MINELRES: EU FRA statement on the occasion of International Roma Day

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Thu Apr 10 19:35:42 2008

Original sender: FRA <fra@fra.europa.eu>

Vienna, 7 April 2008

European Union needs common action to make equality a reality for the

Statement by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on
the occasion of International Roma Day

“We have put in place strong legislation to root out discrimination in
the EU, but the promise of equal opportunity remains unfulfilled for
many Roma and Travellers in our societies”, said Anastasia Crickley,
Chairperson of FRA’s Management Board, in a statement ahead of
International Roma Day (8 April). 

“Roma and Travellers are subjected to racially motivated violence and
hate speech. The Fundamental Rights Agency and many other organisations
have documented the endemic discrimination against Roma in education,
employment, health care, housing and access to services. Romani women
and children are particularly vulnerable. The action plans and
strategies on how to solve these issues through comprehensive programmes
have all been drawn up long ago. We must now implement them rigorously,
measure their impact, identify good practice and learn from our
mistakes. Partnership with the Roma communities themselves must be one
of the principles guiding the implementation of these programmes and
policies”, Anastasia Crickley continued.

A particularly acute problem across many Member States of the European
Union is the housing situation of Roma and Travellers. The lack of
provision of accommodation sites by local authorities often results in
people from these groups living in sub-standard accommodation, which
lacks even basic sanitary facilities. In some countries, the housing
conditions, in which some Roma communities live are aggravated by their
subjection to evictions and forced relocations. 

“Member States need to step up awareness among local authorities of the
importance of addressing the particular needs of Roma in the development
of land use and housing policies”, Anastasia Crickley commented. “They
should take effective measures to prevent and remedy discrimination
against Roma in access to public and private housing.” 

The situation of Roma and Travellers and the discrimination they face is
a European concern requiring a common European response. The Agency
therefore welcomes the moves towards greater coordination of Member
State efforts at European Union level. At the European Council in
December 2007, the Heads of States and Governments of the EU recognised
the “very specific situation faced by the Roma across the Union” and
invited Member States and the Union “to use all means to improve their
inclusion”. The European Commission was requested to examine existing
policies and instruments and to report to the Council on progress
achieved before the end of June 2008. 

The Fundamental Rights Agency will make a strong contribution to support
any common EU effort to help Roma and Travellers realise their right to
equal opportunities in the EU. In this regard, the Agency attaches great
importance to the expertise and views of civil society in general, and
Roma organisations in particular. FRA will therefore engage in a
structured consultation with key stakeholders to gather ideas for its
future work on issues affecting Roma and Travellers in the EU. 

The designation of 8 April as International Roma Day goes back to the
fourth congress of the International Romani Union in Warsaw in 1990. The
International Roma Day is celebrated as tribute to the first
international meeting of Roma representatives, on 8 April 1971, near

Further information concerning Roma and Travellers in Europe:

FRA Reports:

Roma and Travellers in Public Education:

Romani women and access to public health care: 

Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU:

European Commission reports:

European Commission Portal on Roma:

Intergovernmental Organisations:

Council of Europe Roma and Travellers Division:

Contact Point on Roma and Sinti Issues (ODIHR-OSCE):


Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005–2015:

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