In October 2016, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe adopted Resolution 403 and Recommendation 388 on ‘The situation of Roma and Travellers in the context of rising extremism, xenophobia and the refugee crisis in Europe”, whereby the Congress encouraged local and regional authorities to fight anti-Gypsyism, be it social or institutional, by publicly denouncing hate speech, violence and discrimination against Roma and Travellers.
The report assesses the situation of Roma and Travellers in Europe five years after Congress Resolution 333 (2011) on “Roma inclusion as a challenge for local and regional authorities”. It underlines that, despite numerous efforts, the circumstances not only have not improved, but appear to have worsened during the refugee crisis. Although Roma and Travellers had been suffering from exclusion and discrimination long before the refugee crisis started, and the direct impact of the crisis is limited, the indirect effects, such as eroding social cohesion and rise in violent crimes and hate speech, pose new problems to this vulnerable group. Local and regional authorities are at the forefront of responding to these new challenges, as they bear a great responsibility for the social inclusion of Roma and Travellers. The Congress reminds local and regional authorities of their responsibility to create the conditions for access to economic and social rights for Roma and Travellers, thereby contributing to the fulfilment of human rights standards and encourages them to fight anti-Gypsyism, be it social or institutional, by publicly denouncing hate speech, violence and discrimination against Roma and Travellers, and by providing legal support to victims, which will help to ensure their security and well-being as European citizens. Member States are invited to keep Roma and Traveller inclusion policy as a priority, to provide local and regional authorities with the means that will enable their work for social inclusion, to take a firm stance against anti-Gypsyism and to put in place anti-discrimination legislation.