Executive summary

AuthorChryso Pelekani, Loizos Symeou
In spite of the small number of Roma or Gurbet1 people living in the Republic of Cyprus,2
their situation is as difficult as in several other Eur opean countries with large and deeply
marginalised Roma populations. The Council of Europe estimates that the number of Roma
living in the Republic of Cy prus (RoC) is about 1,250 or 0.11 per cent of the overall
population (data from 2012); the National Roma Integration Strate gy for Cyprus (NRIS)
estimates that in the areas controlled by the RoC, there are 650 -700 Cypriot R oma now
The general government policy for the promotion of Cypriot Roma social inclusion f ollows
a horizontal policy that targets all vulnerable groups within a broader policy and its social
integration structures (e.g., general social inclusion policies and the National Reform
Program). Since Cyprus is promoting the integra tion of Roma through mainstream policy
measures in the context of ex isting structures, there are no separate monitoring
mechanisms in place for members of this group.4
The topics analysed in this report focus on the challenges faced by Romani women,
intermobility within Cyprus, and on the prevention of drug use among Roma. T he reason
why the authors selected these specific themes for the third monitoring report is because
until now there have not been any reports or research related to the domestic migrat ion
and mobility of Cypriot Roma, or research about Roma women in Cyprus, or about the
impact of the distribution and use of drugs in the Roma community in Cyprus. Topics such
as education, housing, health and employment were mentioned and analysed in the
previous Roma Civil Monitor reports.
For this reason, it was important to examine and investigate the themes mentioned above.
These topics provide a more complete picture of the situation of Cypriot Roma and other
issues faced in t heir community. As emerg ed from the interviews conducted with Roma
(10 Roma) and non-Roma (two non-Roma), the lack of concrete political or social Roma
integration measures creates problems not only among Romani commu nities (for bot h
men and women) but also problems for those around them.
Situation of Roma women
Despite the intense activity of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth (MoEC),
of other governmental or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and of institutions
around the issue of Roma, smooth integration i nto the Greek Cy priot (G/C) community
around the issue of education remains difficult for Roma and as a consequence, their
illiteracy level remains high. O ur interviews revealed that Roma women face intolerance,
lack of respect, daily racism and discrimination, a nd are marginalised - not just outside
the home but also the home, especially by their husbands. The position of Roma woman
is a degraded one and they are considered inferior. Women’s participation in the Cyprus
Roma Association-CYPROM is a movement that aims to help Roma women express
themselves and fight for their rights.
1 Roma in Cyprus are known as Gurbets; but, in this report the term ΟRomaΠ will be used.
2 In this report, ΟCyprusΠ refers to the areas controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus (EU
Member State since 2004), which is also referred to as Οthe SouthΠ. Areas that are not under the control of the
government of the Republic of Cyprus are referred to as Οthe NorthΠ.
3 Policy Measures of Cyprus for the Social Inclusion of Roma, 06 June 2017,
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/roma_cyprus_strategy_en.pdf (Retrieved on January 21, 2019)
4 Pelekani, C. & Symeou, L. (2019), Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national
Roma integration strategies in Cyprus: Assessing the progress in four key policy areas of the strategy.
European Commission & Central European University.

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