MINELRES: Fwd: Ethnic discrimination still haunts Europe, says study
Wed Jul 9 14:19:42 2008
Original sender: Roma Virtual Network <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ethnic discrimination still haunts Europe, says study
Published: Thursday 3 July 2008
Although discrimination in general has decreased on the European
continent in the past years, discrimination based on ethnic origin it is
still perceived as widespread, with Roma in particular facing high
levels of prejudice, according to a new Eurobarometer.
Out of the six categories investigated (disability, age, gender, ethnic
origin, religion and sexual orientation), discrimination on the grounds
of ethnic origin is perceived as the most widespread among Europeans and
is considered to be an even bigger problem than it was five years ago.
While discrimination based on age, disability, religion and gender is
seen to have gone down, almost half of those surveyed (48%) say ethnic
discrimination is getting worse.
This is particularly the case in the Netherlands, where 71% of those
surveyed said the situation had deteriorated. Now nearly four out of
five people say ethnic discrimination is widespread and more than one in
five has actually witnessed it on the ground. The situation is also
perceived to have worsened in Denmark (69%), Hungary (61%), Italy (58%)
and Belgium (56%), while citizens of Poland (17%), Lithuania (20%),
Cyprus (23%) and Latvia (25%) were more optimistic regarding the
situation in their country than they were five years ago.
Homophobia still strong
Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is seen as the second
most common form of discrimination in the EU, with 51% of those surveyed
considering it widespread. The situation is considered worst in Cyprus,
Greece and Italy, with nearly three quarters of respondents saying
homophobia is common. But Portugal (65%) and France (59%) are also
generally perceived as homophobic. The least widespread homophobia is
seen in new member states, like Bulgaria (20%), the Czech Republic
(27%), Slovakia (30%) and Estonia (32%).
The survey also shows that more than half of Europeans do not know their
rights (53%) should they become a victim of discrimination or
harassment. On average, just one third of respondents said they were
aware of their rights.. Although citizens in Finland (62%), Malta (49%)
and Slovenia (44%) appear to be more informed, levels are much lower in
Austria (18%) and Bulgaria (17%).
Roma – a special category
While the average European says he is very comfortable with having
someone from a different ethnic origin as a neighbour (with an average
result of 8.1 on a scale of one to ten, where ten represents 'totally
comfortable' and one 'very uncomfortable'), the situation is completely
different when it comes to having a Roma neighbour. In the Czech
Republic as well as in Italy, almost half of respondents (47%) would
feel uncomfortable (average Czech score 3.7; average Italian score,
4.0). This is also the case in Ireland (40%; 4.8), Slovakia (38%; 4.5),
Bulgaria (36%; 4.8) and Cyprus (34%; 5.6).
Commission invites joint response
As part of its major social package presented yesterday (2 July), the
European Commission also published a report entitled: "Roma exclusion
requires joint response," which looks at the various instruments
available for EU action to achieve better Roma inclusion.
It identifies several key areas for action, including education, public
health and gender equality. The document will be discussed at the
European Roma Summit to take place in Brussels on 16 September 2008.
"Roma are one of the largest ethnic minorities in the EU, but too often
they are Europe's forgotten citizens," said Equal Opportunities
Commissioner Vladimir Spidla. "They face persistent discrimination and
far-reaching social exclusion. The EU and member states have a joint
responsibility to end this situation. We have the tools to do the job –
now we need to use them more effectively."
Eubarometer: Discrimination in the European Union: Perceptions,
Experiences and Attitudes
European Commission: Roma exclusion requires joint response, says EC
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