Anti-Roma rhetoric in Europe : politicians should avoid feeding
Strasbourg, 09/09/10 – The
French government has reacted against my statements on anti-Roma
rhetoric. This I welcome and hope will encourage a serious discussion.
Certainly, I stand by my position as I have stated. Politicians should
be very careful about language which can promote further prejudice
against the Roma communities.
During the ongoing government campaign in France against crime, Roma
from other EU countries have been targeted as a “threat against public
security”. French Government spokespersons have failed to make a clear
distinction between the whole group of Roma immigrants and the few who
have committed crimes.
This is the more serious as there is widespread anti-Gypsyism in many
European countries today and extremist political groups are trying to
exploit these tendencies. Their propaganda is very close to what was
said in the 30s and 40s by fascists and nazis. Any political statement
or action which encourages such thinking must be avoided.
One should not trivialise the consequences of negative statements by
leading politicians. The unfortunate rhetoric by some candidates in the
Italian election in 2008 was followed by ugly incidents of violence
against Roma individuals and camps. Distorted minds had understood the
political messages as an encouragement for action. The cold-blooded
murders of six Roma, including a five-year-old child, in Hungary the
other year were another illustration that the risk of anti-Roma violence is
Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:
Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;
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