A public hearing, organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), took place on 19 May in Brussels. The aim of this hearing was to look at equal treatment, equality bodies and other possible means of redress for Roma.
The EESC has set up a permanent study group on Roma inclusion which will be monitoring the implementation the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies from the point on view of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Anti-gypsyism and discrimination are important barriers to Roma enjoying full rights and this hearing aimed to map possible avenues for redress for Roma, including equality bodies. The hearing allowed for the exchange of best practices on how Roma can address violations of their rights.
The role of equality bodies
Katrine Steinfeld, Equinet Policy Officer, presented the work of equality bodies on tackling discrimination against Roma. She highlighted some findings from Equinet’s publications:
Making equality legislation work for Roma and Travellers (2010)
This publication showed that most equality body mandates cover discrimination against Roma and Travellers, and they often work on:
- Mutual education and awareness raising
- Strategic Litigation
- Promoting equality
Fighting discrimination on the ground of race and ethnic origin (2016)
In the context of race discrimination, hate speech and hate crime, negative media coverage, negative political speech, negative public sentiment
- Roma are in a particularly vulnerable situation
- Intersectional discrimination exists particularly for Roma women and children in education, early/forced marriage, employment, access to services
- Fields where Roma are particularly discriminated include
- Healthcare and social protection
- Goods and services (harassment, discrimination, denial of boarding)
Education (access, segregation)
- Employment (recruitment, working conditions, equal pay, unjustified dismissal, harassment)
Equinet’s participation in the Operational Platform for Roma Equality (OPRE) was also highlighted.