Tag: racial discrimination
- “Forced evictions are not a Roma rights issue”
That was the prevailing belief at the ERRC about two years ago. Here are some of the reasons the ERRC refused to spend time or money on forced evictions:
- Evictions are about poverty, not about discrimination.
- It looks bad. To be more specific:
- We need stop making Roma look like victims, and instead focus on Roma who do things like fight to integrate their schools.
- Forced evictions pit Roma lawbreakers against landowners with property rights. (“What if someone decided to live in your garden”, someone who didn’t like our forced evictions work once told me. “I bet you’d call the police”.)
- We are making it look like Roma want to live in squalor.
US attorney Dianne Post described the recent decision by the UN Advisory Panel as “the long-awaited morsel of justice for the hundreds of Kosovo Roma community members who were herded onto lead-poisoned land after the war in 1999 and then abandoned for ten years.”
In a bluntly critical report published in April this year, the Human Rights Advisory Panel called on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to publicly acknowledge its abject failure to comply with applicable human rights standards and apologise to Roma, Askali and Egyptian IDPs placed in lead contaminated camps, and to compensate victims for material and moral damage.
In 2008, the declaration of a State of Emergency to combat the so-called ‘Roma menace’, prompted global media coverage and international criticism. The demonisation of Romani people in this overtly racist and populist get-tough approach served only to exacerbate communal tensions, legitimise human rights abuses, and seriously damage prospects for social inclusion. A quick perusal of ERRC’s archives between 1997 and 2000 reveals that all of this was foreseeable, preventable, and utterly unnecessary.