Roma Under Attack: Violence Against Roma Surges in Central and Eastern Europe
27 September 2012
Budapest, 27 September 2012: The European Roma Rights Centre is highlighting violent attacks against Roma at an OSCE meeting in Warsaw today. Media reports show at least 20 attacks across four countries, including 10 deaths of Romani people, in the first half of 2012 alone.
The ERRC has monitored media and NGO reports for incidents of violence against Roma in Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The reports show an alarming pattern of anti-Roma attacks across the region. ERRC lists compile reports of more than 120 attacks against Romani people and their property in the last four years in the period up to July 2012, including shootings, stabbings and Molotov cocktails.
This year alone in Bulgaria, a Romani political party headquarters was targeted with a bomb, killing the man who went to pick it up. In Slovakia an off-duty policeman killed three Romani people and injured two others, and Romani families were shot at while they were bring evicted. And in Hungary, Roma have been targeted with death threats, as unknown perpetrators sprayed graffiti saying ‘gypsies you will burn’ as well as swastikas.
Roma in the Czech Republic face a particularly difficult time, as far-right groups have organised protests and demonstrations, whipping up anti-Roma sentiment. Media reports show at least 22 attacks against Roma in the least year alone, including six deaths. One man was shot with a crossbow and a Romani woman was kicked and punched in the head before being stabbed.
“These continued violent attacks against Roma are completely unacceptable in today’s Europe,” said Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the ERRC. “Authorities must act to prevent violence and loss of life, and to investigate thoroughly and prosecute when it does occur. The right to life is the most fundamental right. The social inclusion of Roma will not progress if Roma are under regular attack.”
Mr Gergely is speaking at a side event on violence against Roma today at the OSCE’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, Poland, jointly hosted by the ERRC and OSCE’s Contact Point on Roma and Sinti Issues. The event aims to highlight the issues and possible solutions to ongoing violent attacks across Europe. Speakers from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ukraine will also be present.
Today the ERRC also launched a video message condemning continued threats to the safety of Roma in Europe, calling on national governments to protect their citizens, including Roma, and take a firm stance against racially-motivated violence.
For more information, contact:
ERRC Media and Communications Officer