Wednesday

21st Feb 2018

Violence against Roma on the rise, says Amnesty

  • Between 10 to 12 million Roma live in the EU (Photo: Council of Europe)

Hate crimes and violence against the EU’s largest minority are on the rise, according to an Amnesty International report out on Tuesday (8 April).

"There has been a marked rise in the frequency of anti-Roma violence in Europe in the last few years, in both the East and in the West," says the London-based pro-rights group.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Amnesty says police are failing to prevent anti-Roma attacks, often harass the minority by raiding their settlements, and by carrying out arbitrary detentions.

“Violence, harassment and intimidation of Roma people and communities by the police and by private individuals and groups, some of whom belong to far-right groups, are widespread,” notes the report.

Tens of thousands are forcibly evicted from their homes every year with many more forced to live in camps, sometimes without heating and clean water, says Amnesty.

Compounded by discrimination and often denied access to decent health care, education, and jobs, the Roma “are victims of racially motivated violence”.

Governments are not doing enough, Amnesty notes.

The report looks at the Czech Republic, France, and Greece.

The frequency and size of anti-Roma marches in the Czech Republic surged in 2013, compared to previous years.

Many of the demonstrations are now being held in towns and cities. On 24 August alone, anti-Roma demonstrators took to the streets in eight different towns.

In France, the political leadership is reinforcing negative stereotypes.

Manual Valls, France’s new Prime Minister, last September described the Roma lifestyle as “peculiar”.

“They should return to Romania or Bulgaria,” he said.

Amnesty says the French police harass the Roma with thousands of families are forcibly evicted from their homes.

Attacks by the police have also been reported. In 2011, the French police allegedly teargased the inside of tents where children were sleeping.

In Marseille last December, the French authorities evicted 200 people from their shelters. Only one family was provided alternative housing.

Some 20,000 Roma live in France, often in extreme poverty. But surveys suggest around 35 percent of the French believe many more live in the country.

Greece, for its part, is home to between 250,000 and 350,000 Roma. Many live in settlements, often raided and arbitrarily detained by the police.

In the first nine months of 2013, police conducted 1,131 raids in Romani settlements across the country.

Over 52,000 people were checked and around 19,000 taken to police stations during the raids. Of those, around 1,300 were arrested, some for breaking traffic laws.

Meanwhile, EU funding is available to help national governments integrate the Roma.

But Swedish media report that Romania is not using the funds.

Swedish police say many Roma from Romania are found panhandling on the streets in Sweden.

The two countries had been in secret discussions on how to address the Roma issue but talks broke down.

Sweden wanted to send a task force to Bucharest to verify how the EU social funds are being used. Bucharest refused.

Sweden is asking the European Commission to step in to mediate the dispute.

Opinion

Italy should offer leadership on Roma issues

As long as the treatment of Roma is influenced by political expediency and negative attitudes, Europe’s legitimacy at home and abroad is in question

News in Brief

  1. MEPs approve anti-smuggling bill on tobacco
  2. SPD members start voting on new Merkel-led government
  3. Barroso lobbied Katainen for Goldman Sachs
  4. Berlusconi's coalition ahead with 34.7% support
  5. Moscovici: Greece '99 percent' there to get new bailout
  6. Simone Veil to enter France's Pantheon in July
  7. German poll puts far-right AfD ahead of SPD for first time
  8. Commissioners poised to join EU-Mexico trade talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. Tomorrow the Brussels Pre-Event
  2. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  3. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  4. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  6. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  7. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  8. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  10. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  11. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name
  12. Dialogue PlatformBeyond the Errors in the War on Terror: How to Fight Global Militarism - 22 February

Latest News

  1. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds
  2. Katainen explains: My friend Barroso did not lobby me
  3. A European budget: securing a prosperous future for Europe
  4. Poland wrong to log in ancient forest, says EU lawyer
  5. EU taxpayers risk bailing out MEP pension scheme
  6. Commissioner Katainen confirms Barroso lobbied him
  7. Eurogroup chief pledge on transparency after meeting MPs
  8. Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission