MINELRES: Rights Groups Lobby for Government Action on Roma Issues in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Turkey around CERD Review

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Mar 29 12:24:42 2009

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

Rights Groups Lobby for Government Action on Roma Issues in Bulgaria,
Montenegro and Turkey around CERD Review 
27 March 2009: Today, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and
national partners Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC), Centre for Roma
Initiatives (CRI) and Edirne Roma Association (EDROM) sent letters to
the Bulgarian, Montenegrin and Turkish governments to promptly implement
recommendations for improving the situation of Roma recently by the UN
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

Following its review of the countries’ implementation of the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (ICERD) in February 2009, the CERD expressed concern
about barriers to equal access to employment, health care, education and
housing faced by Roma in each country. In particular, the CERD raised
concerns regarding the large proportion of Romani children not enrolled
in, or not completing, education and the problem of Romani children
placed in schools for persons with disabilities. In Bulgaria and
Montenegro the CERD expressed concern at continued reports of police
brutality and ill-treatment against minorities, especially targeting
Roma, compounded by the absence of prompt, impartial investigation in
such cases. Finally, the CERD noted the low representation of minorities
and lack of disaggregated data concerning minority employment within the
public administration, army and police, emphasising that this “can be
result of discriminatory practices during selection and recruitment.” 

In its Concluding Observations, the Committee urged the government of
Bulgaria to implement measures outlined in the Decade for Roma
Inclusion’s National Action Plan, which aim to improve access of Roma to
employment, health care, housing and education. The Committee encouraged
the government to cooperate with civil society to improve the
integration of Romani children in the school system, and called on the
government to fight abuse of authority and ill-treatment of minorities
by the police, establish an independent body to guarantee effective
legal remedy and punishment in such situations and increase
representation of Roma in the police force. Finally, the CERD urged the
Bulgarian government to increase the representation of minority groups
in public services and to prevent discrimination in selection and
recruitment process. 

In its Concluding Observations on Montenegro, the CERD recommended that
the government ratify the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness
and grant the status of citizen, long-term resident or refugee to IDPs
and displaced persons from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, many of whom are
Romani. The Committee also requested that the government submit
disaggregated data about ethnic minorities relating to education, social
inclusion, economic standing and employment in public bodies and
institutions. The CERD encouraged the government to document all
allegations of ill-treatment and police brutality, investigate claims of
such behaviour in an independent, prompt and thorough fashion, and
prosecute and punish all offenders. 

Following its review of Turkey, the CERD recommended that the government
enact special measures to overcome the disadvantages in education,
employment and housing created by persistent discrimination against
Roma. It called on the government to develop comprehensive
anti-discrimination legislation and undertake the necessary reforms to
legally recognise the existence of some ethnic minority groups, such as
Roma, who are experiencing “a more difficult socio-economic situation
that the rest of the population.” Moreover, the CERD recommended that
the government combat hostile attitudes, attacks and threats by the
general public towards Roma and other groups through information and
education campaigns. Finally, the Committee requested that the
government amend domestic criminal legislation to classify ethnic,
racial or religious hatred as a motive for crimes and ensure that it is
considered “an aggravating circumstance in proceedings under criminal

The full texts of the CERD’s Concluding Observations are available. In
the run-up to the session, the ERRC and its partners submitted parallel
reports on the situation of Roma in Bulgaria, Montenegro and Turkey for
consideration by the Committee. The CERD’s findings echo the very
serious concerns raised in those reports concerning racial
discrimination against Roma. The submissions are available online. 

For more information on the review and the submissions, please contact: 


ERRC: Idaver Memedov, idaver.memedov@errc.org 
Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Krassimir Kanev, krassimir@bghelsinki.org 


ERRC: Ostalinda Maya, ostalinda.maya@errc.org 
Centre for Roma Initiatives: Fana Delija, crink@cg.yu 


ERRC: Idaver Memedov, idaver.memedov@errc.org 
Edirne Roma Association: Erdinc Cekic, edrom70@mynet.com


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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