EU failing to tackle discrimination against Roma people
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Legal
roma peopleImage: via Shutterstock
The European Union is not doing enough to end discrimination against Roma people, Amnesty International said today.
The estimated six million Roma living in EU countries fall far below the national average on almost all human development indicators, according to a new briefing on discrimination from Amnesty.
The human rights group says Roma are disproportionately at risk of poverty, eviction and violent attack. Education levels are also far below average - only one out of seven young Roma adults has completed upper-secondary education.
Roma receive segregated education in the Czech Republic, Greece and Slovakia, a practice at odds with both national and EU laws prohibiting racial discrimination.
Forced evictions of Roma communities is regular practice in a range of European countries such as Romania, Italy, and France. Policies promoting or resulting in ethnic segregation of Romani communities have been also pursued.
More than 120 serious violent attacks against Roma occurred in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria between January 2008 and July 2012, including shootings, stabbings and arson attacks.
Reportedly, state authorities, including the police, have in many instances failed to prevent or thoroughly investigate these attacks.
In Hungary, according to the European Roma Rights Centre, nine Roma, including two children, were killed as a result of racially motivated attacks between 2008 and 2012.
József H, the father of a Romani boy stabbed to death in Fényeslitke, Hungary, in 2008, told Amnesty: “everyone is afraid. No matter what harsh things happen to you, you don’t dare tell, because you are scared.”
Amnesty’s briefing - 'Human rights here. Roma rights now. A wake-up call for the European Union' - insists that the EU take decisive action to tackle discrimination against Roma in Europe.
Amnesty's Europe and Central Asia Programme Director, John Dalhuisen, said: “The EU must implement immediately the considerable measures at its disposal to sanction governments that are failing to tackle discrimination and violence against Roma. Such practices run counter to EU law and the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights it was founded on.
“The European Commission has the powers to make a lasting impact on the lives of marginalised and discriminated communities in Europe.
“What we see is the Commission sanctioning countries on technical issues in areas of transport and taxation, for example, but failing to grapple with issues which are of vital importance to millions of people, such as forced evictions, segregation and hate-motivated attacks.
“The Nobel Peace Prize winning EU has the power to end discriminatory practices that are rife in many of its member States. It must use these now.”