UN report highlights widespread Roma exclusion

Friday, May 25, 2012
Brussels: Many Roma continue to face discrimination and social exclusion across the EU, according to a new report published jointly by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The situation of Roma, an ethnic group who trace their origin to the Indian subcontinent, is on average worse than the situation of non-Roma living in close proximity. 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,” said 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.

Key Findings:
only 15 % of young Roma adults surveyed have completed upper-secondary general or vocational education, compared with more than 70 % of the majority population living nearby;
on average, less than 30 % of Roma surveyed are in paid employment;
about 45 % 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 % 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.

“The partnership developed among four international organisations [FRA, UNDP, World Bank and European Commission] during the process of this research delivers a strong message: the challenges the Roma population faces are so grave that they require a concerted response. This publication is an example that such a united and coordinated approach is possible and that it delivers results,” said Andrey Ivanov, UNDP Senior Policy Advisor, Human Development and Roma inclusion.

The surveys have documented the situation on the ground. The results provide policy makers with the necessary evidence for designing effective policy responses to address the situation.
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