Saturday, February 28, 2009
ATTACKS AGAINST RrOMA IN EUROPE
headlines] OSCE concerned about continuing attacks and hate speech targeting Roma across Europe
WARSAW, 27 February 2009 -- The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) today expressed concern over continuing attacks and hate speech targeting Roma and Sinti communities in several countries across Europe.
"We observe with great concern the emergence of a climate of hatred directed against Roma and Sinti minorities in some OSCE participating States, which in some cases has led to violence and even deaths," said Ambassador Janez Lenarcic, ODIHR's Director.
"It is the responsibility of governments to speak out against any form of violence motivated by racial hatred, bring the perpetrators to justice, and take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of minority communities," he added.
The recent killing of a Roma man and his son in Hungary was only the latest in a series of attacks on Roma and Sinti in the country and elsewhere in Europe.
Although these incidents have generally been condemned by the authorities, investigations have rarely succeeded in identifying and prosecuting perpetrators.
"In these times of economic crisis, the risk is increasing that Roma and Sinti are being made scapegoats for problems they are not responsible for," said Lenarcic.
OSCE participating States adopted an Action Plan in 2003 to improve the situation of Roma and Sinti in the region. However, a report published by ODIHR in October 2008 concluded that minimal progress had been made in closing the significant gaps that remain between mainstream society and Roma and Sinti communities in areas such as education, housing, employment and access to social services and justice.
Insufficient funding and scattered and piecemeal programmes mean that efforts to improve the situation of Roma and Sinti have been largely ad hoc and symbolic, with little hope of long-term sustainability.
ODIHR hosts the Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues which offers assistance to participating States in implementing the commitments they made in the OSCE Action Plan.
ODIHR also supports participating States with strengthening the implementation of hate crime legislation and providing law enforcement officers with the skills to address hate crimes.
OSCE Press release
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Posted by Morgan at 9:29 PM