Present and Past Injustice

"We Call Ourselves Roma" (Facing History, 2014)
“We Call Ourselves Roma” (Facing History, 2014)

Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary // Post-War Kosovo and the Roma

Economic, social, and political developments have fueled a reemergence of violence against the Roma community, including state-sanctioned policies and practices, attacks, hate speech, and hate crimes. In this component of promoting reflection on past and present state-sponsored violence against Roma, Harvard FXB informs and engages with the broader academic community to support the efforts of Roma activists, communities, and institutions to combat extremism and hate-motivated violence. In our research we have been an early adopter of tracking social media as a measure of hate speech and have identified the Roma community as an ongoing case study in early warning for atrocity prevention, especially since they have experienced recent genocide. We also explore the types of responses to past and present collective injustice employed by different governments for Roma.

Learn more about Roma history here in a video of FXB Roma program leader, Magarete Matache, produced by Facing History and Ourselves.

Watch the video,

Migrant Romani People in the United States: Understanding an Uncharted Phenomenon, 2016-present

There is no accurate or systematic information about the circumstances of Romani migrants in the United States. In particular, little is known about Romani child and adolescent migrants who fail to establish secure US immigration status and may face removal or deportation to their countries of origin. Also, there are no data on Romani child and adolescent migrants’ asylum claims or on judicial responses to their experience of discrimination, harassment, or socioeconomic disenfranchisement in the country of origin. There also appears to be no information concerning Romani children who are summarily removed and repatriated without being placed in immigration proceedings. Finally, there is a dearth of data on Romani child and adolescent migrants’ access to protectionand to social and economic rights such as education, adequate housing and welfare support, nor about the risks to which they are exposed once in the US.

To overcome some of these gaps, the Migrant Romani People in the United States: Understanding an Uncharted Phenomenon project investigates legal issues regarding recent Romani migration to the United States. Among other topics, our research covers cases of children repatriated without being placed in immigration proceedings and of asylum-seeking children, unaccompanied or with families. We explore the legal challenges that these cases present, as well as the context in which they arise.

The project explores legal complexities and challenges related securing to resisting removal, both in the context of asylum claims and irregular immigration status. We also intend to explore the presence or absence of coordination between US institutions and the national child welfare agency in the country of origin in cases of repatriation.

A qualitative research project, Migrant Romani People in the US: Understanding an Uncharted Phenomenon uses semi-structured interviews and desk review as the primary sources for its findings. Our research team is conducting approximately 30 interviews with asylum attorneys, interpreters, Romani professionals, researchers, advocates, social workers, child advocates, and representatives of relevant institutions to document their perceptions of legal and other challenges and opportunities facing Romani child and adolescent migrants in the United States.

Harvard FXB is collaborating with Harvard Law School and the Law International Development Society (LIDS). LIDS is a student organization working with students from Harvard Law, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Fletcher School at Tufts, and other graduate schools in the Boston area.

Accelerating Patterns of Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary, 2014

This report was intended to alert the United Nations and the international community to the persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against Roma people in Hungary.

In the report, Harvard FXB made the case that Hungary’s mounting incidence of hate crimes, racist propaganda, discrimination, and exclusionary ideologies indicated a need for measures to ensure the physical and psychological safety of the Roma and other minority groups. It suggested that warning signs existed that should have sounded alarms in the international community.

The findings are based on desk research and field assessments, using documentation by international and local human rights organizations working in Hungary, coverage in the mass media in English and Hungarian, and reports and materials in the public domain published by intergovernmental and national institutions. Researchers gathered factual data to identify and report on instances and patterns of violence, killings, military training, and propaganda against the Roma.

Read The Accelerating Patterns of Anti-Roma Violence in Hungary report:

Read coverage of the study in Foreign Policy in Focus, The Conversation, NPR’s Code Switch, The Huffington Post, and the Montreal Gazette.

Post-War Kosovo and Its Policies Towards the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities, 2014

In June 2013, a research team from Harvard FXB conducted a fact-finding mission in Kosovo to investigate the human rights situation of the Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian minority populations with a focus on the status of children and adolescents.

The team visited five communities: the Plementina/Obelic district, Gracanica in the Pristina area, the Roma Mahala in Mitrovica, the Leposavic camp in Northern Kosovo and Prizen in South Kosovo, close to the Albanian border. Issues facing these communities included forced repatriation, access to education, and discrimination. The research team also engaged with leaders of international organizations, diplomats, political officials, civil society, scholars and independent experts.

Following the field work, Harvard FXB published a full report, including recommendations for national and international governments and organizations.

Read the article “Towards EU Negotiations: A Moment of Opportunity for the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian Communities in Kosovo?” (European Review)

Read the blog The Struggles of Roma in Kosovo