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19 de julio de 2013 |

«We cannot accept this kind of approach at the EU»

Discrimination against Roma people is not only a French problem, it concerns the whole European Union and member states must tackle this issue.

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The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is an international legal organisation that works to combat anti-Romani racism and human rights violations of Roma people. Its work consists in monitoring the situation of this community, besides doing research and policy development, advocacy and human rights education.

The ERRC Executive Director Dezideriu Gergely spoke with Radio Mundo Real about the situation of the Roma people in France. He said that, even though the government has changed, the eviction of Roma people is still taking place.

Although French President François Hollande had promised «to not evict Roma families without looking for alternative solutions», public policies and discourse about the Roma community did not really change.

About that, Gergely said France was clearly violating human rights consecrated and promoted by European Union (EU). Indeed, in 2011 the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has found that the French zero tolerance policy towards East European Roma people living in illegal camps to be a violation of the European Social Charter. Dezeideriu explained how politicians were targeting a community, a group of people, based on their ethnic origins, and using racial profiling to send them back to their country.

«The way the governments expel Roma people from Romania and from France back to their countries of origin violate the right to a dignified life, and secondly the right not to be discriminated against»

He recalled that Roma people are citizens of Europe, and, in that sense, should enjoy the same rights of freedom and movement than other citizens, referring to the values all EU members share.

About the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria in the Schengen area, scheduled for January of 2014, he said there is currently a lot of public rhetoric by «anti-immigrant or nationalistic groups in several countries in Europe», which have strong concerns about what will happen after January of 2014.

Moreover, he blamed the global view that considers that Roma people must stay in their country of origin. However, even though some countries, like Italy, have clear anti-Roma policies, others succeed in integrating their Roma community, such as Spain, which could provide them with housing solutions.

Gergely said there is a need to put pressure on states to better integrate or to improve the situation of Roma people: «We need sustainable, long term measures».

To finish, he mentioned the social and economic vulnerability of Roma people. Indeed, they suffer from poverty, lack of education for children, bad sanitation and housing, which make them weaker to face human trafficking or prostitution rings, a reality there is very little research about.

«Every Roma person in European Union wants something that every European citizen wants: to have a better life, to be able to find a job, to have an income, to send their children to school, to have health insurance».

Photo: http://nsae.fr

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