Christoph Strässer, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement in response to the latest Amnesty International report on racist violence against Roma in Europe (8 April 2014):
The latest Amnesty International report shows that even today the situation of Sinti and Roma in many European countries gives cause for concern. For the consequences of social exclusion, discrimination and stigmatisation are dramatic: social disadvantage is widespread and reduces the chances of equal access to education, employment, medical care and accommodation.
We have a joint obligation to resolutely counter the systematic exclusion of Roma in many societies. As long as EU citizens live with no prospects and excluded from the majority society, the European Union is not respecting the values it claims to represent. The European institutions, as well as member states, all have a joint responsibility to change this.
On 8 April 2014, Amnesty International published a report entitled “We ask for Justice – Europe’s Failure to Protect Roma from Racist Violence”. It examines the heightened risk of Europe’s 10 - 12 million Roma of becoming the victims of racially‑motivated violence.
In reaction to this, Amnesty International is calling on national governments to, among other things, investigate cases of racist violence against Roma, ensure that the perpetrators are rigorously prosecuted and, in particular, ensure that national police forces respect and protect minority rights even during an operation in an informal settlement.
Furthermore, the European Commission is called upon to seek to prevent discrimination in member states – for example, by instigating actions for non‑compliance with EU law.