The Åland Islands Peace Institute arranged in cooperation with the Åland Peace Association, the Red Cross, the Multicultural Society of Åland and the Workers’ Educational Association a seminar about the situation of the Roma people in Europe. The seminar took place on Monday 28th April in the Parliament Building in Mariehamn.
Contributors at the seminar were Ingrid Schiöler from the Red Cross in Sweden and Gunnar Jansson, first deputy speaker of the Åland Parliament and former chairman of the Roma Delegation in Finland.
Ingrid Schiöler gave an insight to the historical and cultural background of the Roma people and said that the persecution and discrimination they have experienced, and still are experiencing, makes many Romas suspicious of the representants of the majority people. Gunnar Jansson, who talked about European Roma politics, stressed that the Roma must be given opportunities to participate in decisions concerning themselves, especially on a local level where most everyday matters are resolved. They both pointed out that problems emerge when people in welthy societies react to the living standards of newcomers, still, the housing situation and the possibility to provide for themselves can for the newcomers be much better here than in their homeland.