EU Roma Week 2022
May 16th marks the beginning of EU Roma Week. The European Parliament has dedicated a series of live events, in collaboration with civil society, to debate the post 2020 policies for the equality and inclusion of Romani people. Following last year’s tragic murder of Stanislav Tomáš at the hands of two police officers in Teplice, Czech Republic, this event is crucial as Romani people, one of Europe’s largest Ethnic minority, continue to face widespread discrimination in Europe even today. Structural racism against Roma, known as Antigypsyism, is a root cause of their exclusion across Europe. Tackling this is essential to ensure the Roma can enjoy equal rights as citizens in European societies.
Most Roma in Europe experience both relative and absolute levels of poverty and social exclusion, with alarmingly high rates. In many Member States, social protection is set at inadequate levels which don’t allow for dignified lives. To remedy this, the fight against Antigypsyism must be at the fore front of social and economic efforts for the inclusion of Romani people and to ensure their participation in all domains of public life.
- 78% of Roma in Slovakia and 73% in the Czech Republic experience discrimination when looking for a job.
- 85% of Italian people and 66% of French people hold unfavourable views on Roma.
- 1 in 5 Roma respondents have been victims of racially motivated crimes.
- Roma communities face higher impacts following the climate crisis. Several Roma communities are forced to live at Pata Rât, an illegal landfill in Romania, collecting waste from all over Europe. The Roma communities living there reckon with the health impacts of it every day.
- In 2017, a Romani father and son were badly beaten by several police officers near their home in a village in Bulgaria. They were kicked and beaten with batons. The father died. The son survived. No police officer was charged for this murder. The son was later investigated on the allegations of having stolen pesticides.
- A minimum of 400,000 Roma people lived in Ukraine before the Russian invasion and war. When fleeing, Roma have faced discrimination, institutional hostility, and negative stereotypes.
- Romany refugees face not only a lack of support but outright discrimination. The fact that much of the relief effort is provided by self-organised volunteers rather than the government means equal treatment of minorities is difficult to assert.
- Roma were chased away from reception points, where it was said they were stealing clothes to later sell. We also received information that Romany families and groups were turned away from cars and buses offering transport.