On April 8, the International Romani Day, representatives of ADC “Memorial” participated in several meetings of experts, devoted to problems of Roma people, including their defense from police arbitrariness, discrimination and torture.
OSCE Expert Meeting on “Police and Roma and Sinti: Current Challenges and Good Practices in Building Trust and Understanding” was organized on that day in Warsaw. Lawyer of ADC “Memorial” Sergey Mikheyev, one of the authors of report “Roma people, migrants, activists – victims of police arbitrariness”, and Loé Lagrange, Office Coordinator from ADC “Memorial Brussels”, spoke at the meeting on the problem of violation of rights of Roma people in Russia, which include police campaign “Settlement”, as well as house searches and arrests of Roma people.
On the same day Civil Society Forum was held in Vienna, which was devoted to the problems of discrimination: civil society representatives from various OSCE countries met to discuss problems of prevention of torture, protection of personal information and abolition of discrimination in order to prepare recommendations to the member countries of OSCE. In her speech at the meeting Olga Abramenko, expert of ADC “Memorial”, reported on the most urgent problems in Russia, including discrimination of ethnic minorities, Roma people, immigrants and LGBT persons. Special attention was paid to persecution of human rights defenders, who work to prevent discrimination of people from vulnerable groups. Use of repressive laws on “foreign agents” and stigmatization of human rights defenders makes their professional activities extremely difficult and this has already resulted in closure of several NGOs.
It was also a pleasant surprise for ADC “Memorial” on the International Romani Day to learn that a book of Roma fairy tales for children written by Alexander Klein and published by us became a welcome present for one of the school libraries in Belarus.