Human Rights of Roma and Travellers

There is a shameful lack of implementation concerning the human rights of Roma, the biggest minority group in Europe, throughout the continent.

The Roma population – whether citizens, displaced persons or migrants – is worse off than any other group in Europe when it comes to education, health, employment, housing and political participation.

Roma continue to suffer from pervasive discrimination in all fields of life. Anti-Gypsyism feeds the cycle of their exclusion, disadvantage, segregation and marginalisation. Rhetoric occasionally used by public figures and the media has contributed to further marginalisation and extremism against Roma, including alarming levels of violence and abuse by law enforcement officials.

The Commissioner for Human Rights therefore pays particular attention to the respect for and the protection of the human rights of Roma.

He regularly visits Roma settlements and provides recommendations to national authorities on how they could improve their records on the human rights of Roma.

He has written many articles about the situation of Roma and he has drawn special attention to the untenable situation of the persons living in the lead contaminated Roma camps in Northern Mitrovica.



Human rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe

This report presents the first overview of the human rights situation  of Roma and Travellers, covering all 47 member states of the Council of Europe. Its purpose is to encourage a constructive discussion about policies towards Roma and Travellers in Europe today, focusing on what must be done in order to put an end to the discrimination and marginalisation they suffer.

Press release : Roma and Travellers face blatant racism in today’s Europe
Extracts from the full report:
French | Italian | Romani | Romanian | Hungarian | Slovak | Czech Spanish | Bulgarian | Albanian | Serbian | Russian | Turkish| German


Issue paper: The right to leave a country (2013) [in bulgarian] [in french] [in serbian]

Positions on the human rights of Roma

A summary of conclusions and recommendations concerning Roma rights, based on the Commissioner’s country monitoring and thematic reports, issue papers, recommendations, opinions and viewpoints. (updated: 30.05.2010)

Recent Migration of Roma in Europe

What are the root causes of Roma migration in today’s Europe? What are the human rights of Roma when they move from one country to another? What should receiving countries do to ensure that the human rights of Roma migrants are fully respected? This study "Recent Migration of Roma in Europe" published by Commissioner Hammarberg and the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Knut Vollebaek, aims to shed light on these topical questions.

Press release: Human rights of Roma migrants in Europe (18.10.2010)


Latest News

Irresponsible media reporting on Roma propagates negative myths   (24.10.2013)
Commissioner’s concerns about police file on Roma in Sweden   (23.09.2013)
Bridging interethnic divisions should be a top priority in “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”
Czech Republic: Stronger efforts needed to end segregation of Roma
Human rights of Roma and social cohesion should be strengthened, says Commissioner Muižnieks in Skopje
Roma segregation remains a serious problem in the Czech Republic
Italy needs to speed up court proceedings and improve the treatment of Roma and migrants (18.09.2012)
For human rights protection, Italy needs a clear break with past practices (09.07.2012)
The United Kingdom should ensure adequate housing for Gypsies and Travellers (01.03.2012)


European media and anti-Gypsy stereotypes (07.07.2011)
Politicians using anti-Roma rhetoric are spreading hate (28.06.2011)
Previous Comments
List of the Commissioner's Viewpoints on Roma rights from 2006 to 2012

Speeches and statements

 European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion (20.03.2013)
 The Romani Holocaust and contemporary challenges: Tackling discrimination and human rights abuse of Roma (21.10.2011) 

Previous Speeches

Country monitoring

Reports and press releases classified by country

Factsheets on Roma
Public knowledge about the history and culture of the Roma, which numerically is the largest minority in Europe, is still marginal or inexistent among ordinary people. National governments and international organisations are trying to overcome segregation, stigmatisation and marginalisation of the Roma and try to fully integrate Roma into society. The factsheets on Roma are intended to support this process of integration via education.

Dosta! Campaign
Council of Europe  awareness raising campaign on Roma to stop prejudices and stereotypes and discover the Roma



Interview of Thomas Hammarberg in a film on repatriations of Roma from Germany to Kosovo, by the Romedia Foundation (21.09.2011)

Equal rights for all Europeans? Interview of Thomas Hammarberg on EU Reporter, about Roma and discrimination in Europe (03.01.2011)


Photo Galleries
Council of Europe's photostream on Roma
Roma in Europe
Photos of the visit to Romania from 12 to 14 October 2010
Photos of the visit to Italy from 13 to 15 January 2009

Focus: The lead-contaminated Roma camps of Mitrovica

Forced from their homes in 1999 following the Kosovo* conflict, a large number of Roma families left their Mitrovica neighbourhood, known as the Mahalla.

As an emergency response and on a temporary basis, they were sheltered in makeshift camps just a stone’s throw away from a toxic waste site.

Photos Sandro Weltin/ © Council of Europe
Please contact the author for the use or reproduction of any photo displayed in these galleries.

* "All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo."