Sweden orders Textbook on Roma Discrimination

A Romani language class in Malmö. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

 

In March the government published a white paper detailing what Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag called “an unknown and dark part of Swedish history”. The document revealed historic treatment of Roma in Sweden, detailing systemic abuse and police opinions that it would be best to kill them off.  The government also created a Commission Against Anti-Romanyism, aimed at “bridging the trust gap between the Roma groups and the rest of society”.

On Thursday the government announced it had asked the commission to create school and teaching materials from the white book, to be used in all of Sweden’s secondary schools.  “If we are going to fight the alienation of Roma that we see today, we must be aware of this dark history of abuse,” Ullenhag told newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

 The Swedish National Agency for Education, the Living History Forum, and the Roma discrimination ombudsman will collaborate to produce the school materials. Ullenhag said that Swedish students should already be learning about the history of Romani people in Sweden, but that the quality of available materials and   information had been poor.  “Some of this information we didn’t even know about until the white book was released,” he remarked.

 Dialects of Romani have been spoken in Sweden for 500 years, and it counts as one of the five official minority languages of Sweden. Scando-Romani has even given Swedish some of its modern words, including tjej, a common word meaning “girl”.

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