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Roma Swedes turned away from campsites

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12:35 CEST+02:00
An investigation by Swedish Radio's Ekot programme has revealed that Roma people with Swedish citizenship face discrimination at the country's campsites. Of 20 camp sites called by Ekot, 10 said they did not allow Roma guests.

"We don't accept them," said one campsite manager.

"Experience says that we should say no," she added.

The programme called a couple of campsites to establish whether or not there were places free. Ten minutes later, the producers sent a Roma family to the site. In both cases they were refused entry.

Another owner admitted that all campsite managers discussed the issue and that emails circulate in which certain sites are warned to be on their guard.

According to the law against discrimination introduced in Sweden in 2003, "nobody shall be treated differently or unequally [on the grounds of ethnic origin] when it comes to buying goods, services or housing".

Sweden's Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (DO) has already identified people of Roma origins as common targets of discrimination in Swedish society. Indeed, DO is already investigating five cases where Roma Swedes have reported camp sites.

"It makes me sad and concerned," said Keith Palmroth, himself of Roma origin, at the anti-discrimination office in Gothenburg.

"Now you see the truth in black and white, that it is actually the case that Roma do not have a place in society on the same terms as everyone else."

Palmroth said that Ekot's findings must be reported to DO and followed up. But as one man running a campsite contacted by Ekot commented, it is not ignorance of the 2003 law that is behind the discrimination.

Acknowledging the law, the man said that he does not "completely ban them".

"But we're not glad that they come - we try to avoid letting them in."

Sources: SR

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