International Romani Union

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Official Romani flag

The International Romani Union (Romani: Romano Internacionalno Jekhetanipe ) is an organization active for the rights of the Romani people. Its seat is in Prague.

The IRU was officially established at the second World Romani Congress in 1978.[1] Its presidents have included Stanislav Stankiewicz, Emil Ščuka, and before him, Rajko Đurić who held this office for many years. The Spanish organisation Union Romani is affiliated with the International Romani Union.

Mission[edit]

The IRU aims to represent all of the world's Romani peoples; to help encourage their continued cultural and linguistic development; to help resolve a variety of economic and social problems faced by Romani peoples; to connect the work of different organizations and countries toward these ends; and to support human rights for all.[2]

Membership[edit]

The IRU has member organizations in the following countries:[2]

  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Kosovo
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Moldova
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom

Structure[edit]

The IRU consists of four bodies: Congress, Parliament, Presidium, Court of Justice.

The IRU Congress of the IRU includes delegates from member organizations, in proportion to the total Romani population in that country. Delegates can make individual recommendation for the IRU, and together, they may choose whether to accept the IRU programme.

Unlike the Congress, the Parliament is made up of a single representative (and one substitute) from each member country. Parliament accepts reports on the situation of Romani peoples around the world, and decides the domestic and international policies of the IRU. Delegates must also approve each year's budget.[2]

The Presidium serves as the IRU's executive, and conducts work through sub-commissions on "foreign policy, social and economic affairs, cultural and educational affairs, human rights, internal affairs, financial and budgetary matters, legal and legislative matters, issues relating to Central and Eastern Europe, and issues relating to America, Asia and Australia."[2] It may request studies and reports on a variety of topics, and make formal recommendations to other IRU bodies, or to individual countries or organizations.[2]

Members of the Court of Justice are independent judges, elected for their personal integrity, regardless of their membership in the IRU. The Court is tasked with observing all bodies of the IRU and ensuring their observance of the organization's rules and regulations.[2]

Roma Virtual Network (RVN)[edit]

Roma Virtual Network[3] is a public, non-partisan, non-profit grass-roots organization[4] under the umbrella of ERIO[5] and of IRU.

It provides the international Romany community and friendly non-Romany organizations and individuals with useful information on Roma issues in a variety of languages via the Internet. Established on 19 July 1999, by Valery Novoselsky, member of IRU,[6] it has been started as a private initiative and gained the recognition of national and international, governmental and non-governmental NGOs dealing with Roma issues, especially in Europe. It contains 32 electronic mailing lists in 15 languages with a total membership of over 22 000 e-mail addresses.

RVN aims to help the cooperation and exchange of information within Roma organizations and individuals, between Roma and non-Roma organizations and individuals and also between Roma NGOs and official institutions. It relates with the variety of Roma-related political, cultural, economic and social issues on local and international levels, aiming to support the improvement of the Roma situation in Europe and other regions of the world. It offers also on-line support, besides for IRU, also for various other Gypsy organizations, like Domari: The Society of Gypsies in Israel, RomNews Network and Unión Romaní.

History[edit]

In 1959, Ionel Rotaru founded The World Gypsy Community (CMG) in France. While members were mostly French, the organization made contacts in Poland, Canada, Turkey, and other countries. When the French government dissolved the CMG in 1965,[1] a breakaway group formed the International Gypsy Committee (IGC) under the leadership of Vanko Rouda. When the 1971 World Romani Congress adopted the self-appellation of "Roma" rather than gypsy, the IGC was renamed the Komiteto Lumniako Romano (International Rom Committee or IRC), and Rouda was re-confirmed as president. The Committee became a member of the Council of Europe the following year. The Committee was changed again at the 1978 World Romani Congress and given its present name. It was given consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council the following year. The Union became a registered NGO with UNICEF in 1986. In 1993, it was promoted to Category II, Special Consultative Status at the United Nations.

More recently, the IRU has also sought recognition for its own passports[7]

Funding[edit]

The main source of income is the membership fees of the individual members, and member organizations.

Institutional links[edit]

The IRU has institutional links with: - the Council of Europe. - OSCE (ODHIR). - UNHCHR. - UNO - ERTF. The IRU has memorandum of understanding and cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and other countries with a view to the "continuous improvement of the situation and living conditions of the Roma.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ZD Barany (1994). "Living on the Edge: The East European Roma in Postcommunist Politics and Societies". Slavic Review.  [1]
  2. ^ a b c d e f About US, IRU
  3. ^ Roma Virtual Network
  4. ^ Official recognition of Roma Virtual Network
  5. ^ ERIO’s Network members
  6. ^ IRU Passport of Valery Novoselsky
  7. ^ "Roma in Sweden: showing the way?". BBC News. 17 July 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2010.