European Economic Interest Grouping
128 Copnor Road - Portsmouth - Hampshire PO3 5AN - United Kingdom
10th September, 2003
Petitions Committee of the European Parliament
Dear Mr. Perry,
On behalf of the Management Committee of ECRE I would like to thank you for your rapid follow up and reply to my letter of 30th August 2003 concerning petition number 239/2003 (concerning the plight of Roma children in special schools in the Czech republic, Hungary and Slovakia) and describing the process being followed.
You say I am incorrect in my implications as to people not "paying attention". I can assure you I am not interested in people paying attention but rather in people doing something practical to help these children and their families. My own personal view of those generic citations you present is that they are of no practical relevance to the case in point.
When children are being abused there is a need for practical and immediate action.
In the field of cruelty and harm to persons, especially young children, words, declarations, resolutions, discussion and promises are not enough. These simply have that "feel good" effect for those uttering or associated with them. But in practical terms they simply add to the cruel prejudicial prevarication of justice delayed being justice denied.
The EU institutions have had a presence in these countries since 1990 assisting "development work". In 1990, intelligent children, who were then 7 years of age, have been subjected to a proactive policy-driven denial of education. Now, in 2003, as young men or women of 20 years of age they face severely reduced prospects. Such youth suffers from the added cruel insult of open criticism by people and politicians for being "uneducated", a "social problem" or a "drain on the state".
Between 1990 and 1999 the European Parliament, European Commission and indeed European Member State representatives never raised this issue publicly. During the last 4 years of active "negotiations" they also failed to affect change, indeed, during the negotiations period, these governments increased the number of Roma children, forced into special schools, by more than 200%. Relevant negotiation chapters "closed" well before any effective action to reverse this trend by these governments was undertaken.
This failure to secure the actual termination of this policy-driven denial of education, before closing negotiations, is an unmitigated disaster. The Union has permitted these governments to flaunt triumphantly their lack of respect for human rights, equal opportunities in education and of course European law. In spite of fine sounding citations, Mr. Perry, they continue their dirty business.
This is a remarkable case study in the inability of the European Union to protect easily identified people from open and clear acts of tyranny; this does not auger well for Europe's future.
You say "… the Committee on Petitions has clear priorities … ". Without wishing to prejudge any other petition, I must admit that in trying to deal with such a harrowing human situation, as is represented by this case, I do wonder just how the Committee sets its priorities. Clearly first come first served is not adequate.
Mr. Perry, we do appreciate your efforts in achieving a speedy reply and we will await the outcome of the deliberations you refer to.
This communication will be posted on our Internet site at http://www.eu-romani.org for public viewing and will be forwarded to l'équipe Agence Presse Européenne for consideration for publication and/or comment.
In accordance with Audit Commission International Transparency Standards any reply received from you will also be posted at our website.
For and on behalf of ECRE
European Committee on Romani Emancipation
City of Portsmouth, The County of Hampshire
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE ON ROMANI EMANCIPATION
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC INTEREST GROUPING
registered in compliance with the terms of the European Union Council Regulation Number 2137
Registration number GE 168
ECRE provides a non-exclusive representation for the promotion of the improvement in the social and economic conditions of the Roma within the European Union and in countries preparing to join the European Union. Membership of ECRE includes concerned Roma and non-Roma European citizens, private organizations, non governmental organizations and, in particular, those working in the field of Roma (Gypsy) community economic development. ECRE sees economic emancipation as the principal first step towards self-reliance and effective social integration of the Roma.
ECRE undertakes analyses to identify and advocate practical social and economic development policies and actions to secure the effective social and economic inclusion of the Roma in the European Union and countries surrounding the European Union and, in particular, in pre-accession countries. ECRE provides a forum for reviewing social and economic development policy and the establishment and management of :
ECRE - European Committee on Romani Emancipation
128 Copnor Road, Portsmouth PO3 5AN, United Kingdom
Fax: +44 23 92 789 081
web site at: http://www.eu-romani.org