Roma face “double stigmatisation” when they are on the move, firstly as a persecuted and victimised minority and secondly as migrants, Migration Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has said.
The committee said this stigma is “based on three deep-rooted prejudices, namely that all Roma are nomads, they all come from abroad, and their migration is illegal”.
All three prejudices are misplaced, the committee pointed out: less than 20 per cent of Roma are now nomadic, they have been part of European society for around 700 years, and most have the right to migrate under EU freedom of movement laws.
PACE’s Migration Committee asked the Council of Europe to study how laws criminalising begging affect Roma, and look into whether they are affected by, and/or involved in trafficking. Negative stereotyping of Roma in the media and political speech should also be tackled, the committee said.
Meanwhile Council of Europe member states have been urged to “stop actions which amount to collective expulsion of Roma” and to suspend the return of Roma to Kosovo until they can be shown to be safe and sustainable.