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International Roma Day: A Day to Raise Awareness of the Human Rights Problems Experienced by Roma

6 April 2007

On the occasion of International Roma Day, April 8, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) recalls that, to date, Roma remain the most deprived ethnic group of Europe. Across Europe, the fundamental rights of Roma are still being violated on a regular basis. Repetitious cases of racist violence and hate speech targeting Roma are reported frequently. Roma are also subject to discrimination in accessing employment, education, health care, and public and social services.

The ERRC is particularly alarmed about the violations of housing rights of Roma, which have intensified in the recent years in several European countries including, but not limited to the Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, and Turkey. The ERRC notes that violations of the housing rights of Roma do not solely take the form of lack of access to adequate housing because of poverty or exclusionist attitudes, but are frequently manifest in cases of forced evictions and systemic destruction of Romani settlements.

Adequate housing is commonly understood to include the following elements; legal security of tenure, availability of services, materials, facilities and infrastructure, affordability, habitability, accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy. International and European human rights standards establish firmly the right to adequate housing as a fundamental right. Widespread reports concerning abuses of the housing rights of Roma across Europe indicate pervasive discrimination. Many Roma continue to live in segregated areas lacking basic security of tenure with highly substandard conditions. Such settlements are characterised by inadequate infrastructure and limited access to public services. In most cases, it is in addition to these inadequate and degrading conditions that Roma are subjected to forced eviction, abusive police raids and destruction of their property. In nearly all cases of housing demolitions documented by the ERRC and partner organisations, the persons affected were not provided with affordable alternative accommodations, as is required by international law, and faced homelessness.

International Roma Day was officially declared in 1990 in Poland, during the fourth World Romani Congress in honour of the first major international meeting of Roma representatives, 7-12 of April, 1971 in London, UK. International Roma Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. It is worrying to note how little progress has been achieved since 1990 in improving the living conditions of Roma. The international community must utilise this day and remember its obligations to provide and implement legal/social/political instruments, which enable Roma to free themselves from precarious situation in which they live.

On the occasion of International Roma Day, the ERRC invites all relevant parties and public authorities to create the social/political/legal climate wherein the rights and the culture of Roma are respected and celebrated at all times.

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ERRC submission to the European Commission on Roma Inclusion in enlargement countries (May 2017)

25 May 2017

Written comments by the ERRC to the European Commission on enlargement component of the EU Roma Framework.

 

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Roma Rights 1 2017: Roma and Conflict: Understanding the Impact of War and Political Violence

16 May 2017

The impact of conflict on minority populations merits special attention, especially if those minorities have long been marginalized, viewed by the warring parties with a mixture of ambivalence and contempt, and deemed to be communities of little consequence in the peace-building processes that follow the conclusion of hostilities. This issue of Roma Rights Journal takes a look at the fate of Roma during and after conflicts.

Sometimes Roma have been the direct targets of murderous aggression or subject to reprisals. Then there have been the many times where individual Roma actively took a side, but too often the roles played by Roma, Travellers and other minorities were elided from the dominant national narratives that followed.

In many conflicts, caught between warring groups with no foreign power or military alliance to champion their claims, Roma found themselves displaced, despised and declaimed as bogus refugees, nomads and “mere” economic migrants in the aftermath.

As long as Europe’s largest ethnic minority is written out and rendered invisible in the histories of Europe’s wars and conflicts; and excluded from the politics of reconstruction and peace-making, the continent’s self-understanding will remain fatally flawed.

Editors: Marek Szilvasi, Kieran O’Reilly, Bernard Rorke

Roma Rights 1 2017 (PDF)

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Macron Election Call Out

5 May 2017

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