IRU opens representation in Moldova

The International Romani Union (IRU) opened its representation in Moldova this past Saturday. The new office is headed by Vasile Drangoi, a well-known businessman and the chairperson of the Social and Political Movement of the Romani in Moldova.  

Participating in the official inauguration festivity were IRU President, Florin Cioaba, the Gypsy Baron in Moldova Artur Cerari, Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Hungary in Moldova, His Excellency Matthias Szilagyi and Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Romanian in Moldova, His Excellency, His Excellency Romanian Ambassador to Moldova Marius Lazurca, as well as representatives of the Russian and Swedish diplomatic missions, politicians, officials, public figures, and leaders of Roma organizations from abroad.  

«The Roma don’t have a national territorial entity, but virtually, there is a certain Romani state. The Romani have their Parliament, Government, judicial system, emblem, flag and anthem,» said IRU High Commissioner Normund Rudevici.  

In his words, similar representations exist in other 42 states worldwide, but in the Commonwealth of Independent States, Moldova has become «the first robin» in this respect.  

«The Romani integration has existed for over 20 years now. Big money is earmarked and spent to this end. Thus, in 2014-202, the European Commission is planning to earmark to the IRU 26.5 billion euros, for carrying out four programs meant to settle the Roma’s problems in education, healthcare, employment and housing fields. Yet there are certain difficulties in this respect. Many developed countries created some organizations that want to make the Roma similar to the native population, in the process of integration. In Hungary they want to make the Roma look like Hungarians, in Russia – like Russians, in Latvia – like Latvians and in Romania – like Romanians. This is not fair. The Romani want to be identified first of all as Romani. That is why the Roma integration policy has ended in a fiasco,» said Rudevici.    

He also drew attention to the fact that the European passports no longer encompass the national identity of the holder.

«The citizens are not very concerned about this, as they live in their national-territorial units. Moldovans live in Moldova, Byelorussians in Belarus and Russians – in the Russian Federation. Yet, the Romani cannot prove their national identity, as there are no official documents to this end. At the same time, they would like to be perceived as Roma, to take part in Olympic Games, as representatives of their virtual country, and under the IRU flag. They would also like to participate in the Eurovision Musical Contest. Of course, the European Union earmarks money for the financial support of the Roma, but only 1% of the proceeds is used for the intended purposes. There is no mechanism of control. The issuance of international IRU passports to the Roma will allow regulating this process, including in terms of the international financial support given to the Roma. Yet, the Roma will further remain citizens of those countries where they are living now and at the same time, they will be under the protection of the International Romani Union,» said IRU High Commissioner.   
Galina Belyakova, Director of the Bureau for Interethnic Relations said that the opening of the IRU representation is a very important event for Moldova.

«This means exchange of experience and the implementation of new assistance programs for the Romani living in Moldova,» she said.  
The Head of the IRU Representation in Moldova, Vasile Drangoi told your Infotag correspondent that the opening in Moldova of such an influential body for the Romani gives them assurances that their voice will be heard at international level.  

Adapted from Infotag