ternYpe at OSCE/ODIHR Roma Consultation Meeting, Oct 2011

TernYpe-International Roma Youth Network was participating actively from the  3rdto the 6th  of October at the annual OSCE/ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, as youth organization we focus our speech on the the role of public discourse, the media and the civil society, we take part on different side events and remark the importance of the youth active participation on democratic institutions and existing structures.

The 1992 Helsinki Document mandates ODIHR – as the main institution of the human dimension – to organize a meeting to review the implementation of human dimension commitments entered into by all OSCE participating States and to look at ways to enhance compliance with these commitments. Last year on the margins of the OSCE Review Conference, they provide a space for an open dialogue and consultation on Roma and Sinti situation on Europe.

In the past years Europe has witnessed an increasing wave of intolerance, anti-Roma discourse and reports of racially motivated violence against Roma and Sinti in a number of OSCE participating States. The economic downturn that stroked European states has impacted on the attitude toward Roma of the majority population and in particular of extremist groups and right-wing political parties. The latter have intensified their anti-Roma discourse blaming Roma for things they are not responsible for. Mass media is used by extremists and populist politicians as a very prolific platform to convey to the general public their message of intolerance and hatred against Roma.

Here you can check part of our intervention.

Effective responses to intolerance directed at Roma and Sinti:  The role of public discourse, the media and civil society

When we talk about intolerance and all his manifestations against Roma and Sinti, we have to understand that this phenomenon is the culmination of a historical process and not just an isolated event, it is really important to acknowledge that antigypsyism is not a recent historical problem, antigypsyism and discrimination against Roma and Sinti communities  are even in the basis of  the European cosmovision of certain sectors of society, we cannot deny this.

The media

We are crossing difficult times in our relationship with mass media, TV, books, internet and the social networks, the traditional press etc. Our historic call for a professional and responsible journalism has not been answered, in the digital age of information sensationalism and untested news are filling the whole public perception about Roma and Sinti people, unfortunately in a very negative way.

TernYpe-International Roma Youth Network believes that it is an important part of our work as a Roma network in different ways to counteract these negative circumstances

-we must win visibility and use the social networks and their potential as a way to present a positive image of Roma and Sinti people

-we must use the legal structures in different countries to denounce the racism in media, creating networks that specifically focus their efforts in that direction.

The civil society, the youth

TernYpe-International Roma Youth Network believes that it is an important part of our work as a Roma network to promote tolerance and combat prejudices through empowerment and mobilization of youth. One of the failing points of most European campaigns focused on Roma issues is their inability to think on long- term. The next 20 years will be decisive for Roma and Sinti, that’s one of the most important reasons to focus on  youth and to give them the opportunity to express their opinion and needs.

We have for the next years a very urgent need, to strengthen in positives ways the self-perception of Roma and Sinti, especially of young people. In my generation I can see how the stereotypes towards Roma and Sinti are so strong and generally accepted that even Roma  slowly absorb them. ternYpe brings every year with the support of OSCE-ODIHR over 80 young Roma and non-Roma together from all over Europe to commemorate the Roma Genocide on August 2nd, but also to learn about antigypsyism and to find strategies against stigmatization and racism.

We must create a common sense of brotherhood and unity between the different Roma and Sinti communities through the world if we want to be relevant part of society, there’s no other way or realistic input. If we stay isolated as closed communities or organizations we are weak, if we are together, we are strong.

By Vicente Rodriguez Fernandez

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