Human Rights Day: ADC “Memorial” raises issues of Roma rights in Russia

On December 10, the International Human Rights Day, experts of ADC “Memorial” participated in debates on the rights of Roma people in Russia.

Roma people, who live in compact settlements, are entitled to the same rights as any other citizens. Nevertheless, people from Roma settlements face systematic, structural discrimination on a regular basis, which often takes the form of open violation of their rights by the bureaucrats and police, which in turn leads to exclusion of Roma people from society, to being doomed to live without proper housing, education, work, social welfare and acceptable living standards (such as access to pure water, heat, electricity, good food and medicine).

Another issue, which concerns people living in compact Roma settlements, is the violation of the right of children to education and personal inviolability: children, especially girls, often fail to complete secondary school education, early marriages are very common, same as teenage pregnancies. Segregation rules in schools attended by Roma children: Roma children are placed into separate classes with simplified curriculum, which in turn leads to poorer education and social exclusion of these kids, and this often demotivates parents to give their children proper education. Local authorities often demonstrate lack of interest in solving these problems or, even worse, sometimes when Roma parents complain about poor education and demand abolition of segregation in schools, they are threatened with eviction and destruction of homes in Roma settlements. Police often practices ethnic profiling and police raids named “Roma settlement” or “Roma” are carried out, when special riot police arrives, harasses Roma people, takes their fingerprints forcibly, makes photos without consent, etc. – without even giving any reasons or having any pretexts.

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