Roma raise concerns with Havel

Representatives of the International Romany Union, or the IRU, met with Czech President Vaclav Havel on Thursday to explain why they want the Roma to be recognized as a nation. There are some twelve million Roma living throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and calls from within the Roma community for recognition as a people have been mounting for some time now. Pavla Navratilova has this report:

The General Secretary of the International Romany Union, Christo Kjucukov, is quoted as saying that the IRU does not want "a land or state, but rather recognition from other states of the equal status of the Roma as a nation." This statement summarizes what the International Romany Union had hoped to convey in the meeting with President Havel on Thursday. The IRU called for international recognition of the Roma people as a nation without territory.

In the wake of the congress of the International Romany Union held in Prague last July, this meeting with President Havel appears to be the first step towards the realization of IRU's plan to attain nationhood status. Earlier I talked to President Havel's spokesman, Ladislav Spacek, who summarized the meeting:

Author: Pavla Navrátilová
run audio