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Violence Against Roma on the Rise: ERRC Testifies

16 February 2012

Violence Against Roma on the Rise: ERRC Testifies

Budapest, Washington, 16 February 2012: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) made a statement on the escalation of violence against Roma at a hearing in Washington DC yesterday.

ERRC Executive Director Dezideriu Gergely testified about the on-going violence against Roma and the lack of adequate state response at a hearing held by the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (US Helsinki Commission).

A recent European Union Survey on Minorities and Discrimination highlights that on average one in five Roma respondents were victims of racially motivated personal crime at least once in the previous 12 months. 81% of Roma who indicated they were victims of assault, threat or serious harassment considered that their victimisation was racially motivated.

An ERRC report in 2011 found that the state rarely achieved successful prosecutions in cases of violence against Roma.  In 2011, the European Roma Rights Centre published a report looking at the state response to 44 violent attacks against Roma in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

It found that a limited number of perpetrators of violent attacks against Roma are successfully identified, investigated and prosecuted. Even fewer are eventually imprisoned for the crimes they have committed against Roma. At the time of publication, judgments finding the perpetrators guilty had been reached in nine of the 44 selected cases.

The ERRC highlighted the ways that the US could assist the on-going integration of Roma in Europe, by offering the assistance of US law enforcement in addressing bias crimes against Roma; offering good practice examples of promoting minority inclusion in education, housing, healthcare and employment; and offering financial assistance to civil society organisations in Europe addressing anti-Roma discrimination and rights violations.

Andrzej Mirga, Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE also testified at the hearing. He emphasised that Roma issues are not disconnected from the challenges currently facing Europe as a whole. The financial difficulties of the region have a direct impact on the most vulnerable communities, especially in access to work and education. Investing in youth and empowering Roma communities at the local level are key steps to tackle some of these issues. In addition, European institutions need to take a long-term approach and monitor the many policies and measures put in place to improve the situation of Roma.

For more information, contact:

Sinan Gokçen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer
sinan.gokcen@errc.org
+36.30.500.1324

[Dezideriu’s speech “US Helsinki Commission Hearing: The Escalation of Violence against Roma in Europe” can be viewed from 18:27]

Testimonies: 

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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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