Roma Rights 1, 1999: Forced Migration

03 April 1999

The ERRC, as well as many others, have been reporting racial assaults often resulting in deaths and injuries; invasions into private homes by armed police; looting, burning and evictions, sometimes of whole Romani communities; and constant problems in acquiring or maintaining citizenship and residence. Very few people have expressed sympathy or solidarity with the Roma. Officials at home have announced that they are to blame for their own misfortune. Asylum authorities, backed by politicians in the democratic West, have declared them to be economic migrants. Panicked by several hundred Romani applicants, European countries have tightened their immigration laws to prevent what the British press once called the "Gypsy invasion".

Roma have been, for much of their history, forced migrants, many of them real; and all of them potential. Roma are a persecuted people with no mainstream media to cover their tortured journeys, no safe haven across any border, and no military alliances to interfere in their defence.


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