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October 29 2010

Culture and Peace: a conference on "The Roma and Europe: antiziganism and future" in Paris

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On the initiative of the Community of Sant'Egidio, Thursday, October 21 was held in Paris at the Salle des Actes de l'Institut Catholique, a conference on "Roma in Europe: antiziganism and future."
After a summer marked in France by the deterioration of living conditions of Roma with the growth of anti-Roma political speeches, the heavier controls, the closure of camps and deportations, the speakers have focused on rejecting the simplifications of these last month, on highlighting injustice and the deep roots of antiziganism in France and Europe, but also on possible solutions for a common future.
Facing an audience attentive and involved, formed mostly by university students, Paolo Ciani from the Community of Sant'Egidio of Rome, responsible for all activities with the Roma and Sinti, said the Community's commitment alongside the Roma families from 'early 80s, first in Italy and then in Europe, in many large cities, including Paris.
Sant'Egidio's experience is that there is a possibility of a fruitful path of European integration for this despised people, a nation of children - as about 50% of the Roma in Europe are less than fifteen years.


Frederic Sarter, Associate in Literature, a former pupil of the École normale supérieure and Lanna Hollo, a lawyer, an expert on human rights, have demonstrated the complexity of historical, geographical and cultural "mosaic" composed of the populations romaes, whose only constant was unfortunately the discrimination suffered through the centuries in different countries.
They recalled the extreme conditions of this discrimination at the time of World War II, with forced internment in France and especially with the deportation and extermination by the Nazis which involved between 200,000 to 500,000 Roma and Sinti.
Finally Camille Orsoni, a student at the Institut Catholique de Paris, told the service of the Community of Sant'Egidio and students of "La Catho" with the homeless in downtown Paris, including many Roma families immigrated from Romania. The real friendship and loyalty of a regular service, led her to discover the harshness of life in shantytowns on the outskirts of the "Grand Paris", but also the wishes of parents in the Roma families to live, work, integrate and send their children to school to prepare them for a better future.

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