CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS Roma Rights 2/2011 Roma and Politics: A chance for change?

04 November 2010

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is accepting original articles and other submissions (book reviews, interviews with key figures and conference reports) for its Roma Rights journal from a broad range of disciplines addressing the topic: Roma and Politics: A chance for change?

Participatory democracy is one of the fundamental principles of Europe, as promulgated by European institutions. This concept suggests that a citizen’s active involvement in the decision-making process should go beyond merely voting in the elections. A participatory democracy should create opportunities for citizens to meaningfully contribute to decision-making and broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Only through making participatory democracy a reality can a society go beyond representative democracy where voting is the main form of influencing decision-making and most power is vested in the parliament and government. In a participatory democracy all groups and individuals have opportunities to reflect their particular concerns, issues, problems and solutions.

And yet even representative democracy is an unfulfilled principle in the case of Europe’s Roma. While Romani communities and individuals continue to face severe discrimination and exclusion, they are still not in a position to raise their own voice to policy-makers. They are starkly underrepresented in politics in almost all countries in Europe. Although there are approximately 10 million Roma living in the European Union, Roma have only one representative in the European Parliament. In countries where Roma comprise a considerable portion of the population, their representation in politics and national parliaments is very limited.

Roma, Europe’s largest minority group, suffer severe discrimination and human rights abuses, including in the area of political participation. Their marginalised position may leave them more vulnerable to manipulation or exclusion from the political system.

In this issue of Roma Rights, the ERRC seeks submissions which reflect on and seek to provide answers to questions like:

  • Are Romani individuals and groups interested in politics? What are the main obstacles to the participation of Roma as voters and as politicians?
  • What is needed to make participatory democracy a reality for Roma?
  • How are Roma issues reflected in discourse/campaigns of political parties? What change has this led to in practice?
  • Have opportunities for cooperation between Roma and other minority political parties been utilised? To what end?
  • Comparison: Mainstreaming Roma rights issues in the platforms of all political parties vs establishing Romani political parties?
  • Explore if and how Roma are politically manipulated.
  • Roma have been associated with vote-buying during national and local elections. How does this practice affect Roma and how is it used in the context of racist campaigns?
  • Are Romani politicians being used as a cosmetic tactic by mainstream parties?
  • What impact have elected Romani politicians had on the human rights or socio-economic situation of Roma to date? Have they been as effective as other elected minority representatives?
  • Have voter registration campaigns among Roma been successful?
  • To what extent have Romani women been a factor in politics?
  • What is the relationship between the Romani civil society movement and Roma political participation?
  • What has been the impact of quotas on political representation of Roma? Can this potentially remedy the severe underrepresentation of Roma in European politics?
  • What impact have parallel minority representative structures (i.e., Hungary’s Roma Minority Self-Governments and Serbia’s Roma Councils) had on the political participation of Roma?
  • Does the recognition of Roma as a national minority affect their political rights?

Individual testimonies reflecting the experiences of Romani persons and organisations are particularly welcome. The above themes are meant to be illustrative; authors are encouraged to address the theme from other perspectives as well. Articles offering critical insight into lessons learned in similar situations in different countries, as well as submissions reflecting the perspective of the grassroots Roma movement are also welcome.


Full articles must be submitted to the ERRC by 20 February 2011. All submissions will be reviewed by a committee of ERRC staff who will make the final selection of articles for publication. Due to limited space, it may not be possible to publish all articles submitted. The ERRC reserves the right to refuse publication of submissions at any point prior to the publication of the journal.

Please send queries and submissions to Catherine Twigg:

Submission Guidelines

  • All submissions and accompanying materials must be written in British English.
  • Submissions must follow the ERRC Style Sheet.
  • Submissions must be in electronic form and accompanied by any relevant graphics or pictures.
  • The length of submissions should not exceed 5,000 words for articles and 2,500 words for other items (e.g. book reviews or conference reports), inclusive of footnotes.
  • Footnote referencing should be utilised. Submissions with bibliographical referencing will be sent back to authors.
  • All contributions must be original, previously unpublished material.

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