Mass Arrests and Deportations of Romani EU citizens in Copenhagen Condemned

Budapest, Copenhagen, 12 July 2010: Today the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and Romano sent a letter to Danish authorities expressing concern regarding the recent mass arrest and deportation of 23 EU citizens of Romani origin in Copenhagen. The groups also condemned anti-Roma speech by Danish officials, including the Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen and the Minister of Justice Lars Barfoed.

Danish media reported on 6 July 2010 that 23 EU Roma were arrested following anti-Roma statements by Mayor Jensen, who called on the Danish government to adopt measures to rid Copenhagen of "criminal Roma", blaming them for thefts and asking the police to expel them. The Mayor’s statements caused Minister of Justice Barfoed to react, condemning the Roma in question to be illegal residents and pledging strong police action against them. Despite the apparent absence of an investigation or conviction for the alleged thefts, Danish authorities are reported to have expelled the detained EU Roma.

The ERRC and Romano called on the Danish Government to ensure there are no further arrests of Roma without individualised suspicion of involvement in a crime, to stop collective expulsions of Roma from Copenhagen, to treat all EU migrants in accordance with the rights contained in the EU Freedom of Movement Directive and to ensure that high ranking government officials refrain from making racist or inflammatory statements against Roma in Denmark.

For more information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen, ERRC Media and Communications Officer, sinan.gokcen@errc.org, +36.30.500.1324
Eric Støttrup Thomsen, Romano Director, p1041160@romano.dk, +45.49.22.2811

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