Widespread Roma exclusion persists, find new surveys
Roma kids take photos in their community
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 24 May, 2012 – Many Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion across the European Union (EU), according to a new report published jointly by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and UNDP. The situation of Roma is on average worse than the situation of non-Roma who live close by.
The report is based on two surveys on the socio-economic situation of Roma and non-Roma living nearby in 11 EU Member States and in neighbouring European countries.
“These survey results paint a grim picture of the current situation of the Roma across the 11 EU Member States surveyed,” says FRA Director Morten Kjaerum.
“Discrimination and anti-gypsyism persist. The results show that swift, effective action is needed, particularly to improve Roma education. This is key to unlock their future potential, and it will equip young Roma with the skills they need to escape the vicious cycle of discrimination, exclusion and poverty.”
The report shows that in the 11 EU Member States surveyed, where the overwhelming majority of Roma EU citizens live, the situation of Roma in the areas of employment, education, housing and health is on average worse than the situation of non-Roma living close by. Roma continue to experience discrimination and are not sufficiently aware of their rights guaranteed by EU law.
"For me the most striking finding was the high number of working children," said UNDP human development advisor Andrey Ivanov. "We all know that children are the major victims of poverty and the data on children below the age of 15 working (and respectively – not studying) is a brutal indicator of this." (See: Roma excluded from society: Q&A with Andrey Ivanov)
Some key findings:
- Only 15 percent of young Roma adults surveyed have completed upper-secondary general or vocational education, compared with more than 70 percent of the majority population living nearby;
- On average, less than 30 percent of Roma surveyed are in paid employment;
- About 45 percent of the Roma surveyed live in households lacking at least one of the following: an indoor kitchen, toilet, shower or bath, or electricity
- On average, about 40 percent of Roma surveyed live in households where somebody went to bed hungry at least once in the last month because they could not afford to buy food
Results are intended to provide policy makers with the necessary evidence for designing effective policy responses to address the situation.
"The discussion about social exclusion should start with the realistic acknowledgement of the real status – the real depth of exclusion," said Mr. Ivanov. "This depth determines the feasibility of certain approaches – and non-feasibility of others."
The survey results have fed into the European Commission’s Roma Communication which will also be presented in Brussels on 23 May 2012.
EU Member States have developed national strategies for Roma integration. Local authorities should engage with both Roma and non‑Roma in their communities to implement these plans, building trust, developing social cohesion, and combating discrimination and anti-Gypsyism.
See: Europe’s biggest societal problem - The plight of Europe's Roma, featured in the Economist.
The situation of Roma in 11 EU Member States, 2012
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