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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

Situation of Czech, Slovak Romanies still wrong – Report

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi


Romanies in Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, are still being pushed to the edge of society, according to a study, worked out with support of the EU, the World Bank and billionaire George Soros, which was presented in Sofia today.

The study says that the countries would have to determine and fulfil binding goals to improve the integration of the Romany minority into society. Two years ago, eight Eastern and Central European countries, including the Czech Republic an Slovakia, launched “The Decade of Roma Inclusion” (2005-2015) international programme to improve the situation of Romanies.

The study says that trustworthy data on Romanies are still missing along with the assessment of the achieved goals in Romany integration. Philanthropist Soros called on the governments of the countries participating in the programme to better use resources in order to improve the living conditions of Romanies and create more opportunities for them.

Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovakia, where some 10 million Romanies live in total, according to estimates, pledged to pass new anti-discrimination laws and improve the access to education and health care for Romanies at the summit in Sofia two years ago.

However, in spite of that, thousands of Romanies are still living in very poor conditions in deprived settlements without electricity and running water, being segregated from the majority population. Romanies have worse access to health care and other social services and more difficulties to find jobs, the study says.

© Prague Daily Monitor

Slovenia, ostracised Roma still struggle across Balkans

1 Dicembre 2006 Commenti chiusi


Elka Strojan and her 30-strong Roma family, forced to swap a house for three rooms in a former army barracks, highlight the precarious existence in the Balkans of Europe’s largest minority. “It’s really bad here. This is not ours, this is for refugees and we are not refugees.

We are Slovenian citizens with all the documents,” the 55-year-old told Reuters in broken Slovenian, sitting on an old bed with two small dogs surrounded by a dozen of her grandchildren. The Strojans, including Elka’s four sons and their families, were asked by the government in late October to leave their house near Ambrus in central Slovenia after angry villagers threatened to expel them by force.

The Council of Europe criticised European Union member Slovenia for the move, but villagers said they had had enough of the Roma’s misdemeanours, ranging from petty theft to serious fights. “Some 600 of us gathered near their house. We wanted to burn and destroy everything but we came too late, the police were already deployed,” said Joze Lindic, a pensioner. “We’ve had nothing but trouble with them in the past 20 years and we just cannot put up with it any more. Let the state or the European Union take care of them. We don’t want them here, ever again,” he said, sipping a beer at a cafe. The government has vowed to provide alternative permanent housing for the Strojans, but that announcement immediately roused protest from residents in potential new resettlements.

AMNESTY REPORT
A recent report by human rights group Amnesty International on the Roma in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia said they still live in extreme poverty and their children regularly face discrimination in schools. “The barriers Romani children face in accessing education deprive them of the chance of fulfilling the true potential and perpetuate the marginalisation of Romani communities,” it said. Only two of the Strojans’ dozen children went to school while they lived in Ambrus.

Access to education is even worse for Roma in Serbia, home to an estimated 500,000 Romas. According to the 1991 census, 34.8 percent of Roma in Serbia are illiterate and just 20 percent have completed obligatory elementary education. Those who enrol children in primary schools often do so to qualify for state welfare. “The society as a whole expresses no interest for their problems and needs,” said a report by the U.N. children’s agency, UNICEF. “This could be caused by general indifference, intolerance and dominant stereotypes on the Roma caused by poor knowledge of Roma history, culture and tradition,” it said.

SEGREGATION
In Croatia, which hopes to join the EU by 2010, residents of the prosperous Medjimurje region, which has the largest Roma community, complained against mixed Roma and Croat classes in 2002. The Croatians said the Romani parents were “frequently alcoholics, their children are prone to stealing, cursing and fighting”, often with poor knowledge of Croatian. The Roma struck back by filing a complaint against segregation with the European Court of Human Rights. The case is still pending.

The situation is little different in Bulgaria and Romania, both due to join the EU next January. Government data puts the Roma population in Romania at about 535,000, but an estimate from the Minority Rights Group goes as high as 2.5 million, which would make it the largest Roma population in Europe. Roma rights organisations accuse authorities of continued discrimination, a claim backed by many Western observers. Bulgaria has also been criticised by the European Commission for doing too little to integrate the Roma, who live on the fringes of society, often in shanty towns lacking running water and electricity. Good education and permanent employment are rare.

A recent survey by Bulgaria’s anti-discrimination commission showed ethnic tensions have risen as a result of Roma’s perceptions of discrimination. “The basis for perception of discrimination lies in the huge gap in the living standards, as well as in the mistrust demonstrated by other ethnic groups against the Roma,” the survey said.

Mirko Strojan, one of the four men in the Slovenian Roma family, said the family now planned to take legal measures. “Something like this, that our neighbours want to take the law into their own hands, has never happened before. We are going to sue the village, to make them pay for the damages, shame and fear,” he said. (Additional reporting by Ljilja Cvekic in Belgrade, Tsvetelia Ilieva in Sofia and Marius Zaharia and Justyna Pawlak in Bucharest)

© Reuters

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