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Roma Victimization

Roma Victimization

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Published by bgeller4936
Roma, racism, discrimination
Roma, racism, discrimination

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categoriesTypes, Research, Law
Published by: bgeller4936 on Apr 11, 2010
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07/26/2013

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 A YEAR IN REVIEWROMA VICTIMIZATION: FROM NOW TO ANTIQUITY 
Jack Greenberg*I. THE
 
ROMA 
 
(GYPSY)
 
CONDITION
 
IN
 
EASTERN
 
EUROPE
The Roma (Gypsies) have long been the most vilified ethnicgroup in Eastern Europe, perhaps in the world, and this vilification is very much alive and well today. This August, even much-loved popstar Madonna was unable to overcome popular hatred of Roma, ascheers of 60,000 concertgoers turned to jeers after she condemneddiscrimination against Roma at a performance in Bucharest.
1
In theCzech Republic (C.R.)
last November . . . 1,000 police officers were deployed tokeep order as rampaging neo-Nazis tried to march on theRoma at the Litvinovs Janov housing estate, setting fire topolice vehicles and pelting the police with rocks andbottles . . . . In April of this year, attackers firebombed thehome of a Czech Romani family, causing severe injury to atwo-year-old girl, who is still fighting for her life in [the]hospital after suffering third-degree burns over 80% of herbody.
2
 
* A.B. 1945, LL.B. 1948, LL.D. 1984 Columbia University. Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 196184. AlphonseFletcher Professor of Law, Columbia University.1.Alina Wolfe Murray,
 Madonna jeered for support of Gypsies
, The Advertiser (Austl.), Aug. 29, 2009, at 67.2.European Roma Rights Centre,
 ERCC Calls on Canada to Press Czech Republic on Anti-Romani Discrimination
, July 15, 2009,http://www.errc.org/cikk.php?cikk=3043.
 
2
COLUMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS LAW REVIEW 
[41:1So many Roma have emigrated from the C.R. to Canada to seekasylum that the latter has imposed a visa requirement on Czechcitizens, despite the protestations of the international human rightscommunity.
3
In Hungary, where Roma are the countrys largestminority, anti-Roma hostility has roiled the political stage, fueling problems for the nations governing socialist party.
4
 Nearby, Romania remains a place ripe for unchecked acts of aggression toward ethnic minorities, in particular, the Roma.
5
 Human Rights First has recently issued a report detailing violenceagainst Roma in the aforementioned countries as well as Bulgaria,Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia, and Slovakia.
6
Outside EasternEurope, Italy is not alone in popular assaults against Roma. Ireland,too, has recently been the scene of anti-Roma assaults. Recently,more than one hundred Roma were physically driven from theirhomes in Belfast.
7
The Romas pariah status has led not only tosporadic but to frequent attacks. Throughout Eastern Europe, Romahave been treated as African-Americans were in the Deep Southbefore the 1960s civil rights acts, in all areas of life, from housing, toeducation, employment, public accommodations, and beyond.When Eastern European countries sought admission to theEuropean Union, it required that those countries enact anti-discrimination legislation and, in particular, put an end to region-wide school segregation of Roma.
8
Because I was one of the lawyers
3.Amnesty Intl,
 Amnesty Directors urge Canadian Minister of  Immigration to reverse decision on visa requirements for travelers from Mexicoand the Czech RepublicLetter
, Aug. 24, 2009, http://amnesty.ca/amnestynews/view.php?load=arcview&article=4855&c=Resource+Centre+News.4.Krisztina Than,
 Simmering Resentment Targets Hungarys Roma
, Feb.12, 2009, http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSLA341178.5.Alessandra Salatti,
 Hatred and Nationalism in Romania: Explaining Anti-Roma Violence
, Xhe: Stan. Student J. Russ., E. Eur., and Eurasian Stud.,Spring 2005, at 1, 1.6.Human Rights First, Fact Sheet: Violence Against Roma (2009),http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/pdf/violence-against-roma-anti-roma-fd.pdf.7.Marie Breen-Smyth,
 Racism and violence in Northern Ireland: Romanian Roma driven out of Belfast
, e-International Relations, July 1, 2009,http://www.e-ir.info/?p=1764.8.This requirement stems from states obligation to ratify the EuropeanUnions Race Directive in order to be admitted to the Union.
 See
Council Directive2000/43/EC, 2000 O.J. (L 180/22) [hereinafter EU Race Directive]; MaxineSleeper, Note,
 Anti-discrimination Laws in Eastern Europe: Toward Effective Implementation
, 40 Colum. J. Transnatl L. 177, 187 (2001) (explaining that the
 
2009]
 ROMA VICTIMIZATION: FROM NOW TO ANTIQUITY 
3who argued
 Brown v. Board of Education
(1954)
9
and, as Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund from1961 to 1984, had been involved in perhaps all the schooldesegregation cases during that period, I was invited to meet withRoma leaders, educators, government officials, and others aboutRoma education. In 2003, 2007, and 2008, I travelled to the C.R.,Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania to learn what I could aboutsegregation in that region.I was astonished at the general lack of information.Segregation of Roma throughout Eastern Europe is widespread. Insome places there was no segregation, but elsewhere there were all-Roma and non-Roma schools; in others there were separate rooms orparts of rooms for Roma children. Nearly everywhere, there wasreluctance to act against any form of this endemic discrimination.
II. ORIGINS
 
OF
 
THE
 
ROMA 
 
 AND
 
THEIR
 
SITUATION;
 
SIMILARITIES
 
TO,
 
 AND
 
DIFFERENCES
 
FROM,
 
THE
 
 AFRICAN-AMERICAN
 
EXPERIENCE
The Roma have long been a marginalized, subjugated group.They reside all over the world, with between 100,000 and 300,000 inthe United States
10
and about 2.5 million in Latin America.
11
InEurope, Roma total 8 to 12 million,
12
concentrated mainly in EasternEurope where many of them gathered after emigrating from Indiabeginning in the thirteenth century.
13
The numbers are uncertainbecause Eastern European laws circumscribe the collection of information about ethnicity.
14
Roma are reluctant to disclose their
EU Race Directive applies to members and accession states of the EuropeanUnion). The EU Race Directive, in turn, requires states to address discriminationin education. EU Race Directive,
supra
, art. 3(g).9.347 U.S. 483 (1954).10.Anne Hartley Sutherland,
 Roma of the United States and Europe
,
in
2Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology 923, 923 (Anne Hartley Sutherland ed.,2004).11.Council of Europe,
 Factsheets on Roma: HistorySecond Migration
4(2008), http://romafacts.uni-graz.at/2008-10-01_pdf-files_en/4.0_second-migration.pdf.12.Arno Tanner,
The Roma of Eastern Europe: Still Searching for Inclusion
, Migration Information Source, May 2005,http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?ID=308.13.Ian Hancock, We are the Romani People 12 (2002).14
.See,
 
 e.g.
, Law for the Protection of Personal Data art. 5, ¶ 1, pt. 1(Bulg.), http://ec.europa.eu/justice_home/fsj/privacy/docs/implementation/bg_data

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