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Anti-Gypsyism is blocking Roma inclusion

12 April 2011

The European Union (EU) and member states can only achieve long term results if they take all necessary steps against all forms of anti-Roma discrimination, and take measures to ensure respect for fundamental rights for all EU citizens, said Roma and pro-Roma NGOs and activists gathered today in Budapest, Hungary at the 5th European Roma Platform Meeting to highlight anti-Gypsyism and obstructions to Roma inclusion.

While the EU Roma Framework is being presented during the Platform meeting, Roma families continue to feel threatened in their own homes due to the lack of protection provided by some member states against racist threats and harassment. Roma face discrimination and exclusion in many member states in getting access to adequate education, employment, health care, housing and other social benefits.

We believe it is a step forward that in the EU Roma Framework the Commission requests all member states to develop national strategies for Roma inclusion, and to allocate sufficient targeted resources for this.

However, we believe that in order to make a real difference, the EU and the member states should take all possible measures against anti-Gypsyism, and progress toward explicit targets based on common indicators in the implementation of the strategies.

The EU and the member states must explicitly condemn anti-Roma violence, threats and racist rhetoric.

Real change can only be achieved if the Framework provides clear guidance for developing and implementing more effective national strategies, ensures accountability, and obliges member states to develop adequate monitoring and review mechanisms.

Although the Framework recognises the need to fight discrimination against Roma and ensures their equal access to fundamental rights, it fails to specify measures to combat discrimination, intimidation, anti-Gypsyism, hate speech or violence against Roma. It is the common responsibility of the EU and the member states to halt discriminatory practices and pursue policies that guarantee equal opportunities to all citizens.

The Framework and the national strategies on Roma inclusion can only be credibly devised by the active involvement of Roma. Therefore we urge the active involvement of Roma and pro-Roma NGOs, activists and experts in all stages of policy-making and national strategy development and implementation. Without a proper dialogue with the Roma communities and NGOs there can be no Platform or national strategies.

Amnesty International Magyarország
C POLISZ, Cigány Politológusok és Szakértők Szövetsége
Esélyt a Hátrányos Helyzetű Gyerekeknek / Chance for Children Foundation
Európai Roma Jogok Központja / European Roma Rights Centre
European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network, ERGO
Magyar Helsinki Bizottság / Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Minority Rights Group International
Neo Drom / Új Út
Romaversitas Alapítvány / Romaversitas
Társaság a Szabadságjogokért / Hungarian Civil Liberties Union