September 19, 2008

Euro MPs Take Up Public Call for Roma Rights

Peter Hudson has just sent me this text as an update on the progress of the petition against the fingerprinting of the Roma community in Italy.

"On the day that President Barroso addresses the first EU Roma Summit Euro MPs Arlene McCarthy and Michael Gypsy Boys ItalyCashman have called on the EU to stand up to all discriminatory treatment of Roma and in particular the measures introduced by the Italian Government.

The Euro MPs have written to the President of the Commission with a Petition that has been submitted to the European Parliament calling for an end to infringements of the human rights of Europe 's Roma population.

The petition was the initiative of UK brothers Peter and Richard Hudson and has been signed by over 1400 private citizens across Europe .

Local Labour Euro MP, Arlene McCarthy said "It shows the deep concern of ordinary people across Europe that they have been moved to call for a halt to the unacceptable treatment of Roma in Italy with hundreds of names collected by concerned citizens in just a few weeks."

Arlene added "We are calling on the Commission to look again at this issue and I hope when President Barroso addresses the EU Roma Summit today he will acknowledge the concern of Europe's citizens that the rights of a minority are under assault."

Peter and Richard Hudson said "We felt compelled to launch a campaign to heighten awareness of the shameful actions being perpetrated by the Italian Government against Italy ’s Roma communities.   We were appalled actions such as fingerprinting of Roma, by news stories of outbursts of racist violence against Roma and by the apparent implicit sanctioning of such violence by Italian officials – all of which draw parallels with the 1930s.  But above all, we were disturbed by the apparent apathy displayed by local Italian beachgoers to the drowning of two young Roma girls.  It is all too clear that racism and fascist sympathies are alive and well in 21st Century Western Europe ."

"But we have been given hope by the outpouring of support for our campaign.  People from across the globe and from all backgrounds have signed our petition and have sent us many letters of support.  People from academics, MEPs and the Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom to students, businessmen and priests have expressed the common desire that this persecution be stopped.  We hope that good people will strive to ensure that Roma no longer remain Europe ’s forgotten minority.  Their tragedy has endured for far too long." 

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