Wednesday, 9 July 2008

First they came for the Roma . . .

An email arrives from Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP, Liberal Democrat European justice spokeswoman, ahead of a vote by MEPs on a resolution condemning plans by the Italian government to count and fingerprint all Roma gypsies, including children. I’ll let the baroness speak for herself:

‘Singling out Roma people for a census and fingerprinting is illegal discrimination contrary to European law, which was passed precisely to stop Nazi and fascist racial persecution. It beggars belief that the government of Silvio Berlusconi can be so dismissive of history as to launch this misguided plan.

‘It is a disgrace that the EU’s other 26 member states are keeping their silence, and that Italy’s foreign minister, until recently the EU justice commissioner, has endorsed the human rights abusing scheme. The fingerprinting of children is particularly abhorrent.

‘There needs to be a European Roma strategy with funds attached to improve the status, education and integration of Roma people, rather than marginalising and stigmatising them.’

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