The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) strongly condemns the recent violent attacks against Roma in the Czech Republic and Hungary and urges the Czech authorities to put an end to such attacks and take all the necessary measures to ensure the protection of their Roma community.
At a march organised in the town of Litvinov in the Czech Republic on 17 November, about 500 demonstrators linked to the far-right Czech Workers’ Party chanted anti-Roma slogans and threw stones, firecrackers and petrol bombs with the intention of attacking the Roma community. In a related development, two Roma were shot in Nagycsecs, Hungary a few weeks ago as they fled a house set ablaze in an arson attack.
These events are extremely worrying, especially as ENAR’s 2007 Shadow Report on racism in Europe reports an increase in extremism and racist violence in a number of Member States of the EU and the emergence of extremist, semi-military organisations in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.
These events are a reminder of the urgent need to formalise the adoption of and implement the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia. This Framework Decision is a crucial European instrument to fight racist crime and was agreed by all 27 Member States at the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 20 April 2007. More than one year on, the adoption has still not been formalised.
ENAR President Mohammed Aziz said: “This is yet another sign of the worrying trend towards increasing racist violence and crime that can be noticed across the EU. The EU Member States must live up to their commitment on the Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia.”
ENAR Director Pascale Charhon said: “It is also urgent that all relevant EU institutions take action to curb anti-Gypsysm across Europe. The European Union must adopt a comprehensive and ambitious approach to the Roma that will secure real change in the lives of the ten million Roma in Europe.”
The European Network Against Racism (ENAR) is a network of European NGOs working to combat racism in all EU member states and represents more than 600 NGOs spread around the European Union. ENAR aims to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, to promote equality of treatment between EU citizens and third country nationals, and to link local/regional/national initiatives with European initiatives.