Instead of working to abolish racism, statements from even high ranking politicians seem to “fuel the belief that Roma people are responsible for their own exclusion,” the Amnesty director said.
“The EU and its member states have to finally put an end to racially-motivated attacks against members of the Roma community,” Caliskan said in a statement on Tuesday.
The stern words followed an Amnesty International report in which it was revealed that many of Europe’s 10-12 million Roma are at increased risk of racist violence and discrimination. The organisation believes not enough is being done by governments to protect them.
The problem was not a new one, she said. Instead, the “current situation can be traced back to years of disrespecting the rights of this large European minority.” Today, many countries blame Roma for a rise in petty crime.
“Excluded from access to essential services and unable to get redress for human rights violations, many Roma feel abandoned,” Amnesty said in a statement.
Caliskan added, “It’s totally unacceptable that Roma people are living in constant fear of violent attacks in many places across Europe.” And that this was perpetuated “by the passive behaviour of governments, which quietly accept systematic discrimination against Roma people”
The Amnesty report – titled “Europe: “We ask for justice”: Europe’s failure to protect Roma from racist violence” – uses incidents from the Czech Republic, France and Greece, where excessive violence has been reported against members of the Roma community. The rest of Europe was not exempt, though.
Amnesty has, following the report’s release, called on the EU commission to stress to states’ police to investigate incidents involving Roma people more seriously. All too frequently will police not look into suspected racial motivation, it said.
The Roma, a traditionally nomadic people whose ancestors left India centuries ago, have long suffered from discrimination. They were killed in their hundreds of thousands by the Nazis during World War II, alongside Jews and homosexuals.