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Roma face ‘double stigmatisation’ when they are on the move

Strasbourg, 01.06.2012 – Roma face “double stigmatisation” when they are on the move, firstly as a persecuted and victimised minority and secondly as migrants, according to PACE’s Migration Committee.

In a draft recommendation approved today in Paris, based on a report by Annette Groth (Germany, UEL), the committee points out this stigma is “based on three deep-rooted prejudices, namely that all Roma are nomads, they all come from abroad, and their migration is illegal”.

All three prejudices are misplaced, the committee points out: less than 20 per cent of Roma are now nomadic, they have been part of European society for around 700 years, and most have the right to migrate under EU freedom of movement laws.

The Council of Europe should study how laws criminalising begging affect Roma, and look into whether they are affected by, and/or involved in trafficking. Negative stereotyping of Roma in the media and political speech should also be tackled.

Meanwhile Council of Europe member states are urged to “stop actions which amount to collective expulsion of Roma” and to suspend the return of Roma to Kosovo until they can be shown to be safe and sustainable.