International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

by ERIO on April 2nd, 2012

The 21 March is recognised worldwide as a day to eliminate racism. ERIO believes that this day also represents an occasion to highlight the need to fight anti-Gypsyism since racial discrimination against Roma still remains far too widespread and anti-Roma sentiment is increasing.

Persistent anti-Roma rhetoric from politicians, public figures and in the media as well as on the Internet can incite prejudice and hatred against Roma, producing discrimination in access to employment, quality education, healthcare and housing. ERIO condemns all acts motivated by racism and xenophobia. As such, ERIO calls on member states and the EU to be vigilant in the face of such incidents and take an immediate and strong position against those responsible for racist actions.

Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director stated: “Racism is a phenomenon which seems to be stronger than before. Increasing racism and discrimination against Roma and other minorities show that anti-racism laws and policies and efforts made up to date to fight it have no much effect. As such, we should seek new ways to fight racism and intolerance. We need a broader coalition in society to reconsider priorities and approaches in this regard and take serious actions to ensure that our children are less likely to be subjected to this inhumane attitude”.

Groups or individuals that embrace and promote racist anti-Roma ideologies and strategies constitute a direct violation of the fundamental rights of this minority and a disrespect for the European Union values. Europe is made of different cultures, traditions, races and languages. This diversity should be recognised, embraced and celebrated as a strength for all Europeans. Only then, can Europe be a society that is free from prejudice and racial discrimination, and one where the spirit of solidarity and tolerance reigns.

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