On the 5th of April 2023, The Department of National Minorities held a discussion dedicated to the International Roma Day. The topic of the discussion was ‘Roma identity – is it important while Roma inclusion documents is being prepared?’

The Roma community members, the scientists and the representatives of state institutions were among the participants of the discussion.

The guests of the event were greeted by the Head of the Department – Vida Montvydaitė. An overview of the history of the Roma in Lithuania was presented by the Aušra Simoniukštytė – the tutor of the Faculty of Pedagogy at Vilnius College, Professor Dr. Iulius Rostas gave a lecture on the “Roma identity and inclusion: policy making in the 21st century” topic and Božena Karvelienė, the chairwoman of the ‘Roma Integration House’ association spoke about the customs and traditions of Roma people.

Professor I. Rostas pointed out that during the formation of the strategies for Roma community integration the Roma themselves and their identity are not being taken into account.

He emphasized that speaking about Roma community the component of ethnic politics plays a very important role, so it cannot be viewed through the usual prism of national minority politics.

The researcher emphasized that historically, the preservation of the Roma identity is not supported by any state and the interests of the Roma community themselves are not sufficiently represented in state institutions and international organizations. Due to the absence of institutions communicating about the Roma as a separate group and representing the Roma identity, this national minority is stigmatized. Therefore, it is necessary to give Roma community the opportunity to spread information about themselves through the cultural and political systems as well as the help from society is required.