The director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Morten Kjaerum, participated this week in a major conference on European Roma in Copenhagen. The conference, held in the Danish Parliament, was part of Humanity in Action’s one week “I AM ROMA” campaign in Denmark.
“The case of Roma deserves our attention when discussing how to fight prejudice in Europe,” said Kjaerum while speaking at the conference. “Their plight shows how prejudice and intolerance can poison the attitudes and behaviour of the ordinary citizen alienating and marginalising entire groups.”
The day-long conference focused on the historical, political, cultural, social and socioeconomic conditions of Roma in Denmark and Europe.
Kjaerum says the situation of Roma today is not just about alleviating poverty, but about respecting their fundamental right to equality and non-discrimination. He says investments in better education, better housing, and employment opportunities are important, but that Europeans also need to deal with the stereotypes and prejudice surrounding Roma.
Humanity in Action is an international education organisation committed to promoting human rights. Their week-long “I AM ROMA” campaign aims to increase understanding and knowledge of human rights and minority issues for Romani people in Europe.
“We need to change the language away from Roma integrating into main stream society,” says Kjaerum. “The European ambition is to have an inclusive, open society respecting human rights.”