“Romania needs to put an end to anti-Gypsyism” says Commissioner Hammarberg
Strasbourg, 15/10/10 –
“Without resolute action to stamp out anti-Gypsyism, it will not be
possible to help many Romanian Roma out of social exclusion and
marginalisation.” After a three-day visit to Romania focused on the
human rights of Roma, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human
Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, finds that the country needs a set of
comprehensive measures to tackle pervasive discrimination against Roma.
With international attention focused on Roma and reflected domestically,
Commissioner Hammarberg believes that Romania should not miss out on an
opportunity to advance Roma inclusion. “The necessary legal and
institutional frameworks are in place, but anti-Roma sentiment in
political discourse and the media is still a major problem”. Prejudices
among the majority population remain strong and have negative
repercussions on the lives of many Roma.
Rather than discussing which term should be used to designate the Roma
population, emphasis should be put on educating the general public about
Roma history. The slavery they were subjected to in Romania for several
centuries, their mass deportation and extermination during the second
World War and their forced assimilation during the Communist period have
put them in an inferior position, the consequences of which they are
still suffering from today.
Local administrations and NGOs have a key role to play in the inclusion
of Roma. Currently, however, they cannot make full use of the resources
available at European level as bureaucratic requirements frequently form
an obstacle to accessing EU funds. Local authorities need to be active
and efficient in developing projects for the improvement of the
situation of Roma who are deeply disadvantaged in various fields, not
least as regards access to education, employment, health care and
Until this is done, Roma will continue to be forced to leave Romania in
search of a better life elsewhere. When they do, their rights, including
freedom of movement, must be fully respected, without discrimination.
“There is an obvious European dimension to the issue of Roma inclusion
in any national context”, Commissioner Hammarberg said.
During the visit, Commissioner Hammarberg held discussions with a number
of non-governmental organisations and visited Roma communities in the
municipality of Barbulesti and the Bucharest neighbourhood of Ferentari.
He also held discussions with a number of authorities including the
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Teodor Baconschi, the State Secretary
at the Ministry for Labour, Family and Social Affairs, Mr. Valentin
Mocanu and the State Secretary at the Ministry for Administration and
Interior, Mr. Dan Fătuloiu. He also met with the President of the
National Agency for Roma, Mr. Ilie Dincă, the Director General of the
National Centre for Roma Culture, Ms. Mihaela Zătreanu and the President
of the National Council for Combating Discrimination, Mr. Asztalos Csaba
Photo gallery of the visit
Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:
Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;
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