MINELRES: ERRC Statement on the Occasion of International Roma Day

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Wed Apr 11 16:47:47 2007

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

International Roma Day: A Day to Raise Awareness of the Human Rights
Problems Experienced by Roma 

On the occasion of International Roma Day, April 8, the European Roma
Rights Centre (ERRC) recalls that, to date, Roma remain the most
deprived ethnic group of Europe. Across Europe, the fundamental rights
of Roma are still being violated on a regular basis. Repetitious cases
of racist violence and hate speech targeting Roma are reported
frequently. Roma are also subject to discrimination in accessing
employment, education, health care, and public and social services. 

The ERRC is particularly alarmed about the violations of housing rights
of Roma, which have intensified in the recent years in several European
countries including, but not limited to the Czech Republic, Greece,
Romania, Russia, Slovenia, and Turkey. The ERRC notes that violations of
the housing rights of Roma do not solely take the form of lack of access
to adequate housing because of poverty or exclusionist attitudes, but
are frequently manifest in cases of forced evictions and systemic
destruction of Romani settlements. 

Adequate housing is commonly understood to include the following
elements; legal security of tenure, availability of services, materials,
facilities and infrastructure, affordability, habitability,
accessibility, location, and cultural adequacy. International and
European human rights standards establish firmly the right to adequate
housing as a fundamental right.  Widespread reports concerning abuses of
the housing rights of Roma across Europe indicate pervasive
discrimination. Many Roma continue to live in segregated areas lacking
basic security of tenure with highly substandard conditions. Such
settlements are characterised by inadequate infrastructure and limited
access to public services. In most cases, it is in addition to these
inadequate and degrading conditions that Roma are subjected to forced
eviction, abusive police raids and destruction of their property. In
nearly all cases of housing demolitions documented by the ERRC and
partner organisations, the persons affected were not provided with
affordable alternative accommodations, as is required by international
law, and faced homelessness. 

International Roma Day was officially declared in 1990 in Poland, during
the fourth World Romani Congress in honour of the first major
international meeting of Roma representatives, 7-12 of April, 1971 in
London, UK. International Roma Day is a day to celebrate Romani culture
and raise awareness of the issues facing Romani people. It is worrying
to note how little progress has been achieved since 1990 in improving
the living conditions of Roma. The international community must utilise
this day and remember its obligations to provide and implement
legal/social/political instruments, which enable Roma to free themselves
from precarious situation in which they live. 

On the occasion of International Roma Day, the ERRC invites all relevant
parties and public authorities to create the social/political/legal
climate wherein the rights and the culture of Roma are respected and
celebrated at all times.  


The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal
defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the
European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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