Chances should be taken now and by all of us

Strasbourg, 20 October 2010 : Representatives of the 47 Council of Europe member States, the European Commission, OSCE and the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) gathered in Strasbourg to reaffirm their commitments toward their Roma citizens. They also unanimously condemned widespread discrimination against Roma, which prevent them from enjoying all the rights to which they are entitled as citizens of the EU Community.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum welcomes the initiative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe in holding the High Level Meeting, as it gives Roma hope for an end to anti-Gypsyism in Europe and for a drastic improvement of their situation.

“Today, despite the commitments and good intentions…, the picture is far from rosy. Roma and Travellers are regularly deprived of access to the basic human rights that most European citizens take for granted. Furthermore, those same European citizens cannot imagine that nowadays such a situation exists within their liberal, democratic and social political system. It is scandalous to find that, within one of the richest regions of the world, people continue to suffer just because they belong to a minority group” said Mr. Kawczynski, President of the ERTF in his speech delivered at the Meeting.

Progress towards the inclusion of Europe’s biggest ethnic community into society has, frankly, been minimal and often does not extend beyond the adoption of legal frameworks and policies. Recent events in a number of states illustrate the huge gaps that still divide Roma communities from mainstream society in almost all areas of life, including education, employment, housing and access to public services.

At the Press Conference following the Meeting, Mr. Kawczynski reiterated the importance of taking action now, instead of merely continuing to talk about taking action, stating that “chances should be taken now and by all of us working to improve the situation of the Roma. Actions to combat anti-Gypsyism must finally become a top priority. The significant gaps that continue to divide Roma communities from mainstream society must be addressed. We must begin taking chances, now and in the future, for everyone’s future”.

Ni komentarjev: