MINELRES: ERRC Welcomes European Parliament Resolution on Roma Rights

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Mon May 2 08:53:42 2005


Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>


Europe's Legislature Urges Action on Crisis of Roma Exclusion

Budapest/Brussels, 29 April 2005.  The European Roma Rights Centre
welcomes the "Resolution on the Situation of Roma in the European
Union", adopted yesterday by the European Parliament, as a milestone in
the recognition of Roma rights concerns as matters of the highest
political urgency in Europe.

The Resolution notes a range of concerns related to the ability of Roma
in the European Union to realise fundamental human rights, and calls on
a number of agencies to act without delay to correct the ongoing Roma
rights crisis.

Some highlights of the Resolution follow:

The Resolution notes "the importance of urgently eliminating continuing
and violent trends of racism and racial discrimination against Roma" and
sets forth that "any form of impunity for racist attacks, hate speech,
physical attacks by extremist groups, unlawful evictions and police
harassment motivated by Anti-Gypsyism and Romaphobia plays a role in
weakening the rule of law and democracy, tends to encourage the
recurrence of such crimes and requires resolute action for its
eradication." The Resolution further recognises that "the failure to
combat racial discrimination and xenophobia against Roma, especially by
public authorities, is a factor encouraging the persistence of the
problems in society".

Concerning social inclusion matters, and the failure to date of EU and
Member States' authorities successfully to tackle problems of extreme
exclusion in a number of sectoral fields, the Resolution decries
"substandard and insanitary living conditions and evidence of
ghettoisation [...] on a wide scale, with Roma being regularly prevented
from moving out of such neighbourhoods" as well as "racially segregated
schooling systems in place across several Member States, in which Roma
children are taught either in segregated classes with lower standards or
in classes for the mentally handicapped".  The Resolution further states
that "Roma communities face unacceptably high levels of unemployment, so
that specific measures are required to facilitate access to jobs".

The Resolution calls on Member States which have not yet transposed into
their national legislation Directive 43/2000/EC ("Race Directive") to do
so without delay, as well as to act to eliminate racial hatred and
incitement to discrimination and violence against Roma in the media.

Other matters on which the Resolution sets out specific recommendations
include:

* The need to address the ethnic cleansing of Roma in Kosovo, Croatia,
and Bosnia and Herzegovina;

* Problems related to adequate recognition of the Romani Holocaust,
including the continuing existence of a pig farm on the site of the
former concentration camp at Lety u Pisku in the Czech Republic;

* The failure to date of some European Union Member States officially to
recognise Roma as an official minority;

* The expulsion or threatened expulsion of Romani asylum seekers from EU
countries;

* The dearth of adequate representation of Roma in government and
administration;

* Anti-Romani bias in the police;

* Segregation in maternity wards and the coercive sterilisation of
Romani women;

The Resolution also offers comment on a number of other matters.

The Resolution calls on various stakeholders, including European Union
institutions and the EU Member States, to undertake specific measures to
tackle a range of exclusion and racial discrimination issues facing Roma
in Europe. In particular, the European Parliament calls on the European
Union institutions and on the Member States to take steps at local,
national, regional or EU level to combat Anti-Gypsysm/Romaphobia.

The Resolution also calls on the European Commission to prepare a
communication on co-ordination between the EU and Member States for the
improvement of the situation of Roma, and also to adopt an action plan
including clear recommendation to the Member States and candidate
countries aimed at improving the situation of Roma in the respective
countries.

The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 497 in favour, 25 against, and
with 30 abstentions.

The full text of the European Parliament Resolution is available from
the ERRC by contacting: cristi.mihalache@errc.org

_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at
http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary
Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201

_____________________________________________

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