Posts tagged ‘Roma’

The Romani People and the Free Movement Directive

Joep Bertrams, Gypsy Concerto

On July 28, 2010, Nicolas Sarkozy announced the deportation of Romani people of Romanian and Bulgarian citizenship. More than 8, 300 Roma have been deported from France so far in 2010, up from 7, 875 in 2009. Other European states have also instituted similar policies regarding the Roma. Italy has been publicly attacking the Roma since 2007, when President Silvio Berlusconi demanded the fingerprinting and deportation of Roma communities. Since the summer, Denmark has sent back 23 Roma and Sweden expelled 50. Last year, Germany sent more than 100 Roma back to Romania.

These deportations occur in the face of progressive protections of movement and residence for citizens of EU member states. In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty established a concept of citizenship which challenged traditional borders by conferring the right of member states citizens to move and reside freely within the EU. The  Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC) of 2004 allowed for further integration of European citizens.

How does the deportation of the Roma figure within the Free Movement Directive (FMD)? The statute’s preamble explains that, “the free movement of persons constitutes one of the fundamental freedoms of the internal market, which comprises an area without internal frontiers [...]”. Residence is to be exercised, “under objective conditions of freedom and dignity, [and] also granted to their family members, irrespective of nationality”.

The FMD grants a Right of entry (art.…

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Should Canada Gyp the Roma?

Surprisingly for such a boring country, Canada has on occasion been described as “cool”.[1] But if we want to stick with the cool international crowd, we have to keep up with the latest trends. Most Canadians probably think that discrimination against minorities went out of fashion years ago, but lately one old classic has come back in vogue: persecuting the Roma (also known as Romani, or Gypsies).

Many Canadians may find picking on members of a small diaspora community unappealing. But like other trends such as Ugg boots or skinny jeans, just because we find them distasteful doesn’t mean we can ignore them. And there’s no denying that discrimination against the Roma is back in style – just look at Europe.

According to Amnesty International, and despite a 2007 ruling against the practice by the European Court of Human Rights, Roma children in the Czech Republic and Slovakia are still routinely placed outside mainstream schools in “special schools,” ordinarily reserved for children with mental disabilities. In Serbia and Romania, groups of Roma have been evicted from their “unlawful settlements” (which, in Serbia, were then bulldozed), and forced into even more makeshift accommodations. To be fair though, as one Romanian Vice-Mayor noted, this was really positive discrimination since the evicted Roma were provided with free metal barracks to live in – the lucky devils! In Hungary, incidents of violence…

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