From Fri Aug 18 07:05:55 2000
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 23:47:39 -0500 (CDT)
From: Greek Helsinki Monitor <>
Subject: [balkanhr] Reuters: U.N. Report: Gypsies Repressed, Attacked in Europe (including Kosovo, Greece)
Article: 102769
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

U.N. Report: Gypsies Repressed, Attacked in Europe

Reuters, 15 August 2000, 12:27:00 ET

GENEVA (Reuters)—Gypsies living in squalid conditions remain victims of racism and violence across Europe, a United Nations report said Tuesday. Rights groups, including Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World), endorsed the report's call for European governments to boost protection of the minority, known by various names including Roma, numbering eight to 10 million. Persecution in Central and Eastern Europe is rife, including reprisal attacks on gypsies in Kosovo and raids on their slum settlements near Athens to clear space for facilities for the 2004 Olympic Games, the groups said. They took the floor in Geneva at the start of a two-day debate on gypsy rights, the first of its kind, at the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Scarcely anything has been achieved and today Roma across the whole of Europe are still generally poor, uneducated, discriminated against in practically every sphere of activity, the report by South Korean jurist Yeung Sik Yuen said. They're frequently subjected to persecution and are victims of open acts of racism. in constant fear of violence being perpetrated against them because they are Roma, it said. The Roma are often barred from restaurants, swimming pools and discos and are often the victims of violent racist acts by skinheads..., the report said. In Kosovo, gypsies were accused of collaborating with Serb forces and suffer attacks by ethnic Albanians. They need around the clock protection from KFOR international peacekeeping troops, the Society for Threatened Peoples, based in Goettingen, Germany, said.


Gypsies are also being evicted from their dwindling settlements near Athens to clear the way for sports facilities for the 2004 Olympic Games, according to two rights groups, the Greek Helsinki Monitor and Minority Rights Group-Greece. They accused Prime Minister Costas Simitis's government of failing to live up to pledges on minority rights and reported five raids on Roma settlements in the Aspropyrgos and Ano Liosia settlements near Athens since 1996. Will the international community, including the International Olympic Committee, tolerate a cleansed, Roma-free Greater Athens as the host of these Games?, they asked. The Roma people, subjected to ill-treatment and discrimination for centuries, originated in northwest India. Many still lack access to health care and education, although only 20 percent are regularly on the move, according to Yeung. Yeung submitted his report to the U.N. Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights at its annual meeting in Geneva this month, and is one of its 26 independent experts. The health indicators are particularly alarming: maternal and infant mortality rates are very high, respectively eight and five times as high as those observed in the main populations; life expectancy is considerably shorter, said Paris-based Medecins du Monde, aiding Roma in France, Greece and Spain. Of the minority's original 150,000 members in Kosovo, only 10,000 to 20,000 still remain there, the Society for Threatened Peoples said.