Roma Rights 2, 2004: Ethnic Statistics

Roma Rights 2/2004 takes as its theme "Ethnic Statistics". In 2004, the complaint that there are no reliable statistics on Roma has become trivial. So has the call on governments to collect them. Criticism and recommendations regarding this issue are coming from all quarters, including governments of countries with significant Romani populations. Over the last six-seven years, the European Roma Rights Center has been among the most consistent advocates of collecting ethnic data for purposes of fighting racism and discrimination and for drafting viable equality programmes. Our position has been initially developed in the context of implementing anti-discrimination law to benefit the members of the most disadvantaged groups in European societies. More recently, as part of accession obligations, governments of European Union candidate countries worked with the Employment and Social Affairs Directorate of the European Commission on Joint Inclusion Memoranda, to be followed by National Action Plans. In the process, the deficiency of reliable Roma-related statistics loomed large as a major obstacle to rights based policy of Roma inclusion. The ERRC addressed the issue in most of its advocacy interventions in this regard.

This issue of Roma Rights revisits and recapitulates the theme of Roma statistics from several angles. Andrei Ivanov and Susanne Milcher present the UNDP experience in assessing the development needs of Roma in Eastern Europe. Ferenc Babusik reveals the dilemmas that Hungarian sociology has been trying to solve when collecting data on Roma. Lilla Farkas looks at the issue from the prism of international law, revealing the paradoxical epistemological situation of knowing while not knowing the numbers of Roma. Sasha Barton comments on the British practice of ethnic monitoring and presents grounds for optimism even as it transpires that Gypsies and Travellers in the UK have not benefitted from ethnic monitoring. Claude Cahn notes that the European Union has not yet provided meaningful guidance on ethnic statistics.

In addition, Roma Rights 2/2004 provides news and developments concerning the human rights situation of Roma in Europe, and details ongoing ERRC activities.

Roma Rights 2, 2004: Ethnic Statistics (PDF)


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