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TV program to spotlight ‘Roma-phobia’
10-11-2009 - Press release

Photo: European Commission

Worsening anti-gypsy discrimination will come under the microscope on 4 December 2009 in a television debate organised by the Council of Europe. Isabela Mihalache, the European Roma Rights Centre’s deputy director, Donatella De Vito, from Milan’s Casa Della Carità and the Czech Republic-based expert Gwendolyn Albert, are among the guests scheduled to take part in the programme.

It will examine the roots of anti-Roma prejudice and the situation confronting Roma in Council of Europe member states. The experts will also review the advances made in improving the political and social inclusion of the Roma community.

“As an organisation committed to safeguarding human rights of all citizens, we are concerned by reports that the Roma community is the target of discrimination in Europe,” said a spokesman.

“There is firm evidence to suggest that ‘Roma-phobia’ is widespread and affects all aspects of the day to day life of the Roma community.

“The fight against discrimination is a key part of the Council of Europe’s campaign for human rights and the rule of law. We want the audience to come away with a better understanding of the issues.”

The programme is a highlight of the Council of Europe’s new audio-visual campaign strategy, dubbed ‘Human Rights TV.’ It follows last October’s televised discussion of Europe’s fight against the death penalty.

The Roma broadcast will be aired next January ahead of the Roma Women’s Conference in Greece and takes place amid growing concern at the level of discrimination and violence aimed at Europe’s estimated 12 million-strong Roma community.

Last July, the European Roma Rights Centre warned that “violent attacks targeting Romani communities have intensified in some countries since the beginning of 2008.”

It added: “We observe across Europe is an increase in anti-Romani sentiments, often expressed violently.”

Recent research by the European Union revealed that 50% of Roma reported being the target of discrimination. Most did not complain to authorities because they believed that no action would be taken.

Useful Links

1) Council of Europe’s Route of Roma Culture and Heritage: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/culture/routes/roma_EN.asp

2) Council of Europe / European Union Dosta! Campaign http://www.dosta.org/en

3) Council of Europe death penalty tv discussion http://www.youtube.com/user/CouncilofEurope?gl=GB&hl=en-GB#p/u/4/mhSXewywMnA



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