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The Roma student Leonarda Dibrani awarded with the Fundación Secretariado Gitano Prize 2013 [editar]

Arrested in France during a school trip, she was deported to Kosovo in October

20/01/2014
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The Roma student Leonarda Dibrani awarded with the Fundación Secretariado Gitano Prize 2013

"I am very grateful for this award! I would like to send my greetings to all Roma people, and tell them that, if it is not possible for me to return to France, I will fight everywhere, because all Roma are my brothers and sisters, included those without papers like me. I will fight for them because I feel a lot of sorrow for the other people who have no papers, no home, no family; I promise that I will do my best to help them”, assured Leonarda Dibrani after hearing the news.

The Board of Trustees of the FSG, in its plenary meeting of 18 December, decided to grant the “FSG Prize 2013” to the Roma girl Leonarda Dibrani, considering her a model that symbolises the discriminatory treatment that many European Roma are suffering in Europe in recent years.

The case of the student Leonarda Dibrani reflects really well, in all its harshness, these times of resurgence of racism, xenophobia and antigypsism that Europe is going through. The girl was taken out of a school bus by the French police to be deported along with their parents and brothers to the country of origin of the family, Kosovo, even though she has never lived there and cannot speak the language. Her education, her dignity, her rights and her future were set aside because of her ethnic origin.

According to FSG Director, Isidro Rodriguez, "at present the Administrations of many European countries want to show that they have a heavy-handed approach in relation to migrant Roma, actually in relation to Roma as a whole, as it has been happening for centuries. This attitude has intensified in these bad times, where Roma people serve as scapegoats to appease the societies in crisis."

The deportation in October 2013 of the student Leonarda Dibrani had a lot of media and political impact, unleashing a wave of indignation following a number of statements and actions of a xenophobic and antigypsy nature by the government of François Hollande and especially, his Minister of Interior Manuel Valls. This led to an intense controversy in France and throughout Europe, among politicians, social organisations, students, etc. A few days later, President Hollande himself proposed Leonarda to return to France but without her family, a proposal that she strongly rejected.

Leonarda Dibrani assures she is
Leonarda Dibrani assures she is "very grateful" for receiving the Fundación Secretariado Gitano Prize 2013

The Fundación Secretariado Gitano Prize

The FSG established in 2011 the ‘Fundación Secretariado Gitano Prize' in order to offer recognition to those individuals or institutions that perform outstanding work to defend and support the Roma community as regards their access to citizenship and the promotion of an equal treatment and their social recognition.  In 2011 the prize was awarded to the anthropologist Teresa San Román and in 2012 to the Roma Member of European Parliament Lívia Járóka. In 2012, coinciding with its thirtieth anniversary, the FSG also granted the special “FSG-30 years” awards.  

The FSG Prize is represented by a metal box – because it is in boxes where we keep important things, where we treasure pictures and objects with an emotional value are treasured – with a golden plate with the letter “G”, which symbolises “the Roma spirit”. The prizes are personalised with a quote from the recipient of the award and have no economic endowment.



The message of Leonarda after hearing the news of the Award

After communicating by phone to Leonarda Dibrani in Mitrovica (Kosovo) the news of the FSG Prize, she shared with us a message to express her gratitude and sent greetings to the Spanish Roma 

Award ceremony

The possibility, initially considered, to bring Leonarda to Spain to hand over the award personally to her at the presentation event of the FSG awareness-raising campaign “Have a look at your dreams”, that will take place in Madrid on 1 February, was finally dismissed because neither her nor her family have valid passports as well as the difficulties related to obtaining a visa in such a short period of time.

Instead a delegation of Fundación Secretariado Gitano is planning to travel to Kosovo in the coming weeks to deliver the Prize personally to her and express FSG support and solidarity in these difficult times she is going through.    

On the other hand, on 7 January, the hearing of the appeal presented by the Dibrani family against their deportation to Kosovo and their request to return to France, took place in an Administrative Court in Besançon, France. The decision is expected by the end of January 2014. 

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