Gypsy, Roma and Travellers Suffer ‘Persistent’ Discrimination in the UK

London: There are “troublingly persistent” levels of discrimination against Gypsy, Roma and Travellers (GRT) in the UK, an expert group from Europe’s leading human rights body has found. The Council of Europe committee said the GRT community suffer “shocking” amounts of bullying in the education system, prejudiced reporting in the media and threats to their legal status and rights, including as a result of recent legislative changes.

In an opinion, published on Thursday, it says: “The definition of ‘Gypsy’ for planning purposes excludes those who have permanently ceased travelling. This means that ethnic Gypsy and Travellers may be denied their status as a ‘Gypsy’ [sic]. “There is also a systematic shortage of sites resulting either from local authority unwillingness, opposition from local residents, and this new definition reducing the number of sites required in needs assessments.

“Moreover, the authorities have criminalised trespass with a vehicle in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act (PCSCA). This act appears to the minority as a criminalisation of the option of last resort for Gypsies and Travellers in England, and it is difficult for the minority itself to discern the difference between that and forced assimilation. The fear this act has sparked among the minority is profound.”

Read more: Haroon Siddique, Guardian,

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