Tuesday, June 22, 2010



Finnish Roma Oppose Begging Ban

 Finnish Roma organisations have spoken out against a proposed ban on begging. The groups say the views of the Roma have not been heard in the debate–as recommended by both the EU and the Council of Europe.

A panel set up by the Interior Ministry is looking into a legislative change to ban begging.

On Monday, representatives of 21 Roma groups, including the Finnish Confederation of Roma Organisations, presented a statement on the issue to committee chair Antti Pelttari, the Interior Ministry's Director General.

The statement argues that panhandling is motivated by extreme poverty, and that such a ban would in effect criminalise such poverty.

The panel's initial report is to be prepared by Thursday, while a final report is expected by the end of September.

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