International Romani Union active on the international stage
15 August 2001
The International Romani Union (IRU), the oldest international non-governmental Romani organisation, has been involved in two pieces of high-profile diplomacy in recent months. On June 5, 2001, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan, met with the President of the IRU, Dr Emil Ščuka, at the United Nations building in New York. The meeting represented the first occasion on which a UN Secretary General has met with a representative of the IRU in the course of its present efforts to gain recognition of a Romani nation. According to the IRU, the Secretary General expressed his support for the concept of a Romani nation, one of the main topics under discussion at the meeting.The meeting represents a milestone in the recognition of Romani issues on the world stage. In further acts of international diplomacy, on May 4, 2001, the IRU reached a declaration of understanding and co-operation with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is the first such memorandum the IRU has signed with a government. It contains a recognition on the part of the Czech government of Romani nationhood, as well as the need for Romani representation in matters of foreign policy. The document is available by contacting the IRU at prague_office@ romaniunion.org. Moves are reportedly now underway to negotiate similar declarations with the governments of Bulgaria, India, Slovakia, and Sweden, according to the IRU.
(International Romani Union)