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'Roma need better legal protection in Sweden'

Published: 27 Apr 2011 08:06 GMT+02:00
Updated: 27 Apr 2011 08:06 GMT+02:00

The daily discrimination faced by Sweden's Roma population violates Swedish law, according to a new report by the country's Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO), which argues for tougher legislation to protect the Roma's rights.

"Local actors, such as state agencies and municipalities, need to take responsibility for seeing that Roma aren't subject to discrimination," ombudsman investigator Heidi Pikkarainen told the Svenska Dadbladet (SvD) newspaper.

As one of Sweden's five national minorities, the Roma are supposed to be guaranteed the right to deal with local authorities in their own language.

Between 2004 and 2010, the ombudsman received 230 complaints alleging discrimination against Sweden's Roma.

But prior to 2009, Swedish anti-discrimination laws didn't encompass the way public sector employees treated members of the public, making it was impossible for the ombudsman to investigate allegations that Roma had been discriminated against in their dealings with the Swedish legal system.

According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebyggande rådet – Brå), Sweden's Roma faced the most difficulty in their dealings with the country's legal system in 2008 because of prevailing views that Roma are criminals, SvD reports.

Despite the new legislation, the ombudsman continues to find it difficult to prove the Roma are discriminated against by public bodies.

Ombudsman investigator Pikkarainen believes that laws preventing discrimination in the legal system need to be reviewed and updated.

"It's extremely serious if someone is subject to discrimination in a legal proceeding because it's such a central part everyone's equal rights," she told the newspaper.

In addition to strengthening laws, Pikkarainen believes that more Roma discrimination cases need to be heard by the Swedish courts.

TT/The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:36 April 27, 2011 by JulieLou40
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:45 April 27, 2011 by helveeta
Does anyone know a Roma person who isn't sketchy/criminal? I am serious because I don't know much about these people I just hear terrible things that they steal and make their children into criminals, etc. Maybe people need to be enlightened on their situation. Maybe these people need rehabilitation on how to be good citizens if they never were taught these skills in their homeland.

That's the thing that Sweden is missing out on. Some of the people coming here as immigrants have NO social skills or manners and now well-behaved Swedes are subjected to them. This is why racism is brewing.
10:02 April 27, 2011 by truthworthy
@helveeta

Arrogant people like you need to be silent, you say you dont know about the people yet you make racist comments about them based on hearsay. Your bigotry can be understood from the way you talk about immigrants.

Please save face and shut up! otherwise make a sense.
10:03 April 27, 2011 by ruimove
"As one of Sweden's five national minorities, the Roma are supposed to be guaranteed the right to deal with local authorities in their own language."

Why? I see Yddish, Sami and the several Finish dialects are included, so I assume they also need translators , or is just the "darling" minorities of the lefties?

And since we are all Swedish nationals maybe we need to speak the main language in the country? maybe that will help!
10:12 April 27, 2011 by helveeta
@truthworthy, I did not make racist comments. I merely repeated said hearsay. Don't stereotype me, dude. I see you on this site always trying to make trouble. I am trying to make a valid point. I went to SFI I live in Sweden and see how things are progressing. There are some major culture clashes going on here and it's not going to be pretty if things are worked out NOW. I have children and I want a good society for them.
10:43 April 27, 2011 by occassional
The fundamental question is: Why do some people have it and others don't ?
11:00 April 27, 2011 by johnny1939
Why do the Romas have to deal w/ the criminal justice system anyway? We all know how honest and upstanding these people are. Surely the Romas that live in Sweden for centuries speak and read Swedish if the need would be for them to communicate w/ the criminal and social systems. I am quite old and I have never had to deal w/ any of these systems so what gives?
13:14 April 27, 2011 by laviniutza
I have a question for all you guys: Is just the romas who murder, rape, rob and etc ? Or, there are others besides roma pll? Did Sweden or any other European country , had prisons before roma got here? Did? If so, why? Cos just roma pll are the bad ones, the dirty one , the ones u should avoid, this is what society is telling you today . So, yes, Sweden as all other European countries HAD prisons, because there were citezens who behaved exactly as roma, but they werent roma.
14:08 April 27, 2011 by occassional
@laviniutza

So, why add to the problem?
14:31 April 27, 2011 by laviniutza
@occassional

Is just the fact I'm a bit tired of this general rroma bashing. I dont say they are not as most of us know, but they are not the only one acting like that.
14:49 April 27, 2011 by Syftfel
Better legal protections???? How about if these people started by obeying the laws, customs, and behavior of their host countries? Until that happens the only laws that should be strengthened are those that concern border controls and deportations. The story talks about "prevailing views" assuming that they are all criminals. Anecdotal evidence suggests that this is indeed the case. True statistics are hard to come by, since our authorities do not consider it PC to publish them. Lay the cards on the table and let us decide! Brå, as is often case, is barking up the wrong tree.
15:02 April 27, 2011 by andy_so
like johnny1939 said, there are romas that have been living in sweden for centuries, so i dont think this artical is refering to them.

ive spent a lot of time in eastern europe (romania, hungary, slovakia), and ive heard, seen and exprienced why they are treated with hate and disgust- sending their children to beg for money, all dirty, not sending them school, marring them at 13, the men stay home and spend money only alcohol and cigarettes. its despicable. and since all the eastern european countries joined the EU, its been much easier for them to travel about to "greener pastures"...

when i was flying from copenhagen to romania, i saw a roma escorted by danish cops directly to the plane, they told him in enlish to behave, to which he answered with curses in romanian and a stupid grin...

im not going to generalize, some of them are honest hard working people, and ive also been helped by a girl and her dad to find my german shepard (which was stolen by a roma family btw), for no gain, just kindness, and when i wanted to reward them they refused to accept anything... so one shouldnt generalize.

its their culture thtas "flawed". but also the eastern european countries are at fault too, for not doing anything to help (but then again, they berarly help their own people, but thats another discussion) only make it worse for them.
15:06 April 27, 2011 by jimmy1988
Well some of them are working persons but that is very rare.

Discriminate? Why? They are receiving money from tax payers. What do they want more!
15:09 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
So all at once out come the posters in and out of Sweden who want to solve everything by deporting anybody. Now syftfel is saying that ALL Roma are criminals without any justification, just as he claims that ALL Muslims are terrorists.

In fact there is a long list of Roma who have been writers and musicians and other artists. These people have actually managed to achieve acknowledgement of their prowess even though in the majority of countries where they have lived for a thousand years or more they have suffered persecution.

Yes there are some Roma criminals, but a lot of crime is attributed to them because it is easy to do so. When I was a child, people used to say that gypsies stole young children.

There are good and bad in all cultures, discriminating or expelling one group of people or another from a society is never going to solve the problem, and making sweeping statements indicting one group of people is not helpful. Helping them to fit in and expand their capabilities is much more productive.
15:25 April 27, 2011 by ruimove
I think people dont read the articles, we are talking of a swedish minority not about emigrants, it's roma people in sweden for several generations.
16:26 April 27, 2011 by Tanskalainen
The Danish supreme court just ruled that Roma can not be deported from Denmark so........use the bloody bridge. No fuss, no muss.
21:55 April 27, 2011 by johnny1939
Yes, yes, good for the Danes!!!!
10:45 April 28, 2011 by HYBRED
@Rick Methven

RE: Post #14

Tis one of the more intellegent threads you have posted, and I agree with you.

And would like to add that things like deporting Roma's,(or any specific group) starts a bad trend. Because once they are gone, who is next, red heads, left handers? The current laws are not just particular to one group.
22:29 April 28, 2011 by Grokh
IF you are legal = then you get legal protection

IF you are ilegal then you get deported because you are breaking the laws by being ilegal in a country, its not racism.

France deported tons of roma not long ago and everyone called it racism.

Well if they were all illegal in the country then its not racism.

Getting tired of this minority thing, im a minority in sweden doesnt mean they should let me break the laws .
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