Jozsef Berenyi (PACE): Rroma, most vulnerable community

Rapporteur of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Jozsef Berenyi from the Slovak Republic, stated on Monday, within a meeting in Targu Mures (center) that rroma is the most vulnerable community, mainly in the current context of the economic crisis.

Within the hearings on the „Situation of rroma community in Europe and the activities of the Council of Europe in this field” rapporteur Jozsef Berenyi emphasized that, on the background of the economic downturn, „the groups of extremists adopted the aim to destroy rroma communities”, without giving examples.

„I wish my report is clear and points to the discriminations against rroma.

I hope that my report will be a way to lay the basis of an understanding of this community and of cooperation between the authorities in Europe”, said Jozsef Berenyi.

The rapporteur stressed that rroma must take part in the decision fora both at the local level and at the state one and it would be very useful if authorities would listen to them.

„The Council of Europe must listen what rroma organizations have to say and consult the local authorities”, pointed out the rapporteur.

According to Jozsef Berenyi, around 11 million rroma are estimated as living in the Council of Europe member states (1.35 percent of the total), Romania featuring the highest number – between 1.2 and 2.5 million.

Gheorghe Raducanu, coordinator of Romania’s delegation to the European Rroma and Travellers Forum stated in the meeting in Targu Mures that between three and five million rroma might live in Romania.

He said that even though in Romania there is a legislation as permissive as nowhere in the world – including the parliamentary representation of each national minority recognized or the establishment by law of a rroma day – as well as a national rroma strategy, the documents are not fully applied.

Representatives of NGOs present in the meeting L iga Pro Europa and Project on Ethnic Relations Smaranda Enache, respectively Maria Korek said that rroma are further discriminated in Romania, excluded from society, have no adequate education and more than 74 percent live in poverty, leading to a high mortality rate.

Both Enache and Korek said that the gypsies’ problems must be viewed in the European and national context and that in order to see their problems solved an integrated framework is needed both nationally and at the European level.

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