7 December 2022, Berlin

The conference will be held offline at the Bildungsforum Gegen Antiziganismus: Aufbau Haus am Moritzplatz, Prinzenstraße 84.2, 10969 Berlin

Language: English and Ukrainian, with simultaneous translations

In order to attend the conference you have to register here

The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine affects Roma in Ukraine just as much as any other people. However, their vulnerability can mean that they, like other vulnerable groups, are more affected by the consequences of the war. Resources become scarcer as the war continues which affects vulnerable groups more and the possibility of acts of discrimination or even of racist attacks against Roma always exist.

However, in light of Russia’s war of aggression and annihilation the overwhelming majority of Roma in Ukraine are committed to defend Ukraine against the aggression or to support the fight against Russia in different ways. Since they are attacked just like ethnic Ukrainians, they see themselves as Ukrainians too and thousands of Roma fight in the Ukrainian army, while others organize humanitarian support.

After the end of the war, the diverse support provided by minorities such as Roma has to be recognised by Ukrainian politics and society. This means that Roma and other minorities are regarded by Ukrainian politics and Ukrainian society as an integral part of Ukrainian society and are granted the broadest possible minority rights. 

However, now – as long as the Russian aggression continues – it is important that Roma can access humanitarian assistance and receive support as any other citizens of Ukraine. This support also has to encompass the ten thousands of Roma who were forced to leave their homes and live now as IDP in Ukraine or as refugees in Western Europe. For many of the refugees and IDP, life in exile also means experience of antigypsyism and rejection while others are supported as any other citizen of Ukraine.

When it comes to supporting Roma now and after the war, the international community, and in particular Germany can play a crucial role. Foreign Minister Ms. Annalena Baerbock expressed in the meeting with the chairman of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Mr. Romani Rose, her support to Roma in and from Ukraine.

The conference shall gather representative of the Roma community in Ukraine, Ukrainian Roma refugees and representative of Roma organisations from other European countries. 

The main purpose of the conference is to develop a common approach and political position of Roma from Ukraine and the supporters from the Sinti and Roma community in Europe with regard to following issues: Current situation of Roma in Ukraine and proposals for an improvement, Position of Roma refugees from Ukraine and perspectives of Roma in future Ukraine.

The common approach and position should also serve as a basis for a follow-up conference with main stakeholders from Germany, Ukraine and the European Union in spring 2023.  

The conference is jointly organised by ARCA, Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma.

Program

This panel will discuss the contribution of Roma in defending their country against the Russian aggression, the situation of Roma in the currently occupied territories, the situation of Roma IDP in Ukraine, the state of human and minority rights and how the war affected the life of Roma, in particular of the marginalised communities in the segregated settlements.

However, the panel should also come forward with proposals on how to improve the current situation of Roma in Ukraine and how to avoid antigypsyism and acts of discrimination.

Up to 100.000 Roma from Ukraine might have found refuge in other European countries. While many found refuge without experiencing discrimination, others experienced antigypsyism from authorities and individual persons and some even violence. In some countries the presence of Roma refugees was misused by politicians and media not only to follow an anti-Roma campaign, but to pursue an anti-refugee campaign.

The overwhelming majority of the refugees are women and children. The panel should also look into ways how to improve their situation and how the time in the receiving countries could be efficiently used, e.g. for training programmes.

Reconstruction of Ukraine does not only mean the physical reconstruction of dwellings, factories, roads or power plants. It also the means the reconstruction of the well-being of the individual persons and of the society and with regard to minorities such as the Roma it also means to accept them as integral and equal parts of the society and include them in all relevant policy processes, learning from the past of Ukraine and from practices of other countries in post-war situations.

The panel will discuss how Roma can participate and profit from physical reconstruction efforts such as building of dwellings, but also what is needed to improve the societal status of Roma and to ensure that they can enjoy all human rights and minority rights. The panel will also pay particular attention to the contribution young Roma can make to reconstructing the society.