Time for Europe to end persecution of Roma
It’s Friday. The sun is out and frankly I’m on my soap box once again. Why oh why do so many of Europe’s leaders continue to persecute Roma?
The Roma community get given short shrift when it comes to housing. They are constantly subject to abuse from a range of political leaders. And with education, in some parts of the continent, they are forced to attend second-rate schools away from the non-Roma population.
It simply isn’t good enough. There has never been a reason to justify it, but this is the 21st century and there are now European laws in place to stamp it out.
The trouble is that no one seems to pay any attention to the courts.
Just yesterday the European Court of Human Rights made a unanimous ruling against Greece for segregating Roma schoolchildren from their peers. Sounds like great news, but this is the third such ruling against Greece in five years and still nothing has changed.
Then there’s the question of how seriously do Europe’s lawmakers really take the issue of persecution of Roma? The European Commission has the powers to act against countries that fail to adhere to European law.
They have been razor sharp when it comes to holding countries to account when they have broken Europe’s laws on taxation (18 against France alone in 2011), environment (33 against Italy in 2011) and transport (14 against the Czech Republic in 2011), according to Amnesty’s recent briefing ‘Human Rights Here, Roma Rights Now’.
But when it comes to looking at issues of discrimination which includes ensuring that national authorities do not target Roma through forced evictions, foster residential segregation and segregate Roma pupils in Roma-only classes at the end of 2012 across the whole of Europe there were only five open cases. It is simply shameful.
Amnesty is calling on the European Union to act and end the illegal discrimination of Roma and you can add to the call by signing our petition.
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.