Post Taggati ‘roma’

Romania, politicians still use racist language against Roma

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

Romas Center for Social Intervention Romani CRISS, Press Monitoring Agency, or PMA and ERGO organization submitted Tuesday, June 9, a complaint to the National Council to Fight Discrimination, or CNCD, considering that Social Democrat deputy Vasile Dancu displayed a racist stance in saying his party ?should make a difference between gypsidom and social-democracy.?

Dancu?s statement ? in a conflict with one of his party colleague ? indirectly pertained to Marian Vanghelie, who despite of the fact he did not publicly assumed his origin, he is in fact ethnic Roma. Starting from this premise, the three organizations asked for “public apologizing, this time from the Social Democratic Party.

We ask Dancu to apologize as this kind of language is neither admissible nor tolerated and it is time that all of us become aware of that. We hope the ideologist of the Romanian PSD understands the doctrine he enforces refers to «equal opportunities between all country?s citizens», and discrimination is an unconceivable action in a social democracy,” Romani Criss said in a press statement.

Moreover, Romani Criss CEO Magda Matache said to the press the offence brought against the ethnic Romas through the statement of the PSD vice-president is similar to that of president Traian Basescu against a TV reporter. “A politician makes senseless reference against the ethnic Romas. We feel offended and we hope that PSD head Mircea Geoana takes a stand against Dancu?s statement. He should publicly apologize,” Magda Matache said.

© Divers

Finland, satirical tv programme sparks controversy among finnish Roma

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

The Finnish Roma Forum has asked the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) to suspend broadcasts of the summer comedy series Manne-TV. In an appeal sent to the YLE, the series, which aired its first programme on June 2nd, is denounced as demeaning to the Roma, or Gipsy population.

The organisation claims that it is racist, that it underscores prejudices, and that it could undermine the results of years of work to change attitudes. Other fears include a prospect of increased violence between the Roma community and other Finns, as well as an increase in ethnically based school bullying.

YLE Programme Director Harri Virtanen stands behind the show, most of whose producers and actors are Roma themselves. He says that Manne-TV will not be cancelled, and that it would continue to air on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “If the series really increases school bullying, for instance, I would naturally be very sorry, but it is not the purpose of the series”, Virtanen says.

“The target of the series is the population at large and its prejudices. If someone watching the series thinks ?is that how I think?’, or ?do I have attitudes like that?’, then we will be fairly close to the aim of the series”. Nevertheless, changes are planned in the content of Manne-TV.

In the future there will be a greater effort to specifically deal with prejudices of the majority population toward the Roma. “Finland is said to be a tolerant society, but this series has again raised the racism of the majority population. If the topic is this big, it is good that it has been raised, and is being debated”, Virtanen says.

The Roma Forum, which called for the cancellation of the show, is an umbrella organisation of Finnish Roma organisations, focusing on equal treatment under the law for the Roma population. According to the group’s vice president Mertsi Lindgren, Manne-TV contains overt incitement against a population group. The Roma Forum is actually considering the possibility of submitting a criminal complaint on the matter.

“First we need to meet with the Minority Affairs Ombudsman and to discuss it with [YLE Director-General] Mikael Jungner.” Minority Affairs Ombudsman Mikko Puumalainen has not yet studied the appeal of the Roma Forum. “I want to discuss the matter with representatives of the forum before I form an opinion on the matter”, Puumalainen says. Lindgren says that the Roma Forum took action on the basis of negative feedback from the Roma community.

“We have also heard from the majority population that the programme does not work”, Lindgren adds. Response received by YLE on the programme has been more negative than positive. “We get feedback from all programmes, but it dies not shake our decisions”, Harri Virtanen says.

© Helsingin Sanomat

EU values at risk over treatment of migrants and Roma

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

In its 2007 human rights report, leading human rights organisation Amnesty International argues “the EU as a beacon ‘union of values’ looked increasingly ambivalent” over the past year, with the treatment of migrants, asylum seekers and its own Roma population highlighted as the key subjects of concern.

“The lack of long-term sustainable solutions and the discourse of fear that dominates political agendas have led to disturbing manifestations of racism and discrimination in Europe,” said the NGO. Its world-wide monitoring review – unveiled on Wednesday (23 May) – criticises most member states on a wide range of issues.

In the area of security, Amnesty repeats its previous complaints of the complicity of several EU governments ? mainly Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK – with US intelligence agency CIA on renditions of terrorist suspects.

According to the report, the security forces of Germany, Turkey and the UK had taken advantage of the situation by interrogating individuals subject to rendition, while the British government “continued to undermine the universal ban on torture” by trying to deport the terror suspects to countries where they potentially faced ill-treatment.

“Almost as bad as allowing these acts to occur in Europe has been European governments’ failure to recognize them and to take measures to prevent such abuses from happening again,” said Dick Oosting, the Director of Amnesty’s EU office. “Europe betrays its values if it remains trapped in this denial. It has a leadership role to play but in order to set a credible example outside, it first needs to clean up its act at home,” he added.

Refugees and Roma people
Although the authors of the study suggest there is a general trend in the EU in violations against foreign nationals on member states’ territory, Greece, Italy, Malta and the UK are singled out for cases of unlawful detention of migrants or for having denied necessary guidance and legal support to new arrivals. These tendencies are reflected in European legislation becoming more unfavourable to asylum-seekers and migrants, with a new French law for example tying residence permits for migrants to pre-existing work contracts “putting migrants at risk of exploitation in the workplace,” according to the report. In terms of discrimination against own nationals, several member states continue to have problems ensuring the fair treatment of Roma people. The Roma communities remain “largely excluded from public life and unable to enjoy full access to rights such as housing, employment and health services,” Amnesty says. The NGO points out that in countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Roma children have not been integrated into the education system but rather segregated in special classes or schools, including schools with a reduced curriculum.

Intolerance on sexuality grounds – in some cases fostered by national authorities – has been reported in Poland and Latvia, with gay and lesbian organisations facing obstructions when trying to organize public events in reaction to “openly homophobic language used by some highly placed politicians.” Finally, the report also draws attention to the problems faced by thousands of people from ex-Yugoslavia currently living in Slovenia who had been unlawfully erased from the registers of permanent residents. It also looks at the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia, which has limited access to the labour market due to restrictive linguistic and minority rights. “Inability to solve these serious problems has in practice created thousands of ‘second class citizens’ in Europe,” the Amnesty report concluded.

© EUobserver

Roma people are more likely to be stopped by police officers, report by OSI

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Roma people are more likely to be stopped by police officers. This is one of the conclusions of a recent study written for OSI (Open society justice initiative).

?I can stop and search whoever I want? is a book realized in 2007 by Open Society Justice Initiative, which examines police stopping ethnic minorities in Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain.

This report was written by Joel Miller and based upon research conducted in three countries representing the situation of minorities in Europe. The scope of the study was to address ethnic profiling by police in Europe. Ethnic profiling means the use of ethnic, religious or racial stereotypes as a basis for decisions about who could be involved in criminal or terrorist activity.

This discrimination breaches fundamental human rights, but it has not been expressly outlawed by any European government; because of this, it is impossible to develop strategies that address police behavior with minority communities. In each country the researchers conducted interviews with 60 or more police officers and members of minority groups.

The results, for all, indicate that the police practice ethnic profiling. However, there is a lot of points which defies the situation in each selected country. In Bulgaria and Hungary, Roma are the largest of ethnic minority. They are at social and economic disadvantages and are overrepresented in the national criminal justice system.

In Spain, indeed, the Roma represent about 1.5 percent of the population. Few of them hold salaried or independent jobs, most of them holding part-time positions or informal labor. They have problem of discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other services.

National law of examined countries gives wide discretion in conducting stops and searches. To be Roma is a factor of suspicion. As a result, Roma (in all three countries) and migrants (in Spain) have often negative experiences during police stops with numerous examples of disrespectful and humiliating treatment.

Certainly, many Roma community members believe that the police engage in ethnic profiling. “I get stopped almost every day in the center by police. Sometimes twice a day”, said a Spanish interviewee. In Bulgaria and Hungary, patrol officers interviewed, said that the stops are more frequent when someone is an outsider to the town, or village (often a Roma). Roma origin can be a basis for a stop.

In Spain, officers rarely suggested that Roma identity was a direct reason for suspicion. Instead they said Roma were stopped because they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. The experiences of stops there is evidence of ethnic profiling, which can be worse for ethnic minorities.

Police officers in Bulgaria and Hungary who described ethnic profiling referred primarily to Roma, while officers in Spain who described ethnic profiling referred primarily to immigrants rather than Roma. Police stops do not closely adhere to international good practice for reducing crime. The report, also, suggests a range of possible improvements to police stop procedures.

Important is an accord about legal standards prohibiting ethnic profiling, at international and regional levels. But each state must also supervise the stopping situation within their own territory by implementing systems for monitoring police activity, such as stops and identity checks. The scope is that patrol officers respect human rights during their work with Roma or migrants people.

© Dzeno Association

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Forced eviction of more than 10,000 Roma Announced in Italy

24 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Honourable Excellencies, The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and osservAzione are writing today to request your urgent intervention in the wake of ?Pacts for Security? in Rome and Milan, signed by various authorities on 18 May 2007, which reportedly foresee the forced eviction of more than 10,000 Roma from their homes (1).

The Pacts were signed in the midst of racist media statements by the same authorities, apparently intended to fuel anti-Romani attitudes in Italy and secure broad support for the impending illegal actions.

The European Roma Rights Centre is a public interest law organisation that works to combat human rights abuse of Roma in Europe. osservAzione is a non governmental organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma and Sinti in Italy.

The Rome Pact was signed by the Prefect of Rome, the Mayor of Rome, the President of the Province of Rome and the President of the Region of Lazio, in the presence of the Minister of Interior (also a signatory).

According to the Rome Pact, commencing this week a joint commission of the regional government will be established which will have 3 months to identify locations for 4 ?villages of solidarity? on the periphery of Rome and another 9 months to build pre-fabricated container houses and prepare the areas for inhabitation by 4,000 Roma.

At the same time, a task force of 150 police officers (75 from the military and 75 from the state police) is being set up to ?rehabilitate the areas.?

The Milan Pact was signed by the Prefect of Milan and the Mayor of Milan, in the presence of Vice-Minister of Interior (also a signatory). The Milan Pact agrees to reduce criminality and to address the problem of unauthorised camps for Nomads.

Within 3 months of signing the Pact, the responsible authorities must ?define a strategy in which extraordinary power will be given to the Prefect to implement the strategic plan for solving the Roma emergency in Milan.? The Pact also foresees the ?intensification of controls? on the periphery (where many Roma live) to guarantee the security of Milan residents.

Media coverage surrounding the Pacts has been explicitly racist, the result of direct quotes from Italian authorities published by mainstream Italian newspapers, without any kind of editorial remark.

The most alarming article was published on 19 May 2007 by the Italian national newspaper La Repubblica, entitled: ?Prefect Serra: Those who live in the squatter settlements must go. Police to control order in the camps. And in the capital, order increases: ?Away with 10,000 unregistered Roma?.

The article was based on statements made by Mr Achille Serra, the Prefect of Rome, who announced the ?Pact for Security in Rome?. According to Mr Serra, ?ten thousand [Roma] who live in squatter settlements on the banks of the Tiber and the Aniene must go?, while only 4,000 places will be made available in the ?villages of solidarity?.

Many of the Roma concerned are reportedly from Romania. Mr Serra has reportedly been granted ?unlimited power? within all institutions and organisations relevant. Mr Serra made explicitly racist remarks about Roma, referring to them as Nomads and recalling a personal visit to existing camps. Mr Serra was quoted as having stated:

?[?] at ten? o?clock in the morning I saw children, dirty, playing with a ball. [?] The women were not around because they are at the metro stealing purses and the men were sleeping because perhaps they worked all night robbing apartments.?

Regarding the real purpose of the task force established in Rome, Mr Serra was quoted as having stated that the task force will begin systematically patrolling the existing camps, ?encouraging the Nomads to leave. If they return, the police officers will remove them again and this will continue until they understand that they must go somewhere else.?

According to La Repubblica, Mr Serra plans that by the time the ?villages of solidarity? are completed, 10,000 Roma will have been removed from the center of the city and the task force will shift their responsibilities to ?preventing the villages from becoming a centre of car theft, weapons, drugs, and prostitution.?

Honourable Excellencies, On 21 December 2005, the European Committee of Social Rights unanimously concluded that Italy had violated Article 31 of the Revised European Social Charter taken together with Article E, with respect to the insufficiency and inadequacy of camping sites for Roma in Italy, that the recurrent forced eviction of Roma by Italian authorities, and the lack of permanent dwellings made available for Roma. The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted this decision on 3 May 2006 in Resolution ResChS(2006)4.

In this light, the Pacts for Security signed in Rome and Milan are especially worrying and call into question the commitment of the Italian government to upholding the various international treaties it has ratified that guarantee respect for the right to housing and freedom against forced eviction, including the Revised European Social Charter and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They also indicate a total disregard for the findings of the European Committee of Social Rights and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

The ERRC and osservAzione call on you to use the powers of your office to rescind the racist Pacts for Security and ensure respect for the housing rights of the Roma implicated, many of whom will apparently be made homeless.

We request that you comply with your international law obligations and adopt housing policies and programmes which avoid homelessness and the further segregation of Roma, and which provide real and adequate housing solutions for the Roma currently living in squatter settlements in Italy.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with you further. We respectfully request to be informed of actions undertaken by your office in this regard.

Thank you very much for your attention to this most urgent matter.
Sincerely, Vera Egenberger (ERRC), Piero Colacicchi (osservAzione)

To Mr Giorgio Napolitano (President of the Republic of Italy), Mr Romano Prodi (President of the Council of Ministers), Mr Giuliano Amato (Italian Minister of Interior), Marco De Giorgi, General Director UNAR

(1) See ?Pact for Security in Rome? and ?Pact for Security in Milan?, appended to this letter. In their wording, both Pacts made clear that the actions sanctioned therein target individuals considered inherently alien to each city.

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Czech Rep, roma demonstration increases pressure on pm to sack deputy Jiri Cunek

19 Aprile 2007 Commenti chiusi

Just three months after taking office Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is struggling to keep his centre-right coalition government afloat. A fragile majority in the lower house, a rebel in his own party who is threatening to vote against the government’s proposed tax reforms and worst of all a deputy prime minister accused of corruption who has been rocking the boat for weeks.

On top of all this, around two hundred angry Roma demonstrators gathered outside government headquarters on Wednesday to demand the dismissal of the said deputy prime minister – Jiri Cunek – for offensive remarks he made about them in a newspaper interview. Chants of “shame on Cunek” and “down with the racist” filled the air outside the Czech government headquarters on Wednesday, as Roma demonstrators called for his head.

They were angry at Mr Cunek for telling a tabloid newspaper that ordinary Czechs who were not well off and seeking government assistance would have to get a suntan and cause chaos in their families in order convince others that they were poor. “He has no business being in cabinet. Let him go back to the town of Vsetin where he came from. He is not a statesman – he is a village politician.”

Jiri Cunek, the man who first came to prominence by getting tough on Roma rent defaulters in Vsetin came out and attempted to speak with the protesters, claiming that he was not a racist, but his words were drowned out by calls for him to go. Although the protesters chanted the prime minister’s name, only the minister for minorities Dzamila Stehlikova came out to receive their petition.

“The prime minister is aware of what is going on – he is working to resolve the problem,” his spokesman told the assembled crowd.

Vocal as the Roma demonstration outside the government headquarters was, the prime minister faced far greater pressure within. His coalition allies from the Green Party have threatened to walk out of the government if Mr. Cunek remains. The problem is that with 100 seats in the 200 seat lower house the prime minister cannot afford to lose either the Christian Democrats or the Greens if he wants to keep the coalition government in office.

The Christian Democrats have closed ranks around their embattled leader and, faced with the Greens’ ultimatum, Prime Minister Topolanek may be forced to sack Jiri Cunek himself.

© Radio Prague

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Terry Davis, go beyond prejudice – meet the Roma

19 Aprile 2007 Commenti chiusi

Ignorance breeds fear, and fear breeds prejudice and intolerance. For centuries, Roma have been discriminated against because of their way of life and because they remain faithful to their traditions.

For centuries, Europe has been treating its Roma population unfairly, and has been depriving itself of the opportunity to understand and enjoy the full extent of its cultural richness, heritage and diversity.

Through learning, tolerance and respect for Roma and their culture, we can make Europe a better place for all. International Roma Day is an opportunity for Roma to express their pride in being Roma and for the rest of us to express our pride in having Roma in our midst.

The fight against prejudice and discrimination is a priority for the Council of Europe, which is currently conducting a campaign in South Eastern Europe with the slogan ?Dosta ? Go beyond prejudice, meet the Roma?. Tolerance and mutual respect is also the central message of the Council of Europe Youth campaign ?All Different, All Equal?.

Statement by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe on International Roma Day. © Council of Europe

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Belarus, april 8 is International Roma Day

19 Aprile 2007 Commenti chiusi

International Roma Day, which is celebrated on the 8th of April, is quite famous in Eastern and Central Europe. However, while we know a lot about Roma situation in Romania or Hungary, little attention is paid to Roma in Belarus, small country situated, as some people believe, in the centre of Europe. To collect some information on Roma community in Belarus we organized an interview with Nicolas Kalinin, Belarusian delegate to European Roma Travelers Forum. By Olia Yatskevich

Talking about Roma issues in Belarus I cannot see a lot of differences from the communist period. The situation of Roma people in Belarus very similar to Roma issues in other parts of Europe. Belarus is not another Earth. All problems, which exist in Europe, can be detected in Belarus as well. But Belarus have specific feature ? in this country government doing everything feasible and unfeasible to ignore Roma minority. As a conclusion, which based on 2 years term observations, I can deduce that all national minorities in Belarus incur the same problems.

Why this problem is so specific?
I think device ?if we can?t understand it ? this does not exist? refers directly to this situation. Belarusian government does not want to recognize that in Belarus Roma people have the same problems as, for example, in Poland. Belarusian government does not want to admit well-known fact. Of course it looks exceedingly strange.

How you can describe multiethnic situation in Belarus?
I can repeat once again that future generations will study history using Belarusian example. Frankly speaking Belarusians are very tolerant people. A lot of people have Jewish, Tatars, Polish roots. I believe Belarusian nationalism is artificially created. At the same time, a lot of clear cases of discrimination against national minorities can be noticed. But this discrimination is not based on inter-national relations. It politically colored. It looks like exception but it existing. The cause of this discrimination rooted in soviet period. Extent last period from collapse of Soviet Union nothing altered in multiethnic relations in Belarus. The government policy is totally same.

What can you say about governmental policy towards Roma?
Belarusian government has done a lot of steps backward and nothing beneficial for Roma. I understand now that official authority is absolutely disable in direction of national minority and religion faith direction. Soviet standards are inappropriate now. Official Committee on national and religious affairs works applying old Soviets methodology which existed 20 years ago. Of course, it is a huge step back. Flexibility has been never encouraged in Belarus.

What are the main problems faced by Belarusian population?
Belarus is in difficult situation. It relats to all parts of the society (economy, multiethnic relations, political environment etc). Modern life goals new aims, new priorities. Lack of flexibility in all branches of modern Belarusian society can play negative but crucial role in the future. World changes. Modern society pursuits equal relations in multiethnic Europe. It concerns all branches. As we see China recognized it. Belarus last country, which blind to new challenges.

Is the some specific authority who dealing with national minorities in Belarus?
Yes, we have special committee, in all local authority we have people, who dealing with this issue. As from Soviet Union period we have a lot of different committees, so complicated system, when nobody responsible but everyone is boss. We knew from Soviet period when quality doesn?t mean quantity. You cannot restore broken flint- glass cap using hammer. Of course, you will destroy beautiful and useful thing. At the same time delicate relations between minorities cannot be solved using police forces, pressure, intimidations or violence. Fear is not so pleasant feeling for long-term relations.

Do you think this situation can be changes?
My attempts to establish dialog with other minorities was a significant step forward. We all face the same problems. I think unity of national minorities is big step forward. Regarding Roma issues I think Roma political participation deserves more attention. I can the difference of Roma political parties in other countries Eastern and Central Europe. Roma political participation has big future. Very interesting fact, but when specialist decided to explore who votes for Roma candidates, they found that not-Roma voters vote in favor of Roma candidates. I think unity of national minorities and national minority political participation are two main essential points.

Do you think political party in Belarus will be willing to support Roma candidates? I am really disappointed in all political parties in Belarus. I think all opposition political movement is a bad organized show to spend grants. I am really disappointed. It seems to me that time when USA and EU will change they strategy towards Belarus is not so far. Last 13 years it was knocking in locked door. Changes are need. In Belarus we have good relation with Belarusian ?greens?. Our point of views coincides with Belarusian Greens party.

Do you believe the situation will change soon?
I think democracy is inevitable. Together we are strong.

© Transitions Online Blogs

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International Roma Day, press release to ENAR

11 Aprile 2007 Commenti chiusi

On the occasion on International Roma Day on 8 April1, the European Network Against Racism recalls the words of Vladimir ?pidla, the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities that ?the situation of the Roma is a European issue that calls for an EU solution?.

In recent years the EU has done much to promote the inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities, including the establishment of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legal framework and the implementation of substantial funding measures. However deep-seated problems remain for Europe?s largest minority.

A recent Eurobarometer survey, conducted in January 2007 for the launch of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, found that 77% of Europeans believe that being a Roma is a disadvantage in their society. ENAR members and other NGOs across Europe continue to document widespread abuse and disadvantage experienced by Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities.

In its 2005 Shadow Report on Racism in Europe ENAR concluded that: ?Roma, Sinti and Travellers represent a particular group that have consistently experienced discrimination in Europe.?

The European Union must effectively mainstream its response to the situation of Roma across the whole range of tools available to it. In particular ENAR calls for the strategic and targeted use of the Open Method of Coordination on Social Inclusion and Social Protection, and of the Lisbon Process on Growth and Jobs. Both strategies and their national reports have not to date adequately addressed the urgent need to respond to the situation of Roma communities.

?Roma are the largest and one of the most excluded minorities in Europe?, said Bashy Quraishy, ENAR President, adding that ?the European Union has achieved much in terms of Roma inclusion, but clearly the picture remains serious; the EU must now maintain its energy and reinvigorate its efforts to find solutions to the problems facing these communities?.

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is a network of European NGOs working to combat racism in all EU member states and represents more than 600 NGOs spread around the European Union.

Its establishment was a major outcome of the 1997 European Year Against Racism. ENAR aims to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals, and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European initiatives.

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, Communication and Press Officer
Phone: 32-2-229.35.70 – Fax: 32-2-229.35.75
E-mail: – Website:

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Germany, International Day on the Roma

5 Aprile 2007 Commenti chiusi

On the occasion of the International Day on the Roma on April 8, Volker Beck, human rights policy spokesperson declares:

The living conditions of many Roma in Europe are catastrophic. It is scandalous that slums exist in the heart of the European Union.

The European Union must act now. The situation of the Roma must not be defined as the minimal standard in the EU. A coherent and efficient strategy of integration of disadvantaged and discriminated minorities into society, education systems and into the labour market must be developed. The German European Council Presidency is to act on this!

Since the first World congress of the Roma in 1971, April 8 is being commemorated in more than forty countries. This day is a symbol for the solidarity with the Roma people and the civil rights movement of the Roma.

This day is also used as a reminder to point to the continuous discrimination and marginalization of the Roma in Europe. Even though the Roma have been living in European countries for hundreds of years, they, like no other group, are subject to multiple forms of discrimination in Education systems, the labour market, housing, in the health system and in other areas. Many Roma have to live in Ghettos, with no infrastructure.

Their children are being sent to special education schools or other special education facilities. In some countries, female Roma were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. In addition, Roma are remarkably often subjected to violence ? even from official sides.

The current development is a scandal and is incompatible with the human rights standards and social standards of the European Union.

The EU has declared 2007 as the year of equal opportunities. The declaration explicitly refers to the ?increase of hostility against Roma and the resulting discrimination in the areas of employment, education and social services for the most disadvantaged ethnic minority in the European Union?. Up to now, this has not resulted in concrete initiatives.

The German Federal Government is now required to increase the priority for the combat against discrimination of the Roma during the International year and beyond. Concrete activities must be undertaken now.

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