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International Roma Day

April 8th 2011

A day to raise awareness of the issues and problems faced by the Roma Community

Today, 8 April 2011, has been designated as International Roma Day, a day on which to celebrate the Romani culture across the world the Romani culture and to raise awareness of the issues and problems that the Roma community face.

An Equinet survey of its members in 2009 found that across the European Union a high level of unequal treatment and exclusion of Roma and Traveller people. There is a deep marginalisation of Roma and Travellers from social and economic life which in many Member States is increased by stereotyping in the media and a negative culture within the police force. Particularly problematic areas in terms of discrimination are housing, accommodation, education and social services in the public sector and access to insurance, shops and a wide range of recreational and leisure services in the private sector.

At the same time the majority of equality bodies have found that underreporting of discrimination is widespread, with reasons for this phenomenon including low levels of awareness of rights within the Roma and Traveller communities, time limits on the presentation of cases and issues of trust between the communities and the authorities.

Following the survey, an ad hoc initiative on Roma and Travellers was established with the aim of providing support to specialised equality bodies maximizing the impact of their work on the situation of Roma people. The initiative involves the exchange of information and networking between specialised equality bodies working on Roma issues, identifying the nature and extent of this work.

To date the activities of the initiative have included the production of the publication “Making equality legislation work for Roma and Travellers” and a high level round table discussion in the European Parliament. Further actions are planned in the coming years under the Equinet Strategic Plan 2011-2014.

Click here to read the Equinet Opinion “Making equality legislation work for Roma and Travellers

Click here for further information on the Equinet ad hoc initiative on Roma and Travellers

European Roma Information Office (ERIO) Website
European Commission and Roma

Latest in European Parliament debate on how to coordinate national Roma integration strategies