|Roma, Europe’s largest ethnic minority, celebrate the International Roma Day on April 8. On this day back in 1971 in London, the International Romani Union was founded, the Romani flag was adopted and the song “Gelem, Gelem” was proclaimed the Romani anthem.
The International Roma Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture, their origin and common language as well as an opportunity to accentuate the importance of preserving Romani identity and to raise awareness of the problems Romani people are still facing.
In the lines of the first chapter of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, defining that Croatia is established as the nation state of the Croatian nation and of the members of its national minorities, the name of Roma is explicitly stated. Roma have their representative in the Croatian Parliament.
Committed to improve the socio-economic status and social inclusion of Roma, the Republic of Croatia, along with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain, joined the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005–2015, initiated by the World Bank and Open Society Institute. Croatia, as all the other ten members of the Decade, designed an Action Plan and took on the responsibility of its implementation. Croatia’s Action Plan complies with the 2003 National Programme for the Roma, UN’s Millennium Development and the EU’s Social Inclusion Programme, all of which treat this most vulnerable minority population in Europe. The Action Plan deals with the difficulties the Roma population is facing in four categories: education, healthcare, employment and housing. Special attention is given to children and women’s rights.
Through the National Minorities Council and the Government Office for National Minorities, funds are allocated to Romani civil societies for publishing activities, cultural clubs and events and other activities that help preserve the traditional Romani culture.
The International Roma Day was marked in the Croatian Parliament on Wednesday, 11 April. (Internet Editorial Staff)