Despite the adoption of EU anti-discrimination legislation and the EU Framework for NRIS, extremist organisations, individuals, public officials and politicians continue to openly discriminate against Roma at an alarming rate. We can observe increasing anti-Roma sentiments and anti-Gypsyism and persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against this minority.
Roma, mainly from Eastern MS, in addition to poverty and discrimination in housing, employment, education and health, face constant intimidation and violence. Of course, this is not just an East European phenomenon as it also happens in some western MS (i.e. France and Italy).
Of particular concern is the increase of paramilitary and militia groups and extreme right-wing organisations targeting and terrorising Roma and using anti-Roma rhetoric (particularly in Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Romania). These groups have the Roma as their target group. They use fear to intimidate Roma and they’re extremely aggressive as they carry violent assaults and racially motivated violence against this group causing the death of many. Groups embracing and promoting racist anti-Roma ideologies and strategies constitute a direct violation of the fundamental rights of this minority.
In parallel to this, Europe’s far right is rising. Many politicians play the ethnic card as a strategy to gain votes by using racist and anti-Roma rhetoric and hate speech fuelling anti-Gypsyism.
As a way to survive, either to poverty, discrimination or physical threat, many Roma move to other MS. Since Roma are most vulnerable to discrimination, they will continue to be the bigger scapegoat in the new MS they move to.
This must end. Roma’s right to security and life have to be protected now. Both the EC and MS have to take a strong position against right-wing extremism and incitement to hatred.
How come we still have such scenario, so many years after the adoption of the Race Equality Directive (RED)?
Well, ERIO’s monitoring of the RED implementation shows that some countries have not fully enforced the Directive and that law enforcement authorities face many challenges. It’s important that all actors work together in order to overcome such challenges.
We believe that Equality Bodies (EBs) can play a key role in tackling anti-Roma discrimination. They should work closely with civil society.
That’s why we’ve been having annual workshops with Equality Bodies and Roma civil society to attempt to address challenges and opportunities when it comes to the RED implementation.
Some solutions identified during consultations with: