PUBLIC STATEMENT OF THE ORGANIZATIONS OF THE ROMA STATE COUNCIL SUPPORTING THE CREATION OF THE EUROPEAN ROMA INSTITUTE (ERI)
Ahead of the upcoming meeting of the Council of Europe, the NGOs that are part of the Roma State Council would like to make public the following statement in order to advance the establishment of the European Roma Institute (ERI):
I. We fully support the establishment of the ERI, knowing that what best defines communities and people is their culture. Roma have a diverse and thriving culture, which is not well known or understood but which is part the European cultural heritage. Therefore, the knowledge and recognition of Roma culture should be an objective of all European citizens, Roma and non-Roma alike. The ERI is a legitimate aspiration for the many Roma and non-Roma people, such as intellectuals, academics, activists and volunteers, who have worked in recent decades to defend the idea that Europe cannot be understood without the contributions made by Roma culture.
II. We request that the Government of Spain continues to promote the creation of the ERI. Spain has led, especially in recent decades, important initiatives to address issues faced by Roma. These initiatives have had positive results for the Roma community and the general population and have been presented as examples of good practice at the international level. The Roma Council, established in 2006 as an inter-ministerial consultative and advisory body under the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality and the National Strategy for the Inclusion of Roma in Spain 2012/2020, includes among its priorities active participation in European institutions and forums. The Roma Cultural Institute established in 2007 is a foundation of the state sector promoted by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports. The Roma Cultural Institute can play an important role in implementing the ERI’s objectives, serving as a reference point, thanks to its efforts to promote Roma culture.
III. We call on the Government of Spain to continue sharing the Spanish experience with the European initiative while at the same time contributing intellectually and creatively and providing financial resources to correspond with other European partners, so as to promote the viability of the project. We also call on the government to undertake commitments and to take leadership, with the aim of achieving an institute that encourages and promotes Roma culture. The ERI should be led by Roma and should enjoy access to public channels without compromising its independence, to incorporate their initiatives into European institutional and cultural heritage.
IV. The organizations of the Roma State Council value this initiative and we congratulate the Council of Europe, the Open Society Foundations and other organizations and institutions involved. We offer our collaboration and experience to all of them as well as to the Government of Spain so that it can take as many responsibilities as considered appropriate.
THEREFORE WE REQUEST:
That the Government of Spain continue to promote and be actively involved in the creation of the European Roma Institute in the next meetings of the Council of Europe which will take place on May 28 and July 6, 2015.
NGOs of the State Council of the Roma People:
Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Navarra (GAZ KALÓ) Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Castilla y León. Unión Romaní (UR). Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG). Federación de Asociaciones de Mujeres Gitanas “KAMIRA”. Asociación de Mujeres Gitanas “ALBOREA”. Federación Andaluza de Mujeres Gitanas (FAKALI). Plataforma Romanes de Cantabria. Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña (FAGIC). Federación Regional Gitana de Castilla la Mancha. Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas para la Integración Laboral y Social Promoción y Desarrollo del Pueblo Gitano “Cali” (FACCALI). Federación Autonómica de Asociaciones Gitanas (FAGA Valencia). Asociación Enseñantes con Gitanos. Federación Conciencia Gitana de Extremadura (FECOGEX). . Asociación Socio. Cultural de las Minorías Étnicas “UNGA” Asturias. Asociación de Promoción Gitana de La Rioja (APGR). Federación Asociaciones Gitanas de Aragón (FAGA Aragón). Asociación Nacional Presencia Gitana. Fundación Pere Closa. Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas Extremeñas (FAGEX).