Roma in Greece
Romani people of Greece
or the more derogatory term
(Gypsies). The number of Roma in Greece is currently estimated to be between 200,000 and300,000 people.
Arrival into the Balkans
The history of Roma in Greece goes back to the 15th century. The name Gypsy sometimes used for theRomani people was first given to them by the Greeks, who supposed them to be Egyptian in origin. Due totheir nomadic nature, they are not concentrated in a specific geographical area, but are dispersed all overthe country. The majority of the Greek Roma are Orthodox Christians who speak the Romani language in
addition to Greek . Most of the Roma who live in Western Thrace are Muslims and speak a dialect of the
)The Roma in Greece live scattered on the whole territory of the country, mainly in the suburbs. Notablecentres of Romani life in Greece are Agia Varvara which has a very successful Romani community and Ano
Liosia where conditions are less well. However, between 1998-2002, 502 Albanian Roma childrendisappeared from the Greek Foundation for children Agia Varvara.
These cases were not investigated by the Greek authorities until the European Union forced an investigation, which onl y led to the
recov ering of 4 children. The children who were sold by the state were presumably sold to humantraffickers for sexual slavery or organ harvesting, according to a report submitted by the Greek government to the European Commission.
Roma largely maintain their own customs andtraditions. Although a large number of Roma has adopted a sedentary and urban way of living, there arestill settlements in some areas. The nomads at the settlements often differentiate themselves from the restof the population. They number 200,000 according to the Greek government. According to the NationalCommission for Human Rights that number is closer to 250,000 and according to the Greek Helsinki Watch group to 300,000.
As a result of neglect b y the state, among other factors, the Romani communities in Greece face severalproblems including high instances of child labour and abuse, low school attendance, police discriminationand drug trafficking. The most serious issue is the housing problem since many Roma in Greece still live