From: Gitanos (Rom) de Colombia (viamultiple@hotmail.com).

Date: Thursday, April 05, 2001, 11:03:20 PM.

Subject: THE OTHER SON OF PACHA MAMA - MOTHER EARTH CONTINENTAL MEETING OF THE ROMA PEOPLE OF AMERICAS

Quito (Ecuador), March 12 - 16 , 2001

The following organizations and Kumpania Rom, assembled at the event: "The Roma people: The other son of Pacha Mama - Mother Earth, Continental Meeting of the Roma people of Americas", held in Quito, Equador from the 12 to the 16 March, 2001, under the heading "The Forum of the Americas for Diversity and Plurality".

CONSIDERING:

- That distinct kumpanias and Roma family groups have been living in various countries of the Americas from the colonial period to the present day, and that our presence as a people predates the creation of many of these States
- That collectively the Roma people have a long presence and history in almost all the countries of the Americas
- That our contributions to the process of the formation of the nationalities of these various countries of the Americas have not been acknowledged by Gadje society.
- That the Roma People have never pretended to dominate or impose their culture upon other peoples and, contrarily, been characterized by their respect of diversity and plurality
- That the Roma population in the Americas is over 4 millions and still today immersed in invisibility
- That throughout history, yesterday like today, our people have been victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance which brought other cultures to consider us in the worst and pejorative manner
- That when there is talk about diversity of peoples and cultures of the American Continent, our existence is systematically forgotten
- That we are a thousand year old people with our history, traditions and a proper language and because of that have a right to self determination
- That we don't accept the label of "ethnic minority" given to us in some international issues, because it doesn't reflect our reality as a dominated people
- That we claim and reevendicate the full recognition of our collective rights, constantly denied and violated and,
- That, if our people do not have, as an option, a project of a proper State, that doesn't represent a obstacle to being properly represented in all internationals levels,and to participate in the U.N.
 
The Roma organizations and Kumpania of the Americas express here, their devoted committment to bring up the following
DEMANDS :
 
1. Urge the States and Governments to recognize the right to self determination for the Roma people.
2. Urge the States and Governments to recognize, promote and guarantee the collective rights of the Roma people.
3. Defend, recover and value the history, the ethnic and cultural traditions of our people and protect also the inheritated common law as well as the cultural and intellectual heritage of the Roma people.
4. Eradicate any form of racism, racial discrimination, xenophoby and related intolerance towards children , youth, men, women, or elder Roma people.
5. Promote ourselves and inform the Gadje society, about the traditional knowledge and wisdom of the Roma people as well as our ethnic and cultural values.
6. Urge the States and Governments of the Americas to apply the international legal justice standard to protect the rights of the Roma people.
7. Work to develop spaces for the self determination and self government of the Roma people urging the recognition of our own authorities, and to validate our special juridiction, the Kriss.
8. Facilitate the creation of intercultural opportunities as a way to promote the future autonomy of the Roma people of the Americas.
9. Ask the States and Governments of the Americas to consult fairly with the Roma people when initiating "development plans" that affect their culture, lives, identity and fundamental needs, and install the requirements for the full development of our institutions, economy, education and accreditation.
10. Urge the States and Governments to guarantee the establishment of bilingual and intercultural educational programs suited to the Roma people, as well as giving access to our youth and women to middle and higher education in the best conditions.
11. Demand that the States and the governments of the Americas provide Health care alternatives for the Roma people which guarantee access to active, convenient, compatable and quality Health care services, whose service ensures the promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of health.
12. Make sure that the medical plans and Health programs are aware of the knowledge, practices, and uses of the different forms of diagnostic and treatments proper for the Roma people.
13. Urge the States and Governements of the Continent to guarantee the freely consented information for Roma people, through our authorities and representative institutions , each time that projects of development, legislature or administrative measures will affect us directly.
14. Facilitate the fair, permanent and adaquate access, to the mass medias of social communication for the Roma people.
15. Demand the access of Roma representatives into different levels of participation created by governmental institutions and public affairs.
16.To create and consolidate the institutions and proper committees that the Roma people will need for the recognition of our collective rights in the Americas and the World.
17. Create mechanisms which permit contacts, relations and exchanges between the Roma of the Americas, and with all the international Roma communities.
18. Insure that the nomadic and itinerant forms of life, which some Roma family groups are conserving, be maintained; that States and Governments create special places, encampments and rules, which facilitate the free transit over the international borders of the Continent.
19. Request that the States and Governments recognize refugee status to the Roma people and draw public policies, programs and adequate actions to assist the Roma who, for political, social, cultural, ethnic, religious and economic reasons are obliged to look for refuge and immigrate to the Americas. Based on these legitimate demands,
 
WE REQUEST:
TO THE UNITED NATIONS:
 
1. To start a large and profound democratization process of his own structures to avoid the more relevant levels of the U.N. ending up controlled by a small but powerful number of States which, in the majority of the cases, do take controversial decisions in the international community whithout consulting the international community.
2. To create mecanisms and procedures which make possible full and equal participation of the Roma in the United Nations and its structure in relation to the States. As a first step towards that, we propose the creation of a "ROMA PERMANENT FORUM" which, at the highest level is of equally mixed composition. This would be a large-spectrum mandate which includes civil rights, political, economical, social, cultural, and gender-balanced elements to prevent conflicts,etc. To facilitate the dialogue between the State - members of the U.N. and our agencies, about themes and interests that affect our people.
3. To start a process of large and equalitarian participation of our delegates to discuss, and approve a "U.N. DECLARATION OF THE ROMA PEOPLE RIGHTS" , to be used as an international instrument to guarantee, with acceptable standards, the full rights of our people.
4. Recognize and institutionalize in the U.N. system ,and the U.N. States members, the 8th of april as "ROMA INTERNATIONAL DAY", to celebrate the first Congress of the International Romani Union, held in London (England) the 8th of april 1971, which marked the beginning of the comtemporary associative movement of our people.
5. Inside the meetings and activities preparatory for the "World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Releated Intolerance", The Office of the Human Rights High Commisionner will facilitate the creation of a "Continental Meeting of the Roma People of the Americas", where we could unify criterias, build consensus and draw strategies, from the distinct realities of our people throughout the Continent.
6. To not forgot to include the Roma people into the different processes and levels of the U.N. system, but on the contrary, involve us actively in the reflections and discussions on subjects that directly or indirectly affect us.
 
TO THE ORGANIZATION OF THE AMERICAN STATES:
 
7. To constituate a permanent committee which incorporates the existence of the Roma people of the Americas on an equal level.
8. Facilitate the involvement of the Roma people of the Americas in the process of the evaluation and discussion of "The Project of Declaration Pan American of Indigenous Peoples Rights", as is mentionned in its article 1, that the legal disposition of this "Project of Declaration" is available to the Roma People, in our condition as Tribal People.
9. With an adequate participation of the Roma people, to create a large study of our human and collective rights as they are today.
 
TO THE STATES AND GOVERNMENTS OF THE AMERICAS:
 
10. Recognize fully our existence as a people and guarantee the exercise of our civil and collective rights. Due to our transnational and large geographical mobility, the Roma people must be considered by the Continental States and Governments as a people which is also American by tradition and historical presence.
11. To create, with large, consensual participation of our people, legal instruments and regulations which guarantee our civils and collective rights as well as our ethnic, and cultural integrity .
12. Those who have not yet ratified Convention 169 from 1989 of the International Labor Organization on "Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independant Countries", to do so. And to those who have ratified the Convention to apply it totally in their legal dispositions, keeping in mind that they also apply to our people.
13. To guarantee a large and appropriate participation of Roma delegates from the Americas to the "World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance".
14. Receive into their respectives territories the Roma refugees, who, escaping from wars and persecussions, came to the Americas, seeking guaranteed safety and an opportunity to restart their lives.
 
TO THE NON GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND AGENCIES OF COOPERATION:
 
15. Keep in mind the needs and actual problems of the Roma people of the Americas in their programs of actions and interventions.
16. To commit themselves to cooperating with the Roma organizations of the Americas, to financially and technically support all initiatives and projects seeking the fullfilment of our principal demands.
 
TO THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND AFRO-DESCENDANTS, AS WELL AS OTHERS TRADITONAL PEOPLES WHICH ARE ATTACHED TO THIS CONTINENT:
 
17. Support with solidarity and brotherhood the aspirations, demands and revindications of our people, to pull us out of invisibilty, our collective rights to be recognized and respected.
18. Reciprocity and mutual acknowledgment as another offspring of the PACHA MAMA - MOTHER EARTH, which means that, though not being natives of this Continent, we have an old presence and trajectory which led us to suffer the same problems as the Indigenous people and Afro-descendants.
19. Recognize that the Roma people is a social actor in the Americas, who from invisibility, is emerging to add to the construction of a more diverse, pluralistic, more democratic , free and just society.
20. The Roma people value profoundly the demands and revindications formulated by the Indigenous people, Afro-descendants and other Traditional peoples who live on the Continent, considering that they opened the roads that our people is taking today. In a certain way, our people are successors to the organizational work developed by these peoples, and proudly make it their own.
 
To conclude, the organizations and Kumpania Roma of the Americas, announce the creation of an instrument of continental coordination: "COUNCIL OF THE ORGANIZATIONS AND KUMPANIA ROMA OF THE AMERICAS", whose fundamental mission is to contribute to the consolidation of the associative Roma movement, in the continent, and around the world, bringing it out of invisibility into the international community.
Signed in Quito ( Ecuador), this 15 of march 2001 by the attending representatives of organizations and Kumpania Roma of the Americas :
 
1. ASOCIACION IDENTITAD CULTURAL ROMANI DE ARGENTINA. E-mail: jberna@sagyp.mecon.gov.ar
2. ASOCIACION NACIONAL DEL PUEBLO ROM DE ECUADOR. E-mail: asorom@yupimail.com
3. PROCESO ORGANIZATIVO DEL PUEBLO ROM DE COLOMBIA. E-mail: prorom@gitanos.casa.as, viamultiple@hotmail.com
4. GRUPO ROMA - KUMPANIA ROM DE CHILE. Celular: 005694142937
5. SA ROMA (U.S.). E-mail: w9duna@stthomas.edu
6. AMERICAN ROMANI UNION. E-mail: vinkroma@hotmail.com
7. ROMANO LIL (CANADA). E-mail: hsijercic@home.com
8. WESTERN CANADIAN ROMANI ALLIANCE. E-mail: celtrom@uniserve.com