adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and the new director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, was instrumental in securing national TV coverage for the Indigenous contribution to the “National Memorial to Lives Lost to COVID-19.”

“Indigenous communities in not only the United States but worldwide have suffered disproportionately from the devastation of COVID-19,” said Rodgers, who is Blackfeet from Montana. “We chose the Sacrifice Cliff site as the spirit and history of the area speaks to the present. It was here during the smallpox epidemic of the late 1850s that 15 Crow warriors who realized they were infected blindfolded their horses and rode off the cliff rather than carry the disease back to their people,” he explained.

A “Beacon of Hope,” an illuminated tipi, with bearers of the International Romani Union and Global Indigenous Council flags beside it, was the striking visual carried coast-to-coast by the TV networks.

Tashi Mathuin, an International Romani Union (IRU) youth ambassador, carried the IRU flag.

 

“Indigenous people, Black and Hispanic people, marginalized communities here as across the hemispheres have been hit the hardest by COVID-19, losing our loved ones and elders. The cultural impact from the loss of so many of our wisdom keepers is incalculable,” said Mathuin.

Like the Roma, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has heritage from India. “Kamala” means lotus flower in Sanskrit, the mother language of Romani.

“As Roma, I hope our people feel pride when they see Senator Kamala Harris sworn in as Vice President of the United States. Our ancestors are of the same earth, we carry some of the same cultural memories and influences in our DNA. In our traditions, we know the significance of the Devi Kamala. This is more than a name, but the name alone has great meaning,” the IRU youth ambassador continued.

“We gather tonight, a nation in mourning, to pay tribute to the lives we have lost, a grandmother or grandfather who was our whole world, a parent, partner, sibling, or friend who we still cannot accept is no longer here,” began Vice President-elect Harris before the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool was lit up. “For many months, we have grieved by ourselves. Tonight, we grieve and begin healing together,” she consoled. “My abiding hope, my abiding prayer, is that we emerge from this ordeal with a new wisdom, to cherish simple moments, to imagine new possibilities, and to open our hearts just a little bit more to one another,” concluded the Vice President-elect.

Tashi Mathuin agrees with that sentiment. 

“On January 6, we saw symbols of hate in the US Capitol. I never imagined I’d witness the Confederate flag, Nazi inspired flags, and ‘Camp Auschwitz’ slogans in the chambers of US democracy. In August 1944, over 4,300 of our Roma people were murdered in one night in Auschwitz. Now, 4,000 Americans are losing their lives to COVID-19 daily. This is a moment for healing. Heartbreak is universal and this virus does not discriminate. This memorial and remembrance represents the new dawn we know is coming. Let’s see that sunrise together,” urged Mathuin.

Mathuin was born in Billings, Montana. Approximately one-million Roma from several tribes reside in the US. Amnesty International and the United Nations have drawn attention to human rights violations suffered by the Roma in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upon the invitation of Francisco Cali Tzay, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, IRU delegate and executive director of the Global Indigenous Council, Rain Lovell (Bear Stands Last), submitted a report cataloging some of the abuses inflicted on the Roma. 

“The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris represents the beginning of a new national journey. However, in the midst of a pandemic – when so many Americans are grieving the loss of family, friends, and neighbors – it is important that we honor those who have died, reflect on what has been one of the more challenging periods in this nation’s history, and renew our commitment to coming together to unite our country, end the pandemic, and rebuild our nation,” said Presidential Inaugural Committee Communications Director Pili Tobar.

 

They want but fail to "tarnish" the IRU and its president Zoran Dimov

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:

 

Dear all,

 

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

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Од 5 Ноември 2022 достапен документарниот филм на СП БТР „Небо, Точак, Земја„ на Max TV и Max TV GO со пребарување –Видеотека

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