Romani people in the Republic of Macedonia
Macedonian Romani children (around 1900)
|53,879 (2002 census)|
80,000 to 260,000 (Unofficial estimations)
|Romani (Balkan Romani) and Macedonian|
|Sunni Islam |
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According to the last census from 2002, there were 53 879 people counted as Romani in the Republic of Macedonia, or 2.66% of the population. Another 3 843 people have been counted as "Egyptians" (0.2%). Altogether, 2.85% Romani and Egyptians have been registered in Macedonia.
The municipality of Šuto Orizari is the only municipality in the world with a Romani majority and the only municipality where Romani is an official language. Due to the demographics, both Romani and Macedonian are official in Šuto Orizari, the municipality being officially bilingual. The mayor of the municipality, Kurto Dudush, is an ethnic Roma.
The Republic of Macedonia is the region's leader in respecting the rights of the Romani people. It is the first country in the region with a minister of Romani ethnicity and also has a lot of Romani in high government positions. However, there is still a lot to be done concerning the education and integration of the Romani.
The linguistic evidence has indisputably shown that roots of Romani language lie in India: the language has grammatical characteristics of Indian languages and shares with them a big part of the basic lexicon, for example, body parts or daily routines.
Genetic findings in 2012 suggest the Romani originated in northwestern India and migrated as a group. According to a genetic study in 2012, the ancestors of present scheduled tribes and scheduled caste populations of northern India, traditionally referred to collectively as the Ḍoma, are the likely ancestral populations of the modern European Roma.
In February 2016, during the International Roma Conference, the Indian Minister of External Affairs stated that the people of the Roma community were children of India. The conference ended with a recommendation to the Government of India to recognize the Roma community spread across 30 countries as a part of the Indian diaspora.
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