ERIO met with Portuguese Roma communities

by ERIO on June 5th, 2014

On 2 June, ERIO’s policy officer, Mara Pinto, met with local Roma from 6 cities (Paredes, Aveiro, Matosinhos, Espinho, Porto and Barcelos) in Porto, Portugal. The meeting was hosted by EAPN Portugal.
 
The meeting aimed to identify their needs and to find out what is happening on the ground. The issue of discrimination was highlighted as one of the main obstacles to progress in all fields in life. Roma face discrimination when trying to rent accommodation, when applying for a job and in school. Another key issue of concern raised at the meeting was housing. There has been an increase in the creation of “Roma neighbourhoods”. An example is the Biquinha neighbourhood in Matosinhos where many Roma moved to after being expelled from other mixed neighbourhoods due to the demand of local non-Roma residents. Employment was another issue of concern. According to participants, most Roma have difficulties finding employment due to their lack of skills and discrimination they face (based on their ethnicity and accent).  There is a general feeling among Roma that in order to integrate, they have to assimilate and deny their Romani culture and habits. A common message was that for integration to be successful, changes need to happen among both non-Roma and Roma.  There is a need to change the attitudes and mentalities of both non-Roma (about Roma based on stereotypes) and Roma (about the tradition of early marriages).  



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