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Combating institutional racism of law enforcement authorities against Roma and Travellers

Roma and Travellers

The PACE Standing Committee, meeting in Vaduz, today expressed its concern about police brutality against Roma and Travellers in Europe, including inhuman and degrading treatment, torture, excessive use of force, and violence resulting in some cases in the victim’s death.

The parliamentarians deplore the fact that violent raids and attacks against Roma villages and settlements as well as ethnic profiling, harassment, marginalisation and provocation, are part of daily life for many Roma and Travellers.

In order to combat this institutional racism, or systemic racism, PACE has proposed a series of measures concerning the legislative framework; the fight against impunity and the obligation to conduct effective investigations; the prevention of new, similar human rights violations; and the strengthening of mutual trust between Roma and Travellers, on the one hand, and law enforcement authorities, on the other.

The resolution adopted today by the Standing Committee, on the basis of a report by Jean-Pierre Grin (Switzerland, ALDE), called on member states to ensure that criminal law provisions cover acts motivated by antigypsyism and anti-nomadism, and that national antidiscrimination legislation applies to members of law enforcement authorities.

According to the adopted text, member states should refrain from criminalising behaviour such as begging or the illegal occupation of land, wherever other measures would be better adapted to resolving the problems.

PACE also advocates rapid remedies to victims of police violence, as well as independent mechanisms, free from any political pressure, with sufficient resources to effectively investigate complaints and punish offenders.

Finally, the Parliamentary Assembly invited national parliaments to support the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, its mandate and its functioning.