Press release - 146(2010)

European migration policies discriminate against Roma people

Strasbourg, 22.02.2010 – “European governments are not giving Roma migrants the same treatment as others who are in similar need of protection. Roma migrants are returned by force to places where they are at risk of human rights violations” said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, in his latest Viewpoint.

The Commissioner stresses that the EU Directives impact differently on Roma than on other EU citizens. “The protective provisions of the ‘Free Movement Directive’ are breached much more easily in respect of Roma than any other identifiable group. Expulsions of Roma have been carried out in contravention of EU law. In other cases destruction of Roma dwellings has been used as a method to persuade Roma to leave ‘voluntarily’”.

Commissioner Hammarberg underlines that pushing Roma families between countries is inhumane and it victimises in particular children – many of whom were born and grown up in the host countries before they were deported. Expulsions between EU countries have also failed in a great number of cases as the Roma have used their right as EU citizens to move within the European Union area.”

“States now spending considerable amounts to return Roma to their countries of origin, would make better use of this money by investing in measures to facilitate these persons’ social inclusion in their own societies” he said.

Published fortnightly in English, French and Russian, Viewpoints can be used without prior consent, provided that the text is not modified and the original source is indicated in the following way: “Also available at the Commissioner’s website at”.

Readers’ comments on this Viewpoint can be posted directly on the Commissioner’s website.

Press contacts in the Commissioner’s Office: Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)6 61 14 70 37;

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Communication Unit
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 35 38
Fax:+33 (0)3 90 21 50 53