Global Minorities Alliance is highlighting the plight of the most persecuted minority in Europe, and urges the Scottish Government to introduce national laws to aim for the inclusion and protection of Roma communities in Scotland.
The Alliance also calls for a commission to be set up to counter anti-gypsyism to address the current negative stereotyping of Roma in Scotland.
To commemorate 8th April, which is International Roma Day, the Alliance has also published a report which examines four core issues faced by Romacommunities across Europe, i.e political discrimination, lack of political representation, statelessness and urban marginalisation.
The report highlights the decades-long marginalisation of one of the most vulnerable ethnic groups in the continent; a group which continues to face obstacles on their way to having their full human rights, as well as socio-economic entitlements, recognised.
Since their migration to Europe in the 12th century, Roma people have faced enslavement, abuse and discrimination. The persecution reached a climax during World War II ,where Roma people were systematically slaughtered by the Nazis. The Alliance report recommends that European states should establish Truth and Reconciliation Commissions to fully recognise the mass atrocities faced by Roma during War World II. The recognition of this ‘forgotten genocide’ might be a way to restore trust between Roma people and European society.
In Europe, many minority groups are at a level of integration where they can enjoy rights on an equal footing with the majority group, whereas Roma communities are falling behind due to the number of inequalities they are facing, the reports states.
The author of the report Domenico Carolei, a trained criminal lawyer, who has a keen interest in Roma rights in Europe. “The report attempts to highlight the main issues involving the protection of Roma Rights in Europe,” said Mr Carolei. “The main purpose of this is to render institutional actors more sensitive to the cause of Roma rights, without forgetting that the integration of Roma people is a collective process which involves every single European citizen.”
The Alliance’s Director of Interfaith Harmony, Shahzad Khan, said:
“The systematic persecution of Roma communities in Europe over the decades, and the subsequent failure of European governments to include them in the mainstream societies, has been the challenge for many European societies which still needs to be addressed.
“European member states have adopted social inclusion strategies but they have failed to implement them fully, since they have not addressed the root cause of Roma exclusion. Such policies cannot be result-oriented if politicians do not encourage majority populations including civil servants, state agents and judiciary to respect and support Roma communities.”
Global Minorities Alliance calls for the Scottish Government to establish a Scottish commission to address the contemporary issues of Roma integration in Scotland. With this in mind, representatives of the Alliance presented the report to Anne McTaggart MSP today on 8th April, on the International RomaDay, to urge Holyrood to take necessary steps to adopt legislative provisions at a national level to create special protection status for Scotland’s Roma minority, which has already been granted to other historical and linguistic minorities.
Anne McTaggart Member of Scottish Parliament said, “It was a pleasure to be able to meet with delegates from the Global Minorities Alliance today and learn about their ‘Assessment of Roma Rights in Europe Report’. I am a proud supporter of the Roma community here in Glasgow and have in the past called on the Scottish Government to make sure funds are available to celebrate events such as International Romani Day in order to foster integration and celebrate diversity in our city. The Roma community in Glasgow is disproportionately affected by poverty and too often Roma people suffer discrimination in employment, education and housing.
“It was alarming to hear the extent to which the Roma community have been persecuted since their arrival in Europe and I find it depressing that this continues to happen to this day. The report makes a number of interesting recommendations that would help ensure the political and social inclusion of Roma communities across Europe and I will do all that I can to ensure that this becomes a priority”said Anne McTaggart.
The full report can be accessed here:http://www.globalminorities.co.uk/gma-reports/persecution-roma-europe