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Discrimination faced by Roma in Europe unacceptable, says OSCE human rights chief

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 7th of May 2011   Source: The FINANCIAL


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Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, the head of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), today described violence targeting Roma and Sinti in Europe as "unacceptable".

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The comment comes following a series of anti-Roma incidents in Hungary, culminating in a violent clash involving paramilitary vigilante groups in the village of Gyöngyöspata last week, and several marches in the Czech Republic, organized by extremist groups, inciting hatred against Roma.

 

“The violence and discrimination Roma and Sinti continue to face in many European states is unacceptable,” Lenarčič said. “The recent events are a reminder of the intolerable hostility Roma still face in many countries in Europe.”

 

He acknowledged the steps undertaken by a number of governments in improving the situation of Roma and Sinti, and welcomed the adoption earlier this week of amendments to the Hungarian penal code making it easier to protect minority communities from intimidation and harassment by paramilitary groups.

 

He added that more must be done to fulfill the commitments states have made within the OSCE and in other international frameworks to address the persistent problems Roma minorities face and to protect them from violence.

 

“The authorities have a duty to vigorously investigate hate-motivated incidents and political leaders have the responsibility to unequivocally and publicly condemn all such incidents,” said Lenarčič.



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