Council of Europe Anti-Racism Commission Issues Third Report on Austria

On February 15, 2005, the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) made public its third report on Austria under its country-by-country analysis of racism and intolerance in each of the member states of the Council of Europe. ECRI noted in its report that Roma in Austria may be particularly vulnerable to problems of racism, intolerance and discrimination. ECRI further noted:

"59. Roma in Austria include autochthonous Roma (formally recognised as a national minority since 1993), persons who came to Austria as guest workers and their descendants, and refugees and asylum seekers. As already mentioned in ECRI's second report, recognition of a group as a national minority entails special rights, including State financial support for cultural projects, the possibility of mother tongue education and other language rights. In its second report, ECRI suggested that the Austrian authorities consider including the non-autochthonous Roma among the categories of persons that make up the Roma national minority. However, the Austrian authorities have underlined that non-autochthonous Roma may also benefit, in practice, from projects financed by the authorities for national minority Roma.

"60. ECRI notes, however, that many Roma continue to face serious situations of socio-economic disadvantage compared to the rest of the population resulting, at least in part, from racism and racial discrimination. The disadvantaged position of Roma, for the most part non-autochthonous Roma, in education at all levels plays a central role in excluding them from most other areas of public life. ECRI notes that initiatives aimed at improving access of Roma youths to education are in place at the local level, although funds available for these initiatives are reportedly extremely limited. Roma are also reported to encounter serious obstacles in securing Austrian citizenship and to face prejudice and discrimination in their relations with law enforcement officers."

To view the full text of the ECRI report and its recommendations visit the Council of Europe’s website at: http://www.coe.int/T/E/human_rights/Ecri/1-ECRI/ Further information on the situation of Roma in Austria can be found on the ERRC's website at: http://www.errc.org.

 (ERRC)

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