For Immediate Release - Aug. 12, 2022 - Chicago, Illinois. USA
We have received multiple complaints & reports from the Roma community in Sweden regarding ongoing discrimination and many injustices they are facing. We have found clear evidence of systemic discrimination by the central government, governmental agencies, law enforcement and media. From children being wrongfully removed from their families just because they are Roma, to most recently, outrageous statements issued by law enforcement through the media, the media spreading misinformation and last but not least, smear campaigns by the Liberal party.
The Liberalnas are blatantly attempting to violate multiple fundamental human rights of the Roma people by introducing legislation banning our cultural gatherings and internal dispute mediation and resolution. See: Ban Romani crisis – Liberals (liberalerna.se) (This ban would be in direct violation of EU Charter of Fundamental Rights Articles 3, 7, 12, 20, 21, 22, 33.)
Everyone has the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, which are essential components of democracy. The right of peaceful assembly includes the right to hold meetings, sit-ins, strikes, rallies, events or protests, both offline and online. The right to freedom of association involves the right of individuals to interact and organize among themselves to collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.
Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association serve as a vehicle for the exercise of many other rights guaranteed under international law, including the rights to freedom of expression and to take part in the conduct of public affairs. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association is protected by article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The newspaper Expressen and the so-called liberal parties have used concepts such as a Culture of honor and Cultural violence to connect this matter to Romani society as a whole, and to take our freedom of assembly away. Without question, there is a form of Culture of honor among some Romani communities but not Cultural violence. The Media & Law Enforcement has implied that an isolated domestic violence incident may have been an authorized action or even a death sentence issued by the community, or an "Honor Killing" by the victim's family.
Firstly, the Roma that do in fact practice Kris, by far and large are Christians and whatever traditions and norms exist in this society are closely related to Christian teachings. No Kris has even promoted murder in any shape or form, and if someone has any evidence to support the contradiction, please provide it.
The entire community should not be blamed or accused of the actions of individuals.
These articles are clearly biased, stereotyping, misinforming the general public causing further tension between Roma & Non-Roma, indirectly promoting discrimination, hate and is a tool to be used in an attempt to take away our freedoms using loopholes in national and transnational law!
EU citizenship rights and, more general, the political rights of Europeans are recognized and protected by European law. These include freedom of expression (Art. 10 ECHR) and freedom of assembly and association (Art. 11 ECHR), which gave rise to interesting case law. Both these freedoms may be, according to the ECHR, limited by state authorities, however, “no restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” (Art. 11 § 2 ECHR).
The Government of Sweden has a long history of systemic discrimination against the Roma and now their human rights and freedoms are being threatened more than ever in history. The life prospects of Romani people in Sweden are limited by structural anti-Gypsyism and discrimination. Roma organizations in Sweden are weak and with a recent isolated domestic violence incident leading to a death, which the media implies the whole community is involved, reflects the European dimension of anti-Gypsyism and re-activates stereotypes, which are exploited in the populist discourse in Sweden and the Nordic states.
The Romani kris is being misrepresented and academics are being misquoted. Largely, the Romani Kris is a local community that deals with local cultural problems. The Kris handles cultural disputes and even disagreements on verbal contracts. The harshest penalty for disputes has been banishment from Romani society. An expelled person is considered to be "contaminated" and is shunned by other Romani. The Kris quite simply is not to handle criminal acts, which are the responsibility of the state. The Romani Kris does not handle cases of violence in particular such as rape and murder. Even in cases where some would like to do that, the majority of the Romani community has protested such matters openly.
The Romani people of Sweden must have their fundamental rights and human rights respected and recognized both under local law and international law! I also find it unfair that the Sami People have a “Sami Parliament” and the Roma of Sweden don’t!
For example, The Sami are the only formally recognized indigenous population in Sweden. In 1977, the Swedish Riksdag recognized the Sami as an indigenous people in Sweden. In 1993 the Sami parliament, Sametinget, was established as both a democratically elected body and a national administrative authority.
Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First peoples, First nations, Aboriginal peoples, Native peoples, Indigenous natives, or Autochthonous peoples (these terms are often capitalized when referring to specific indigenous peoples as ethnic groups, nations, and the members of these groups, are culturally distinct ethnic groups whose members are directly descended from the earliest known inhabitants of a particular geographic region and, to some extent, maintain the language and culture of those original peoples.
Peoples are usually described as "Indigenous" when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with the first inhabitants of a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary), exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, or be resettled, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend.
Considering the diversity of indigenous peoples, an official definition of “indigenous” has not been adopted by any UN-system body. Instead, the system has developed a modern understanding of this term based on the following:
Self- identification as indigenous peoples at the individual level and accepted by the community as their member.
Historical continuity with pre-colonial and/or pre-settler societies • Strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
Distinct social, economic or political systems
Distinct language, culture and beliefs
Form non-dominant groups of society
Resolve to maintain and reproduce their ancestral environments and systems as distinctive peoples and communities
Indigenous peoples are the holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources. They have a special relation to and use of their traditional land. Their ancestral land has a fundamental importance for their collective physical and cultural survival as peoples. Indigenous peoples hold their own diverse concepts of development, based on their traditional values, visions, needs and priorities.
Are the Roma Indigenous to Sweden?
The term itself is used to refer to, or relating to, the people who originally lived in a place, rather than people who moved there from somewhere else.
A genetic analysis of 13 Gypsy groups around Europe, published in Current Biology journal, has revealed that the arrival on the continent of their forebears from northern India happened far earlier than was thought, about 1,500 years ago.
The earliest population reached the Balkans, while the spread outwards from there came nine centuries ago, according to researchers at Spain's Institute of Evolutionary Biology and elsewhere.
According to historian Norman Davies, a 1378 law passed by the governor of Nauplion in the Greek Peloponnese confirming privileges for the "atsingani'' is "the first documented record of Romany Gypsies in Europe ''.
In 1389, the crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden were united under the rule of the Danish Queen Margareta. In 1397, the Kalmar Union was formed, with the three Scandinavian countries under a single monarch.
The first record of Roma in the region was in Denmark and came from Scotland in 1505 and then moved on to Sweden. The evidence of a Romani presence in Sweden goes back to 1512, when thirty families of ‘Gypsies’ arrived in Stockholm from Helsinki, Finland ‘On Archangel St Michael’s Day (29th September) ...coming, it is said, from Little Egypt...’ and led by one Count Anthonius, as recorded in the Stockholm Tänkebok or Chronicle.
Sweden was founded on June 6, 1523. Clearly the Roma were present in the land at the time.
Roma are clearly indigenous not only to Sweden or Scandinavia, but Europe as a whole. Yet they continue to be the most discriminated, marginalized and ostracized people in Europe.
It is time for the European Union to step up and truly defend our rights by formally recognizing our Self Determination. Self-determination denotes the legal right of people to decide their own destiny in the international order. Self-determination is a core principle of international law, arising from customary international law, but also recognized as a general principle of law, and enshrined in a number of international treaties. For instance, self-determination is protected in the United Nations Charter and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as a right of “all peoples.”