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European Roma summit: Just a sweet talk, with no concrete outcome?
Third European Roma Summit, being organized by European Commission (EC) on April 4, 2014 at Brussels, appears to be just a "sweet talk" like the previous two Summits (2008, 2010), with no concrete outcome to end Roma apartheid; distinguished religious statesman Rajan Zed, stated in Nevada (USA) today.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, asked: What one could expect from a Roma Summit with presenters like Romania President Traian Basescu, who was reportedly found guilty of discriminatory remarks about Roma population by country’s official National Council for Combating Discrimination in February?

Claims of landmark achievements would be made, commitments would be renewed, road maps would be drawn, new frameworks would be created and action plans would be designed at this Roma Summit on April four but without significant impact on the apartheid conditions European Roma faced day after day, Rajan Zed noted.

Zed stressed that if Europe “really and wholeheartedly” wanted Roma social and economic integration, inclusion, and improvement in their daily lives on the ground; a big change of heart, serious motivation, effective implementation, honest feeling of responsibility and firm political commitment were urgently needed, which European Union (EU) clearly lacked.

Rajan Zed argued that “Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015” and EC’s framework for national Roma integration strategies in 2011 were launched with much fanfare and with lofty claims, but these and other ambitious plans failed to deliver much concrete results in the areas of Roma employment, housing, education and healthcare; and they continued to be maltreated as before or even more. If somebody had fallacy about their plight, he/she just had to visit one of their encampments and their sufferings were easily visible to the naked eye, Zed added.

Zed indicated that the alarming condition of Roma people was a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as they reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.

EU and countries of Europe, instead of just discussions like this Summit, should act immediately to end the centuries of severe discrimination and abuse of Roma and achieve their social inclusion. It is simply immoral to let this around 15 million population of Europe continually suffer and face human rights violations, Rajan Zed says.

Zed further said that references to Roma people in Europe reportedly went as far back as ninth century CE. How many more centuries Roma had to struggle in Europe to prove that they were “real and equal” Europeans like any other, he asked and added that it was moral obligation of Europe to take care of its frequently persecuted Roma community.

Rajan Zed said that, moreover, there was insufficient involvement and participation of Roma people in the April four Summit. “Access to the Roma summit itself will only be possible for people who have received an invitation and who have registered with the European Commission”, announcement says.

Around 500 representatives; including EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, EC Vice-President Viviane Reding, EC Director General for Justice Francoise Le Bail, various European Commissioners, Romanian President Traian Basescu, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Zlatanova, Ministers and State secretaries from nine EU Member States, Mayors, European Parliament members, etc., are participating in this Summit.


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