Roma are an ethnic group with a long
history in Europe. With their rich culture and language, Roma have deeply
embedded values about how to act, live and be. Commonly identified through
their clothing and appearance, the Roma community lives within their own
familial and societal structures across the world.
During the 1st World Romani Congress in 1971, the term
‘Roma’ was chosen for their nation, which is the plural of ’rom’ (human). ‘Roma’
here refers to a variety of groups of people who describe themselves as Roma,
Gypsies, Travellers, Manouches, Ashkali, Sinti and other titles. Both ’Roma’
and ’Gypsy’ can be used positively and pejoratively.
Today, there are more than 10 million people in Europe
calling themselves Roma. They are the largest ethnic group in Europe who do not
have their own nation state. Most Roma live in Central or Eastern Europe. They
migrated from India hundreds of years ago, and have representation all across
the world today.
Roma are constantly sidelined and misunderstood in these
societies. They can face massive social prejudice and exclusion, low levels of
education and employment, along with discrimination in terms of housing and
Various international NGOs and activists routinely advocate
for better human rights for Roma. The Council of Europe plays an active role in
monitoring and encouraging governments in this way too.References: Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic
Minorities, Council of Europe