Experts: Roma are victims of Europe’s ‘undeclared Apartheid’
Violence, poverty and widespread discrimination have made Roma communities the “punchbags” of Europe and victims of an “undeclared Apartheid” system.
These were among the conclusions reached by an expert panel which took part in the Council of Europe’s ‘Viewpoint’ human rights talk show.
Gwendolyn Albert, a political analyst based in the Czech Republic, claimed on the television programme that the current plight of Roma confirmed the “undeclared Apartheid” which marginalises Roma communities throughout Europe.
“This is probably Europe’s biggest untold story and most unrecognised social situation,” she said. “The levels of violence that Roma face across Europe at the hands of their fellow citizens are medieval in nature. Their human rights are being violated every single day all across Europe.”
Sociologist Donatella De Vito, Roma projects manager for the Milan-based Casa della Carità, endorsed this view. She said Roma people came to Italy thinking that it would be their “America,” only to find “poverty and exclusion.”
The programme, recorded last December, also discussed the revival of ‘Roma-phobia’ since the fall of Communism, the targeting of Roma women for sterilisation and the worsening campaigns of intimidation and violence towards Roma communities.
Isabela Mihalache, deputy director of the European Roma Rights Centre, criticised governments for their failures to respect court judgements resulting from complaints by Roma rights advocates. Ms Mihalche, a Roma, also demanded greater protection for members of her community.
“Roma people really wish to have equal human rights protection and human security because Roma rights are human rights and Roma rights do matter,” she added.
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