ERRC Welcomes European Parliament Resolution on Roma Rights - Europe's Legislature Urges Action on Crisis of Roma Exclusion
29 May 2005
The European Roma Rights Centre welcomes the "Resolution on the Situation of Roma in the European Union", adopted yesterday by the European Parliament, as a milestone in the recognition of Roma rights concerns as matters of the highest political urgency in Europe.
The Resolution notes a range of concerns related to the ability of Roma in the European Union to realise fundamental human rights, and calls on a number of agencies to act without delay to correct the ongoing Roma rights crisis.
Some highlights of the Resolution follow:
The Resolution notes "the importance of urgently eliminating continuing and violent trends of racism and racial discrimination against Roma" and sets forth that "any form of impunity for racist attacks, hate speech, physical attacks by extremist groups, unlawful evictions and police harassment motivated by Anti-Gypsyism and Romaphobia plays a role in weakening the rule of law and democracy, tends to encourage the recurrence of such crimes and requires resolute action for its eradication." The Resolution further recognises that "the failure to combat racial discrimination and xenophobia against Roma, especially by public authorities, is a factor encouraging the persistence of the problems in society".
Concerning social inclusion matters, and the failure to date of EU and Member States' authorities successfully to tackle problems of extreme exclusion in a number of sectoral fields, the Resolution decries "substandard and insanitary living conditions and evidence of ghettoisation [...] on a wide scale, with Roma being regularly prevented from moving out of such neighbourhoods" as well as "racially segregated schooling systems in place across several Member States, in which Roma children are taught either in segregated classes with lower standards or in classes for the mentally handicapped". The Resolution further states that "Roma communities face unacceptably high levels of unemployment, so that specific measures are required to facilitate access to jobs".
The Resolution calls on Member States which have not yet transposed into their national legislation Directive 43/2000/EC ("Race Directive") to do so without delay, as well as to act to eliminate racial hatred and incitement to discrimination and violence against Roma in the media.
Other matters on which the Resolution sets out specific recommendations include:
* The need to address the ethnic cleansing of Roma in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina;
* Problems related to adequate recognition of the Romani Holocaust, including the continuing existence of a pig farm on the site of the former concentration camp at Lety u Pisku in the Czech Republic;
* The failure to date of some European Union Member States officially to recognise Roma as an official minority;
* The expulsion or threatened expulsion of Romani asylum seekers from EU countries;
* The dearth of adequate representation of Roma in government and administration;
* Anti-Romani bias in the police;
* Segregation in maternity wards and the coercive sterilisation of Romani women;
The Resolution also offers comment on a number of other matters.
The Resolution calls on various stakeholders, including European Union institutions and the EU Member States, to undertake specific measures to tackle a range of exclusion and racial discrimination issues facing Roma in Europe. In particular, the European Parliament calls on the European Union institutions and on the Member States to take steps at local, national, regional or EU level to combat Anti-Gypsysm/Romaphobia.
The Resolution also calls on the European Commission to prepare a communication on co-ordination between the EU and Member States for the improvement of the situation of Roma, and also to adopt an action plan including clear recommendation to the Member States and candidate countries aimed at improving the situation of Roma in the respective countries.
The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 497 in favour, 25 against, and with 30 abstentions.
The full text of the European Parliament Resolution is available from the ERRC by contacting: .