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The Plight Of Europe\’s Roma Population


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Research and oral presentation prepared for Social Research Methods course.

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The Plight Of Europe\’s Roma Population

  1. 1. The Plight of Roma in Europe Examining European governments and their contribution to the difficulties faced by Roma
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Hypothesis: Governments contributing to Roma persecution </li></ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul><ul><li>Overview/Background </li></ul><ul><li>Prejudice and Discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Czech Republic & Roma Education </li></ul><ul><li>Italy’s Treatment of Roma </li></ul><ul><li>OSCE Action Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Soros’ Decade of Roma Inclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  3. 3. Methodology <ul><li>European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) Q&A </li></ul><ul><li>Open Society Institute Q&A </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Secondary Research Sources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ERRC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OSCE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amnesty International </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> (Czech) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Overview and Background <ul><li>Origins: Northern India </li></ul><ul><li>Settled in Europe by 15 th century </li></ul><ul><li>“ Gypsies”, considered discriminatory </li></ul><ul><li>Victims of the Holocaust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Est. 200,000-800,000 murdered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Porajmos (The Devouring) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Est. Total European Population: 8-12 million </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Romania: >2 million </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communist-era social safety nets = greater protection </li></ul><ul><li>August, Madonna concert in Romania </li></ul>Sources:,
  5. 5. Roma Populations Source:
  6. 6. Prejudice and Discrimination <ul><li>Violence against Roma </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Police abuse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non-prosecution of perpetrators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Housing segregation & discrimination </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of electricity, water, sanitation, transportation networks; forced evictions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lack of access to health care </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of telephone, transportation and isolated living arrangements compound the discrimination component </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Employment discrimination </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discrimination creates barrier to ‘formal labor market’ – 64% report discrimination, 49% said they were told explicitly by employer (402 working age adults, ’05 and ’06) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High illiteracy among adult Roma damages ability to gain employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communist-era employment was unskilled, failed to translate to capitalist economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Glass box” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Education discrimination </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Segregated schools, state-sponsored </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Placed in schools appropriate for mentally disabled children </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education levels achieved: 9% - no education, 52% - basic, 12% - secondary, 3% - university level, (vocational – 19%, other – 5%) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Denied political rights and access to citizenship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of identification papers – can’t prove citizenship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid self-identifying to avoid discrimination </li></ul></ul>Source: European Roma Rights Centre
  7. 7. Czech Republic and Roma Education <ul><li>Czech Republic Deputy Minister of Education: “The will is limited” (2:19) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Ruling in 2005 by European Court of Human Rights outlawed segregation targeted at Romani children </li></ul><ul><li>Czech Republic non-compliance </li></ul><ul><li>Romani children continue to be sent to ‘special’ schools, suitable for ‘mentally disadvantaged’ children </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ERRC finds a drop in enrollment to ‘standard primary schools’, static enrollment trends at ‘special’ schools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2008 evidence shows Romani children over-represented ‘special’ schools student populations: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Romani children made up 80% of 42.1% of ‘special’ schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Romani children made up 50-79% of 31.6% of another ‘special’ schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Romani children made up less than 50% of the student population in only 26.3% of ‘special’ schools surveyed </li></ul></ul>Source: European Roma Rights Centre
  8. 8. Italy’s Treatment of Roma <ul><li>Influx of Roma to Italy from Romania and Bulgaria resulting from EU membership </li></ul><ul><li>Berlusconi government includes anti-immigrant political party Northern League </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Minister of Interior, May 11, 2008: “All Romani camps will have to be dismantled right away…inhabitants…expelled or incarcerated” (Italian newspaper La Repubblica) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>May 13, 2008: Arson attack on Romani camp in Naples </li></ul><ul><li>May 21, 2008: Council of Ministers Emergency Decree: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Declaration of the state of emergency with regard to nomad community settlements…” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>June 6, 2008: “Gypsies will be monitored and a census would be carried out…Gypsies would also be fingerprinted and photographed…to allow authorities to identify to them…” (Rome’s Commissioner for Roma, Carlo Mosca) </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Source: European Roma Rights Centre
  9. 9. Italy’s Treatment of Roma <ul><li>July 1, 2008: Italy’s highest appeal court: “it is acceptable to discriminate against Roma on the grounds that they are thieves” </li></ul><ul><li>Court reversed the conviction of six Northern League defendants who had demanded expulsion of Roma </li></ul><ul><li>Forced Evictions, November 2009: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Amnesty Int’l: Illegal under international law </li></ul></ul>Sources: European Roma Rights Centre, Amnesty International
  10. 10. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) <ul><li>Implementation of the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area </li></ul><ul><li>Issued in 2003, 2008 Status Report: “Substantive shortcomings with regard to implementation” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Insufficient funding, lack of political will at national level, apathy or neglect to implement policies” </li></ul>Source: OSCE
  11. 11. <ul><li>Some positive change reported, but with caveat: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Education: Efforts to dismantle segregated schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health care: Socio-medical centers established </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public/Political life: administrative structures set up to represent Roma in local and national govt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Many strategies in place…have little hope of long-term sustainability” </li></ul></ul>Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Source: OSCE
  12. 12. Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 <ul><li>Political commitment by European Governments to improve the socio-economic status and social inclusion of Roma </li></ul><ul><li>12 Countries participating: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Rep, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not Italy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each country has crafted a Decade Action Plan </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cover four main areas: employment, housing, education, health care </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Decade includes REF – Roma Education Fund </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Administers university scholarship program for Roma </li></ul></ul><ul><li>First Decade Watch Report, 2007, focused on inputs: what steps have governments taken? </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusions <ul><li>Concrete examples from Czech Republic and Italy indicate governments are contributing to the plight of the Roma </li></ul><ul><li>OSCE’s Action Plan also indicates government inaction among its 56 member states </li></ul><ul><li>Political will among elected officials is a formidable obstacle </li></ul><ul><li>Roma representation locally/nationally is limited </li></ul><ul><li>Decade of Inclusion: positive outcomes? </li></ul>
  14. 14. What’s Next? <ul><li>Decade of Inclusion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outreach to Roma to generate participation, how is it handled? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outreach to majority populations, how are differences explained? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stereotypes/myths, what’s true, what’s not? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four years in, positive outcomes? </li></ul></ul>