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Citizens or Denizens? The future 'integration' of Romanies in Europe

An international panel of experts will explore the future 'integration' of Romanies in the European Union in a public event at LSE on Thursday 8 June.

Europe has over eight million Romanies, comprising one of the largest, and least understood, minority groups in Europe. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania will render them the European Union's largest minority population. But are they citizens or denizens in the EU? What nationally do they have? And how are their human rights being breached?

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP will give the keynote speech in an event. Baroness Ludford is London's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP and a life peer in the House of Lords. She is justice spokesperson for the Liberal Democrat MEPs in the European Parliament and sits on the Citizens' Rights Committee.

Also speaking at the event are:

  • Barbora Bukovska, a Czech human rights lawyer and director of Poradna (Centre for Human Rights) in Kosice
  • Angela Kocze, an activist and Hungarian scholar and former director of the European Roma Information Office, Brussels
  • Dr Martin Kovats, a political scientist at Birkbeck University, London
  • Florina Zoltan, a Romani activist and refugee community leader in the UK

Nidhi Trehan, LSE, will chair this event, which is hosted by LSE's Centre for the Study of Human Rights, LSE Praxis Society (Department of Sociology), and CLEG (Central London Europe Group).

Citizens or Denizens? The future 'integration' of Romanies in Europe is on Thursday 8 June 2006 at 6.30pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A. This event is free and open to all with no ticket required.

Ends

  • To reserve a press seat, please contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7060 or email j.winterstein@lse.ac.uk 
  • For further information please contact Nidhi Trehan, Sociology Dept., 07906432773, n.trehan@lse.ac.uk 

Notes:

Central London Europe Group (CLEG) is the local branch of the European Movement [http://www.euromove.org.uk/|] covering Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster and the City. The European Movement is a cross-party, non-governmental organisation that advocates increased co-operation and unity amongst European people and nations.

Biographies:

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP is London's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP. She is justice spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrat MEPs in the European Parliament, and sits on the Citizens' Rights Committee. She is also a member of the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee, and of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Serbia and Montenegro (including Kosovo).

Sarah Ludford has been particularly active in the construction of a common EU asylum system, on management of legal migration, combating discrimination and promotion of fundamental rights and civil liberties. In her first five-year term as an MEP she has been EP lead member on anti-racism, on rights for EU-resident legal immigrants, and on internment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. She is on the bureau of the Parliament's 'intergroups' on anti-racism and gay rights.

Barbora Bukovska is a Czech lawyer, director of the human rights organization, Center for Civil and Human Rights (Poradna) in Kosice, Slovakia. Since 1994, she has been litigating cases of discrimination of Roma in access to housing, employment, public accommodation, and the criminal justice system. Recently, she has been actively working on cases of forced sterilization of Romani women, a grave human rights abuse which reached the international spotlight in the 1990s.

Angela Kocze is former director of the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) in Brussels, as well as the former director of the human rights education programme at the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in Budapest, Hungary. She is active in the movement for the emancipation of Roma in Europe, and has a particular interest in issues of women's political representation and social justice.

Dr Martin Kovats has researched European Romani issues at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of Birmingham and as Marie Curie Fellow at Corvinus University, Budapest. He has been a consultant on various Romani projects for Save the Children, UNICEF and Minority Rights Group International, and is currently a sessional lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London.

Florina Zoltan is a refugee from Romania where ultra-nationalists killed members of her family and further persecuted her. The lack of justice in the case motivated her to become a human rights activist and to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. In its landmark ruling, the ECHR held unanimously that there had been a breach of human rights; nonetheless, the perpetrators of the crime were granted a presidential pardon by the former Romanian President, Iliescu.

She spent two years as a researcher at University of Surrey in the EU-funded 'Workalo' - a trans-european project looking at the barriers faced by Roma, Gypsy and Travellers in terms of accessing education, training and employment. Florina describes herself as a traditional emancipated Romani woman.

Nidhi Trehan is Phd candidate at LSE's Department of Sociology. She has worked for several human rights and social justice organizations such as the European Roma Rights Centre (Hungary), the Industrial Areas Foundation (USA), as well as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. She has also acted as an expert witness to the UK Home Office on asylum cases of persecuted Romanies in Europe.

posted 2 June 2006

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