Hindus have urged the new Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), which started on January 1, to work for uplifting European Roma (Gypsies) from apartheid like conditions faced by them.
Hindu leader Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada, hoped that the new Irish Presidency would not stay apathetic and silent spectator when about 15-million fellow Roma brothers/ sisters were facing blatant injustice and discrimination in Europe day after day. Zed urged it to show strong political will, courage, and commitment in support of Roma cause.
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, unusually high unemployment rates, etc., Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.
The maltreatment and almost total societal exclusion of Roma was outside even the EU norms. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Europe and world, Zed stressed.
The Presidency of the Council of the EU rotates among the 27 Member States. Michael D Higgins and Enda Kenny are President and Prime Minister respectively of Ireland, whom Lonely Planet describes as a “small country with a big reputation”.