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Valery Novoselsky ‘leaves a genuine legacy’ for Roma rights

25 August 2016

MRG would like to pay tribute to Valery Novoselsky, the well known and influential Roma activist, who sadly passed away last weekend at the age of 46.

Valery had been a very significant figure in the international Romani movement, most notably as founder and Executive Editor of the Roma Virtual Network (RVN), amongst many other achievements.

Established in 1999, the RVN, was one of the first internet based platforms aimed at sharing information amongst Roma and friendly non-Roma organisations (such as MRG) engaged in work and advocacy for Roma rights. Very much a grass-roots initiative, the RVN translated its mailing lists into over 20 languages (including Romani) and reached over 10,000 individuals and organizations. The important role of the RVN cannot be underestimated, nor can the imagination and determination of Valery in founding and sustaining its activity.

Valery worked as a consultant for MRG on a range of programmes in Central and South East Europe. Always a generous and collaborative individual, his contribution was much valued. He took his role as a hub for NGO activity very seriously, and any request for information or advice was always met with a very detailed response, often incorporating a much broader range of ideas and initiatives he thought would be relevant to you and your organisation.

Valery was also Vice-President of the World Roma Union, active in the International Romani Union, and worked closely with organisations such as the European Roma Information Office and the European Roma Rights Centre.

Born in Ukraine, of Jewish as well as Roma heritage, he later became a resident and citizen of Israel. Valery was one of most regular and visible presences on the human rights circuit and a truly global activist. Through numerous conferences, trainings and campaigns, situating his work much more broadly in the fields of civil and human rights and anti-racist discourse, he became known to many.

His good-natured presence will be much missed and he leaves a genuine legacy.

PHOTO: Personal archive of Valery Novoselsky via