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Launch of new AIRE project on Roma Rights

7 April 2014

The AIRE Centre is excited to announce the start of a new Roma Rights project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. Focused upon the rights of Roma migrants in the UK, this projects - launched in March - will run for three years and aims to help tackle discrimination against Roma migrants in the UK by identifying and eliminating barriers faced by them when accessing their rights as European citizens.

Despite various initiatives on the European level, such as the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, members of the Roma community continue to experience discrimination, racism and social exclusion on a daily basis. According to research conducted by the University of Salford in 2013, approximately 200,000 Roma migrants live in the UK at the moment. In the AIRE Centre’s experience, particularly from our work with the Roma community in Luton as part of our previous Racial Justice Project, members of this community are living in an increasingly hostile environment, suffering unequalled levels of exclusion and prejudice and often unable to access their rights in fields such as education, employment, housing, health and social assistance.

Building on our work with the Roma community in Luton, we plan to work directly with and on behalf of Roma clients and organisations, providing free legal advocacy, written advice and training in terms of Roma migrants’ rights under European law, comprising EU and Council of Europe instruments and mechanisms. In specific cases, we will also assist in drafting official letters to domestic bodies investigating discrimination such as the Equality and Human Rights Committee, petitioning the European Commission and using its complaints mechanism SOLVIT. We are also hoping to contribute to promoting positive images of Roma people in the media and countering negative publicity and hate speech, particularly on the rise in recent months, in anticipation of and following the lifting of employment restrictions on Romanian and Bulgarian citizens.

The Roma Project is coordinated by Anna Błuś with the support of Roma lawyer Denisa Psenickova, both of whom recently joined our team. Please follow us on Twitter and keep an eye on the 'Focus Areas' section of our website for details of our project activities to come. To connect with us or find out more about the Roma Project, please contact Anna Błuś (ablus@airecentre.org)

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