The sheer shittiness of 2016 was captured in the end of year video by the comedian John Oliver. As Gary Younge wrote recently, this was a year in which “vulgarity, divisiveness and exclusion won – a triumph for dystopian visions of race, nation and ethnicity … Immigrants and minorities are fearful, bigots are emboldened, discourse is coarsened.”
By Benjamin Ignac
While Donald Trump and his supporters spent much of 2016 chanting “Build the wall” to keep the Mexicans out of the US, the Serbian government has already gone ahead and built their version of the wall which now separates the Roma community from the surrounding population in Krusevac, Serbia.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), in its concluding observations just issued, called on the Italian authorities to halt all further evictions of Roma, and to scotch any plans to establish new segregated camps. This stands as a forthright vindication of the concerns highlighted by the ERRC in its recent submission to the Committee.
CEDAW has once more exposed the deep discrimination and inequalities faced by Roma and Egyptian women in Albania. The Committee’s concluding observations reiterated that Albanian authorities should adopt targeted laws, policies and programmes to ensure equal rights for disadvantaged women, and to improve access for Roma and Egyptian women to education, health services, employment and housing.
Yet another year, yet another Roma Platform, and still we are seeing slow progress in terms of any meaningful, concrete outcomes from these meetings.
On 29 and 30 November, I attended the launch of the 10th European Roma Platform in Brussels. The main aim of the Platform is to present a high level forum bringing various stakeholders from the grassroots, local and national, and European level to the discussion table. My experiences this year however, showed me that once again this was not strictly the case.