Stop the anti-Roma rhetoric, Croatia!

Stop the anti-Roma rhetoric, Croatia!
(Brussels, 29 March 2012) Amnesty International has expressed concern at yesterday’s speech by Croatia’s interior minister, which accused the Romani population in the northern county of Međimurje of being the main perpetrators of property-related crime. He also implied that social security payments to the Roma community went mainly on alcohol rather than living costs.  
The interior minister, Ranko Ostojić, by explicitly linking the Roma community with crime and social problems like alcohol abuse, is reinforcing discriminatory racial stereotypes”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “He should instead examine the connection between poverty, crime and marginalisation, and ask why, according to his own remarks, Romani people find it difficult to obtain the very jobs which would allow them to earn a living for themselves.” 
Amnesty International is concerned about stigmatising rhetoric of this kind, which is a feature of widespread climate of anti-Gypsyism which is currently prevalent in many European countries and leads to severe discrimination against Romani people.  This trend has been highlighted by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights in his recent report on the subject. 
Amnesty International has urged the European Commission to condemn every instance of anti-Roma rhetoric and to raise the matter with the Croatian Government in connection with Croatia’s accession to the EU next year.  
For more information please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office
Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773