Saturday, July 20, 2013

Human Rights Here, Roma Rights Now




Here at Rights Readers we aim to use personal memoirs like Oksana Marafioti's American Gypsy to illuminate larger issues relating to human rights. While the kinds of discrimination young Oksana experienced were relatively mild, depressingly, there are far too many Amnesty International videos and reports on the subject of serious human rights violations against the Roma to choose from. The video above was made to accompany the release of a report last April, Human Rights Here, Roma Rights Now: A Wake-up Call to the European Union. The problem:
  • Between 10 and 12 million Roma live in Europe – half of them in EU member states.
  • Eight out of 10 Roma households in the EU are at risk of poverty. 
  • In 2012 11,803 evictions of Roma were carried out in France alone.
  • Over the past six years, there has been an average of one eviction of Roma every other day in Italy.
  • In Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, between January 2008 and July 2012, there have been more than 120 serious violent attacks against Romani people and their property, including shootings, stabbings and Molotov cocktails.
An even more recent report Pushed to the Margins: Five Stories of Roma Forced Evictions in Romania details how Roma are being denied their right to adequate housing and subjected to continuing poverty, insecurity and social exclusion as a result.  (Don't be afraid to click on these reports! They aren't that dry-- there are pictures!) You can help out by signing this Amnesty petition to the Prime Minister of Romania, Victor Ponta, asking him to use his power to end forced evictions.

More videos, reports and press releases at Amnesty.org and AI-UK. It's also worth just scanning the New York Times article tagged "Romani People" to see how common incidents of discrimination are.

In tomorrow's post we'll rock to the Romani beat!
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