the World Social Forum in Bombay/Mumbai (
Center AVER against Racism, Ternikano Berno, Rromani Baxt, Phralipen Ibar
Among all the peoples and nations making up mankind, one may distinguish in terms of settlement pattern the following categories:
a) a limited number of peoples, established as States during the forming of current borders. Irrespectively of what is proclaimed by authorities, these peoples always share the territory of their State with various other peoples not established in States, due to ups and downs of history.
b) a great number of peoples, living in compact territories but which lacking a State of their own in the present-day political map of the world. Some are encountered in only one State; others are split among several neighbouring States. One should not forget that among these peoples, a significant number are of quite small size (sometimes a handful of villages) but that this feature should by no means preclude their right to recognition and respect, on a foot of equality with other peoples and nations.
c) there is also a certain number of peoples disseminated in comparatively vast areas, with no compact territory or with a scattered pattern of settlement; some of them lead a mobile style of life, at least partially. One can also count among them a number of indigenous peoples. These characteristics should not preclude their right to recognition and respect, on a foot of full quality with all other peoples and nations in the world.
Apparently, the Rroms are the
most numerous people of the third category, with some ten millions in
In Europe, eight other peoples with no compact territory
have been identified (Jewish people, Saamis, Yeniches, Aromanians, Travellers,
Rudar-Beás, Western Armenians and Balkano-Egyptians,
also called Ashkalis – to which there is some reason
to add Euro-Amazighs and Euro-Arabians) with
populations oscillating between 40.000 (Yeniches) or
60.000 (Saamis) and six millions (Euro-Arabians). The
number of such peoples with no compact territory on all five continents could
probably be counted in hundreds. Clearly enough, such peoples are very
dissimilar between them already in
Peoples belonging to all three categories are likely to be, and actually result to be, victims of exploitation, a mechanism originating from huge hidden forces standing behind, and above, the States. Colonialism and neo-colonialism, as well as the oppression of minorities, also commonly referred to as "inner colonialism", are well-known mechanisms of this kind. The fate of peoples with no compact territory, although frequently forgotten in political debates, is in a particularly alarming: among the nine peoples of this kind identified in Europe, five have gone through a systematic genocide during the 20th century and all of them have suffered severe oppression, often shared with other minorities. While the pattern of dispersed settlement creates very often a severe handicap for disseminated peoples and may account for their greater vulnerability, the emergence of modern devices of communications should provide all of them better conditions of organisation and coordination in their area of dispersion.
It is obvious that the struggle for the affirmation and consolidation of one's identity, language, culture, values and way of life is not the only issue in present-day's world, very much worried by economical, social and environmental concerns and even by the very question of mankind survival. Nevertheless it should not be neglected in so far its roots and branches intertwine closely with those of the other problems discussed in the Social forum. At least respect of others and quality of life are common denominators.
In this respect, special attention should be paid to the
emergent non-territorial Rromani nation, as proclaimed
by the 5th World-wide Rromani
For the first time, there were Rroms
participating in a Social Forum at the
Our information exchanges with other European and extra-European peoples with no compact territory have revealed that similar exploitation is carried out at their expenses in almost all cases and it has become a priority to throughout transform the political approach of these issues through:
- recognition of these identities as such, in full quality with others irrespective of their style of life and size
- recognition of their full rights and responsibilities in participating to policies addressed to them
- recognition of their full rights and responsibilities in all levels of decision-making institutions directed at economic and social progress, equitable trade, environmental issues etc…
-recognition of the right to a mobile style of life, to stop mobility and settle in full freedom and to resume mobility upon a free decision of the person(s) concerned (as granted by Art. 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
- creating actual conditions for a full exercise of this right, in full equality with sedentary citizens in terms of property, schooling, health, credit, welfare, voting, insurance etc…
- nullifying all punishments pronounced against people leading a mobile way of life as a result of non-respecting the law in all cases when the conditions of respecting the law are lacking (lack of camping sites for example)
- making public the financial support to the development to minorities with no compact territory and the real outputs of the investments involved
- devoting substantial financing primarily to scholarship for mass and elite academic education among these minorities, especially for academic training of grass-root level experts, mediators, evaluators and advisers
- setting an innovative system of efficient representation and management not only within these peoples but also at a wider level (State and world levels)
- revocation and progressive dissolution of would-be philanthropic institutions
- replacing their investments by the outputs of rational fund-generating activities
- setting up local scientific advisory bodies committed to the analysis of all forms of racism and discrimination, their genesis and their mechanisms of spreading out and to the elaboration of really efficient remedies to combat them.
We consider that from all these standpoints the struggle of peoples and nations with no compact territory is fully consonant with the struggle of the World Social Forum and we propose the formal integration of our combat into a wide cooperation with all structures committed for the building of a different, more equitable and social World.