X hits on this document

Word document

of Europe: - page 13 / 38





13 / 38

with implementation of this.  The Comité National des Gens du Voyage mediates in cases involving site provision.

The Gypsy population of Belgium, comprised of Yenish, Manouche, Roma, Travellers is distributed between the three regions of Walloonia (40%), Flanders (40%) and Brussels (20%).  Policies in the Flemish and French communities tend to be integrationist while in Wallonia policies are assimilationist.  In recent years there has been a significant increase in Roma, many seeking political asylum, from Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

It is reported that Roma and Travellers in Belgium have a far lower life expectancy than average (54.8 : 74.8).  There are many health-related problems, such as low take-up of immunisation services, low participation in the education system especially second-level and virtually no Travellers/Gypsies in third level (source:  Machiels, T.  Vlaams Centrum Woonwagenwerk, unpublished).  In Belgium, the Centre for Equal Opportunity and Opposition to Racism, established in 1993, provides a forum for the promotion of equality and the fight against all forms of discrimination.


Reports on racism in Denmark refer mostly to minority ethnic groups from Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Iran, Pakistan, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Morocco.  References to Roma are rare which is not surprising given the relatively small population of Roma there and the fact that this population is not very visible to the majority population.  Legislation in Denmark (The Racial Discrimination Act, 1971) covers direct but not indirect discrimination and according to some critics "simplistic measures such as the unadorned criminal prosecution model chosen by Denmark are not sufficient to eliminate discrimination"  (see Wilkie: 1990).  Assimilationist tendencies are evident in the treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees who may receive social security benefits on condition that they strive to learn the Danish language.  Anti-racists challenge the Progress Party (Fremskridspartiet) and the People's Movement Against Immigration because these are seen as promoting racism or xenophobia.  In 1993 the Etnisk Debatforum (Ethnic Debate Forum) was established to support ethnic minorities and to strengthen anti-racist work in Denmark.


France has the second largest population of Gypsies (Tsiganes) in the European Union.  Gypsies in France, along with other minorities especially from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Vietnam and Cambodia experience systematic disadvantage and racism.  According to one analyst:  "The French state sees nomadism as the main obstacle for 'normal' life for Gypsies" (Reyniers: "Innovation and change in Gypsy communities”, see Costarelli, 1993).  Nomads in France are obliged, since 1969, to carry special identification papers (e.g. mobile tradesmen, construction workers, and Tsiganes with no regular source of income).  There have been reports of Gypsies being obliged to report to police every three months (Inter-Press Service News, 8/3/93).  The restrictions on nomadism effectively disenfranchise a large percentage of Tsiganes.

In France the term integration tends to mean assimilation and minorities such as Roma/Travellers are expected to become absorbed into society as citizens.  This is reflected in the reluctance to teach minority languages (e.g. Breton, Occitan, Romani) in schools.

With regard to education it is estimated that despite an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 (according to various sources) speakers of various forms of Romani in France it is frequently omitted from reports on minority languages.  Gypsy advocates believe that Romani as an optional language should be taught to children giving priority to improving the linguistic skills of children who are able to speak Romani and not only to teach minimal Romani to children for whom this is a totally foreign language.  The language could also be promoted by the development of a specific focus on Romani by the Centre National d’Enseignement a’ Distance, which would be relevant not only for residents in France but throughout other countries also.  A positive development is the creation of a chair of Romani Language and Civilisation at the Institute National des Langues et Civilisation Orientales

Document info
Document views118
Page views118
Page last viewedTue Jan 17 19:17:36 UTC 2017