European Commission condemns racist attacks on Roma community

February 26th, 2009 - 10:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, Feb 26 (IANS) The European Commission Thursday expressed deep concern over reports of recent attacks against members of the Roma community in Europe.
“I am very worried by these incidents. In some member states, it seems that the Roma have become the target of organised racist violence - fed by political populism, hate speech and media hype,” EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimir Spidla, said in a statement, EUAsiaNews reported.

In some cases, Roma are being made scapegoats for wider societal problems, he said, adding the European Commission strongly condemned all forms of violence against Roma and calls upon the authorities of all member states to guarantee the personal safety of all persons on their territory.

“We must not close our eyes to the real problems Roma are facing in many European countries. Extreme poverty, social exclusion, a lack of regular employment and low educational attainment are facts. But these problems can be overcome by targeted, culturally sensitive action by both the European Union and member states,” Spidla said.

Roma people, believed to be descended from groups who left the Indian sub-continent towards the end of the first millennium AD, were victims of repetitive persecutions in Europe, especially during the Second World War when Roma were one of the groups which were victims of the Holocaust.

Between 10 and 12 million Roma, an umbrella term for several groups including the Sinti, Travellers and Gypsies live in the 27 EU countries.

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