ERRC and EUMAP Welcome UN Findings on Discrimination against Sinti and Roma Women in Germany

01 March 2004

Budapest and New York, 1 March 2004 - The European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) and the EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP) welcome the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressing concern at the treatment of Sinti and Roma women in Germany. The Committee, in its regular review of Germany's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), concluded that Sinti and Roma women in Germany "suffer from multiple forms of discrimination based on sex, ethnic or religious background and race."

An ERRC/EUMAP shadow report, submitted to CEDAW in the run-up to the Committee's review, outlined Germany's failure to provide legal protection for Sinti and Roma women, who often face both gender and ethnic discrimination. The report argued that many Sinti and Roma women and girls in Germany are excluded from a range of protections guaranteed by the Convention, notably in the areas of education, employment, health and participation in public and political life. "In every area of life Sinti and Roma women bear a double burden of discrimination, as women and as a minority," said EUMAP's researcher Alphia Abdikeeva.

The ERRC/EUMAP report noted that since little information existed on Sinti and Roma women and girls living in Germany, there was no basis for the German government to create policies that address the discrimination they experience. In its Concluding Observations, the Committee similarly criticised Germany for its lack of data on migrant and minority women, including Sinti or Roma women.

The Committee urged Germany to "eliminate discrimination against migrant and minority women, both in society at large and within their communities, and to respect and promote their human rights, through effective and proactive measures, including awareness-raising programmes." It recommended that Germany continue to conduct research on issues of discrimination, as well as trafficking and sexual exploitation.

"We welcome the Committee's attention to these matters and look forward to the German government's next actions in the field of Romani women's rights," said Dimitrina Petrova, Executive Director of the ERRC.

The Concluding Observations of the Committee on Germany's compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are available HERE.

The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international public interest law organisation based in Budapest, Hungary, which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. The ERRC has monitored the human rights situation of Roma in Germany since first opening offices in 1996, and has been involved in litigation in a number of cases involving Roma rights in Germany. Further information on the European Roma Rights Center is available on the web at http://www.errc.org

The EU Monitoring and Advocacy Program (EUMAP), formerly the EU Accession Monitoring Program, monitors human rights and rule of law issues in Europe. A program of the Open Society Institute (OSI) in Budapest, EUMAP has published a series of reports on Minority Protection, including a comprehensive report on the situation of Sinti and Roma in Germany. EUMAP reports on Minority Protection and on other topics may be accessed on the web at http://www.eumap.org.

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