EESC Public hearing on 12 May: ’Better Roma inclusion through civil society initiatives: focus on health and anti-discrimination’
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) dedicated its 12 May public hearing to the issue of Roma Health and discrimination, to which EPHA, other civil society organisations and European institutions were invited . By presenting the evidence-based EPHA Position on Roma Health, EPHA highlighted the key role Roma Health Mediators (RHM) could play to promote meaningful Roma integration.
Background information - ongoing EESC dialogue with the European civil society
The Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) section of the EESC has launched a project on ‘Better inclusion of the Roma community through civil society initiatives’ .
The aims of the project are to:
The project focuses on 4 selected countries: Spain, Finland, Romania and Bulgaria. Hearings and country visits will be organised to analyse the four crucial areas of the Roma framework strategy (employment, education, housing, health) between March-October 2014.
Following each mission report produced by the responsible rapporteur, a draft final report will be prepared, based on the mission reports, information collected during the meetings, from visiting local programmes and by means of a questionnaire sent out by the NGOs. Its aim to formulate a number of overall conclusions and recommendations.
Public Hearing in Brussels focusing on Health and anti-discrimination
The president of the project EESC Member Mr Ákos Topolánszky stressed that more efforts are needed from Member States to translate the rhetoric on Roma integration into action and the EESC is looking for inputs from civil society to evaluate the measures in place, better understand the challenges and identify future opportunities for improvement.
The Roma and Health - Roma integration is not feasible without a high level of Roma Health.
Speakers - including the representative of the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO) were concerned that Roma health might not get appropriate attention during the discussions on Roma integration. Ms Isabel de la Mata also stressed the importance of the Granada Declaration which calls on European governments to protect health, ensure access to healthcare and reduce health inequalities of migrants (including undocumented) and ethnic minorities.
By presenting available evidence on existing health inequalities between Roma and non Roma, EPHA focused on the following key points:
Roma and Health(International Organsiation for Migration (IOM))
Destitute Roma & access to healthcare Doctors of the World - France
In the second part of the public hearing, speakers presented various examples of inacceptable Roma discrimination cases, including forced eviction and called for action to stop these processes.
Despite the adoption of EU anti-discrimination legislation and the EU Framework for NRIS, extremist organisations, individuals, public officials and politicians continue to openly discriminate against Roma at an alarming rate. We can observe increasing anti-Roma sentiments and anti-Gypsyism and persistent patterns of violent attacks and actions against this minority.
Roma, mainly from Eastern Member States, in addition to poverty and discrimination in housing, employment, education and health, face constant intimidation and violence.
See more information on the Rise of anti-Roma sentiments and anti-Gypsyism + RED implementation challenges and the role of Equality Bodies
More information on the EESC project
Roma-related EPHA articles)