31 March, 20142 Comments 19 Reports
The International Roma Day* is a day to celebrate Romani culture and raise awareness of the issues facing Roma people. In April Hate Speech Watch focuses on hate speech targeting Roma people in Europe. On the occasion of International Romani Day on 8th of April the No Hate Speech Movement is organizing a European Action Day for Solidarity with Roma. The Hate Speech Watch team encourages you to report online content of any form that is spreading anti Roma ideas and promoting hatred and discrimination against Roma people of Europe. Around the Action Day online activists will choose some of the reports and will respond to them by organizing specific online actions to raise awareness or to reduce the harm of that reported content.
International Roma Day on April 8 is an opportunity to celebrate Romani culture but also to highlight the persecution and discrimination that Roma people face in all areas of life. “Stereotyping and negative perceptions of Roma people, embedded by some media and parts of the European public opinion feed discrimination in all spheres of life.Governments must set the example and challenge social prejudices that foster discrimination against the Roma and ensure their equality. Europe has a numerous Roma population for 8 centuries. At present there is a population above 12 million Roma people in Europe. The Roma are one of Europe’s largest and most disadvantaged minorities. Roma people are facing severe discrimination regarding education, housing, social care, health service and employment.There are several examples in today’s Europe when Roma communities are evicted, humiliated and deprived of their dignity. Millions of Roma live in informal settlements, without adequate housing and often without access to running water or electricity. They are at greater risk of illness, but less able to access the health care they need. In some countries Romani children are often placed in special schools designed for pupils with “mild mental disabilities” or segregated in separate schools and classes that offer an inferior education. In turn, they are severely disadvantaged in the labor market. Unable to find jobs millions of Roma cannot access better housing, afford medication, or pay the costs of their children’s schooling. Socially marginalized, the Roma are also politically excluded. The cycle continues, aggravated by the discrimination that is routinely denying the Roma equal opportunity, equal treatment and the full enjoyment of all their human rights. Racially motivated violence against Roma is becoming an alarming trend in recent years, with isolated assaults or vigilante attacks targeting Roma settlements or communities. Instead of counteracting stereotypes and prejudices that fuel intolerance and hatred towards Roma, some governments and public officials actually strengthen them in their public discourse. It is time for governments in Europe to honor their obligations and protect their Roma citizens by ending discriminatory policies and practices that violate the human rights of Roma and keep them in a cycle of poverty and marginalization. It is time to stand also for their rights in online circles and communities to protect and combat hateful and discriminative speeches used against Roma people.We invite all people of the Internet to trace and identify hateful online content that targets Roma people in any ways and report them to the Hate Speech Watch all around Europe in April. *The day was officially declared in 1990 in Serock, Poland, the site of the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU), in honor of the first major international meeting of Romani representatives, 7-12 of April 1971 in Chelsfield near London. This day is a day of celebration of the Roma culture, as well as a day to raise awareness concerning the situation of the Roma today.