Anti-Romanyism (also Antigypsyism, Antiziganism, Romaphobia or
anti-Romani sentiment) is the hostility, prejudice, discrimination or
racism specifically directed at
Romani people (Roma, Sinti, Iberian
Kale, Welsh Kale,
Finnish Kale and Romanichal). Non-Rom groups such as
the Yenish and Irish and Scottish Travellers are often given the
misnomer "Gypsy" and confused with the Romani people. As a result,
sentiments directed towards them are often referred to as "antigypsy"
The term Antigypsyism is recognized by the
European Parliament and the
European Commission as well as a wide cross-section of civil
2.1 In the Middle Ages
2.2 18th century
2.3 19th century
3 Contemporary anti-Romanyism
3.1 European Union
3.1.2 Czech Republic
3.1.10 United Kingdom
22.214.171.124 Northern Ireland
3.2 Non-EU countries
3.2.5 United States
4 Environmental struggles
5 In popular culture
6 See also
8 External links
See also: Names of the Romani people
The root Zigan comes from the term Cingane (alt. Tsinganoi, Zigar,
Zigeuner) which probably derives from Athinganoi, the name of a
Christian sect with whom the Romani became associated in the Middle
Ages. According to Martin Holler, the English term
anti-Gypsyism stems from the mid-1980s, and became mainstream in the
2000s and 2010s, whereas the term antiziganism was borrowed from the
German Antiziganismus more recently.
In the Middle Ages
A French poster depicting a child being kidnapped by nomads
In the early 13th-century Byzantine records, the Atsínganoi are
mentioned as "wizards ... who are inspired satanically and pretend to
predict the unknown". By the 16th century, many Romani in Eastern
and Central Europe worked as musicians, metal craftsmen, and
soldiers. As the
Ottoman Empire expanded, they relegated Romani,
seen as having "no visible permanent professional affiliation", to the
lowest rung of the social ladder. In
Royal Hungary in the 16th
century at the time of the Turkish occupation, the Crown developed
strong anti-Romani policies, as this people were considered suspect as
Turkish spies or as a fifth column. In this atmosphere, they were
expelled from many locations and increasingly adopted a nomadic way of
The first anti-Romani legislation was issued in
March of Moravia
March of Moravia in
1538, and three years later, Ferdinand I ordered that Romani in his
realm be expelled after a series of fires in Prague. Seven years
Diet of Augsburg
Diet of Augsburg declared that "whosoever kills a Gypsy,
will be guilty of no murder". In 1556, the government stepped in
to "forbid the drowning of Romani women and children".
In England, the
Egyptians Act 1530 banned Romani from entering the
country and required those living in the country to leave within 16
days. Failure to do so could result in confiscation of property,
imprisonment and deportation. The act was amended with the Egyptians
Act 1554, which directed that they abandon their "naughty, idle and
ungodly life and company" and adopt a settled lifestyle. For those who
failed to adhere to a sedentary existence, the Privy council
interpreted the act to permit execution of non-complying Romani "as a
warning to others".
In 1710, Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor, issued an edict against the
Romani, ordering "that all adult males were to be hanged without
trial, whereas women and young males were to be flogged and banished
forever." In addition, in the kingdom of Bohemia, Romani men were to
have their right ears cut off; in the March of Moravia, the left ear
was to be cut off. In other parts of Austria, they would be branded on
the back with a branding iron, representing the gallows. These
mutilations enabled authorities to identify the individuals as Romani
on their second arrest. The edict encouraged local officials to hunt
down Romani in their areas by levying a fine of 100
those failing to do so. Anyone who helped Romani was to be punished by
doing a half-year's forced labor. The result was "mass killings" of
Romani. In 1721, Charles VI amended the decree to include the
execution of adult female Romani, while children were "to be put in
hospitals for education".
Maria Theresa of Austria issued an edict forbidding marriages
between Romani. When a Romani woman married a non-Romani, she had to
produce proof of "industrious household service and familiarity with
Catholic tenets", a male Rom "had to prove ability to support a wife
and children", and "Gypsy children over the age of five were to be
taken away and brought up in non-Romani families."
In 2007 the Romanian government established a panel to study the 18th-
and 19th-century practice of Romani slavery by Princes, local
landowners, and monasteries.
Slavery of Romani was outlawed in the
Moldavia and Wallachia, around 1856.
Governments regularly cited petty theft committed by Romani as
justification for regulating and persecuting them. In 1899, the
Nachrichtendienst in Bezug auf die Zigeuner ("Intelligence Service
Regarding the Gypsies") was set up in
Munich under the direction of
Alfred Dillmann, and catalogued data on all Romani individuals
throughout the German-speaking lands. It did not officially close down
until 1970. The results were published in 1905 in Dillmann's
Zigeuner-Buch, which was used in the following years as
justification for the Porajmos. It described the
Romani people as a
"plague" and a "menace", but almost exclusively characterized "Gypsy
crime" as trespassing and the theft of food.
United States during Congressional debate in 1866 over the
Fourteenth Amendment to the
United States Constitution which would
subsequently grant citizenship to all persons born within U.S.
territory, an objection raised was that a consequence of enacting the
amendment would be to grant citizenship to Gypsies and other
Edgar Cowan stated,
...I am as liberal as anybody toward the rights of all people, but I
am unwilling, on the part of my State, to give up the right that she
claims, and that she may exercise, and exercise before very long, of
expelling a certain number of people who invade her borders; who owe
her no allegiance; who pretend to owe none; who recognize no authority
in her government; who have a distinct, independent government of
their own—an imperium in imperio; who pay no taxes; who never
perform military service; who do nothing, in fact, which becomes a
citizen, and perform none of the duties which devolve upon him, but,
on the other hand, have no homes, pretend to own no land, live
nowhere, settle as trespassers where ever they go, and whose sole
merit is a universal swindle; who delight in it, who boast of it, and
whose adroitness and cunning is of such a transcendent character that
no skill can serve to correct or punish it; I mean the Gypsies. They
wander in gangs in my State... These people live in the country and
are born in the country. They infest society.
In response Senator
John Conness of
I have lived in the
United States now many a year, and really I have
heard more about Gypsies within the last two or three months than I
have heard before in my life. It cannot be because they have increased
so much of late. It cannot be because they have been felt to be
particularly oppressive in this or that locality. It must be that the
Gypsy element is to be added to our political agitation, so that
hereafter the negro alone shall not claim our entire attention.
German Nazi deportation of
Sinti and Roma from Asperg, 1940
Main article: Porajmos
Romani people reached a peak during
World War II
World War II in the
Porajmos (literally, the devouring), a descriptive neologism for the
Nazi genocide of Romanis during the Holocaust. Because the Romani
communities in Central and Eastern Europe were less organized than the
Jewish communities, it is more difficult to assess the actual number
of victims. Historians estimate that 2,000,000 Roma and
killed by the
Nazis and their collaborators, or more than 85% of the
Romani in Europe at the time.
Nazi racial ideology put Romani, Jews, Slavs and blacks at the bottom
of the racial scale. The German
Nuremberg Laws of 1935 stripped
Jews of citizenship, confiscated property and criminalized sexual
relationship and marriage with Aryans. These laws were extended to
Romani as Nazi policy towards Roma and
Sinti was complicated by
pseudo-historic racialist theories, which could be contradictory,
namely that the Romani were of Egyptian ancestry. While they
considered Romani grossly inferior, they believed the Roma people had
some distant "Aryan" roots that had been corrupted. The Romani are
actually a distinctly European people of considerable Northwestern
Indian descent, or what is literally considered to be Aryan. Similarly
to European Jews, specifically the Ashkenazi, the Romani people
quickly acquired European genetics via enslavement and intermarriage
upon their arrival in Europe. 1,000 years ago.
In the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the Nazi genocide of the
Romani was so thorough that it exterminated the majority of Bohemian
Romani speakers, eventually leading to the language's extinction in
1970 with the death of its last known speaker, Hana Šebková. In
Denmark, Greece and a small number of other countries, resistance by
the native population thwarted planned Nazi deportations and
extermination of the Romani. In most conquered countries (e.g., the
Baltic states), local cooperation with the
Nazis expediated the murder
of almost all local Romani. In Croatia, the Croatian collaborators of
the Ustaše, were so vicious only a minor remnant of Croatian Romani
(and Jews) survived the killings.
West Germany formally recognized that genocide had been
committed against the Romani. Before this they had often claimed
that, unlike Jews, Roma and
Sinti were not targeted for racial
reasons, but for "criminal" reasons, invoking antiziganist stereotype.
In modern Holocaust scholarship the
Porajmos has been increasingly
recognized as a genocide committed simultaneously with the Shoah.
A report issued by
Amnesty International in 2011 claims that
"systematic discrimination is taking place against up to 10 million
Roma across Europe. The organization has documented the failures of
governments across the continent to live up to their obligations".
Anti-Romanyism has continued well into the 2000s, particularly in
Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Kosovo. In Bulgaria,
Professor Ognian Saparev has written articles stating that 'Gypsies'
are culturally inclined towards theft and use their minority status to
'blackmail' the majority.
European Union officials censured both
Czech Republic and
Slovakia in 2007 for forcibly segregating
Romani children from regular schools.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas
Hammarberg, has been an outspoken critic of anti-Romanyism. In August
2008, Hammarberg noted that "today's rhetoric against the Roma is very
similar to the one used by
Nazis and fascists before the mass killings
started in the thirties and forties. Once more, it is argued that the
Roma are a threat to safety and public health. No distinction is made
between a few criminals and the overwhelming majority of the Roma
population. This is shameful and dangerous".
According to the latest
Human Rights First
Human Rights First
Hate Crime Survey, Romanis
routinely suffer assaults in city streets and other public places as
they travel to and from homes and markets. In a number of serious
cases of violence against them, attackers have also sought out whole
families in their homes or whole communities in settlements
predominantly housing Romanis. The widespread patterns of violence are
sometimes directed both at causing immediate harm to Romanis, without
distinction between adults, the elderly, and small children and
physically eradicating the presence of
Romani people in towns and
cities in several European countries.
The practice of placing Romani students in segregated schools or
classes remains widespread in countries across Europe. Many Romani
children have been channeled into all-Romani schools that offer
inferior quality education and are sometimes in poor physical
condition or into segregated all-Romani or predominantly Romani
classes within mixed schools. Many Romani children are sent to
classes for pupils with learning disabilities. They are also sent to
so-called "delinquent schools", with a variety of human rights
Romani in European cities are often accused of crimes such as
pickpocketing. In 2009, a documentary by the
BBC called Gypsy Child
Thieves showed Romani children being kidnapped and abused by Romani
gangs from Romania. The children were often held locked in sheds
during the nights and sent to steal during the days. However,
Chachipe, a charity which works for the human rights of Romani people,
has claimed that this programme promoted "popular stereotypes against
Roma which contribute to their marginalisation and provide legitimacy
to racist attacks against them" and that in suggesting that begging
and child exploitation was "intrinsic to the Romany culture", the
programme was "highly damaging" for the Romani people. However, the
charity accepted that some of the incidents that were detailed in the
programme in fact took place.
The documentary speculated that in Milan,
Italy a single Romani child
was able to steal as much as €12,000 in a month; and that there were
as many as 50 of such abused Romani children operating in the city.
The film went on to describe the link between poverty, discrimination,
crime and exploitation.
A United Nations study found that
Romani people living in European
countries are arrested for robbery much more often than other groups.
Amnesty International and Romani rights groups such as the Union
Romani blame widespread institutionalised racism and persecution.
In July 2008, a
Business Week feature found the region's Romani
population to be a "missed economic opportunity". Hundreds of
people from Ostravice, in the
Beskydy mountains in Czech Republic,
signed a petition against a plan to move Romani families from Ostrava
city to their home town, fearing the Romani invasion as well as their
schools not being able to cope with the influx of Romani children.
In 2009, the UN's anti-racism panel charged that "Gypsies suffer
widespread racism in European Union". The EU has launched a
Decade of Roma Inclusion
Decade of Roma Inclusion to combat this and other
Antiziganist protests in Sofia, 2011
In 2011 in Bulgaria, the widespread anti-Romanyism culminated in
anti-Roma protests in response to the murder of Angel Petrov on the
orders of Kiril Rashkov, a Roma leader in the village of Katunitsa. In
the subsequent trial, the killer, Simeon Yosifov, was sentenced to 17
years in jail. As of May 2012, an appeal was under way.
Protests continued on 1 October in Sofia, with 2000 Bulgarians
marching against the Romani and what they viewed to be the "impunity
and the corruption" of the political elite in the country.
Bulgarian prime minister Borissov referred to Roma as "bad human
Volen Siderov, leader of the far-right Ataka party and presidential
candidate, spoke to a crowd at the Presidential Palace in Sofia,
calling for the death penalty to be reinstated as well as Romani
ghettos to be dismantled.
Many of the organized protests were accompanied by ethnic clashes and
racist violence against Romani. The protesters shouted racist slogans
like "Gypsies into soap" and "Slaughter the Turks!" Many
protesters were arrested for public order offenses. The news
media labelled the protests as anti-Romani Pogroms.
Furthermore, in 2009, Bulgarian prime minister Borissov referred to
Roma as "bad human material". The vice-president of
the Party of European Socialists,
Jan Marinus Wiersma
Jan Marinus Wiersma claimed that he
"has already crossed the invisible line between right-wing populism
Sign banning entry of itinerant Gypsies and rovers, 1920s
Romani people in the Czech Republic
Roma make up 2–3% of population in the Czech Republic. According to
Říčan (1998), Roma make up more than 60% of Czech prisoners and
about 20–30% earn their livelihood in illegal ways, such as
procuring prostitution, trafficking and other property crimes.
Roma are thus more than 20 times overrepresented in Czech prisons than
their population share would suggest.
According to 2010 survey, 83% of Czechs consider Roma asocial and 45%
of Czechs would like to expel them from the Czech Republic. A 2011
poll, which followed after a number of brutal attacks by Romani
perpetrators against majority population victims, revealed that 44% of
Czechs are afraid of Roma people. The majority of the Czech people
do not want to have Romanis as neighbours (almost 90%, more than any
other group) seeing them as thieves and social parasites. In spite
of long waiting time for a child adoption, Romani children from
orphanages are almost never adopted by Czech couples. After the
Velvet Revolution in 1989 the jobs traditionally employing Romanis
either disappeared or were taken over by immigrant workers.[citation
The Romanis are at the centre of the agenda of far-right groups in the
Czech Republic, which spread anti-Romanyism. Among highly publicized
cases was the Vítkov arson attack of 2009, in which four right-wing
extremists seriously injured a three-year-old Romani girl. The public
responded by donating money as well as presents to the family, who
were able to buy a new house from the donations, while the
perpetrators were sentenced to 18 and 22 years in prison.
In January 2010,
Amnesty International launched a report titled
Discrimination in Education of Roma persists in the
Czech Republic. According to the BBC, it was Amnesty's view that
while cosmetic changes had been introduced by the authorities, little
genuine improvement in addressing discrimination against Romani
children has occurred over recent years.
In Denmark, there was much controversy when the city of Helsingør
decided to put all Romani students in special classes in its public
schools. The classes were later abandoned after it was determined that
they were discriminatory, and the Romanis were put back in regular
Further information: French Romani repatriation
France has come under criticism for its treatment of Roma. In the
summer of 2010, French authorities demolished at least 51 illegal Roma
camps and began the process of repatriating their residents to their
countries of origin. The French government has been accused of
perpetrating these actions to pursue its political agenda. In July
2013, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a very controversial far-right politician and
founder of the National Front party, had a lawsuit filed against him
by the European Roma and Travellers Forum, SOS Racisme and the French
Union of Travellers Association after he publicly called France's Roma
population "smelly" and "rash-inducing", claiming his comments
violated French law on inciting racial hatred.
After 2005 Germany deported some 50,000 people, mainly Romanis, to
Kosovo. They were asylum seekers who fled the country during the
Kosovo War. The people were deported after living more than 10 years
in Germany. The deportations were highly controversial: many were
children and obtained education in Germany, spoke German as their
primary language and considered themselves to be Germans.
Hungary has seen escalating violence against the Romani people. On 23
February 2009, a Romani man and his five-year-old son were shot dead
Tatárszentgyörgy village southeast of
Budapest as they were
fleeing their burning house which was set alight by a petrol bomb. The
dead man's two other children suffered serious burns. Suspects were
arrested and are currently on trial.
In 2012, Viktória Mohácsi, 2004–2009 Hungarian Member of European
Parliament of Romani ethnicity, asked for asylum in Canada after
previously requesting police protection at home from serious threats
she was receiving from hate groups.
See also: Anti-Roma sentiment in Italy
In 2007 and 2008, following the brutal rape and subsequent murder of a
woman in Rome at the hands of a young man from a local Romani
encampment, the Italian government started a crackdown on illegal
Sinti campsites in the country.
In May 2008 Romani camps in Naples were attacked and set on fire by
local residents. In July 2008, a high court in
Italy overthrew the
conviction of defendants who had publicly demanded the expulsion of
Verona in 2001 and reportedly ruled that "it is
acceptable to discriminate against Roma on the grounds that they are
thieves". One of those freed was Flavio Tosi, Verona's mayor and
an official of the anti-immigrant Lega Nord. The decision came
during a "nationwide clampdown" on Romanis by Italian prime minister
Silvio Berlusconi. The previous week, Berlusconi's interior minister
Roberto Maroni had declared that all Romanis in Italy, including
children, would be fingerprinted.
In 2011 the development of a NATIONAL INCLUSION STRATEGY ROM, DEI
SINTI AND CAMINANTI  under the supervision of european commission
has defined the presence of gypsy camps as an unacceptable condition.
As already underlined by many international organizations, the
prevalent positioning of the RSC communities in the c.d "nomad camps"
fuels segregation and hinders every process of social integration /
inclusion; but even where other more stable housing modalities have
been found, forms of ghettoization and self-segregation are found,
which hinder the process of integration / social inclusion.
Romani people in Romania
Roma make up 3.3% of population in Romania.
Prejudice against Romanis
is common amongst the Romanians, who characterize them as thieves,
dirty and lazy. A 2000 EU report about Romani said that in
Romania… the continued high levels of discrimination are a serious
concern...and progress has been limited to programmes aimed at
improving access to education. A survey of the Pro Democraţia
Romania revealed that 94% of the questioned persons
believe that the Romanian citizenship should be revoked to the ethnic
Romani who commit crimes abroad.
In 2009-2010, a media campaign followed by a parliamentarian
initiative asked the Romanian Parliament to accept a proposal to
change back the official name of country's Roma (adopted in 2000) to
Țigan (Gypsy), the traditional and colloquial Romanian name for
Romani, in order to avoid the possible confusion among the
international community between the words Roma, which refers to the
Romani ethnic minority, and Romania. The Romanian government
supported the move on the grounds that many countries in the European
Union use a variation of the word Țigan to refer to their Gypsy
populations. The Romanian upper house, the Senate, rejected the
Several anti-Romani riots occurred in recent decades, notable of which
Hădăreni riots of 1993, in which a mob of Romanians and
Hungarians, in response to the killing of a Romanian by a Gypsy, burnt
down 13 houses belonging to the Gypsies, lynched three Gypsies and
forced 130 people to flee the village.
In Baia Mare, Mayor
Cătălin Cherecheș announced the building of a 3
metre high, 100 metre long concrete wall to divide the buildings in
which the Gypsy community lives from the rest of the city and bring
"order and discipline" into the area.
The manele, their modern music style, was prohibited in some cities of
Romania in public transport and taxis, that action being
justified by bus and taxi companies as being for passengers' comfort
and a neutral ambience, acceptable for all passengers. However, those
actions had been characterised by Speranta Radulescu, a professor of
ethno-musicology at the Bucharest Conservatory, as "a defect of
Romanian society". There were also a few criticisms of Professor
Dr. Ioan Bradu Iamandescu's experimental study, which linked the
listening of "manele" to an increased level of aggressiveness and low
self-control and suggested a correlation between preference for that
music style and low cognitive skills.
Three Slovakian Romani women have come before the European Court of
Human Rights on grounds of having been forcefully sterilised in
Slovakian hospitals. The sterilisations were performed by tubal
ligation after the women gave birth by Caesarean section. The court
awarded two of the women costs and damages while the third case was
dismissed because of the woman's death. A report by the Center for
Reproductive Rights and the Centre for Civil and
Human Rights has
compiled more than 100 cases of Roma women in
Slovakia who have been
sterilised without their informed consent.
According to the LGBT rights organisation and charity Stonewall,
anti-Romanyism is prevalent in the UK, with a distinction made between
Romani people and
Irish Travellers (both of whom are commonly known by
the exonym "gypsies" in the UK), and the so-called "travellers [and]
modern Gypsies". In 2008, the media reported that Gypsies
experience a higher degree of racism than any other group in the UK,
including asylum-seekers. A Mori poll indicated that a third of UK
residents admitted openly to being prejudiced against Gypsies.
Thousands of retrospective planning permissions are granted in Britain
in cases involving non-Romani applicants each year, and that
statistics showed that 90% of planning applications by Romanis and
travellers were initially refused by local councils compared with a
national average of 20% for other applicants, disproving claims of
preferential treatment favouring Romanis. Travellers argued that
the root of the problem was that many traditional stopping places had
been barricaded off and that legislation passed by the previous
Conservative government had effectively criminalised their community.
For example, removing local authorities' responsibility to provide
sites leaves the travellers with no option but to purchase
unregistered new sites themselves.
In August 2012, Slovakian television network
TV JOJ ran a report about
cases of Romani immigrant families with Slovakian or Czech
citizenship, whose children were forcibly taken away by the British
authorities. It has sparked Romani protests in towns such as
Nottingham. The authorities refused to explain the reasons for their
actions to the Slovak reporters. One of the mothers alleged that she
was allowed visitation with her newborn baby only in an empty room; as
there was no furniture, she was forced to change her baby's Dirty
Nappies on the floor, which was reflected negatively in a social
workers' report. Then, when she would not change the diapers on a
subsequent occasion following this experience, failure to change them
was reflected negatively in the report as well.
TV JOJ also alleged
that in another case, a biological mother suffered a nervous breakdown
because her children were being taken away, which was seen as proof
that she was not able to take care for them and they were then put up
for adoption. The problem was further escalated after reports that
some Slovak children would be put up for adoption either in the UK or
elsewhere, especially after a British court rejected the request of a
grandmother, living in Slovakia, for legal custody of her
grandchildren. This dispute has sparked protests in front of the
British embassy in Bratislava, with protesters holding signs such as
"Britain – Thief of Children" and "Stop Legal Kidnappers".
According to Slovak media, over 30 Romani children were taken from
their parents in Britain. The Slovak government voiced its "serious
concern" over the readiness of British authorities to remove children
from their "biological parents" for "no sound reason" and further
stated its readiness to challenge the policy in front of the European
Court of Human Rights.
In 2002 Conservative Party politician, and Member of Parliament (MP)
Andrew MacKay stated in a House of Commons debate on
unauthorised encampments of Gypsies and other Travelling groups in the
UK, "They [Gypsies and Travellers] are scum, and I use the word
advisedly. People who do what these people have done do not deserve
the same human rights as my decent constituents going about their
ordinary lives". MacKay subsequently left politics in
Doncaster Borough Council
Doncaster Borough Council discussed in chamber a Review of
Gypsy and Traveller Needs and concluded that Gypsies and Irish
Travellers are among the most vulnerable and marginalised ethnic
minority groups in Britain.
A Gypsy and Traveller support centre in Leeds, West Yorkshire, was
vandalised in April 2011 in what the police suspect was a hate-crime.
The fire caused substantial damage to a centre that is used as a base
for the support and education of gypsies and travellers in the
The Equal Opportunities Committee of the
Scottish Parliament in
2001 and in 2009 confirmed that widespread marginalisation
and discrimination persists in Scottish society against gypsy and
traveller groups. A 2009 survey conducted by the Scottish Government
also concludes that Scottish gypsy and travellers had been largely
ignored in official policies. A similar survey in 2006 found
discriminatory attitudes in Scotland towards gypsies and
travellers, and showed 37 percent of those questioned would be
unhappy if a relative married a gypsy or traveller while 48 percent
found it unacceptable if a member of the gypsy or traveller minorities
became primary school teachers.
A report by the
University of the West of Scotland
University of the West of Scotland found that both
Scottish and UK governments had failed to safeguard the rights of the
Roma as a recognized ethnic group and did not raise awareness of Roma
rights within the UK. Additionally, an Amnesty International
report published in 2012 stated that Gypsy Traveller groups in
Scotland routinely suffer widespread discrimination in society,
as well as a disproportionate level of scrutiny in the
media. Over a four-month period as a sample 48 per cent of
articles showed Gypsy Travellers in a negative light, while 25–28
per cent of articles were favourable, or of a neutral viewpoint.
Amnesty recommended journalists adhere to ethical codes of conduct
when reporting on Gypsy Traveller populations in Scotland, as they
face fundamental human rights concerns, particularly with regard to
health, education, housing, family life and culture.
To tackle the widespread prejudices and needs of Gypsy/Traveller
minorities, in 2011, the Scottish Government set up a working party to
consider how best to improve community relations between
Gypsies/Travellers and Scottish society. Including young
Gypsies/Travellers to engage in an on-line positive messages campaign,
contain factually correct information on their communities.
In 2007 a study by the newly formed Equality and Human Rights
Commission found that negative attitudes and prejudice persists
against Gypsy/Traveller communities in Wales. Results showed that
38 percent of those questioned would not accept a long-term
relationship with, or would be unhappy if a close relative married or
formed a relationship with, a Gypsy Traveller. Furthermore, only 37
percent found it acceptable if a member of the Gypsy Traveller
minorities became primary school teachers, the lowest score of any
group. An advertising campaign to tackle prejudice in Wales was
launched by the
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in
In June 2009, having had their windows broken and deaths threats made
against them, 20 Romanian Romani families were forced from their homes
in Lisburn Road, Belfast, in Northern Ireland. Up to 115 people,
including women and children, were forced to seek refuge in a local
church hall after being attacked. They were later moved by the
authorities to a safer location. An anti-racist rally in the city
on 15 June to support Romani rights was attacked by youths chanting
neo-Nazi slogans. The attacks were condemned by Amnesty
International and political leaders from both the Unionist and
Nationalist traditions in Northern Ireland.
Following the arrest of three local youths in relation to the attacks,
the church where the Romanis had been given shelter was badly
vandalised. Using 'emergency funds',
Northern Ireland authorities
assisted most of the victims to return to Romania.
When Romani refugees were allowed into Canada in 1997, a protest was
staged by 25 people, including neo-Nazis, in front of the motel where
the refugees were staying. The protesters held signs that included,
"Honk if you hate Gypsies", "Canada is not a Trash Can", and "G.S.T.
– Gypsies Suck Tax". (The last is a reference to Canada's unpopular
Goods and Services Tax, also known as GST.) The protesters were
charged with promoting hatred, and the case, called R. v. Krymowski,
Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada in 2005.
On 5 September 2012, prominent Canadian conservative commentator Ezra
Levant broadcast a commentary "The
Jew vs. the Gypsies" on J-Source in
which he accused the
Romani people of being a group of criminals:
"These are gypsies, a culture synonymous with swindlers. The phrase
gypsy and cheater have been so interchangeable historically that the
word has entered the English language as a verb: he gypped me. Well
the gypsies have gypped us. Too many have come here as false refugees.
And they come here to gyp us again and rob us blind as they have done
in Europe for centuries.… They’re gypsies. And one of the central
characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft
From the end of the
Kosovo War in June 1999, about 80% of Kosovo's
Romanis were expelled, amounting to approximately 100,000
expellees.:82 For the 1999–2006 period, the European Roma
Rights Centre documented numerous crimes perpetrated by Kosovo's
ethnic Albanians with the purpose to purge the region of its Romani
population along with other non-Albanian ethnic communities. These
crimes included murder, abduction and illegal detention, torture,
rape, arson, confiscation of houses and other property and forced
labour. Whole Romani settlements were burned to the ground by
Albanians.:82 Romanis remaining in
Kosovo are reported to be
systematically denied fundamental human rights. They "live in a state
of pervasive fear":83 and are routinely intimidated, verbally
harassed and periodically attacked on racist grounds by
Albanians.:83 The Romani community of
Kosovo is regarded to be,
for the most part, annihilated.:93
At UN internally displaced persons' camps in
Kosovo for Romanis, the
refugees were exposed to lead poisoning.
In Norway, many
Romani people were forcibly sterilized by the state
Norway flared up in July 2012, when roughly 200
Romani people settled outside Sofienberg church in Oslo and were later
relocated to a building site at Årvoll, in northern Oslo. The group
was subjected to hate crimes in the form of stone throwing and
fireworks being aimed at and fired into their camp. They, and
Norwegians trying to assist them in their situation, also received
death threats. Siv Jensen, the leader of the right-wing Progress
Party, also advocated the expulsion of the
Romani people resident in
A Swiss right-wing magazine, Weltwoche, published a photograph of a
gun-wielding Roma child on its cover in 2012, with the title "The Roma
are coming: Plundering in Switzerland". They claimed in a series of
articles of a growing trend in the country of "criminal tourism for
which eastern European Roma clans are responsible", with professional
gangs specializing in burglary, thefts, organized begging and street
prostitution. The magazine immediately came under criticism for
its links to the right-wing populist People's Party (SVP), as being
deliberately provocative and encouraged racist stereotyping by linking
ethnic origin and criminality. Switzerland's Federal Commission
Racism is considering legal action after complaints in
Switzerland, Austria and Germany that the cover breached antiracism
The Berlin newspaper
Tagesspiegel investigated the origins of the
photograph taken in the slums of Gjakova, Kosovo, where Roma
communities were displaced during the
Kosovo War to hovels built on a
toxic landfill. The Italian photographer, Livio Mancini,
denounced the abuse of his photograph, which was originally taken to
demonstrate the plight of Roma families in Europe.
Because the Roma population in the
United States has assimilated
quickly and Roma people are not often portrayed in US popular culture,
the term "Gypsy" is typically associated with a trade or lifestyle
instead of the Romani ethnic group. While many Americans regard ethnic
costume offensive (such as blackface), many Americans continue to
dress as gypsy characters for Halloween or other events. Additionally,
some small businesses, particularly those in the fortune-telling and
psychic reading industry, use the term "Gypsy" to describe
themselves or their enterprise, even if they have no ties to the Roma
people. Some do, however, as perhaps up to a million Americans have
Romani ancestry (see Romani American), but they are usually of only
While some scholars argue that appropriation of the Roma identity in
United States is explained by misperception and ignorance rather
than anti-Romanyism, Romani advocacy groups themselves decry the
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See also: Environmental racism in Europe
Environmental issues caused by Cold War-era industrial development
have disproportionately impacted upon the Roma, particularly in
Eastern Europe. The traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Roma make the
people most often settle on the outskirts of towns and cities, where
amenities, employment and educational opportunities are often
inaccessible. As of 1993,
Hungary has been identified as one country
where this issue exists: "While the economic restructuring of a
command economy into a western style market economy created hardships
for most Hungarians, with the national unemployment rate heading
toward 14 percent and per capita real income falling, the burdens
imposed on Romanis are disproportionately great."
Panel buildings (panelák) in Chanov ghetto near Most, Czech Republic
were built in the 1970s for a high-income clientele, authorities
introduced a model plan, whereby Roma were relocated to these
buildings, from poorer areas, to live among Czech neighbours. However,
with the rising proportion of Roma moving in, the Czech clients
gradually moved out in a kind of white flight, eventually leaving a
district in which the vast majority of residents were Roma. A
poll in 2007 marked the district as the worst place in the Ústí nad
Labem Region. Buildings were eventually stripped of any valuable
materials and torn down. The removal of materials was blamed on the
Roma who had last inhabited the building. Despite a total rental
debt in excess of €3.5 million, all of the tenants in the remaining
buildings continue to be provided with water and electricity,
unlike the situation in many other European countries.
Luník IX near Košice, Slovakia.
When newly built in the 1980s, some flats in this settlement were
assigned to Roma who had relocated from poverty-stricken locations in
a government effort to integrate the Roma population. Other flats were
assigned to families of military and law-enforcement personnel.
However, the military and police families gradually moved out of the
residences and the living conditions for the Roma population
deteriorated. Ongoing failures to pay bills led to the disconnection
of the water supply and an emergency plan was eventually created to
provide running water for two hours per day to mitigate against the
bill payment issue. Similarly to Chanov, some of these buildings were
stripped of their materials and were eventually torn down; again, the
Roma residents were identified as the culprits of the material
The various legal hindrances to their traditional nomadic lifestyle
have forced many travelling Roma into unsafe areas, such as
ex-industrial areas, former landfills or other waste areas where
pollutants have affected rivers, streams or groundwater. Consequently,
Roma are often unable to access clean water or sanitation facilities,
rendering the Roma people more vulnerable to health problems, such as
diseases. Based in Belgium, the Health & Environment Alliance has
included a statement in relation to the Roma on one of its pamphlets:
"Denied environmental benefits such as water, sewage treatment
facilities, sanitation and access to natural resources, and suffer
from exposure to environmental hazards due to their proximity to
hazardous waste sites, incinerators, factories, and other sources of
pollution." Since the fall of communism and privatisation of the
formerly state owned water-supply companies in many areas of central
and eastern Europe, the provision of decent running water to illegal
buildings Roma that often occupy became a particular issue, as the new
international owners of the water-supply companies are unwilling to
make contracts with Roma population and "water-borne diseases, such as
diarrhoea and dysentery" became "an almost constant feature of daily
life, especially for children".
According to a study by the United Nations Development Program, the
percentage of Roma with access to running water and sewage treatment
Romania and the
Czech Republic is well below the average in
those countries. Consequently, a proliferation of skin diseases among
these populations, due to the low quality of housing standards,
including scabies, pediculosis, pyoderma, mycosis and ascariasis, has
occurred; respiratory health problems also affect the majority of the
inhabitants of these areas, in addition to increasing rates of
hepatitis and tuberculosis.
Additionally, the permanent settlement of Roma in residential areas is
often met with either hostility by non-Roma or the exodus of non-Roma,
similar to white flight in the United States. Moreover, local
councils have issued bans against Roma, who are frequently
In popular culture
In the 2006 mockumentary Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen's character explains
that his home town has "a tall fence for keeping out Gypsies and
Jews"; ironically, the scene featuring this town was filmed in Glod, a
Roma village in central Romania. He makes many more anti-Romani
statements throughout the film.
The Adventures of Tintin
The Adventures of Tintin comic
The Castafiore Emerald
The Castafiore Emerald criticises
Captain Haddock invites a group of Roma to move
onto his property, they are falsely accused of stealing Bianca
Castafiore's priceless emerald. Tintin objects to other characters who
express their suspicion and uncovers the real culprit to have been a
In several adaptations of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame,
Claude Frollo is portrayed as having a strong, genocidal hatred of
gypsies, although this characteristic is not so evident in the
À la zingara
Environmental racism in Europe
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Human Rights First
Human Rights First Report on Violence Against Roma
Council of Europe webpage on anti-Romanyism
European Centre for Antiziganism Research
OSCE/ODIHR portal on Roma and
European Roma Rights Centre
Anti-cultural, -national or -ethnic sentiment