Breaking the Barriers- Discrimination Against Roma Women and Roma LGBT

Pavee Point attended a transnational workshop on discrimination against Roma and Travellers in Helsinki, Finland, on 2-3 December. Breaking the Barriers workshop brought together Roma and non-Roma civil society activists and local, regional and national authorities from all over Europe. The workshop presented good practice models with the aim of tackling anti-Gypsyism and exclusion of Roma in Europe.

Pavee Point presented to address the multiple discrimination of Traveller and Roma women and LGBT persons due to their ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and put forward principles and approaches to creating safe spaces for Traveller LGBT persons to ‘come out’ as LGBT. You can see the presentation made by Pavee Point here.

Roma NGOs highglighted the need for an explicit recognition of anti-Gypsyism at EU level, something that the European Commission has failed to recognise up to date. Robert Rustem, Executive Secretary with the European Roma and Travellers Forum, stated that the barrier between the Roma and the majority is not simply a dislike of a lifestyle or behaviour, which can breed discrimination, but the hatred for an ethnic group which leads to rejection…What we describe euphemistically as discrimination is but the reflection of a much deeper and more ingrained feeling – it is but the tip of the iceberg – an iceberg that we call anti-Gypsyism.”

Pavee Point raised the need to protect and promote the rights of ‘minorities within minorities’. Along with anti-Gypsyism, the situation of Roma and Traveller women and LGBT persons need to be explicitly recognised and addressed within all strategies, policies, legislation and practices at EU and Member State levels.

During the workshop, electronic newsletters were produced and can be found here and here.