Today, the Ukrainian Roma people remain one of the most vulnerable groups exposed to discrimination. However, in recent years, Ukraine has made significant progress in its efforts to respect the rights of representatives of the Roma community. This happened also thanks to the strengthen role of the Roma NGOs and the Roma social movement. A crucial factor in this process is work with youth, a significant part of which has been undertaken by the NGO “Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture “ARCA”.
Russia’s full-scale aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 changed most of the planned activities and significantly reduced the opportunities. Established connections have been broken, number of the organizations and initiatives have stopped their work, and many public activists have faced unexpected risks.
In the response to these challenges organizing partners decided to hold the Roma Civil Society Forum on Ukraine in Berlin, Germany. 28 participants took part at the Forum: 10 participants from Ukraine and 18 participants from European countries like United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, North Macedonia, Finland, Moldova, Lithuania and Belgium.
The Roma Civil Society Forum on Ukraine was organized by “Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture “ARCA”, Ukraine with the support of the Documentation and Cultural Centre of German Sinti and Roma and Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.
Key representatives of Roma and non-Roma civil society, politicians and various stakeholders gathered to create a coalition to strengthen the equality, integration and participation of Ukrainian Roma in the European context. The Forum promotes European and national policies to be more inclusive and responsive to the current needs of the Ukrainian Roma.
Content of the Forum had been divided into four block, which focused on different aspects, but shared the common idea and goals.
- Experts’ Seminar “Roma in and from Ukraine: realities, challenges, perspectives”,
- Conference “The Russian War against Ukraine and Its Consequences for Roma”,
- Documentary Theater Public Performance “From Home to Home”,
- Exhibition: “Catharsis”
Along the aforementioned themes and topics, participants were also introduced to the “Djanes” Informational Platform, which is a modern media platform established by the Youth Agency for the Advocacy of Roma Culture “ARCA”. Initially it has started as a pilot project in 2020 by initiative of our volunteers, however, over the time it has developed into established platform. Its goal is to promote dialogue and provide the support and solidarity in Ukraine and abroad. Thematic sections bring valuable information about history, culture, human rights sphere, existing opportunities for young Roma.
The project is supported by European Union.