The Council of Europe estimates that approximately 1.85 million Roma live in Romania (8.32% of the population). As indicated in the preliminary census results of 2021 there are about 569.500 representing 2.98% of the total population. Roma sociologists and activists are questioning these numbers as Roma choose not to declare their identity, due to fear of discrimination or potential threats or risks to their life. This problem can also be seen through the difficulties faced related to the issuance of identity documents, citizenship, and the lack of birth certificates and birth registration of some children. Many Roma children and young adults remained unregistered at birth.

The risk was heightened for children born to parents who themselves were undocumented. The term Gypsy is assumed to be derived from the ancient Greek Athinganoi a word used to refer to the untouchables – somehow related to the Dalit community – but also heretics a community perceived to practice a different religion, strongly associated with sorcerers, witchcraft, and fortune telling. Atsinganoi is the root word for “cigano”, “çingene”, “cigány”, “zigeuner”, “tzigan”, “zingaro”, and “țigan”, words used to pejoratively describe members of the Romani people in various European languages. In România, the latter is often used. This perception of the Roma as others, as untouchables, or as impure – in the European mentality had catastrophic consequences for the Roma. In old Romania, Roma were slaves for 500 years – and they were freed around 1850. During the second world war, besides the Jewish population, and other groups that were victims of the Nazis based on their ethnicity.  religion, political beliefs, and/or sexual orientation, the Roma represented a significant population that was subject to the application of Nazi “racial hygiene” (or the selective breeding applied to humans).

Read more about Romas in Romania here:

Status of Roma in Europe Regional Report – Summary and Full Report

Roma people less safe than 20 years ago? GFoD report reveals shocking situation of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent in Europe

Latest from Romania

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