POST-REVOLUTION ROMANIA, 1990: Federation of Ethnic Roma (FER) sets up in 1990

The Bucharest-based Federation of Romania's Ethnic Roma (FER) was established in 1990 and acquired a legal personality by Decision 1541 of May 28, 1990 of the District 1 Bucharest Courthouse, according to "Dictionar al partidelor si coalitiilor politice si al uniunilor etnice din Romania'' (Dictionary of political parties and coalitions and ethnic unions of Romania), edited by ROMPRES National News Agency in 1993. The FER headquarters was in Bucharest. FER was designed to campaign for the recognition of Roma as an ethnic minority enjoying equal rights in all areas of economic, cultural, and political life, which individual and collective rights are respected in line with the Romanian Constitution. Its general programme showed that FER establishes and develops communication, information and understanding relations among the various Romany communities from the country and abroad; promotes the spiritual and cultural elements common to all Roma ethnic groups; acts for the affirmation of the ethnic identity of the Roma, the standardisation of the Romany language; designs in Romania an extracurricular network for teaching the Romany language and culture; develops research programmes in history, ethnography, folklore, sociology and disseminate the results obtained; studies the teaching and practice of Romany traditions in the fields of arts (music, dance), crafts, customs; awards scholarships at university and postgraduate level; integrates Roma's culture with the mainstream culture of Romania and elsewhere in the world by the use of various means, including mass-media. The programme also mentioned that FER acts in the spirit of non-violence, tolerance, mutual respect and constructive co-operation with Romanians and all national minorities in Romania to build a democratic society based on the principle of cultural and political pluralism. The federation, the document added, makes sure the observance of the country's legislation, human rights and the rules of international law, fighting against any form of negative ethnic and racial discrimination, defending the equality and dignity of minorities in relation to the majority population. FER supports the integration of Roma in the country in all areas of social life, as loyal, responsible and active citizens; stimulates the participation of Roma in the management of administrative, economic and cultural activities in the areas where Roma live, according to the principles of proportional representation, competence and value of individuals. FER promotes the common interests of all member communities, centralises and analyses their problems, seeks solutions for their mediation and negotiation with state organisations in Romania, as well as with Roma organisations in other countries, with international institutions and organisations or belonging to other countries. The organisational chart of FER was federal and combined the administrative-territorial, ethnic, occupational and cultural activity profile principles in line with the organisational, decision-making and action autonomy of the member communities and associations. According to the general programme, FER organises self-help services for community members, networks of culture centres for Roma; secures a balance in relations between Roma, as a minority, and other nationalities in the country, knowledge of and observance of legislation, moral education of members in synch with the rules of contemporary European civilizations; develops relations with international organisations and institutions abroad, etc. The leadership of FER was provided by a council, which appointed a secretariat consisting of representatives of four organisations affiliated with FER: Nicolae Gheorghe (who was also vice president of the International Romany Union), Gheorghe Ivan, Vasile Ionescu, Vasile Burtea. The Roma Ethnic Federation was one of the founding members of the Romany Centre for Social Intervention and Studies - Romani (CRISS), a non-governmental organisation established in 1993. The mission of Romani CRISS is to defend the rights of the Roma in Romania. Romani CRISS provides legal assistance in cases of abuse and works to combat and prevent racial discrimination against Roma in all areas of public life, including education, housing and health, according to Since its establishment in 1993, Romani CRISS has developed long-term relationships with Romany communities and authorities across the country, with intergovernmental organisations, with civil society partners in the country or abroad, as well as with donors that have been backed by close communication, institutional transparency and advocacy. Romani CRISS combines local civic activism with the influence and monitoring of public policy programmes designed for the Roma, from the perspective of human rights and minority rights It is composed of departments, which object of activity is different but interconnected in purpose: the human rights department, the health department, the education department, the social department. Regarding international cooperation, Romani CRISS is said to have set to participate in the development of policies for the Roma at the international level by building partnerships/alliances, providing information on the programmes implemented by the organisation to various international partners/donors, encouraging the development of partnership relations between NGOs, Roma and relevant actors from other countries, according to info posted on AGERPRES (Documentary - Ruxandra Bratu; editor: Marina Badulescu; EN - author: Corneliu-Aurelian Colceriu, editor: Adina Panaitescu)

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