Hundreds of visitors are expected to flock to Prague from all over the country this week to enjoy music, art and seminars about Roma life today. For the fifth time, the Khamoro festival features music groups from countries as near as neighbouring Germany and as far as Kazakhstan. Martina Pokutova is responsible for the Roma World Festival's public relations:
"Khamoro was established in 1999, when producers Jelena and Dzemil Silajdzic came from the former Yugoslavia to Prague. Because they were movie producers and co-operated with Emir Kusturica on movies about Roma people, they had a good relationship with the Roma people and decided to organise a concert for the music group Khamoro. After that, because this concert was very successful, they decided to organise a festival named after the band Khamoro, which means sun."
Mr Ruud Van Enk is from the EC delegation in the Czech Republic, which for the third time has contributed financially to the organisation of the festival. He believes Khamoro 2003 plays a significant role in tackling EU goals that are sometimes difficult to meet:
"The European Union is very much a union in diversity. The respect for minorities, human rights and equality for the law are key components of what is called the "acquis" - the rules and regulations of the European Union. Unlike, unfortunately, rules on vehicle emissions or water quality, European rules on minorities and equality are more difficult to impose and difficult to measure. Respect of human rights is a continuing process which feeds on spontaneous activities and events such as the Khamoro Festival in order to be sustainable. Because it's bottom up - it's been organised by different parties - it needs help from institutions such as the European Union, which serves the interests of all."
... and besides traditional Roma music, two exhibitions and three seminars are also open to the public throughout the festival. Radio Prague will be covering some of these events in the Arts and Talking Point in the coming week.
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