18 December 2007
Send a seasonal greeting for Romani rights

Romani children playing on the ice, at the settlement at Letanovce, Slovakia Roma are one of the largest and fastest-growing ethnic minority groups in Europe. They are also the most deprived.

The persistent discrimination faced by the Roma community perpetuates their economic and social marginalization. They suffer massive discrimination in access to housing, employment and education. In some countries, they are prevented from obtaining citizenship and personal documents required for social insurance, health care and other benefits.

Roma are often victims of police ill-treatment, while their complaints are seldom investigated. Many Romani children are unjustifiably placed in "special" schools, where scaled-down lessons limit the opportunities to fulfil their potential. Romani children and women are among the communities most vulnerable to traffickers.

Ensuring equal access to rights for Roma must be a European priority. Almost 80 per cent of the total European Roma population (of about 10 million) live in European Union member states and aspiring member states.

Take Action European governments have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of Roma in the same way they would their majority – and other minority – populations. To improve the situation of Roma, the European Union must show strong leadership. It must develop a more comprehensive and cohesive approach to realizing the human rights of Roma and give guidance and assistance to its existing and aspiring member states.

Read more:

Slovak education system fails Romani children (Report Abstract, 14 November 2007)

Macedonia: Government's failure to address double discrimination against Romani women and girls (Press Release, 6 December 2007)

False starts: The exclusion of Romani children from primary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia (Report, 16 November 2006)

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