Roma discrimination in Europe
- extracts of the joint debate EP-Amnesty International
Lieu: European Parliament, Brussels
End production: 09/04/2013 First transmission: 09/04/2013
A joint debate on the topic of Roma discrimination in the EU was held today at the European Parliament. The panel discussion 'How can it happen here? Roma discrimination in Europe' was conducted by Amnesty International and the European Roma Policy Coalition (ERPC). With the approach of International Roma Day yesterday the 8th of April, both organisations challenged the EU to do more to end discrimination against Roma people. More than a decade after EU adoption of the Race Equality Directive that bans racial or ethnic-based discrimination, Roma people across the continent continue to face widespread discrimination in areas including access to housing, health care, employment and education. The 6 million Roma people who live among the 27 EU countries fall far below national averages on almost all human development indicators: eight out of ten are at risk of poverty, and only one in seven young adults completes secondary education.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General ambience before the meeting starts (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (Romanian) Claudia GRETA, Romani activist from Romania whose family was displaced from their home almost three years ago: "It was really the children the ones that suffered the most because it has been two years, now we are entering the third year of living there. The children had to live this discrimination every day at school, they have been called names..."
||SOUNDBITE (Romanian) Claudia GRETA, Romani activist from Romania: "We have to have our voices heard. These things have to stop once and for all. People just have to understand that the Roma people have the right to learn, to go to a good school, they have the right to decent housing".
||SOUNDBITE (Romanian) Claudia GRETA, Romani activist from Romania: "We are simply tired of being chased from one place to the next, we are tired of carrying our belongings on our bags all the time, our furniture, all our belongings. We have had enough. Things have to stop and perhaps those from the European Commission can just listen to us, they have the power, they have got the access to the right instruments so that life would be different for us and for the Roma in general. It has been far too many years already. We need justice for everyone". General applause, public standing up.
||SOUNDBITE (French) Hélène FLAUTRE, (Greens/EFA, FR): "We need to take stock today on the strategy (against discrimination) that was launched by the Commission through this European framework, imposing obligations on each member state to have national action plans. These actions plans are going to be assessed and this European road map is of the highest importance, because it allows all actors who want to promote and push forward the Roma rights to base themselves on a clear agenda and common obligations involving all levels: local, regional, national and European."
||Cutaways (6 shots).
||SOUNDBITE (English) Nicolas BEGER, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office: "It's no the EU responsibility directly for the discrimination, it's the EU member states who are not doing anything against structural discrimination against Roma people. We do need to see the EU much more vigilant, much more active imposing infringement procedures against member states on all sort of issues, hundreds of them a year. We need to see one on the race equality directive, several in fact. That's one call and we are asking the European Parliament to support univocally again this call on the Commission and to continue its commitment and continue having resolutions and organising hearings like this, so we make the plight of the Roma people much more known throughout Europe".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Nicolas BEGER, Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office: "We are particularly concerned with racial violence and hate crimes against Roma people. We are concerned of force evictions, where people lose their homes without having been told, without being listened to by the authorities, and then placed into sub-standard housing, near dump sides or toxic waste factories where there are no schools, no electricity. We have seen no job opportunities; children are segregated in education, so they never receive an opportunity to actually get a proper education that could make possible for them to enter the labour market at a good level".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Mirabela MARGELU, Romani activist living in France for the last 10 years: "In France, I have seen too many things everywhere, too much discrimination and racism, too many aggressions, too much power abuse from police. I can say that the situation of Roma people in France is terrible, as anywhere else...Check Republic, Romania... everywhere".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Mirabela MARGELU: "I have come here in order to find solutions and start working immediately for changing things. I do not want more empty words, I am tired of it, and I had enough from being undermined by everybody. I want solutions, real results and I want to work together on this with the European Commission, with the European Union...".