Realizing Roma Rights: Press Release

For Immediate Release, Boston MA, March 29, 2017

Today Harvard FXB research director Jacqueline Bhabha and instructor and director of the Roma Program Margareta Matache announce the release of Realizing Roma Rights, a volume they have edited with Andrzej Mirga, Chair of the Roma Education Fund. The book, published by University of Pennsylvania Press, investigates anti-Roma racism and documents a growing Roma-led political movement engaged in building a more inclusive and just Europe.

As Professor Bhabha says, “the vast majority of Americans, including otherwise well-informed people, know little if anything about the estimated 14 million Roma worldwide despite a long-standing (if small) Roma presence” in the United States.  And yet as Realizing Roma Rights makes clear there are many parallels between African Americans in the United States and the Roma in Europe: they both have struggled to overcome a legacy of slavery and its accompanying stereotypes (the Roma nineteenth-century experience recently made vivid in the award-winning film Aferim!). The American civil rights movement, as well as scholarship on critical race theory and intersectionality, has thus informed this generation of Roma advocates and scholars.

The book offers American readers insight into the enduring discrimination against the Roma in Europe along with the rise of right-wing nationalist movements there. Realizing Roma Rights brings to the forefront voices of leading and emerging Romani scholars, from established human rights experts to policy and advocacy leaders with deep experience. Margareta Matache hopes that the book will “act as a powerful tool for those wishing to learn more about one of the most egregious human rights challenges in the heart of Europe, and about the range of imaginative strategies being advanced to redress this situation.” As Harvard University Professor Amartya Sen has written, “this splendid collection of essays brings out the richness of the Roma story—what the world owes to this massively disadvantaged group, and no less importantly, what the world has to learn from the global culture of this locally defiant community spread across the world.”

Just added: Read the Table of Contents and the Executive Summary.

For additional information, please contact Susan Lloyd McGarry, Senior Writer at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, at or (617) 432-6811 or Margareta Matache, director of the FXB Roma Program, at or (617) 432-7536.

High-resolution files are available for both of the illustrations; review copies are available from University of Pennsylvania Press.

Go directly to the UPenn Press book page. Use PH70 when you order from them for a 20% discount (good for limited amount of time).

Book cover art by Zoran Tairović.

This post was updated April 14 to delete events already passed and to add the table of contents and a link to the newest blog.

Blog post by the editors here.


The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University is a university-wide interdisciplinary center that conducts rigorous investigation of the most serious threats to health and wellbeing globally. Based at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, we work closely with scholars, students, the international policy community, and civil society to engage in ongoing strategic efforts to promote equity and dignity for those oppressed by grave poverty and stigma around the world.