MINELRES: ERTF Press Release: The European Union Needs to Tackle racism Within its own Ranks

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Sat Mar 3 19:44:14 2007


Original sender: European Roma and Travellers Forum <ertf@coe.int>

 
ERTF Press Release: The European Union Needs to Tackle racism Within its
own Ranks 

European Roma and Travellers Forum 

Press Release 

The European Union Needs to Tackle racism Within its own Ranks 

Strasbourg, 1 March 2006. On the occasion of the launch of a new report
on racism in Europe by the newly established EU Fundamental Rights
Agency, the president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, Rudko
Kawczynski called on the EU member states to start taking serious racism
within their own ranks.

“Europe has too long behaved as if racism and xenophobia were
essentially linked to pre-modernism, considering itself immune against
such trends. Anti-Gypsyism is the best example for the erroneousness of
this assumption.”, Rudko Kawczynski said referring to the continuity
between the anti-Gypsy laws of the early 20th century, the persecution
of Roma under National-Socialism, and present-days anti-Gypsyism
including hate speech and anti-Roma violence.

“As a practical man, I am not at all surprised at the report’s findings,
documenting a sharp increase of racism in Europe. Our organisations
receive every day witness of discrimination and Human Rights violations
against Roma”, the president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum
said. He pointed out that anti-Gypsyism is increasingly
institutionalised with state institutions becoming one of its main
perpetrators. 

Given the all-pervasiveness of anti-Roma violence in Europe Kawczynski
asserted the Roma’s right to freely choose their place of residence. He
firmly condemned the recent refoulement of Romani asylum seekers from
the new member states in Ieland and Sweden> At the same time he warned
the new member states not to use the EU’s open border policy to get rid
of their unwanted Romani citizens.

Commenting of the launch of the new Fundamental Rights Agency, Rudko
Kawczynski said that he shared the concerns expressed by others that the
extended focus of the new agency might go at the expense of the work on
racism and xenophobia formerly done by the European Monitoring Centre on
Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). “We have just seen a positive shift within
the EUMC’s work with the observatory paying considerably more attention
to discrimination and violence against Roma,” Kawczynski said. “We want
the Fundamental Rights Agency to take on on this work with the
monitoring of anti-Gypsism as an explicit part of its mandate”, the
president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum concluded.


Established in 2004, the European Roma and Travellers Forum is the
international Romani interest representation which gathers Europe’s main
international Roma organisations and more than 1,500 member
organisations from most of the Council of Europe member states. The
organisation has signed a partnership agreement with the Council of
Europe which provides for special relations between both bodies.

For further information and interviews please contact: 

European Roma and Travellers Forum 
c/o Council of Europe 
F – 67 075 Strasbourg 
Tel.: 00 33 3 90 21 53 50 
Email:
ertf@coe.int

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