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Parliamentary Assembly Session: 4 to 8 October 2010

Human Rights Commissioner: End harmful generalisations against the Roma

Thomas Hammerberg

Europe’s politicians must stop making “generalised statements” about how Roma people behave, affirmed Thomas Hammerberg, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner, in a Parliamentary Assembly debate on the Roma. Such statements “cement and deepen prejudices” and are “used by extremist groups”, he said. “It is serious – some distorted minds have attacked violently Roma families or settlements in this atmosphere of anti-Gypsyism.” Roma communities are “afraid,” he said, because they see “the widespread hostility against them grow again; the extremist groups targeting them; and leading politicians not really protecting them and even – sometimes – themselves making negative statements against them.”