Minorities & Roma not effectively involved in European Parliament elections, Hindus assert

June 2nd, 2009 - 10:44 am ICT by Sampurn Wire  

Hindus have criticized the European Union (EU) and its various bodies for not making enough outreach to minority and Roma communities and other vulnerable populations for participation in the upcoming June 4-7 elections to European Parliament (EP).

Acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that EU should have made extra efforts for voter registration in minority and Roma areas. Moreover, Roma communities being socially isolated, many were not familiar with the electoral process, many were not highly educated, many lacked vital papers, and many were stateless. Thus, many were reportedly still not registered to vote.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that these elections were a good opportunity for EU to show that it was serious and committed to advance the fight against discrimination and racism and it seems to have missed the opportunity.

Article 15 of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities clearly stipulates that State Parties “shall create the conditions necessary for the effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in cultural, social and economic life and in public affairs, in particular those affecting them.”

“I have noticed with deep disappointment that even some top-level politicians have made clearly prejudicial statements about the Roma,” Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg says on Commission website.

Rajan Zed pointed out that EU and EP should have done a better job in informing the electorate about the upcoming June elections and stimulate citizen interest, undertaking special outreach programs in minority and Roma communities, as according to a survey “three quarters of European citizens say they do not know when the next European elections will be held. Only 10% of respondents said “2009′ and only 2% could specify “June 2009′”.

About 375 million people are eligible to vote in June elections in 27 countries of Europe, electing 736 Parliament members who will sit until 2014 and will play a major role in Europe’s future governing Europeans’ lives. -Sampurn Media

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