RESULTS IN 2015 THAT WILL MAKE EUROPE A BETTER PLACE FOR
Note: The CBF Romany Ministry team is not directly connected with the European Roma Rights Centre. We do find good news encouraging. Perhaps you do, too? Everyone has the right to be free from race
discrimination. For Roma in Europe, though, that is more theory than reality. Most Roma in Europe experience discrimination each day.
They are denied access to a decent education, refused the right to travel
abroad, and many cannot even get equal access to drinking water. Here are twelve ways we worked
with Roma this year to make Europe a better place for all of
For the first time in Europe an official Roma-only
settlement was ruled discriminatory. This Italian court judgment reaffirms the
long-held positions of many rights organisations that placing Roma in Roma-only
camps, shelters or any other segregated housing fosters social exclusion and is
contrary to the European Union laws.
We helped a Roma community living in Uzhgorodo, Ukraine
to legalise their homes.
Sadly sometimes even EU funds are used for the
segregation of Roma. Following our complaint to the European Commission, the
regional authorities in Naples, Italy, stopped plans for a segregated housing
Several Romanian Roma were detained and removed from
Denmark. With the ERRC’s help, they have already established that their
expulsion was unlawful. This year, we helped them reverse a decision refusing
them legal aid to continue their case.
Roma are often denied personal documents just for being
Roma. 2015 was another successful year of our paralegal project in Ukraine,
which has, in three years, secured 16 birth certificates, 24 internal passports
and 3 external passports for Roma who were living without
We have to make sure that National Action Plans for Roma
inclusion are really benefiting Roma. With our help, Roma civil society
organisations in Ukraine are now actively engaged in advocacy with relevant
authorities to improve and implement that country’s plan.
When highlighting issues cornering Roma rights, the
European Commission picked up our recommendations in its report on Albania,
Turkey, Macedonia, and Serbia.
The European Court of Human Rights condemned Hungary for
discrimination resulting from the failure to investigate a racist attack against
a Romani man. The applicant was the victim of a racist attack by a man who claimed
to be a police officer and called him a “dirty gypsy”. We intervened in the case
as a third party.
Perpetrators of an anti-Roma pogrom were found guilty of
hate crimes in Italy. We were a civil party in the criminal case.
The Macedonian authorities racially profile their citizens who are trying to leave the country and stop Roma from leaving.
According to a court judgment delivered this year, the Interior Ministry has to
pay compensation to a Romani couple who were not allowed to cross the border to
visit their family. The European Commission also mentioned racial profiling at
the border in its 2015 progress report on Macedonia. The ERRC worked with a
local NGO to help the plaintiffs.
Based on complaints we filed with local NGOs, the
Ombudsman condemned segregation in two schools in Albania; the Equality
Commissioner also found discrimination in one of the cases (and is still
considering the second).
The Ombudsman in the Czech Republic found discrimination
following our complaint about discrimination resulting from a refusal to enrol a
Roma child in primary school.
“The ERRC is pursuing 158 legal cases in 17
countries. Institutions, ministries and schools must know that they
can’t get away with discrimination.” - says Adam Weiss Legal Director of ERRC -
“We are getting better every year at uncovering the ways they discriminate. In
2016 and beyond, we will be in court with new cases and securing new legal
victories for the Roma rights movement. Note: This article has been slightly condensed from the original.