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21st March. International day for the elimination of racial discrimination 2020 [editar]

No group of human beings should be made a scapegoat for the coronavirus crisis

20 de Marzo de 2020
FSG International Department

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21st March. International day for the elimination of racial discrimination 2020
Madrid, 20 March 2020.- The Fundación Secretariado Gitano, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which is celebrated tomorrow, 21 March as in previous years, urgently wishes to highlight the impact of discrimination and anti-gypsyism, the various forms in which they occur, and the lack of social awareness of the need to defend Human Rights when the victims of this discrimination are Roma people.

The Roma community is the most significant ethnic minority in Spain and Europe, the least well-known despite living among the general population for more than 600 years, and a minority which continues to suffer social rejection due to the negative social image hanging over the community. They face stereotypes and prejudices which, although they have no basis in the reality of the modern-day Roma community, some media continue to disseminate with no regard for professional ethics or scruples.

The current health crisis caused by the Coronavirus Covid19 is demonstrating the extent to which stereotypes and prejudices relating to Roma people are deeply rooted in a section of the general population. In recent weeks, we have witnessed many expressions of discrimination and anti-gypsyism on social networks, along with the spreading of hoaxes and fake news reports about the Roma community. It should be remembered that this virus is already affecting thousands of people around the world, regardless of their ethnicity, national origin or social or personal circumstances. For this reason, no group of human beings should be made a scapegoat for the spread of the disease.

At such times of social alarm, communications media and the main social platforms and networks should act as allies of the public authorities and of the relevant experts, broadcasting messages of calm and reassurance and allowing no place for messages which are xenophobic, racist or discriminatory, or for fake news reports about particular ethnic groups. We also call on all citizens to help stop the spread of the discourse of exclusion and hate against Roma people.

We are all part of a society which is continually changing and progressing at dizzying speeds on many fronts, but which, on the other hand, often seems incapable of overcoming prejudices against Roma people, or of taking a position in favour of Roma people and their rights in particular circumstances.

The society we currently have, and the society we want to have in 2030[1] cannot accept half measures in the defence of the right to equality, or accept that a part of our society, such as the Roma population, should be denied this right.

On this day, it is also important to remember the intersectional discrimination suffered by Roma women, for both their gender and their ethnic origin. Many women suffer persecution and degrading and humiliating treatment in shopping centres and supermarkets simply because they are Roma. These incidents are disproportionate, unjust and discriminatory. It is essential that the public authorities and relevant organisations, along with all citizens, become aware of how these incidents harm the dignity of Roma people, and take steps to ensure that they do not happen in the future.

These incidents, like many of the other forms of discrimination experienced in Spain by Roma people and by other groups with a history of suffering discrimination, still do not receive a proper judicial response based on the legislation available to us. For this reason, we call today for the Government to commit to approving a Comprehensive Law of Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination which provides, once and for all, a means of punishing those guilty of discrimination and compensating their victims.

 

[1] https://www.agenda2030.gob.es/

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