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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Romani-Gypsies :The refugees within

On December 14, 1950, the UN established the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The UNHCR coordinates international action to protect refugees and resolves refugee problems worldwide. “Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people.”

As a child, I used to believe that all stateless and homeless were synonyms for refugees. Virtually, everyone has the rights “to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another state”. And if you are lucky you can find safe refuge within your state.  In a previous post, I talked about my experience with the gypsies. Lately the French government is closing gypsy encampments across the country. And many others European countries are discretely surfing on this racism wave. It is so hypocritical for a country fanfaroning the idea human rights for over 200 years. Besides I was thinking that The European Union allowed you to freely travel within the union regardless of your citizenship of origin. I know regulations and laws are necessary. However, I would like to point out that Europe should remember Auschwitz. Yes!!! Romani-Gypsies were the first to be placed in camps. Under the Vichy government, France deported 30,000 Gypsies to Nazi concentration camps.

So I deeply appreciate that “the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the French government for a lack of political will' in tackling mounting acts of racism.”  Maybe gypsies should be labeled “nomadic stateless refugees”. Once again I would like to say that I am a Gitana, a gypsy, a traveler, refugees, and I am here. And let us not forget it is the same moonlight for our dreams.

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