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Homel: human rights defenders ask Education Minister to include works of Roma in the school curriculum

2013 2013-04-08T17:17:46+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Homel human rights defenders Maryia Klimovich and Ales Yauseyenka filed a letter to the Education Minister Siarhei Maskevich, asking him to include in the school curriculum poems and novels.

“We, ethnic Belarusians, who have friends and relatives among representatives of the Roma nationality, cannot stay indifferent facing numerous manifestations of Roma-phobia in the Belarusian society... We think that anti-Roma moods in the educational establishments have a negative influence on the educational process. Can Roma children consider school as their second home when their Slavic contemporaries have a biased attitude to them?” write the human rights defenders.

They think that the widespread opinion that Roma cannot create anything outstanding could be shattered by a lecture on the contemporary Roma poetry. Schoolchildren of various nationalities could expand their outlook and Roma children would gain worthy role models as a result.

The applicants remind about such literateurs as the Soviet Roma poet Nikolay Vasilevskiy. Lilit Mazikina and Valeria Yanysheva write their poems in two languages, Roma and Russian. The text of the Holy Bible has been translated into Roma language. There’s also a number of articles about the influence of the Roma culture on the Russian classical writers and poets.

“The Roma underclass (and a considerable part of the families of Belarusian Roma below to the lower social strata) has no access to the achievements of the national intellectual circles. If workers of the educational establishments set the aim to improve the situation, they can doubtlessly do much good to the Roma Diaspora and gain a deep gratitude of its best representatives. The hundreds of non-Roma schoolchildren, having familiarized with the Roma musical culture will feel friendliness to the people who is its author. We ask you to introduce the proposed changes in the school curriculum. The aim of the school is not only to give the necessary knowledge to the new generation, but also to bring up real citizens. Let us remind that xenophobia is a stain on the civil conscience,” stated Maryia Klimovich and Ales Yauseyenka.

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