Conference on defense of Roma rights

On 10 ‑ 11 July  2012 Antidiscrimination centre «Memorial» carried out a conference, dedicated to Roma people rights in Russia. About 20 Roma students from the most diverse parts of Russia – Chelyabinsk, Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Smolensk, Moscow, Pskov and Saint-Petersburg participated in the conference. Some conference participants are just entering the universities, some ones are already studying, and some ones had already obtained a higher education.

At the first day of the conference participants discussed the opportunities of the Roma Educational Fund program. Some students told about their participation in the project «Paths of the memory», organized by ADC «Memorial» in 2010 (then Roma students visited sites of commemoration of Roma people, murdered by fascist during the World War II).

A lawyer of ADC «Memorial» A.Udyarova told about the counteraction of Roma children segregation  at Russian schools. Her speech was dedicated to laws protecting children right to education and cases of systematic violation of this right in the places of compact residence of Roma.

Right to study of native language is of prime importance for Roma children. The coordinator of projects on children rights protection of ADC «Memorial» K.Kozhanov told about the practice of teaching of Roma language and culture across the world. Study materials on Romany language and folklore developed throughout the world at different times including the publications prepared through the offices of ADC «Memorial» were demonstrated to conference participants.

At the second day of the conference the rights of women and children which are often broke even within the Roma community itself were discussed more detailed. Participants discussed the discrimination problem and the way in which it could be combated. Only by combined efforts of Roma people themselves and civil society representatives it is possible to reach the real changes in often discrimination attitude from wider public to Roma people.