Friday, June 5, 2009


Lithuanian Roma still suffered from prejudice and ill-treatment
By BR on June 4, 2009

From the Balkan Review

Hindus have urged Lithuania to urgently empower and integrate its vulnerable Roma community, who reportedly face blatant discrimination and social exclusion.

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that according to reports Roma still suffered from prejudice and ill-treatment, substandard or inadequate access to education, healthcare, housing, etc.

According to recent Amnesty International Report 2009 on Lithuania: “Unemployment rates among Roma remained several times higher than among ethnic Lithuanians, and living conditions in Roma settlements were sometimes below minimum standards, lacking electricity and heating as well as drinking water and sanitation facilities.”

Human Rights Report 2008 on Lithuania published by US Department of State says that Romani community “continued to experience problems; including discrimination in access to education, housing, healthcare and other services; in employment (an unemployment rate of 50 percent); and in contacts with police.”

Zed pointed out that effective implementation, firm commitment and strong political will was needed to address the multiple dimensions of their social exclusion and poverty. Roma inclusion and integration programs needed to immediately take off the ground providing them with better health and education avenues, higher economic opportunities, sources of empowerment and participation, etc., Zed added.

It was moral obligation of Lithuania to improve the plight of its disadvantaged Roma population, Rajan Zed said and added that all religious groups of Lithuania should also come out in support of the cause of this distinct ethnic and cultural group of Roma, because religion taught us to help the helpless.

Zed urged that Lithuania, the country with a colorful history whose empire once stretched from the Baltic to Black Sea, one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union, and with abundant natural treasures like enchanting Curonian Spit, should do more to uplift its Roma brothers/sisters.

Hinduism is oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and moksha (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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