Romanian Roma reviewers come to Roma neighborhoods

By • on May 13, 2011

From 22 to 31 October 2011, Romania will hold its 14th population census. In order to ensure that the population count would proceed without a hitch, authorities have decided to run a simulation of the census between 7 and 16 May 2011.

The Romanian authorities have also chosen Roma citizens among the 78,000 Romanians questioned in this census simulation. After a series of meetings between the authorities and representatives of the Civic Alliance of Romanian Roma, the president of the National Institute of Statistics decided that the Roma communities will be questioned by Roma reviewers.

“At the last census in 2002, only 535,000 Romanians were officially registered as Roma, although the real number of Romanian Roma is 3-4 times bigger. Part of the blame belongs to the Romanians reviewers, which failed to cope with Roma communities or filled out incorrectly the forms. That’s why I asked the representatives of the National Institute of Statistics to entrust Roma people with carrying out the census in Roma communities. If this initiative is approved, the next census could prove more successful in revealing the real number of Roma in Romania”, said Mr. David Mark, the executive director of the Civic Alliance of Romanian Roma, an umbrella organization that unites 29 Roma NGOs.

The simulation of the census will take place in every one of Romania’s 261 sectors.Each sector has about 100 homes and approximately 300 people. “The choice of sectors took into account the areas inhabited mostly by minorities, and especially by Roma. The simulation of the census will use Roma reviewers in Roma communities as well. The reviewers will be selected by local municipalities”, said Mr. Vergil Voineagu, the president of the National Institute of Statistics

In 2002, at the last census, Romania’s population was of 21,7 millions out of which 535,000 were officially Roma. Roma leaders have contested the official number of Roma, which in their opinion should have been 3-4 times bigger. A reason why the Romanian Roma have not declared their ethnicity is the fact that they were ashamed or afraid. The Civic Alliance of Romanian Roma has launched a social campaign broadcast on radio, television and the Internet.