In April of 2016, the Vilnius City Municipality announced the launching of its Roma Integration Program, or “Vilnius (Kirtimai) Roma Tabor Community Social Integration Program for 2016-2019.” The municipality’s plans were widely discussed in the media, which in its own turn, came up with sensational headlines like “Program of Roma Integration and Tabor Eradication To Be Approved.” A curious fact: Roma representatives did not take part in the negotiation process for this major 700,000 euro project. They were not invited to even observe a single meeting. As ever, Roma are being “integrated” behind their own backs.
Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
A Nigerian citizen was attacked with a knife and injured in Kaunas, Lithuania, earlier this month. Trying hard to avoid describing the assault as a racially motivated hate crime, law enforcement officials and the mainstream media alike explained that the incident was purely part of a private dispute. Strange to tell, reading through official statistics you would rapidly come to the conclusion that racist and xenopohobic crimes in Lithuania stand at about zero. And, that neo-Nazi minded youth are “just patriotic.”
It is no great secret in this part of the world that law enforcement officials and some politicians like to beautify the statistics, or to terminate or redefine proceedings brought in respect of racial or xenophobic hatred. One example comes to mind from 2011, when MPs J. Narkevičius and E. Zingeris appealed to the General Prosecutor’s Office to do something about the neo-Nazi ideology espoused in the song “Diktatūra” by the group “Šalčininkų rajonas” (Šalčininkai District).
Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Human Rights, Lithuania, Media Watch, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged Diktatūra, Human rights in Lihtuania, neo-Nazis in Lithuania, Racism in Lithuania, Roma in Lithuania, Šalčininkų rajonas, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
Vilma Fiokla Kiurė. Photo: Benediktas Januševičius.
Here in Lithuania, the words “Roma” and “discrimination” are regarded as inseparable. It seems that even the Roma community is reconciled with that. The situation, however, is worsening and what is currently happening in Kirtimai, a village on the outskirts of Vilnius, the capital city’s home to its most prominent tabor, or Roma settlement, and often referred to just as Kirtimai Tabor. What is happening is something larger than just “discrimination against Roma.”
For starters, the water has been disconnected in upper Kirtimai. There had never been a proper water supply but there was a water “column” used by some three hundred people. But it has been blocked off. Looking at the sight of baby carriages used for carrying urns of water is a sight unbelievable for the beautiful capital city of a European Union member state.
Posted in Human Rights, News & Views, Opinion, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged "Gypsy" issues in Eastern Europe, Human rights + Lithuania, Kirtumai tabor, Parubanka, Roma + Eastern Europe, Roma + Lithuania, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
O P I N I O N
by Defending History Staff
On the occasion of the Jewish new year, 5775 (Sept. 2014 — Sept. 2015), starting this Wednesday evening 24 September at sundown, Defending History has announced seven symbolic (non-material) awards to individuals of extraordinary individual achievement in the field of human rights and tolerance in Lithuania. By “individual achievement” we refer to people who stood up, spoke out, and rose to the moral imperative of saying what needed to be said in the spirit of the prophets who felt an inner voice compelling their rising up, rather than in the context of a job or position at an NGO or other institution. These two genres are harmoniously complementary, and in no way demeaning to each other.
Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views
Tagged Aleksandras Bosas, Alicija Zukauskaite, Bagel Shop (Vilnius), Beigelių krautuvėlė (Vilnius), Evaldas Balciunas, human rights in Lithuania, Human Rights in the Baltics, Ieva Nakvisele, Lina Zigelyte, Pinchos Fridberg, Prophet Amos, Vilma Fiokla Kiure
O P I N I O N
Vilma Fiokla Kiurė (photo: Benediktas Januševičius)
The first international congress of Roma was held on April 8, 1971 in Oprington, England. In 1990, the date was designated International Roma Day.
On this day Roma celebrate and hold concerts, but also remember the most tragic eras in the history of the Roma: persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators in World War II and the resulting genocide of the Roma people. On this day the Vilnius Roma community floats wreaths of flowers on the Neris River in remembrance of their compatriots.
Roma who survived the Second World War, ethnic cleansing and genocide remember that the Nazi soldiers and their local police collaborators used simple external recognition to persecute the Roma. At that time the Roma were still wanderers, and it was a rare member of the community who had identification documents. Few had relationships with sedentary residents, making physical resemblance to the typical Roma the main indicator of ethnicity, in many cases guaranteeing death.
Posted in Human Rights, Lithuania, News & Views, Opinion, Racism, Roma, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė
Tagged "Gypsies" in Lithuania, International Roma Day, Roma / Romani / Gypsy Human Rights, Roma + Lithuania, Vilma Fiokla Kiure