EP calls on EC to draft a law on the equality, inclusion and participation of Romani people and on combating antigypsyism
The European Parliament (EP) adopted a resolution on Thursday calling on the EU Member States to support the education of Romani people and to take action against the discrimination and segregation of them throughout the EU. Those in favor of the resolution totaled 545 MEPs, 96 MEPs voted against it, and 54 abstained.
According to the MEPs who proposed the resolution, the situation of Romani people in the Member States has not improved in recent years, and they partially attribute that fact to a lack of domestic political will. The MEPs also said they are aware that the situation of Romani communities has deteriorated as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and that such communities' limited access to drinking water, food, health care and hygiene facilities increases the risk they will contract the novel coronavirus.
The EP has called on the European Commission to submit draft legislation dedicated to improving the hygiene and living conditions of Romani people and to combating antigypsyism and poverty, a component of which would also be a plan for eliminating inequality in the areas of education, employment, health care and housing, including a plan for the improved inclusion of Romani people into society. MEPs are also calling on the EU Member States to support a ban on all forms of segregation in health care facilities, including maternity wards, and to compensate the victims of forced sterilizations.
The resolution is especially dedicated to the issue of the segregation of Romani children in schools and demands the elimination of all forms of such segregation, including by assigning Romani children to separate schools for children with mental disability, which, according to the EP, persist to this day in several Member States. The EC should also, according to the EP, pressure the Member States to stop the segregation of Romani people and, if necessary, should bring them before the European Court of Justice.
"For too many years, policies regarding Romani people were not binding and this has to change. We call on EU member states to officially recognise anti-gypsyism, which is the main cause of social exclusion of Romani people, and take legislative measures to combat it,” said the rapporteur for the resolution, MEP Romeo Franz, who is himself Romani (Greens/European Free Alliance - Germany).
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