The President of the Congress Chamber of Local Authorities and Mayor of Saint-Gérand-le-Puy Xavier CADORET (France,SOC) warns of “anti-Roma fake news rapidly spreading on social media”. Referring to recent incidents in the French departments of Seine-Saint-Denis and Hauts-de-Seine, where rumors about Roma kidnapping children in a white van lead to anti-Roma mobilizations of violent, armed persons, Mr CADORET underlined the crucial role of local and regional politicians to counter false rumors: “Luckily local authorities, together with the police, reacted quickly by releasing statements identifying the rumors as fake news and prevented worse”, said Xavier CADORET.
Anti-Gypsyism continues to be a challenge for local and regional authorities all over Europe. “The recent incidents in France have once again proven that we as local and regional politicians need to remain vigilant towards new forms of anti-Roma hate speech, both online and offline”, Mr CADORET underlined. “Local and regional authorities must fight fake news stirring up hatred against Roma with strong commitment”.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities has reinforced its activities to combat anti-Gypsyism in recent years and launched a Declaration of Mayors and elected local and regional representatives against anti-Gypsyism. “I invite all elected local and regional representatives to take a clear stance against anti-Gypsyism by signing the Congress Declaration”, Mr CADORET said. The Declaration has so far been signed by 117 governors, mayors and councillors from 33 member states.
Every two years the Congress also awards the Dosta! Congress Prize to three municipalities from Council of Europe member states that have put in place innovative initiatives to integrate Roma and Travellers. The applications for the 2019 edition are open and must be submitted by 30 June 2019 at the latest.