Thousands demand Commission action against anti-Roma discrimination

Thousands demand Commission action against anti-Roma discrimination
(Brussels, 26 June 2013) Ahead of tomorrow’s EU Platform for Roma Inclusion, Roma activists and 93,165 people worldwide have pressed the European Commission to call a halt to persistent and widespread discrimination against Romani people across Europe. 
“EU action on this issue is long overdue,” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The many forced evictions of Romani people, their segregation in housing and education and the inadequate reaction to hate crimes against them aren’t isolated incidents but the product of widespread, systemic discrimination.” 
“The Union can already force its member states to uphold its anti-discrimination laws. But the Commission has been reluctant to make this happen. Now, 93,165 people are demanding that they do so,” said Beger. 
The Commission has said it will take legal action if it finds systematic discrimination in EU countries. As guardian of EU anti-discrimination laws, the Commission can hold EU countries to account if they breach the laws. 
Despite evidence presented by Amnesty International and others, which reveals policies and discriminatory practices by member states that breach the Race Equality Directive, the Commission has been reluctant to act. 
Thousands of people have asked Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding to use all available tools, including legal action, to ensure that Romani people in Europe can enjoy their human rights on an equal basis with everyone else. 
Today’s Start your day with justice and human rights breakfast at the Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters offers officials a chance to meet Roma activists who have suffered human rights violations and highlights popular support for the cause. This precedes the delivery of more than 93,000 signatures to Mrs Reding.  The names have been collected over the past two months as part of Amnesty International’s Human rights here, Roma rights now campaign.
For more information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Peter Clarke 
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0) 2 548 2773