Anti Racism Commission launches guidelines for governments to combat anti-Gypsyism

On 19 September 2011, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) issued guidelines to the Council of Europe’s 47 member countries to fight a rising tide of anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma.

The guidelines – contained in the its thirteenth General Policy Recommendation – call for action to stop the segregation of Roma children at schools and integrate them with pupils from the majority population, to provide access to decent housing that is not segregated, to ensure that Roma are not evicted without notice or opportunity for rehousing, and for steps to be taken to legalise long-standing Roma sites built in breach of town planning regulations

It calls for Roma to have secure access to quality health care and for segregation in hospitals to end, and says discrimination in the health sector must be prosecuted and punished. There should be no obstacles to Roma exercising traditional trades, and Roma should be consulted to find alternatives, for instance through micro-loans or tax breaks. All Roma children should be registered at birth and given identity documents.

Governments should encourage Roma victims of violence and crime – including misconduct by the police – to lodge complaints, and the media should avoid inflammatory reporting.

The guidelines also urge equal provision in public services such as water, sanitation, electricity, refuse removal and transport for Roma communities concentrated in certain neighbourhoods. It asks governments to ensure freedom of movement legislation does not discriminate against the Roma and that their culture is protected and promoted amongst the majority population.

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Click here for guidelines (pdf)