Equal Rights for Gypsies, Roma and Travellers

Posted on Saturday, January 4th, 2014

They go by a variety of names – Romani Gypsies, Irish Travellers and Roma – but together they constitute Europe’s largest ethnic minority and they share a history of persecution with Jewish people. 

Both communities have suffered centuries of racist hostility. Both were targeted by the Nazis during World War II.

Today, Gypsies, Roma and Travellers have greater difficulties finding shelter, going to school and visiting the doctor.  This has severe consequences – life expectancy for a Romani Gypsy or Irish Traveller is 10 years less than the UK average.

Some progress has been made – but the UK has failed to comply fully with its international legal obligations

The European Court of Human Rights has held that the UK has a ‘positive obligation’ under Article 8 (right to private & family life)  of the European Convention to help these groups preserve their traditional way of life.

But the UK’s actions during the 2011 Dale Farm eviction were described as ‘immature and unwise’ by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, because they would ‘disproportionately affect the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families, particularly women, children and older people’.

Help us put an end to ‘the last bastion of acceptable racism’ – use our resources (right) to challenge discrimination today. 

We are training faith leaders across the country on how to recognize and react to discrimination against the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community. You can read their joint statement ‘An Interfaith Challenge to Racism’ here. This project won an Interfaith award and was commended by the Prime Minister.

Get in touch if you want to add your name to the statement or to read more about how to respond to discrimination in the media use our ‘Media Response Toolkit’.