Anti-Roma actions in Belgium and the Czech Republic highlight need for real inclusion measures

Brussels, 23 June 2015 – A trench was dug last week in the Belgian town of Charleroi to prevent Travellers from accessing a strip of land. In the Czech Republic, the District Chamber of Commerce of the town of Ústí nad Labem has published an "Open Call to Local Politicians and Citizens" calling to deploy the army against the Roma.

The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns the continuing flow of anti-Roma actions and discourses across Europe, despite the existence of national Roma integration strategies.

These examples are the latest in a long list of discriminatory and racist acts targeting the Roma population – from the building of walls in cities throughout Eastern Europe to separate Roma from the rest of society, to the segregation of Roma children in schools in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia.

“What we see here is that when social and economic polarisation interlinks with race – and in this case, anti-Gypsyism – ethical barriers disappear and policy makers start putting forward unacceptable measures and statements”, said ENAR Chair Sarah Isal.

In order to design efficient policies for Roma, decision makers need to assess the part that racism and discrimination play in Roma exclusion, and tackle the additional obstacles Roma encounter compared to non-Roma in similar socio-economic situations.

“There is no way out as long as we do not tackle austerity and racism jointly”, continued Isal. “European governments should address the impact of the dismantlement of public services on minority communities, in particular Roma, and adopt measures to improve their situation. This includes ending segregation of Roma in schools and sub-standard areas and addressing racist violence targeting Roma.”

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, Communication and Press Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 - Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 - Email: georgina@enar-eu.org - Web: www.enar-eu.org

Notes to the editor:
1. The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and act as an interface between our member organisations and the European institutions. We voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates.

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