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PACE committee urges member states to combat systemic racism against Roma and Travellers

Roma and Travellers

PACE’s Equality Committee called on member States to take urgent action to address systemic human rights violations against the Roma and Traveller communities. In a draft resolution, the committee highlighted the ongoing brutality and discrimination faced by these minority groups at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

“Such violence ranges from inhuman and degrading treatment to torture, from excessive use of force to violence resulting in some cases in the victim’s death,” the parliamentarians stressed. Raids, violent attacks against Roma villages, ethnic profiling, harassment, marginalisation, and provocation are part of daily life for many Roma and Travellers.

Approving the report prepared by Jean-Pierre Grin (Switzerland, ALDE), the committee called on member States to ensure that criminal law provisions cover acts motivated by antigypsyism and antinomadism. ​​They also stressed the importance of applying antidiscrimination legislation to law enforcement actions, punishing acts of discrimination against Roma and Travellers, and refraining from criminalising behaviours like begging and illegal land occupation when other measures “would be better adapted to resolving the problems.”

The committee also called for establishing independent investigative mechanisms, improvements in internal reporting procedures, and protection for whistleblowers. They advocated for diverse police recruitment and human rights training for law enforcement officers.

Finally, member States were encouraged to promote awareness of Roma and Traveller’s history and culture in fighting against antigypsyism and antinomadism. The committee also invites national parliaments to support the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance.

The report is due for debate at a future plenary session of the Assembly.