Amnesty International (AI) [official website] called upon the European Union (EU) [official website] on Thursday to end discrimination against Roma [AI backgrounder; JURIST news archive] communities throughout Europe. There are roughly six million Roma throughout the EU, many of whom face abject poverty, substandard education, violent attacks and other forms of discrimination. In a press release [text], AI said that the EU is not doing enough to protect Roma across member states and called upon the EU to "implement immediately the considerable measures at its disposal to sanction governments that are failing to tackle discrimination and violence against Roma." AI's press release comes on the eve of International Roma Day, which will take place on April 8 and has been recognized by a number of prominent figures including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [State Department press release].
Thursday's press release by AI is the latest in a series of reports which call for the end of discrimination against Roma. In January, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned [JURIST report] Hungary for segregating Roma students and wrongly placing them in remedial schools. In September of last year, AI urged Italy to change its discriminatory policies [JURIST report] against the country's Roma. In August, AI urged [JURIST report] the government of Hungary to protect the nation's Roma communities from attacks. The same month, the UN urged [JURIST report] the international community to end discrimination against Roma. In May, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) implored the government of Moldova to adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination law [JURIST report] that protects, among other groups, the Roma people. In April, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on [JURIST report] the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina to stop discriminating against Roma.