Sweden Could Be Better at Including Roma

In 2020, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released a report on Roma’s social situation and experiences of discrimination in six countries (Belgium, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom) – “Roma and Travelers in six countries”. The report was recently published in Swedish.

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI) has been commissioned by FRA to launch the report in Sweden in close cooperation with Roma civil society.

Find the report here – FRA

The report has been launched regionally in Malmö, Gothenburg, Linköping and Uppsala. The report will now be launched nationally in Stockholm on 14 October 2022. Conclusions and recommendations from regional meetings will also be presented.

This is a significant report. The EU confirms the difficult situation in Sweden that many of us Roma live in,” says Diana Nyman, a steering group member for the launch.

The report shows that half of Roma living in Sweden have experienced discrimination in the past 12 months. The percentage who experienced harassment in the last 12 months because they are Roma is even higher: 55%. Sweden is one of the two worst countries for Roma to live in of the six countries reviewed.

Despite this, many Roma in Sweden choose not to report perceived discrimination.

The report shows that life expectancy for Roma is significantly lower than for the general population. In Sweden, Roma women live an average of 10.1 years shorter than Swedish women do. For men, the corresponding figure is 11.6 years. The report shows that 23% of the respondents have felt discriminated against because of their background when they have been in contact with health care.

Every second (51%) parent of a Roma child of compulsory school age in Sweden reports that their child experiences offensive threatening comments, such as name-calling or bad words, because of their Roma background.

Some 28% of Roma children grow up in severe material poverty. For the general population, the corresponding figure is 2%.

These with several disappointing figures about the situation of the Roma in Sweden are presented by the EU in the report.

We can hope that the report will be food for thought regarding the situation of Roma in the country, the importance of this type of equality data and the importance of a constitutionally based policy-making for everyone’s enjoyment of equal rights, opportunities and non-discrimination”, comments Michael McEachrane, visiting researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute who worked on the launch of the report.

“The levels of intimidation, harassment and discrimination and poverty among Roma in Sweden are shocking,” says FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty. “Moving forward, Sweden should consider developing a joined-up strategy in line with the EU’s 10-year plan for Roma equality, inclusion and participation. FRA stands ready to support Sweden in these efforts.”

Photo: Joanna Kosinska, unsplash

The Report: fra-2020-roma-travellers-six-countries_en

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