Target: President José Manuel Barroso of the European Commission
Goal: Protect Roma from forced segregation and allow them basic human rights.
Despite advances in racial equality in Europe, Roma (also known as Gypsies, although this is considered a derogatory term) communities have been forced from their homes and frequently relocated to polluted or clearly sub-standard housing. Often unable to afford private rents, Roma are also denied other housing options, including homeless shelters and social housing. In 2013, it’s hard to believe that many European countries that consider themselves progressive still turn a blind eye to the open discrimination of a large group of people who consider Europe their home.
Roma children attend segregated Roma-only classes, or enroll in schools for “mentally disabled” students where the curriculum is reduced. The Roma students who are not segregated are usually victims of bullying, both by fellow students and teachers. According to one Romani student, “We are not primary school children, we are practical school children.”
Their parents don’t have it any easier, as they are denied jobs and access to employment training and services. Those who are “lucky” enough to be employed often have menial, barely minimum wage jobs without benefits or even time off. Most adults didn’t receive proper education either. With no education, no job training and no money, the Roma are forced into a vicious cycle.
After so many human rights violations by countries belonging to the European Union, one must wonder why the European Commission hasn’t taken swifter action. The Commission has clearly shown the ability to pass quick proceedings and rectify any violation. However, no action has been taken to stop discrimination of Roma. The European Union prides itself on being founded by liberty and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, but this is not translated into reality for one of Europe’s largest minority groups.
The current widespread political slogan of the EU (“It’s about Europe, it’s about you”) must be valid for all people, and not exclude one particular group. The Roma have been victims of hatred and oppression for far too long. It’s time the European Union hold its members accountable for the treatment of the Roma people and bring liberty to all.
Dear José Manuel Barroso,
For far too long, the Roma people have been victimized and oppressed. I am appalled by the fact that in 2013, there is still a large group of people whose human rights are constantly being violated, and the European Commission doesn’t even acknowledge it. Children are segregated and bullied because of who they are. Many do not receive a proper education so that they may better their lives. Their parents are often not employed, can barely afford a roof over their heads, and are denied access to training and healthcare.
What does this say about Europe? Although you claim to be founded on the principles of liberty and respect for human rights, you fail to uphold those by not holding members of the European Union responsible for open and hostile discrimination. This hatred of the so-called “Gypsies” has to stop. Not only are you hurting them, you are also hurting Europe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Водник via ru.wikipedia.org