Roma children stand outside their shelters in an illegal camp in Lille, northern France, on International Roma Day April 8, 2013. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE) urged on April 23 its member states to take concrete measures to end discrimination against Roma children, adopting a text proposed by the rapporteur Nursuna Memecan, a deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Memecan’s text stressed that these efforts should be aimed at improving the material living conditions of Roma families through investment in housing, sanitation and job creation, and at changing stereotyped and discriminatory attitudes towards Roma.
The ultimate objective should be ensuring that Roma “children are given the same opportunities as any other children, and supporting their ability to make decisions freely about their future,” said the text adopted by the PACE.
The text said that around 50 percent of the Roma population in Europe, about 5 to 6 million people, was under 18.
The text also urged politicians and public opinion leaders to act responsibly to address the root cause of discrimination. “They have an important role to play in reversing stereotyping and discriminatory attitudes towards Roma,” it said.