Religious statesman Rajan Zed is urging for immediate end to apartheid conditions of European Roma in view of findings of the recent Pew Research Center (PRC) survey which concluded that “Roma widely rejected” in Central and Eastern Europe.
The results of survey—“Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe”—in 18 countries state that “Roma face the lowest overall levels of acceptance” where only a median of 57% would be willing to accept Roma as fellow citizens, only 37% as neighbors and merely 19% as family members. “Rejection of Roma is particularly widespread in Armenia, where a majority is not willing to accept Roma as citizens of their country”, it adds.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, stressed that if Europe “really and wholeheartedly” wanted Roma social and economic integration, inclusion, and improvement in their daily lives on the ground; a big change of heart, serious motivation, effective implementation, honest feeling of responsibility and firm political commitment were urgently needed, which European Union seemingly lacked.
Various lofty European Council plans/roadmaps/commitments/frameworks/promises/claims, many launched with much fanfare, seemed to be just whitewash and had failed to deliver any concrete outcomes or make any significant impact to end apartheid conditions European Roma faced day after day; Rajan Zed indicated.
If somebody had fallacy about Roma plight, he/she just had to visit one of their encampments and their sufferings would be easily visible to the naked eye, Zed noted.
Actions, and not just discussions, were needed to end the centuries of severe discrimination and abuse of Roma and achieve their social inclusion. It was simply immoral to let this around 15-million population of Europe continually suffer and face human rights violations, Rajan Zed said and added that it was moral obligation of Europe to take care of its frequently persecuted Roma community.
Zed pointed out that the 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, etc.
This PRC survey was done in Armenia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Greece, Belarus, Ukraine, Estonia, Russia, Romania, Moldova, Latvia, Bosnia, Hungary, Poland, Serbia and Croatia; out of which 10 are members of the European Union. Michael Dimock is the President of PRC, which is a “nonpartisan fact tank” based in Washington DC.