MINELRES: ERRC statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Dec 11 19:57:21 2009

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

ERRC statement on the occasion of Human Rights Day
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” 
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

10 December 2009, Budapest: Today marks the 61st anniversary of the
adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the
General Assembly of the United Nations. This year, Human Rights Day is
devoted to non discrimination and the right to equality; it is
celebrated around the world with the motto “Embrace Diversity, End

On this occasion the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) notes that
racial discrimination against Roma is still a common and persistent
problem all around Europe. Roma face discrimination in all areas of
life, which contributes to exclusion and poverty. As a result of
historic and persistent discrimination against Roma, many Roma remain
uneducated and unemployed, living in segregated, substandard housing,
and facing much lower life expectancy than that of non-Roma. 

The plight of Romani children remains especially acute. A large number
of Romani children from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania
and Bulgaria and other European countries are attending segregated
special schools or segregated classes where they study according to an
inferior curriculum. They leave these schools unprepared for life in a
democratic society and participation in the labour market. They are
denied the right to education on equal terms and emerge stigmatised as
"stupid" and "disabled". 

Children are subject to violence at the hands of police and private
individuals. In 2009, YouTube viewers could watch a home-made video of
Slovak police officers insulting and abusing six Romani boys in their
custody. This year, Romani children were the target of racially
motivated murder or attempted murder in Hungary and the Czech Republic. 

In the spirit of the Article 1 of the UDHR, the ERRC urges European
governments to take decisive action in order to eliminate discrimination
against Roma, and in particular against Romani children. Specifically,
governments should: 

- Affirmatively prohibit segregation in education and take immediate
steps to ensure that Romani children are provided with a quality
education in an integrated setting; 
- Conduct prompt, thorough and unbiased investigation into each case of
violence against Roma, with adequate consideration of possible racist
motive, and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice; 
- Develop pro-active and comprehensive national strategy to combat and
prevent racist or hate crimes and hate speech, including clear and
consistent condemnations of all attacks against Roma; and 
- Implement adequately funded positive action programmes in the fields
of education, employment, housing and health care in order to promote
equality of Roma and their inclusion in mainstream society. 


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the human rights situation 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 

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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