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European Parliament calls for end to anti-Roma laws

[JURIST] The European Parliament (EP) [official website] voted Thursday to adopt a resolution [text; EP press release] calling on member states to "review and repeal laws and policies that discriminate against the Roma on the basis of race and ethnicity." The EP resolution also calls on the European Commission and EU member states to

enact legislation and policies to support Roma communities while promoting their integration in all fields to launch anti-racism and anti-discrimination programmes in schools, employment and the media and to enhance the exchange of expertise and best practices [sic]
The resolution was prompted by Italy's decision last week to begin implementing a controversial plan to fingerprint the country's Roma minority [JURIST news archive]. The scheme has been condemned by some as constituting "ethnic cataloguing" [EUobserver report] and was intensely criticized [JURIST report] by the international human rights community [COE statement] and Roma advocates [ERRC materials]. BBC News has more.

Late last month, the Italian Court of Cassation released a ruling [JURIST report] overturning the convictions of six Italians, including Verona Mayor Flavio Tosi, for distributing anti-Roma literature in 2001 in a move some speculated was timed to bolster the fingerprinting plan. In November 2005, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) [advocacy website] reported that Roma minorities are the ethnic group most susceptible to racism in the European Union [JURIST report]. A spokesman for an Italian NGO opposed to fingerprinting said Thursday that life expectancy for Roma living in Italy is already under 60 [AKI report].

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