Willing and able? EU fails to ensure respect for Roma human rights


Willing and able EU fails to ensure respect for Roma human rights

(Brussels, 7 April 2011) On the eve of International Roma Day, Amnesty International has questioned the effectiveness of the European Union’s efforts to halt discrimination against Roma people and make serious progress on integrating them into society. “Despite the EU’s public commitment to improving the climate for Roma people and halting discrimination, we’ve yet to see effective measures for change” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU is failing to hold member states to account.”

NGOs have criticised Tuesday’s Commission proposal for an EU Framework on National Strategies for Roma, on the grounds that it fails to tackle discrimination and anti-Gypsyism. “We can’t understand this gaping void, when discrimination against Roma people, including intolerant invective from senior politicians and hate crime, are rampant throughout Europe”, said Beger. “We won’t solve this problem by avoiding it.”

Referring to the forthcoming European Roma Platform in Budapest on 8 April, Beger said: “Show us that the top-down bureaucratic ‘conference’ approach has truly changed. How willing are the EU and member states to change the status quo and bring about effective change One way to make a difference is by giving a proper say to the Roma people themselves and their NGO supporters. If the EU won’t listen to them, how serious can it really be ”

In recent months Amnesty International has documented how Roma rights to housing, education, water and health are widely abused around Europe. Its report on Serbia released today, reveals another way in which the EU has proved itself unable to protect Roma rights. The report highlights the connection between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD), and forced evictions of Roma communities which occurred during construction of Belgrade’s Gazela Bridge. “Both banks have acknowledged the issue and have promised to apply international human rights standards, but haven’t been able to create safeguards to prevent violations of this sort from being repeated”, said Beger.

For interviews or further comment, please contact:-

Peter Clarke
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773
[email protected]

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