Summit failed to achieve concrete result to end Roma apartheid
Third European Roma Summit, organized by European Commission (EC) with much fanfare on April four at Brussels, reportedly did not deliver any concrete outcomes to end Roma apartheid; distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed, stated in Nevada (USA) today.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked: What could one expect from a Roma Summit with presenters like Romania President Traian Basescu, who was reportedly found guilty of discriminatory remarks about Roma population and fined by country’s official National Council for Combating Discrimination in February?
Reports suggested that talks at this Roma Summit included showcasing landmark achievements, commitments renewals, drawing road maps creating new frameworks, designing action plans, promises and claims, etc., but we did not think that this Summit would make any significant impact on the apartheid conditions European Roma faced day after day, Rajan Zed noted.
Very little progress had been made since the last European Roma Summit at Cordoba in Spain on April eight, 2010, where reportedly lofty claims were made and dreams sold, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed stressed that if Europe “really and wholeheartedly” wanted Roma social and economic integration, inclusion, and improvement in their daily lives on the ground; a big change of heart, serious motivation, effective implementation, honest feeling of responsibility and firm political commitment were urgently needed, which European Union clearly lacked.
If somebody had fallacy about Roma plight, he/she just had to visit one of their encampments and their sufferings would be easily visible to the naked eye, Zed added.
Actions, and not discussions, were needed to end the centuries of severe discrimination and abuse of Roma and achieve their social inclusion. It was simply immoral to let this around 15-million population of Europe continually suffer and face human rights violations, Rajan Zed said and added that it was moral obligation of Europe to take care of its frequently persecuted Roma community.
Zed further said that, moreover, there was reportedly insufficient involvement and participation of Roma people in the April four Summit. We needed to listen to Roma and not just talk about them.
EC President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso reportedly admitted during the Summit that many Roma people were still living in utmost poverty and suffered social exclusion; in some places Roma children were sent to a school for mentally disabled; they still faced discrimination in hospitals, companies and schools; and they remained without adequate housing, without a future.
EC Vice-President Viviane Reding kind of summarized the European Roma issue when she said: “Roma integration politicians unfortunately do not win elections".
Highlighting commitments, strategies and recommendations yield nothing until translated to realities on the ground, Rajan Zed argues.
Zed indicated that the alarming condition of Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.