Parent Category: GeoRegions
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
United States Department of State
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011
[ProfRandall's note: This report was generated using a tool provided by the State Department. Interestingly, the state department did not exercise its responsibility to assess the human rights status of the United States. It also did not include North Africa as a part of Africa; rather including it in the Near East. Furthermore, it identified the Americas as the Western Hemisphere rather than North, Central and South America. Finally, the report does not include an assessment of the Vatican, recognized as a city-state .]
There were reports of significant societal discrimination against members of the Romani and Balkan-Egyptian communities. Some schools resisted accepting such students, particularly if they appeared to be poor. Local NGOs reported that many schools that accepted Romani students marginalized them in the classroom, sometimes by physically setting them apart from other students. In February two men set fire to a Romani settlement in Tirana, destroying dozens of homes and forcing the entire community to relocate. The men admitted to their crime in a deal that guaranteed a reduced sentence and excluded the Romani victims from seeking damages for the property destruction. In November the Tirana District Court ruled that the arson did not constitute a hate crime because it did not involve the use of "words or writing." The government had not provided the victims with an adequate permanent housing solution at year's end.
The law permits official minority status for national groups and separately for ethnolinguistic groups. The government defined Greeks, Macedonians, and Montenegrins as national groups; Greeks constituted the largest of these. The law defined Aromanians (Vlachs) and Roma as ethnolinguistic minority groups.
The ethnic Greek minority pursued grievances with the government regarding electoral zones, Greek-language education, property rights, and government documents. Minority leaders cited the government's unwillingness to recognize ethnic Greek towns outside communist-era "minority zones", to utilize Greek in official documents and on public signs in ethnic Greek areas, or to include a higher number of ethnic Greeks in public administration. The government translated election materials into Greek and Macedonian for the May 8 elections.
No information in the subsection on National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
No information in the subsection on National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
Interior Ministry statistics released in September cited 580 neo-Nazi, right-wing extremist, xenophobic, or anti-Semitic incidents in 2010. The government continued to express concern over the activities of extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi groups, many with links to organizations in other countries.
An NGO operating a hotline for victims of racist incidents reported 745 complaints in 2010. It noted an increase in verbal abuse against women wearing headscarves.
In October a court in Styria Province acquitted a right-wing party official of charges of anti-Muslim incitement. The charges stemmed from an Internet pop-up game appearing on the party's Web site that allowed players to "gain points" by pasting stop signs on minarets and men in traditional Turkish attire. The public prosecutor appealed the verdict.
Human rights groups continued to report that Roma faced discrimination in employment and housing. The head of the Austrian Romani Cultural Association reported that the situation of the Romani community, estimated at more than 6,200 indigenous, and between 15,000 and 20,000 nonindigenous,
individuals, continued to improve. Government programs, including financing for tutors, helped school-age Romani children move out of "special needs" and into mainstream classes.
NGOs reported that Africans living in the country experienced verbal harassment in public. In some cases black Africans were stigmatized for perceived involvement in the drug trade or other illegal activities.
In response to criticism that it had failed to enforce Constitutional Court rulings regarding the Slovene minority's language rights in Carinthia Province, parliament on July 6 passed a law doubling the number of bilingual town signs, wider use of the Slovene language in administrative offices, and funding for Slovene cultural and educational institutions. Federal law recognizes Croats, Czechs, Hungarians, Roma, Slovaks, and Slovenes as national minorities.
The government continued training programs to combat racism and educate the police in cultural sensitivity. The Interior Ministry renewed an agreement with a Jewish group to teach police officers cultural sensitivity, religious tolerance, and the acceptance of minorities.
Poor German-language skills were a major factor preventing minorities from entering the workforce. The Labor Ministry continued efforts to combat this situation by providing German-language instruction and skilled-labor training to young persons with immigrant backgrounds.
In April the government appointed its first state secretary for integration. Reporting to the interior minister, the state secretary is responsible for coordinating the government's efforts to integrate the country's immigrants.
Some of the approximately 20,000 to 30,000 citizens of Armenian descent living in the country historically complained of discrimination in employment, housing, and the provision of social services. Citizens who were ethnic Armenians often concealed their ethnicity by legally changing the ethnic designation in their passports. There were no reports of violence against Armenians during the year.
Some groups reported sporadic incidents of discrimination, restrictions on their ability to teach in their native languages, and harassment by local authorities. These groups included Talysh in the south, Lezghi in the north, Meskhetian Turks, and Kurds displaced from the regions controlled by Armenia- supported Nagorno-Karabakh separatists.
Governmental and societal discrimination against the ethnic Polish population and Roma persisted. There were also expressions of societal hostility toward proponents of Belarusian national culture, which the government often identified with actors of the democratic opposition.
During the year authorities continued to harass the independent and unregistered Union of Poles of Belarus (UPB). However, in contrast with previous years, authorities did not openly persecute UPB members.
Official and societal discrimination continued against the country's 10,000 to 20,000 Roma. The Romani community continued to experience high unemployment and low levels of education. Authorities estimated the unemployment rate among Roma to be as high as 80 percent, according to the latest available information. Roma often were denied access to higher education in state-run universities. In 2009, however, the Office of the Plenipotentiary Representative for Religious and Nationality Affairs stated that the country's Romani community had no problems that required the government's attention.
While the Russian and Belarusian languages have equal legal status, in practice Russian was the primary language used by the government. According to
independent polling, the overwhelming majority of the population spoke Russian as its mother tongue. Because the government viewed proponents of the Belarusian language as political opponents of the regime, authorities continued to harass and intimidate academic and cultural groups that sought to promote use of the Belarusian language. Proposals to widen use of the language were rejected routinely.
The CEOOR and other NGOs reported that skin color and dress associated with Islam were the most important factors contributing to intolerance and discrimination, especially in the areas of housing, education, and employment. Muslim women who wore headscarves faced particular discrimination in professional-level employment. On July 23, a national ban on wearing the full-face veil in public places came into effect, and there have been three known instances of the ban being enforced. In the first, the husband of a woman wearing a full-face veil became upset and hit a police officer when police demanded she remove her veil to identify herself; in the second, the police issued a fine to two women wearing full-face veils in a courtroom. The women
were there in conjunction with a lawsuit they had filed challenging the constitutionality of the ban; and in the third, on December 27 a woman wearing a niqab while shopping was stopped by the police, causing a physical altercation with the husband. Offenders may be fined 137.50 euros ($178) and face up to seven days in jail.
In 2010 most complaints received by the CEOOR concerned nationality and ethnic descent (42 percent), physical disabilities (18 percent), and discrimination on the grounds of religious and philosophical orientation (12 percent). Discriminatory acts primarily took place at work or over the Internet. The CEOOR deemed 22 percent of the complaints it received to be justified.
Data released by the Ministry of Justice indicated that in 2010 the courts dismissed 60 percent of cases of alleged discrimination based on ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ethnic differences remained a powerful destructive force in society, although mixed communities existed peacefully in some areas.
Harassment and discrimination against minorities, often related to property disputes, continued throughout the country. These problems most often included desecration of graves, graffiti, arson, vandalism of houses of worship and other religious sites, verbal harassment, dismissal from work, threats, and physical assaults.
By November the country's Inter-Religious Council documented 56 acts of vandalism against religious sites over the previous year, 30 in the RS, and 26 in the Federation. Most attacks occurred in places where the targeted community was in the minority. There were 28 attacks against Islamic sites, the overwhelming number of which occurred in the RS. There were 17 recorded attacks against Serb Orthodox sites in the Federation, and nine reported attacks against Catholic sites, which were more frequent in the Federation. The Council's report noted that police apprehended perpetrators in 30 of the 56 cases. The Council documented one religiously motivated physical assault against an imam in Gacko in the Federation, and verbal harassment of an Orthodox priest in Gracanica in the Federation and an imam in Dubica in the RS.
During the year some RS politicians expressed support for indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic following Mladic's arrest in May. Kalinovik mayor Mileva
Komlenovic publicly criticized "burdening" Mladic, whom she lauded for his "moral, human, and professional qualities." Vinko Radovanovic, the mayor of East Sarajevo, told reporters that Mladic was no more guilty than any other wartime general from any army. Democratic People's Alliance president
Marko Pavic decried the arrest of his former commander. Mladen Bosic, president of the Serb Democratic Party, attended a rally in Banja Luka on May 31 in protest of Mladic's arrest.
Ethnic discrimination in employment and education remained key problems. In most cases employers did not reverse the widespread firing of members of ethnic minorities during and after the 1992-95 conflict, and employers often hired members of the local ethnic majority over minorities. Human rights activists noted many textbooks that reinforced stereotypes about the country's ethnic groups and others that missed opportunities to dispel stereotypes by excluding any mention of some ethnic groups, particularly Jews and Roma. State- and entity-level officials generally did not act to prevent such discrimination.
An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 Roma were in the country. Some Romani leaders reported an increase in Romani emigration from the country and asylum-seeking abroad during the year due to discrimination in access to social benefits. Roma experienced serious difficulties in enjoying the full range of fundamental human rights provided to them under the law. The Roma Information Council estimated that only 1 percent of the working-age Romani population were employed and indicated that employers usually downsized Roma first during a reduction in force. Many Roma lacked birth certificates, identification cards, or a registered residence, preventing them from accessing health care and public education services or registering to vote. Many human-rights NGOs criticized law enforcement authorities for widespread indifference toward victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in the Romani community.
In April, "Kali Sari," a Roma Decade watchdog NGO, released a report that noted substantial progress in improving the status of the country's Roma population. The report noted the government's programs for improving Romani employment, housing, and health care, as well as for completing a census of Roma, creating a database documenting the needs of Roma, and adopting a new Romani education action plan. However, the report criticized the government for excluding Roma from the decision-making process for allocating assistance to the Romani population. Romani human-rights leaders complained about the lack of transparency in awarding government contracts and allegations of corruption in implementing Roma Decade programs. By year's end the government failed to appoint a national coordinator for Roma Decade implementation.
According to the 2011 census, there were 325,345 Roma in the country, i.e., less than 5 percent of the population. Ethnic Turks numbered 588,318, or less than 9 percent of the population. Observers asserted that these figures were inaccurate, because more than 600,000 persons did not answer the census question about their ethnic origin, and officials did not conduct a proper count in most Romani communities but rather either made assumptions or failed to include them altogether.
Societal discrimination and popular prejudice against Roma and other minority groups remained a problem, and there were incidents of violence between members of different ethnic groups. On September 19, a van driven by relatives of alleged Romani crime boss Kiril Rashkov killed a pedestrian in
Katunitsa, a small village in central Bulgaria. This allegedly intentional act sparked a series of sometimes violent demonstrations throughout the country which lasted for over a week and led to the arrest of hundreds of protesters. The protests resulted in property damage, but the media reported few injuries. On September 24, a mob of angry local residents, indignant with authorities who for years had allegedly allowed Rashkov and his family to escape justice, joined in protest by soccer hooligans, set fire to Rashkov's home. Police arrested Rashkov on September 28.
Internet fora and social networks helped incite the September unrest by changing the tenor of the protest to be more generally anti-Romani and anti-Turkish. While the demonstrations included anti-Romani and anti-Turkish elements, most protesters voiced dissatisfaction with an inequitable system of justice. The prosecution service opened 14 cases of xenophobia; one person was convicted for creating a Web site calling for the extermination of the Roma.
Many Roma continued to live in appalling conditions. According to NGOs the historical landlessness of Roma was among the main factors for their poor housing situation. NGOs estimated that 50 to 70 percent of Romani housing was illegally constructed and were concerned that more municipalities would initiate legal proceedings to demolish illegally built houses. In August the municipal government in Petrich demolished 11 shacks following a yearlong
discussion in which the national ombudsman participated. The Sofia municipality initiated an EU-funded project for the construction of apartment buildings for Roma living in the city's biggest ghetto. The project envisioned future Romani inhabitants' participating in the construction in order to inculcate a sense of ownership. Burgas, Vidin, Devnya, and Dupnitsa also received funding for similar housing projects.
Workplace discrimination against minorities continued to be a problem. General public mistrust, coupled with their low level of education, made locating work more difficult for Roma. According to a 2010 NGO survey, 12.8 percent of the Roma had a permanent job and 13 percent of the Roma had seasonal or occasional occupation.
Romani children often attended de facto segregated schools where they received inferior education which, in addition to social and family reasons, was among the main factors for Romani students' dropping out of school. The government did not have effective programs for the reintegration of students who dropped out. However, there were isolated examples of success, such as an Open Society Institute program funded by the Roma Education Fund, which supported young Roma studying in medical schools and the National Assembly internship program that graduated 10 young Romani professionals each year since 2007.
The access of Roma to health services continued to be a problem, and in some cases there was discrimination. According to a health survey released in October by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 56 percent of Roma over the age of 15 suffered from hypertension and 47.5 percent of Romani children and 23.9 percent of adults suffered from diabetes and asthma. Bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, peptic ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, prostate, and menopause problems were chronic in many Romani communities. One successful model in addressing Romani access to health services was the collaboration between the National Network of Health Mediators and central and local government. Since its inception this partnership trained more than 100 health mediators appointed to full time positions in 55 municipalities to work with high-risk and vulnerable groups.
While constitutional protections against discrimination applied to all minorities, open discrimination and harassment continued against ethnic Serbs and Roma, particularly in the area of employment.
Ethnic Serbs are the largest minority ethnic group in the country, accounting for approximately 4.5 percent of the population according to the latest disaggregated census figures available from 2001. During the year ethnic Serb organizations received only isolated reports of physical assaults and vandalism directed against Serbs. Discrimination continued against ethnic Serbs in several areas, including the administration of justice, employment, and housing.
Ethnic Serbs in war-affected regions were particularly subject to societal harassment and discrimination. In July police pressed criminal charges against six ethnic Serbs in the village of Podgorje in the Gvozd municipality near the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina for violent behavior and threats to an ethnic Croat family. The alleged incident occurred during a birthday party at the local community center attended by Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks. A Bosnian Croat couple called police to complain that some partygoers were singing Serb nationalist songs and had threatened ethnic Croat guests. Police initially found nothing wrong, but a week later interrogated and charged six ethnic Serbs. Serb minority media reported that the belated police actions were a result of pressure by local associations of Croatian war veterans.
Minority NGOs noted that hate speech against ethnic Serbs continued not only at sporting events, but also in print and electronic media including the mainstream press. Serb representatives also criticized a speech by then prime minister Kosor on August 5 at the ceremony marking Croatian Veterans Day as "dangerous hate speech." In the speech, Kosor expressed solidarity with Croatian generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, whom ICTY found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes in a first instance verdict.
Then minister of interior Tomislav Karamarko banned a monument prior to its October 2 unveiling in the village of Golubic, near Knin. The monument was planned by the Belgrade-based Association of Croatian Serb Refugees to commemorate ethnic Serbs killed or gone missing during the 1991-95 war. The minister cited fears that the monument would provoke ethnic disturbances in the area. A local Croatian veterans' branch claimed that the monument included the names of the ethnic Serb militia members, in addition to civilian victims.
According to Serb NGOs, local authorities sometimes refused to hire qualified ethnic Serbs even when no ethnic Croats applied for a position. Serb minority representatives said that affected persons seldom took such decisions to administrative courts, because proceedings can take years and a court decision in their favor would still not obligate the authorities in question to hire the applicant.
The law provides for proportional minority employment in the public sector in areas where a minority constitutes at least 15 percent of the population; however, the government for the most part did not observe the law in practice. In September Serb representatives noted that ethnic Serbs continued to be underemployed in government agencies, seldom reaching one percent, except in the Ministry of Justice (1.53 percent) and Ministry of Culture (1.23 percent). In 2010 the SNV issued a survey showing that the number of ethnic Serbs employed instate administration and the justice sector has been in decline since 2008.
While ethnic minorities have the right to establish schools, seven ethnic Serb elementary schools applied for but did not receive official recognition as of September due to administrative obstacles that ethnic Serb NGOs considered a sign of a lack of political will on the part of the government. This lack of official recognition made normal scholastic operation difficult.
Ethnic Serb representatives noted that amendments to the law on free legal aid did not make legal assistance readily available to concerned citizens, especially ethnic Serbs living in war-affected rural areas in central Croatia. Similarly, some ethnic Serb owners of damaged homes reconstructed by the government awaited years to be connected to electricity or water supplies, even though such services were available in nearby neighborhoods inhabited by Bosnian-Croat settlers who relocated to Croatia during or after the war.
Societal violence, harassment, and discrimination against Roma continued to be a problem. While only 9,463 persons declared themselves to be Roma in the most recent, i.e., 2001 census, officials and NGOs estimated that the Romani population was between 30,000 and 40,000.
In 2010 three off-duty police officers severely beat a 20-year-old Roma at a gas station in Karlovac. In June the Karlovac Municipal Court convicted one of the officers and gave him a one-year suspended sentence.
Roma faced widespread discriminatory obstacles, including in citizenship, documentation, education, employment, and language. According to the Council of Europe, only 6.5 percent of Roma held permanent jobs in the country, while the government estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Roma received some form of social assistance; roughly more than 90 percent of Roma were believed to reside in Croatia. According to the government office for national minorities, Roma social development indicators differ significantly throughout Croatia with approximately 98 percent unemployment in the Medjimurje region, compared with 15 percent in Rijeka.
While education is free and compulsory through the eighth grade, Romani children faced serious obstacles in their education, including discrimination in schools and a lack of family support. According to the Ministry of Science, Education, and Sports, the number of Romani elementary students increased to 4,723 in 2010-2011 up from 4,435 reported in 2009-10. There are 4,915 Romani children registered for the 2011-2012 school year. The number of Romani children enrolled in preschool education for the 2010-11 school year was 799, a 36-percent increase over the 588 enrolled during the previous year. The number of Romani high school students enrolled in the 2011-12 was 425, a 33 percent increase over the 327 enrolled during the previous year. The government co-funded approximately 776,000 kunas ($133,000) for kindergarten and preschool fees during the 2010-11 academic year for 400
children across 49 kindergartens. The government distributed 363 scholarships to Romani students in high school, while the number of Romani students receiving scholarships for university-level studies slightly increased to 29 from 26 in the previous school year.
In March 2010 the ECHR ruled that the state had discriminated against 15 Romani students from Medjimurje who were placed in separate Roma-only classes. In response to the decision, in September 2010 the government for the first time introduced and fully funded an extended 10-month preschool
program for some 200 children in Medjimurje. This program continued during the year. Nationally, the government promoted the employment of Roma by reimbursing two-year's salary to employers who hired Romani workers. The government joined the EU in building infrastructure in Romani settlements in the Medjimurje region where there is a significant Romani population. By September the government had contributed 5.2 million kunas ($891,000) to EU projects in five settlements in the area. In August the government signed a contract to renew infrastructure in two remaining Romani settlements in
Medjimurje, in which it provided $675,000, or 25 percent of the total funding.
The National Minority Council received approximately 42 million kunas ($7.2 million) for minority associations' cultural programming, including printing communications materials, during the year.
Several incidents of government and societal discrimination against members of minority national and ethnic groups occurred during the year.
On February 16, approximately150 Greek Cypriot and 25 Palestinian students clashed at a high school in Larnaca. Three students, a Greek Cypriot and two Palestinians, suffered light injuries and received first aid. The incident was attributed to increased tensions between Greek Cypriot residents of Larnaca and Palestinian refugees who had settled in the city. The government, the school parents association, and the student council condemned the incident.
On March 23, police charged 14 persons for rioting and, in some cases, causing bodily harm in connection with the November 2010 clashes in Larnaca between participants in an antiracism NGO event, the Rainbow Festival, and demonstrators marching against the presence of undocumented migrants. One Turkish Cypriot, a member of a music group participating in the NGO event, was stabbed and several police officers and demonstrators injured. The mosque in Larnaca was vandalized following the riot. Nine of the persons charged participated in the Rainbow Festival, and the other five participated in a demonstration against undocumented migrants. Doros Polycarpou, the executive director of KISA, one of the organizers of the antiracism event, was
among those charged with rioting. The hearing of Polycarpou's case was scheduled for February 2012 after two postponements in July and December. International human rights groups following the case protested the delays in the hearing. In a joint statement on December 13, a delegation of eight international organizations protested the cancellation of its meetings with government officials to discuss the case. Two of the other persons charged were accused of publicly insulting Doros Polycarpou.
In March the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) issued a report assessing the situation in Cyprus. Among several areas that needed improvement, the report noted that legislation against racism was rarely implemented and no records were kept on discrimination cases that reached the courts. It noted a disproportionately high concentration of Turkish Cypriot and Romani children in certain schools and a lack of educational access for the Romani children living in the Polemidia area outside of Limassol, a situation described as de facto segregation from the general population. The report also noted a marked increase in racism in schools and a rise in prominence of extremist and anti-immigration groups.
In November the ombudsman issued a report expressing serious concern over the increase of racist attacks in Cyprus and calling on the authorities to take immediate measures to locate and punish the perpetrators of such incidents. After examining a series of attacks against foreigners in Nicosia in August for which no suspects had been arrested and convicted, the ombudsman made a series of recommendations to improve the situation.
During the year there was one report of violence against a Turkish Cypriot in the government-controlled area. In January a Turkish Cypriot man was reportedly attacked after an Apoel-Omonia soccer game, in the presence of his wife and child. The victim stated he did not file a complaint with the Greek Cypriot police because of a lack of action in other similar cases.
Some Turkish Cypriots living in the government-controlled area reportedly faced difficulties obtaining identification cards and other government documents, particularly if they were born after 1974. Turkish Cypriots made few formal complaints to the UNFICYP about their living conditions in the south.
The ombudsman received complaints that the government denied automatic citizenship to children of Turkish Cypriots married to Turkish citizens who resided in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. Instead of granting citizenship automatically to such children, the Ministry of Interior routinely sought
approval from the Council of Ministers before confirming their citizenship. In 2011 the Council of Ministers approved 119 cases. The ombudsman's office had no authority to examine the complaints because the Council of Ministers decision to apply different criteria for granting citizenship to children born to one Turkish parent was a political one. Children of Turkish Cypriots married to Turkish citizens and living outside of Cyprus were automatically granted citizenship. However, the ombudsman's office issued a report in August following the receipt of a large number of complaints from children of Turkish
Cypriots married to non-Cypriots for long delays in receiving a response to their applications for citizenship. The majority of the cases were pending for three years and in some cases for four to five years. The ombudsman recommended that the Ministry of Interior expedite the examination of the applications, inform the applicants before the end of the year, and inform those deemed ineligible in writing about the reasons for rejection. The ombudsman also urged the ministry to examine such applications in the future within a reasonable period of time.
Cyprus - the area administered by Turkish Cypriots
The iaw prohibits discrimination, and the 1975 Vienna III Agreement remains the legal source of authority regarding the treatment of the 335 Greek Cypriot and 111 Maronite residents in the area under the administration of TRNC authorities.
Under the Vienna III Agreement, the UNFICYP visited Greek Cypriot residents of the enclave weekly and Maronites twice a month; additional visits require
preapproval by authorities. Although the Vienna III Agreement provides for medical care by a doctor from the Greek Cypriot community, authorities only permitted such care by registered Turkish Cypriot doctors; individuals in enclaves also traveled to the government-controlled area for medical care.
Greek Cypriots and Maronites were able to take possession of some of their properties but were unable to leave their properties to heirs residing in the government-controlled area. A Maronite representative asserted that Maronites were not allowed to bequeath property to heirs who do not reside in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots and possess TRNC identification cards. The authorities allowed the enclaved residents to make improvements to their homes and to apply for permission to build new structures on their properties. Maronites living in the government-controlled area could use their properties only if those properties were not under the control of the Turkish military or allocated to Turkish Cypriots.
A majority of foreign workers in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots were Turkish. Those working in the agricultural and construction sectors were reportedly sometimes forced to sleep on the ground, and restaurant workers were seen sleeping after hours on chairs in the establishments where they worked.
Minority groups in the country included Roma, Ukrainians, Slovaks, Vietnamese, Poles, Russians, and Germans. Roma, who numbered approximately 200,000 experienced high levels of poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy and faced varying levels of discrimination in education, employment, and housing.
Societal prejudice against the country's Romani population at times resulted in violence. Throughout the year extremists targeted Romani neighborhoods as venues for their protests and occasional violence. Police investigated several incidents of torches or Molotov cocktails being thrown at Romani houses. Extremist groups also marched through Romani areas carrying torches and chanting slogans. Some human rights organizations criticized the government's response to discrimination against Roma as inadequate.
Members and sympathizers of neo-Nazi organizations were the most frequent perpetrators of acts of interethnic violence, particularly against Roma.
Ultranationalists were also active. During the year neo-Nazi and right-wing extremist groups held rallies or marches in several cities. In a report released on September 3, the Organized Crime Unit of the police estimated there were 500-600 active neo-Nazis in the country and approximately 5,000 persons who openly sympathized with the movement.
The Workers' Party (DS), which was conspicuous for its hostility to Roma and other minorities, was banned in February 2010, but it was replaced by the Workers' Party for Social Justice (DSSS) soon afterward. DSSS and DS membership and leadership were virtually the same.
The national media gave disproportionate coverage to crime and acts of violence committed by Roma compared with similar behavior on the part of the majority population or other minorities.
Some mainstream politicians have been outspoken in their criticism of Romani communities. Their statements often vilified the Romani minority, blaming it for community problems and assigning collective guilt for crimes. Some politicians called for municipalities to move Romani residents to the outskirts of town into what is often substandard housing, ban alcohol in areas with high Romani populations, and limit residency options for Roma who commit multiple minor crimes.
Beginning on August 26, a series of anti-Roma protests took place in the North Bohemian region in response to two incidents of Romani violence towards the ethnic Czech population. Each weekend for several weeks, local residents, joined by right-wing extremists, marched through the region, including the towns of Varnsdorf, Rumburk, and Novy Bor. On several occasions protesters turned violent, and police intervened to protect Romani residents. The marches differed from previous marches in that a majority of the protesters were local residents rather than neo-Nazis or other extremists.
On March 18, an appeals court reduced the sentence of Ivo Mueller, one of four persons convicted of a 2009 Molotov cocktail attack on a Romani family that seriously injured a two-year-old girl. The original 22-year sentence was reduced to 20 years. The court upheld the sentences of the other attackers, as well as monetary compensation to the family.
Although a 2009 law prohibits employment discrimination based on ethnicity, Roma continued to face discrimination in employment, access to housing, and in schools. Some employers refused to hire Roma and requested that local labor offices not send them Romani applicants. There were few prosecutions under the law during the year. An estimated 57 percent of Roma were unemployed. In areas with a high percentage of Romani residents, unemployment among Roma was close to 90 percent according to the Agency for Social Inclusion in Roma Localities.
Authorities took few measures to counter discrimination against Roma in access to housing and other accommodations. While housing discrimination based on ethnicity is prohibited by law, NGOs stated that some municipalities applied municipal regulations in ways that discriminated against certain
socially disadvantaged groups, primarily Roma, including basing housing decisions on the reputation of the applicant and family at previous residences. A newly adopted Strategy to Combat Social Exclusion, which contains provisions regarding access to housing, was designed to streamline the process.
According to new estimates, there were more than 400 excluded localities, or ghettos, in the country, and all were inhabited almost entirely by Roma. These ghettos were often blighted by substandard housing and poor health conditions. Beyond housing discrimination, reasons for the growth in Romani- dominated ghettos included urban gentrification and unaffordable rents elsewhere.
Restaurants, bars, and other public establishments at times refused to serve Roma.
A decrease in social benefits during the year had a disproportionate impact on Romani families already hit by the high rate of unemployment and the difficulty of finding affordable housing.
Romani children were often subject to discriminatory treatment. In a November statement, the international human rights NGO Amnesty International asserted that four years after an ECHR ruling that the practice was illegal, the authorities had "failed to address the problem of systematic segregation of Romani children in the schools." Romani children were enrolled at disproportionately high rates in remedial schools, known as "practical" schools, which effectively segregated them into a substandard educational system. According to the Ministry of Education, approximately 27 percent of Romani children attended "practical" schools during 2010, compared with 2 percent of non-Romani children. In regular schools, Romani children were often segregated from the majority population due to their place of residence (often in a Romani-majority neighborhood) and because school officials in regular schools at times separated Romani children for remedial instruction. The decision to place a child in a practical school is made by a judge based on a social worker's recommendation.
Although the law permits Romani curricula, no elementary school in the country used the curricula. The Romani language was taught as a foreign language at two secondary schools and several universities.
During the first half of the year, more than 50 experts at the Education Ministry resigned from a working group that was supposed to design a plan for
improving education for disadvantaged children. They asserted that the minister gave insufficient attention to the issue. The ministry announced plans to commission further studies on inclusive education, but NGOs maintained that several similar studies were already available. Civil society and political leaders criticized the minister for appointing to a senior position at the Ministry of Education an official who had previously been a candidate for parliament on an extremist party ticket. They interpreted the appointment as a sign of the government's lack of serious interest in solving the inclusive education issue.
On September 23, the cabinet adopted the Strategy for Combating Social Exclusion with the aim of improving education, housing, security, regional
development, employment, and family/social/health services for socially excluded or disadvantaged individuals, many of whom were members of ethnic and other minorities. The program is the responsibility of the Agency for Social Inclusion, established in 2008 to coordinate social integration efforts. The agency oversaw continuing projects in 33 localities during the year.
The Security and Intelligence Service reported 306 recorded hate crimes for 2009. According to the report, 74 of these were racially motivated, 64 were politically motivated, 21 were religiously motivated, and 17 were motivated by sexual orientation. Police assessed the remaining offenses also to be "motivated by extremism" (hate crimes) but with some doubt as to the specific motivation. The report included cases of such hostile actions as graffiti, vandalism, theft, and racist Internet and written messages, with 30 instances of violence and one of attempted murder. The government effectively investigated such crimes and prosecuted the perpetrators.
In April the Ministry of Refugees, Immigration, and Integration Affairs reversed its decision in the cases of 14 of 37 Roma it ordered expelled to Romania in 2010. The reversals apparently resulted from an appeal by the European Roma Rights Center and came a few weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that two of the deportations were based on insufficient grounds for removal of EU residents.
While there is no specific law prohibiting hate crimes, the law prohibits incitement to hatred, violence, or discrimination on a variety of grounds, including nationality, race, skin color, language, and social origin.
In August 2010 the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticized the country for not prohibiting racist organizations or making incitement of hatred on racial grounds a punishable offense (the law only limits the prosecution of hate speech leading to acts that result in serious consequences).
In May a Cameroonian Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tartu claimed he had to leave the country without completing his studies after he was attacked
a second time because of his race. Police stated that their ability to pursue this case was hindered because the candidate did not report the attack in a timely manner.
The government provides for the protection of the cultures of certain minority groups, such as Ingrian Finns and Coastal Swedes, based on the cultural autonomy law. The government also funds programs, including cultural associations and societies, which focus on the languages and cultures of a number of other minority groups, including Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. In districts where more than half of the population speaks a language other than Estonian, the law entitles inhabitants to receive official information in that language, and the law was respected in practice.
Knowledge of Estonian is required to obtain citizenship, and all public servants and public sector employees, service personnel, medical professionals, and other workers who have contact with the public must possess a minimum competence in the language. A Language Inspectorate enforces language skills among these sectors through referrals to language classes and small fines. The government encouraged social integration of the 29 percent of the population that were ethnic minorities through a policy that promotes naturalization and learning Estonian.
Largely for historical reasons, Russian speakers worked disproportionately in blue-collar industries and continued to experience higher unemployment than ethnic Estonians.
Some noncitizen residents, particularly ethnic Russians, alleged that the language requirement resulted in job and salary discrimination. Many Russian
speakers believed they would face job discrimination even if they possessed adequate Estonian. Some employers reported a preference for employees fluent in both Russian and Estonian, regardless of ethnicity.
More than 100 schools, 58 of them high schools, employed the Russian language for their instruction. The government continued to implement its plan to provide 60 percent of all instruction in "Russian-speaking" high schools in the Estonian language by the 2011-12 school year. Many have implemented this transition more rapidly than required. Some in the Russian-speaking community challenged the government's plans for Estonian-language education, and throughout the year negotiations between civil society groups, students and their parents, and the government continued.
During a June visit the High Commissioner for National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe expressed concern that the transition to partial Estonian-language instruction could affect the quality of education. He also criticized the use of fines and inspections to encourage the use of the Estonian language by certain categories of employees, to include teachers and government officials. Government officials rejected these concerns.
Roma, who numbered fewer than 1,000, reportedly faced discrimination in employment and other areas. The government took steps to emphasize the importance of education for Romani children, but their dropout rate remained high. In response to complaints that approximately 10 Romani children were inappropriately placed in schools for children with learning disabilities, a social worker contended that this was the only available mechanism to prepare the children for school. One leader of the Romani community publically criticized Romani parents for inadequate preparation of their children for school.
Fifteen students were registered officially as Roma by the school system, but the Ministry of Education and Research estimated that there were approximately 90 additional students of Romani ancestry who identified themselves as Estonian or Russian speakers. A prominent Romani community activist stated that Romani youth who show potential to become leaders of their communities typically leave the country to seek employment opportunities elsewhere, a trend that is present among the wider population as well.
There was some societal tension between ethnic Finns and minority groups, and there were reports of racist or xenophobic incidents.
According to the media on August 4, the number of racist crimes recorded by police fell by approximately 17 percent in the beginning of the year compared with the same time in 2010. There were occasional reports of fighting between ethnic Finns and foreign-born youth of African and Middle Eastern descent as well as fighting between rival ethnic immigrant groups. The law does not have a specific category for "race-related crimes" or "hate crimes." However, racism as a motive or party to another motive to any other criminal act is a cause for aggravating the sentence.
On April 1, the Helsinki district court gave one person a 50-day suspended prison sentence for endangerment and fined three persons in connection with a mass brawl among youth of Kurdish, Somali, and Finnish extraction at Helsinki's Linnanmaki amusement park in 2010. The court ordered the defendants to pay 1,600 euros ($2,080) in compensation.
In April and May, Teuvo Hakkarainen, a member of parliament from the Finns Party, made a series of racially derogatory comments about blacks, Swedes, Somalis, Muslims, gay men, and lesbians. According to the press, police reported to the state prosecutor that there was no crime and if there was it was too small a matter to investigate. Hakkarainen later apologized.
Groups of Roma have lived in the country for centuries. According to the minority ombudsman, discrimination against the country's approximately 10,000 to 12,000 Roma extended to all areas of life, resulting in their effective exclusion from society. Roma are classified as a "traditional ethnic minority" in the ombudsman's report. The Romani minority was the most frequent target of racially motivated discrimination, followed by Russian speakers, Somalis, Turks, Iraqis, Sami, and Thais. Ethnic Finns were also occasionally victims of racially motivated crimes for associating with members of minority communities.
A new, significant influx of adult Romani beggars from Romania started in 2007 after Romania joined the EU, with an increase in Roma in Helsinki and other large cities. The number of beggars varied significantly over the year, ranging from approximately 200-300 during the summer months and only a few dozen during the winter.
A small number of illegal camps used by non-Finnish Roma were a controversial issue. The Helsinki rescue department stated that the sites suffered from safety deficiencies and were unfit for habitation. The city repeatedly offered temporary accommodation to the Roma, but many Roma either refused the initial offers or returned to the illegal camps after spending a short time in the shelters.
The Helsinki city council decided to break up non-Finnish Romani camps in Helsinki and enforced its decision with police. The minority ombudsman criticized the city council's decision as evidence of a hardening of attitudes towards foreigners and stated that, although the city has the right to decide where camps should be situated, breaking up existing camps did not solve the problem.
At the end of 2010 there were 54,500 Russian-speaking persons living in the country, principally in Helsinki and areas along the Russian border. They were by far the largest minority not speaking Finnish or Swedish, the country's two official languages. In April 2009, the latest date for which data was available, unemployment among immigrants from the former Soviet Union (excluding Estonia) was 31 percent, compared to 17.6 percent for all immigrants and 8.8 percent in the country overall. A 2010 report by the minority ombudsman identified the lack of Finnish-language ability, the lack of education or recognition of training, personal cultural differences, lack of employers' confidence in Russian speakers, discrimination, and the lack of local social networks as causes for this discrepancy. Russian-origin persons had the highest number of requests for assistance of any immigrant group and nearly double that of Somalis (the immigrant group with the second highest number of requests).
The government strongly encouraged tolerance and respect for minority groups and sought to address racial discrimination. All government ministries included antiracism provisions in their educational information, personnel policy, and training programs. The government also monitored the treatment of national, racial, and ethnic minorities by police, border guards, and teachers. The government's minority ombudsman monitored and assisted victims of discrimination. The ombudsman for minorities supervised compliance with the prohibition of ethnic discrimination.
In 2010, the latest data available, the ombudsman for minorities processed 848 client cases of discrimination. The Roma remained the largest ethnic group contacting the ombudsman for minorities. As in earlier years, the majority of Romani clients contacted the office about housing problems. The second-largest group to contact the ombudsman for minorities were Russian speakers.
Societal violence and discrimination against immigrants of North African origin, Roma, and other ethnic minorities remained a problem.
On September 16, a Paris appeals court overturned the June 2010 conviction of the former minister of the interior, overseas France, local authorities, and
immigration, Brice Hortefeux, for racial slander. The charges were related to remarks Hortefeux allegedly made to a young party activist of Arab origin during a UMP party event. Hortefeux was caught on camera saying, "When there is one, it's OK. It's when there are a lot of them, that there are
problems," in reference to persons of North African origin. The trial court had fined him 750 euros ($975) and ordered him to pay 2,000 euros ($2,600) to an antiracism organization. Following the appeals court decision, the NGO Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) announced that it would file an appeal before the Court of Cassation.
On April 4, the NGO SOS-Racism filed a complaint against Interior Minister Claude Gueant after he told journalists during a trip to Nantes that the growing number of Muslims in the country "poses a problem."
Many observers expressed concern that discriminatory hiring practices in both the public and the private sectors deprived minorities from sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, the Middle East, and Asia of equal access to employment.
According to an INSEE survey conducted in 2009, the most recent year for which data was available, the unemployment rate of immigrants was nearly twice that of nonimmigrants (16 percent versus 8.4 percent). The survey showed that children of immigrants also had higher unemployment rates than did the children of two French parents. According to the report, lower levels of education and experience for the children of immigrants were only partly responsible for the higher unemployment rate.
Societal hostility, government evictions, and compulsory repatriations, many of which were aimed at illegal immigrants from Romania and Bulgaria, continued to be serious problems. During the year authorities evicted and compulsorily repatriated thousands of Romanian and Bulgarian citizens, many of whom were Roma (see section 2.d.).
On October 27, AI reported a suspected arson attack on Roma squatters in an unused warehouse in Paris and, citing "the general climate of intolerance and prejudice towards Roma in France," called on authorities to investigate and consider whether racial motivation was involved. The Prosecutor's Office ordered the Judicial Police to investigate. AI also called on authorities to provide emergency accommodation for the approximately 40 persons left homeless by the fire.
The NGO Medecins du Monde alleged that some Roma were subjected to pressure and intimidation by police.
On March 1, unidentified assailants threw two Molotov cocktails into the camp of Romanian Roma not far from the Moger Castle east of Montpellier. No injuries were reported, but several caravans and vehicles were burned.
Medecins du Monde reported two incidents of violence against Roma during the year. In August a police officer hit a girl on the head while she was trying to prevent officers from throwing out her belongings during an eviction. In October employees of Medecins du Monde encountered a woman in Arenc with two broken ribs. The woman reported that a group of young people threatened her and hit her with an iron bar.
During the year several French NGOs reported deteriorating living conditions for Roma. A study by Doctors without Borders highlighted declining health within the Romani community, due in part to poor access to medical care. The study claimed that 2.5 percent of Roma living in itinerant camps had tuberculosis and only 8 percent were fully vaccinated. The newborn death rate among Roma was reportedly nine times higher than the national average.
Travellers' organizations alleged that both itinerant Travellers and those with fixed abodes faced discrimination in education, housing, and access to government services. Other discrimination problems were particularly acute for Travellers, as some mayors denied school registration to children whose parents lived in illegal campsites. Travellers benefited from a special status that authorizes their children discontinuous school attendance without justification. School registration rates for Travellers were 66.7 percent in kindergarten, 81.8 percent in primary schools, and 78.8 percent in high school, but absenteeism and breaks within the education system were frequent. According to a survey conducted by the NGO collective Romeurope that was released in February 2010, between 5,000 and 7,000 Romani children living in the country were not enrolled in school.
Travellers were subject to laws that did not apply to residents with permanent residences. Individuals over the age of 16 not settled in one place must have a periodically renewed travel permit. Any delay in renewal entails a maximum fine of 1,500 euros ($2,200). Authorities did not consider Traveller caravans to be housing; as a result they were not entitled to housing assistance.
The law requires municipalities with more than 5,000 inhabitants to provide a camping site with sanitary facilities and access to water and electricity.
According to a parliamentary report released on March 9, 48 percent of municipal authorities had established 16,000 campsites. However, there was still a shortage estimated at over 20,000 sites (according to authorities) or up to 60,000 sites (according to NGOs). At the end of the year, approximately 5,000 additional campsites were under construction or slated for construction.
Citizens may report cases of discrimination based on national origin and ethnicity to HALDE. On May 1, HALDE merged into the office of the defender of rights. In 2010 HALDE received 12,467 discrimination claims, half of which concerned employment. HALDE issued opinions on approximately 300 cases per year and offered mediation for hundreds more.
The government attempted to combat racism and discrimination through programs that promoted public awareness and brought together local officials, police, and citizen's groups. Some public school systems also managed antidiscrimination educational programs.
Georgian language skills continued to be the main impediment to integration for the country's ethnic minorities; political, civic, economic, and cultural integration challenges also remained. The government took several steps to integrate ethnic minority communities through Georgian-language instruction, education, and participation in several programs seeking to promote civic, cultural, and economic integration of minorities. Access to higher education improved, as did transportation infrastructure to high minority population areas, and several state agencies actively participated in civic integration programs. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted in its June 2010 report that the government continued to provide
Georgian-language instruction to members of ethnic minorities serving in the armed forces and police and had developed projects to teach tolerance and respect among students for other ethnic and religious groups. However, NGOs, the public defender, and governmental organizations continued to report instances of discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities during the year. The Public Defender's Office specifically mentioned lack of political participation and unequal access to employment and educational opportunities as persistent problems for minorities in its 2010 Situation of Human Rights and Freedom report.
Ethnic Armenians, Azeris, Abkhaz, South Ossetians, and Russians usually communicated in their native languages or in Russian in the areas where they were the dominant ethnic groups. The law requires that ethnic minority students learn Georgian as a second language. The government continued to provide education in the state language and minority languages in minority regions.
Many NGOs in minority regions stated that they saw an improvement during the year in the number of opportunities for Georgian-language instruction and in the quality of the classes. The government introduced new bilingual textbooks in 40 pilot public schools in minority regions. However, members of minority communities reported many students and some teachers were unable to understand some of the content because 30 percent of the text was
untranslated Georgian. Members of the Muslim community also reported some texts treated historic religious accounts and figures disrespectfully. The public defender's Tolerance Center also received complaints from several ethnic minority families that some schools displayed Georgian Orthodox religious objects in schools. A letter addressed to the Ministry of Education from the Tolerance Center, requesting such objects be removed, received no response.
Students were able to take university entrance exams in minority languages and could take advantage of a program under which the government offered and funded one year of intensive Georgian language instruction and four years of university education for students who passed the entrance examinations in minority languages. The number of ethnic minority students enrolled in this program doubled during the year to 432. A quota system required that a
minimum of 10 percent of all national university seats be allocated to Armenian and Azeri-speaking students. According to government statistics issued during the year, 245 Armenian, 185 Azeri, and two Abkhaz speakers were admitted to the public universities through the quota system.
Some minorities claimed that the law requiring all government officials to speak Georgian excluded them from participating in government. In addition some government materials distributed to the public were only available in Georgian. According to the Ministry of Reintegration, it translated all major legislative acts into Armenian, Azeri, and Russian.
The Zen School of Public Administration in Kutaisi provided courses specifically for students from minority areas and facilitated integration of future public servants from minority areas into Georgian society.
There was a significant surge in statements in the media against ethnic minorities following the July passage of a law allowing all minority religious organizations registered in Council of Europe countries to register as "entities of public law, a status previously accorded only to the Georgian Orthodox Church. NGOs reported that Georgian Orthodox clergy, some opposition party leaders, members of the academic community, and others made critical statements in the first few days following passage of the law. The public defender also criticized major NGOs working on minority rights for their allegedly weak response to the surge in hate speech following the adoption of this law. On July 28, the Tolerance Center hosted a roundtable on minorities and hate speech in media and public discourse.
In August authorities dismissed Robert Sturua, artistic director of the National Theater, for making statements considered to be xenophobic.
The Public Defender's Office reported that its investigation continued into allegations Vahagn Chakhalian was beaten in prison in 2010. Chakhalian was serving a 10-year sentence on charges of organizing a riot, hooliganism, and illegal purchase and possession of a firearm. An Armenian NGO alleged the arrest was politically motivated.
The law permits the repatriation of the Muslim Meskhetian population, a national minority group that Stalin deported in 1944. More than 5,800 Meskhetians had filed for repatriation by January 2010. More than 150 returned unofficially over the previous three years, quietly settling in Akhaltsikhe and
Abastumani. As of year's end, 300 applications had been reviewed, but there were no official repatriations due to the long and complicated process. According to the NGO Toleranti, due to the relatively small number of Meskhetians, there were no tensions with the local population.
The ECRI reported that Roma appeared to suffer from widespread societal prejudice and marginalization and noted that the government needed to do more to integrate Roma. During the year the European Center for Minority Issues estimated the Romani population at 1,500, with no more than 300 in any one location. The most recent census, conducted in 2002, reported the number of Roma at 472. Roma were found principally in the Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Kobuleti, Kakheti, and Sukhumi regions.
Ethnic Georgians living in the Gali district of Abkhazia had no legal access to education in the Georgian language. In practice, instruction in Georgian occurred, but with limitations. Teachers who did not speak Abkhaz instructed students in Georgian but were often harassed by Abkhaz de facto
authorities, who also did not provide funding for teachers of Georgian. Local communities had either to pay for teachers themselves, make arrangements for teachers to cross from undisputed Georgian territory to teach, or send their children from Abkhazia for Georgian-language lessons. An increasingly strict boundary regime imposed by Russian border guards made the latter two alternatives more and more difficult. There were reports of Russian border guards detaining children attempting to cross the boundary for language lessons.
Beatings and harassment of foreigners and members of racial minorities remained a problem throughout the country.
In November and December, police arrested five persons with links to a right-wing extremist group, the National Socialist Underground, for the killings of nine persons with Turkish or Greek backgrounds as well as one policewoman over a period of 13 years. On November 22, the parliament passed a resolution with the support of all five parties represented in parliament expressing "deep shame that a neo-Nazi underground group was able to
perpetrate these crimes. In a November19 video podcast, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the crimes, calling them a "disgrace for our country." She added that "Hatred, racism, neo-Nazism, and anti-Semitism have to disappear from the heads of certain people. ... [W]e will reply with humanity, human dignity, and the rule of law."
On June 25, four unidentified persons attacked an apartment complex housing several Sinti and Romani families in Leverkusen. The attackers threw several Molotov cocktails into the ground floor of the building. Authorities were unable to determine whether the act had a xenophobic motivation. None of the 19 persons living in the building was injured.
According to NGOs, Roma continued to face widespread governmental and societal discrimination, including alleged police abuse or mistreatment while in police custody; regular raids and searches of their neighborhoods for criminal suspects, drugs, and weapons; limited access to education; and segregated schooling. Their dwellings lacked running water, electricity, or waste removal and were at times demolished by municipal authorities. NGOs and representatives of the Romani community reported that government efforts to address these problems were inconsistent, especially at the municipal level.
The law prohibits the encampment of "wandering nomads" without a permit and forces Roma to establish settlements outside inhabited areas and far from
permanent housing. There were approximately 70 Romani camps in the country. Local and international NGOs charged that the enforced separation of Romani settlements from other inhabited areas contravened the country's commitments under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In addition Roma were reportedly threatened with forced evictions.
In his report on human rights the deputy ombudsman for human rights noted that, in addition to the grave housing problem, Roma faced very serious social exclusion and Romani women and children were particularly vulnerable. Very few indigenous Romani children attended school; alien Romani children
tended not to go to school at all; and government projects to attract Romani children to education had very limited success. According to statistics from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights for 2009, only 4 percent of Roma reported having attended school for at least 10 years, and 63 percent were living in segregated conditions, effectively cut off from mainstream society and municipal services.
In February the prosecutor ordered lower courts to take action to combat exclusion of Romani children from education. The lower courts ignored the order. In September the Greek Helsinki Monitor stated that segregation of Romani children in schools was a persistent phenomenon and noted the existence of Roma-only schools throughout the country as well as the refusal of school authorities in a number of areas to allow Romani children access to schools.
Romani children also continued to face social exclusion and lack of access to social services, in part because they accompanied their parents who primarily worked as wandering merchants or engaged in selling scrap materials. According to the deputy ombudsman for human rights, Roma lived in
"extremely dangerous and unacceptable shacks" in many areas, and government housing projects for indigenous Roma have been largely unsuccessful.
The life expectancy for Roma was estimated at 55 years (compared to 79 for the rest of the population). Although some progress in vaccinations was made, approximately 90 percent of Romani children were still not vaccinated, and the rate of hepatitis B among Roma was three times higher than among the rest of the population. The incarceration rate for Roma was seven times higher than that of the general population.
Media and NGOs reported multiple attacks on immigrants by far-right extremist groups. NGOs and labor unions expressed deep concern over the rise in racist violence by far-right groups.
Immigrants, who made up approximately 10 percent of the total population of the country, also reportedly faced widespread societal discrimination and accused the police of physical, verbal, and other mistreatment. They reported the confiscation and destruction of personal documents, particularly during police sweeps to apprehend undocumented immigrants.
Migrant groups and NGO activists alleged that violent attacks directed at immigrants took place throughout the year. Perpetrators allegedly launched multiple arson attacks during the year on makeshift mosques in downtown Athens. In one such attack in March, five persons were injured.
Vigilantes, allegedly including members of the far-right group Golden Dawn, launched several attacks against illegal immigrants throughout the year, such as in September against the secretary of the Sudanese community, and in March and September against Pakistanis, Afghans, and other migrants.
The UNHCR sent a letter to the prime minister in September noting its concern over the series of criminal attacks "with the sole criterion being the color of the skin or the country of origin" of the victim.
A number of citizens identified themselves as Turks, Pomaks (Slavic-speaking Muslims), Vlachs (a Balkan minority group speaking a dialect of Romanian), Roma, Arvanites (Orthodox Christians who speak a dialect of Albanian), or Macedonians. Some members of these groups sought to be identified officially as "minorities" or "linguistic minorities." The government considers the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne as providing the exclusive definition of minorities in the country and defining their group rights. Accordingly, the government recognizes only a "Muslim minority." An officially recognized Muslim minority of
approximately 150,000 members resided in Thrace and was composed primarily of ethnic Turkish, Pomak, and Romani communities. Some members of the Pomak community claimed members of the Turkish-speaking community pressured them to deny the existence of a Pomak identity separate from a Turkish identity.
Although the government neither confers official status on any indigenous ethnic group, nor recognizes "ethnic minority" or "linguistic minority" as legal terms, it affirms an individual's right of self-identification. However, many individuals who defined themselves as members of "a minority" found it difficult to express their identity freely and maintain their culture. Use of the terms Tourkos and Tourkikos ("Turk" and "Turkish") is prohibited in titles of organizations, although individuals legally may call themselves Tourkos. Associations with either term in their name were denied official recognition.
The government did not recognize the existence of a Slavic dialect, called "Macedonian" by its speakers, in the northwestern area of the country. Nevertheless, a small number of its speakers insisted on identifying themselves as "Macedonian," a designation that generated strong opposition from other citizens. These individuals claimed that the government pursued a policy designed to discourage the use of their language. Government officials and the courts denied requests by Slavic groups to identify themselves using the term "Macedonian," stating that approximately 2.2 million ethnically (and linguistically) Greek citizens also use the term "Macedonian" to identify themselves.
The UN independent expert on minority issues, in a 2009 report, urged the government to withdraw from the dispute over whether there was a "Macedonian" or a "Turkish" ethnic minority in the country. She advised focusing instead on protecting the rights to self-identification, freedom of
expression, and freedom of association of those communities and on complying fully with the rulings of the ECHR that associations should be allowed to use the words "Macedonian" and "Turkish" in their names and to express their ethnic identities freely. The independent expert found that those identifying themselves as ethnic Macedonians continued to report discrimination and harassment. Representatives of the minority claimed they were denied the right to freedom of association, citing unsuccessful efforts since 1990 to register the organization "Home of Macedonian Culture" in Florina.
The Romani community remained the largest ethnic minority. According to the Central Statistics Office, in 2007 the Romani community accounted for 2 percent of the population, or approximately 200,000 persons. However, unofficial estimates varied widely and suggested the actual figure was much higher, ranging between 500,000 and 800,000 persons. Human rights NGOs reported that Roma were discriminated against in almost all fields of life, particularly in employment, education, housing, penal institutions, and access to public places, such as restaurants and bars.
During the year, right-wing extremist groups continued to incite violence against Roma and held marches around the country aimed at intimidating local
Romani communities. Beginning on March 6, far-right activists of the For a Better Future Civil Guard Association donned uniforms and patrolled the town of Gyongyospata with the aim of intimidating the local Roma population. On April 22-24, the paramilitary group Vedero (Defense Force) organized a three-day training camp near the village's Roma neighborhood. On the morning on April 22, some 267 Romani women and children were bussed out of the
village in a move that some individuals claimed was an "evacuation," but which the organizer, Red Cross Hungary, asserted was a prearranged camping trip. On April 22, Interior Minister Sandor Pinter visited Gyongyospata, ordered increased police presence in the town, and instructed the police to expel the extremists. The same day, police arrested eight far-right activists and charged them with disorderly conduct. On April 25, the court acquitted five defendants. On April 26, four of the far-right activists who remained in Gyongyospata provoked a fight with the Romani residents. One of the provocateurs suffered serious injuries, while the three others and two local Romani residents suffered minor injuries. The police opened an investigation in the case and pressed charges against two Roma for disorderly conduct committed in a group and in an armed manner.
NGOs accused far-right groups of intentionally provoking ethnic tension in Gyongyospata and asserted that the government failed to protect the local Roma minority against racist provocation. However, the government responded vigorously, adopting legislation in April and May to halt the "uniformed criminal activity" of far-right groups (see section1.d.).
On March 25, the trial of four persons charged in connection with the 2008-09 serial killings of six Roma, including a father and child who were shot fleeing
their burning home, began at the Pest County Court. Three of the defendants were charged with multiple homicides, and the fourth was charged as an accomplice in the killings. The case remained pending at year's end.
According to the HCLU, members of the Romani community were regularly sentenced for minor offenses, such as collecting firewood or minor traffic violations, that were usually ignored when committed by non-Roma. The HCLU asserted that police and municipalities selectively applied laws against the
Roma to keep them segregated and restrict their freedom of movement. The Ministry of Public Administration and Justice operated an antidiscrimination legal service network that provided free legal aid to Roma in cases where they encountered ethnic discrimination. However, human rights NGOs complained that the legal offices were located in the larger cities and were inaccessible to Roma living in deep poverty in small villages. The HCLU received reports that the network's lawyers rejected some Roma cases.
During the year NGOs complained that courts increasingly used the provision of the criminal code on racism to convict Roma, whereas the law was designed to protect members of minority groups. On March 3, the Pest Central District Court convicted seven young Roma for what the court ruled was a racist attack on a non-Romani individual by applying the criminal code provision of violence against a member of a community. On October 24, the Budapest Metropolitan Court of Appeal upheld the charge of racist motivation in one case and reduced the charges in the case of six other men to "armed hooliganism," a change that significantly mitigated the legal penalties. The appeals court emphasized in its ruling that lawmakers criminalized violence against member of an ethnic community in order to expand protection of minority groups, not the majority group.
According to the government, approximately 85 percent of working-age Roma were unemployed, and in many underdeveloped regions of the country, the
number exceeded 90 percent. On July 11, parliament amended the law on public work stipulating that the unemployed who want to continue to receive benefits cannot reject public work opportunities unless they have small children, need to care for a sick family member, or would require more than three hours to commute to and from work. The new law, effective September 1, also reduced the period for which unemployment benefits are granted from 270 to 90 days and authorized local governments to set up their own preconditions for granting social subsidies. The new National Public Employment Program, launched on September 1 and estimated to cost 60 billion forints ($249 million), provided part-time employment opportunities for 250,000 registered unemployed persons living on social welfare for two to four months. The public works program typically involves cleaning public spaces or work
on agricultural or water projects. During the year approximately 302,152 individuals were involved in the various forms of public employment programs, including those run by local governments.
The public education system continued to provide inadequate instruction for minorities in their own languages. Romani language schoolbooks and qualified teachers were in short supply. According to the national survey published by the National Family and Social Policy Institute on June 7, Roma were significantly less educated than other citizens.
During the fall school season, four Christian churches opened Roma Specialist Colleges in Budapest, Miskolc, Debrecen and Nyiregyhaza providing housing and tutoring for Romani students enrolled in higher educational institutions. During the year 75 Romani students participated in the network of special colleges.
Inadequate housing continued to be a problem for Roma, whose overall living conditions remained significantly worse than those of the general population. According to Romani interest groups, municipalities used a variety of techniques to prevent Roma from living in more desirable urban neighborhoods. In order to apply for EU and government funds for urban rehabilitation and public education projects, municipal authorities must attach to their proposal a desegregation plan outlining planned actions to eradicate segregation in housing and public education. According to a 2010 survey by the Ministry of National Resources, approximately 100,000 seriously disadvantaged persons, mainly Roma, lived in approximately 500 settlements that lacked basic
infrastructure and were often located on the outskirts of cities. During the year, the government launched a new program worth 3.5 billion forints ($14.5 million) to rehabilitate these settlements aimed at improving the living conditions of the residents. The government program involved four segregated settlements, accommodating approximately 5,000 people.
During the year the state secretary for social integration at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice, Zoltán Balog, continued to play a critical role in advancing Roma affairs within the government. The office harmonized the government's inclusion policy as well as that governing Roma-related
government programs (e.g., scholarships, Decade of Roma Inclusion Program). The Ministry of National Resources continued to offer financial incentives to encourage schools to integrate Romani and non-Romani children in the same classrooms and to reintegrate Roma inappropriately placed in remedial programs. On September 26, the government established the 27-member Roma Coordination Council, chaired by the minister for public administration and justice and co-chaired by the head of national Roma self-government, Florian Farkas, who was elected on January 20. The new council includes
representatives of local Roma self-governments, NGOs, and churches. Most ministries and county labor affairs centers had special officers for Romani affairs focused on the needs of the Romani community. On November 30, the cabinet approved the National Social Inclusion Strategy. The national strategy identifies specific actions the government aims to take to reduce the percentage of the population living under the poverty line, integrate Roma into the labor market, and increase the level of education of Roma.
On December 13, the cabinet adopted the Governmental Action Plan for the implementation of the National Social Inclusion Strategy for 2012-2014. The action plan determines specific tasks, identifies responsible members of the cabinet, and sets deadlines in the areas of child welfare, education, employment, health care, housing, raising awareness, and fighting discrimination against Roma.
On December 19, parliament passed a new law on "nationalities," scheduled to enter into force in January 2012. The new law defines the cultural autonomy of the nationalities and recognizes as collective rights the fostering and enrichment of historic traditions, language, culture, educational rights, as well as establishing and operating institutions and maintaining international contacts.
Roma and the other 12 official minorities are entitled to elect their own minority self-governments to organize minority activities and handle cultural, educational, and linguistic affairs. The president of each minority self-government has the right to attend and speak at local government assemblies.
Immigrants, mainly from Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, suffered occasional incidents of harassment based on their ethnicity.
Anecdotal evidence suggested that some Icelandic landlords were reluctant or unwilling to rent out residential facilities to persons other than ethnic Icelanders. Anecdotal evidence also suggested that some employers may without reason limit their hiring to native Icelandic-speaking individuals.
The law prohibits discrimination based on language or social status, and the government enforced the law. In spite of this, societal discrimination and violence against immigrants, and racial and ethnic minorities continued to be a problem.
There were racially motivated incidents involving physical violence, intimidation, graffiti, and verbal slurs, particularly against the country's African population. In one recent case, Darren Scully, the mayor of Naas, County Kildare, said during a radio interview that he would no longer meet with
constituents of African origin. Scully was widely condemned for his statement and later apologized for his comments and resigned from his seat. NGOs reported problems with landlords refusing to rent property to persons who were not born in Ireland. NGOs reported that immigrants, particularly those of African descent, suffered unemployment disproportionately during the economic downturn.
According to the 2006 census, 22,369 persons identified themselves as members of an indigenous nomadic group called Travellers, with a distinct history and culture. Despite applicable antidiscrimination laws and longstanding government policies to redress imbalances, Travellers faced societal discrimination and occasionally were denied access to education, employment, premises, facilities, and basic services. However, Travellers also received substantial funding from the government, particularly for education and housing.
The law obliges local officials to develop accommodations for Travellers and to solicit Traveller input into the process. Traveller NGOs asserted that many communities provided Travellers with housing that was inconsistent with the nomadic Traveller lifestyle, or provided transient caravan-camping sites that did not include basic amenities such as sanitary facilities, electricity, and water.
There were no accurate statistics on the number of Roma in the country. NGOs estimated that between 120,000 and 170,000 Roma, including 75,000 citizens, were concentrated on the fringes of urban areas in the central and southern parts of the country.
During the year the Romani population continued to be subject to some municipal mistreatment, societal discrimination, and violent attacks against
unauthorized camps. Some political discourse continued to contribute to municipal and societal discrimination against the Romani population, especially mob violence and individual attacks targeting Roma.
On December 10, a protest organized by residents of the Vallette suburb in Turin turned violent when some protesters attacked and burned a Romani camp by setting fire to caravans and makeshift shelters that housed approximately 150 Roma. The protest was organized after a 16-year-old girl reported to police that she had been raped by two Roma. The girl stated later to police that her accusations were false and publicly apologized. Amnesty International reported that, the day before the protest, leaflets were circulated inciting the inhabitants of the suburb to "clean up the area where the
settlement was located. Approximately 500 persons took part in the march; of those, approximately 30 were reported to have been involved in the raid against the settlement. There were no injuries since the police had evacuated the area before the protest began.
National and local government officials made racist comments against Roma and other members of minorities during the year. In May then prime minister Berlusconi warned that Milan was at risk of becoming "an Islamic city, a Gypsy town full of camps and besieged by foreigners. The press and NGOs
reported cases of discrimination, particularly in housing and evictions, deportations, and government efforts to remove Romani children from their parents for their protection.
According to the report on September 7 by the COE after the visit on May 26-27 by COE commissioner for human rights Thomas Hammarberg, the state of emergency in force in five regions "provided the bedrock for widespread evictions of Roma and Sinti from settlements throughout the country, often in manners that are at variance with human rights standards. Unauthorized camps lacked electricity, access to water and sanitation, adequate shelter, and pest control. The report attributed the segregation of Roma in camps to the "local and national housing policies which assume Roma to be nomads and which failed "to meet their needs. Evictions had a negative impact on children's right to education.
Amnesty International reported that during March and May authorities conducted 154 targeted evictions in Rome affecting 1,800 Roma. The European Roma Rights Center asserted that these evictions violated international laws and standards under domestic law regulating forced evictions. They charged that Rome municipal authorities did not provide prior notice in advance of the eviction, did not offer proper alternative accommodation, and destroyed personal property during the evictions.
In November the Council of State ruled that the state of emergency was not lawful and constituted discrimination. It stated that there was no evidence of a causal link between the existence of nomadic settlements and the extraordinary and exceptional disruption of order and public security in the affected areas. Despite the ruling, municipal governments defended the state of emergency, highlighting the "absolute incompatibility between the camp conditions and the protection of human rights.
On January 6, four Romani children died in their sleep after a fire broke out in an illegal encampment on the outskirts of Rome. Mayor Gianni Alemanno reiterated his intention to implement the 2009 Nomad Plan, which calls for closing down illegal camps and transferring the Roma to legal settlements.
Government officials at the national and local levels, including those from the Ministry of Interior and UNAR, met periodically with Roma and their representatives. On June 17, groups of Roma living in Milan established a council to facilitate dialogue with the local government. By July the Observatory for the Security against Discrimination had received 130 reports regarding 56 crimes against Roma; police arrested 11 persons and opened investigations on another 33.
In 2010 UNAR received approximately 1,000 calls on its national hotline and 10,000 requests through its Web site. UNAR received information on 500 cases of discrimination, 28 percent of which were related to labor conditions, 20 percent to housing, and 10 percent to discrimination in the provision of public services. UNAR provided legal assistance and helped mediate disputes.
Ethnic minorities, which included Serb, Romani, Ashkali, Egyptian, Turkish, Bosniak, Gorani, Croat, and Montenegrin communities, faced varied levels of institutional and societal discrimination, in areas such as employment, education, social services, language use, freedom of movement, IDPs' right to return, and other basic rights.
Members of the Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities were subject to pervasive social and economic discrimination; often lacked access to basic hygiene, medical care, and education; and were heavily dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. An OSCE report in May found that, despite steps taken by the government to implement an action plan for the integration of Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities, governmental institutions had fallen
short of fulfilling their commitments to create appropriate conditions for their integration. Reports of violence and other crimes directed at minorities and their property persisted.
There were clashes between groups of Kosovo-Albanians and Kosovo-Serbs during the year as well as incidents of interethnic violence at border points from July through late November.
On November 9, in the ethnically mixed neighborhood of Brdjani/Kroi i Vitakut in North Mitrovica, a fight broke out which resulted in the shooting of two Kosovo-Serb civilians and one KP officer (also a Kosovo-Serb). One Kosovo-Serb civilian later died of his injuries. The fight reportedly began after a
Kosovo-Albanian security guard in the neighborhood saw Kosovo-Serbs removing construction materials from a Kosovo-Albanian house under renovation there. The case remained under investigation at year's end.
On October 20, a Kosovo-Albanian, Nasif Visoqi, shot and killed one Kosovo-Serb man and injured two others in Dobrusa village in Istog/Istok municipality
in a land dispute. Visoqi turned himself in to police, confessed to the attack, and remained in custody at year's end. No date was set for a trial in the case.
During events to mark the Serbian Vidovdan holiday in the country on June 27 and 28, unknown persons stoned three Serbian busses, causing reported damage to windows and light injuries to several passengers. KP arrested two Kosovo-Serbs for "inciting national hatred when they dressed in the full military uniform of the extremist Chetnik movement during the Vidovdan events.
On September 22, September 26, October 6, October 12, and October 30, ethnic Albanian Vetevendosje activists attacked trucks with Serbian license plates carrying commercial goods into the country. In the attacks the Vetevendosje activists dressed as road workers and stopped the trucks, removed and damaged the goods they carried, and in four instances rolled the trucks over. In the September26 attack, the driver reported that the activists assaulted him, and he received medical attention afterwards. All cases were under investigation by the KP at the year's end.
The KP arrested and later released two ethnic Albanians for stoning a bus carrying Serbs to visit a cemetery in Gjakove/Gjakova for All Souls' Day on June 11. There were no injuries or material damage reported in the case.
According to a 2010 report prepared by the prime minister's Office of Community Affairs, minority employment in public institutions was limited and
generally confined to lower levels of the government. The report recommended that the government more actively reach out to minorities and implement reporting, recruiting, training, equal opportunity, and language procedures. There was no effective mechanism for monitoring levels of minority employment in public institutions.
In education the law requires equal conditions for schoolchildren regardless of mother tongue and provides the bright to native-language public education for
minority students through secondary school. However, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology and international organizations reported that school enrollment rates were lowest among non-Serb minority communities (Ashkali, Bosniak, Egyptian, Gorani, Romani, Turkish, and others), and the European Commission's Progress Report on Kosovo 2011 noted little improvement in access to education for minority communities. The UNDP's 2010 Kosovo Human Development Report stated that nearly all Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serb children were enrolled in primary school, while only 77
percent of children of other ethnic groups were enrolled. Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian children attended mixed schools with Kosovo-Albanian and Kosovo-Serb children and reportedly faced intimidation and bullying in some majority Albanian areas. Romani children tended to be disadvantaged by poverty, leading many to start work at an early age to contribute to family income.
There were numerous reports that Kosovo-Serbs had difficulty accessing their property, which was sometimes occupied or used by Kosovo-Albanians. The KPA reported it faced frequent cases of illegal occupation and reoccupation of properties, with many properties vandalized or destroyed.
No physical attacks against minorities were reported. However, NGOs representing minority groups claimed that official statistics underreported the actual number of incidents.
During the year the security police reviewed 34 applications or complaints connected to possible incitement of ethnic or racial hatred. Of these, authorities initiated criminal procedures in 12 cases. These complaints generally involved hate speech on the Internet. During the year the ombudsman's office received seven written complaints of racial or ethnic discrimination, compared with two in 2010.
In December a defendant pled guilty to a charge of inciting ethnic hatred in connection with derogatory Internet comments about Russian-speakers. Sentencing was pending at the end of the year.
In June security police charged an Internet portal commentator for hate speech and making derogatory comments online about Latvians, Poles, and Jews. The defendant pled guilty and was given a 10-month suspended sentence.
The Romani community, estimated to number approximately 8,000, historically has faced widespread societal discrimination and high levels of unemployment and illiteracy. The government had a national action plan to address problems affecting the Romani community with respect to employment, education, and human rights; however, observers criticized the plan for lacking adequate funding to improve conditions for Roma substantially.
Police estimated that violent right-wing extremists, including skinheads, numbered no more than 30 to 40 persons. The government continued to monitor right-wing groups. Foreign nationals, mostly Swiss, Austrian, German, and Italian, represented 33 percent of the resident population. Ethnic Turks accounted for 6.5 percent of the foreign population. Although no serious incidents were cited during the year, police reported six racially motivated offenses involving right-wing extremists in 2010. Two cases were prosecuted, resulting in one conviction.
In 2010 the government initiated an awareness campaign against right-wing extremism and established a working group against such extremism. The working group initiative was ongoing at yearend, but the awareness campaign ended in 2010.
The law prohibits discrimination against ethnic or national minorities, but intolerance and societal discrimination persisted. Minority ethnic groups, including Russians, Poles, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Tatars, and Karaite Jews, constituted approximately 16.5 percent of the population.
During the year the Ministry of Interior reported 332 cases of alleged discrimination and incitement of racial or ethnic hatred (most of the instances investigated involved the Internet), compared with 159 in 2010.
There were reports of racially motivated violence during the year. The country's national day, February 16, continued to be an occasion for racist and xenophobic manifestations. In Kaunas youth wearing jackets and paraphernalia similar to those worn by skinheads attacked and beat a Pakistani national.
On March 11, the 20th anniversary of the reestablishment of Lithuania after Soviet rule, approximately 1,000 people participated in a march in downtown Vilnius. The event included some racist and xenophobic slogans, and the primary organizer was a nationalist movement widely criticized for its association with skinheads and neo-Nazis. Some marchers displayed slogans proclaiming "Lithuania for Lithuanians" and "Thank God I was born white." Senior
leaders denounced the demonstration; some criticized the continuing willingness of the Vilnius city administration to provide permits for this annual event. The small Romani community (approximately 3,000 persons) continued to experience problems, including discrimination in access to such services as education, housing, and health care; in employment; and in relations with police. However, there were no official charges of police abuse. Extreme poverty, illiteracy, perceived high criminality, and the negative attitudes of mainstream society kept this group locked in social exclusion, reflected in the fact that 40 percent of Roma did not know the national language. Many Roma did not have identification papers; a number of them, although born in the country, were
stateless. The Romani unemployment rate continued to be more than 95 percent. Minority advocates continued to criticize the Vilnius city government for focusing on law enforcement in the Romani community but doing little to integrate Roma into the broader community.
On September 23, the Supreme Administrative Court, in response to a lawsuit brought by the Vilnius community of Roma, ordered the Vilnius Municipality to pay nonmaterial damages of 55,000 litas ($21,000) in compensation for the destruction of Roma housing in 2004. By year's end the Vilnius Municipality had paid only a small portion of the award.
On March 17, parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Education that for the first time set minimum requirements for hours and subjects to be taught in the schools. When fully implemented the revised law calls for all students to take the same high school graduate exam in the Lithuanian language and with standardized scoring. Representatives of the country's Polish minority were critical of the new provisions of the law and the manner in which they were implemented because they said it would reduce the emphasis in schools on Polish language and culture. Lithuanian politicians asserted that comparable requirements exist for ethnic Lithuanians in Poland and that the new rules do not violate EU norms or standards.
Some members of the Polish ethnic minority community also argued that laws which do not allow Polish letters to be written in passports and on street signs violate their minority rights. On July 11, following numerous legal challenges by the Polish community, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld the previously existing law requiring that street signs be displayed in Lithuanian only. The European Court of Justice on May 12 also found Lithuania's law requiring personal names to be written in the state language in passports to be constitutional.
The Polish ethnic community further complained of a lack of progress on restitution and compensation for lands owned by Poles before the Soviet and
Nazi occupations. The National Land Service stated that it makes no distinction between ethnic communities and does not discriminate against the Polish minority. According to National Land Service data, 96 percent of outstanding claims in Salcininkai, which holds the largest Polish minority population, were settled. In the other center with a large Polish minority population, Vilnius city and region, 32 percent of outstanding claims in the city and 87 percent in the region were completed. This compared with 19 percent (city) and 85 percent (region) in 2010.
No information in the subsection on National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
According to the 2002 census, the ethnic composition of the population was 64.2 percent Macedonian, 25.2 percent Albanian, 3.9 percent Turkish, 2.7 percent Romani, 1.8 percent Serbian, 0.8 percent Bosniak, and 0.5 percent Vlach.
Relations between the ethnic Macedonian and Albanian communities often were strained. Ethnic Albanians continued to complain of unequal representation
in government ministries. Ethnic Macedonians claimed that employers targeted them for reverse discrimination in downsizing, regardless of performance. Some ethnic Albanians claimed that discrimination in citizenship decisions by the Ministry of Interior, which has authority to grant, revoke, interrupt, or confirm a person's citizenship, effectively disenfranchised them.
The law provides for protection of minority rights and integration of all sectors of society. The government has a secretariat to hold accountable those state institutions that do not comply with the strategy for equitable minority representation, but the organization lacked enforcement and sanctioning mechanisms. According to the secretariat, there were 2,500 new public administration jobs advertised and 560 new jobs offered to ethnic minorities during the year. Data from July showed that ethnic minorities accounted for approximately 24 percent of the employees of state institutions.
Minorities remained underrepresented in the military, despite improved and continued efforts to recruit qualified minority candidates. Ethnic Albanians represented 18 percent of the army, and minorities as a whole accounted for 25 percent.
The law provides for primary and secondary education in the Macedonian, Albanian, Romani, Turkish, and Serbian languages. The number of minority
students who received secondary education in their native languages continued to increase, especially after secondary education became mandatory.
Ethnic Turks complained of discrimination. Their main concerns were slow progress in achieving equitable representation in government institutions, the absence of ethnic Turkish-majority municipalities, and the inadequacy of Turkish-language education and media.
Roma complained of widespread societal discrimination. NGOs and international experts reported that employers often denied Roma job opportunities, and some Roma complained of lack of access to public welfare funds. Roma NGOs also reported that proprietors occasionally denied Roma entrance to
their establishments. Many Roma lacked identity cards, which are necessary to obtain government services such as education, welfare, and health care.
The government funded implementation of the national strategy for the Roma Decade, including assistance with education, housing, employment, and
infrastructure development. The government also continued to fund Roma information centers that directed Roma to educational, health care, and social welfare resources. Increased NGO and government funding to eliminate barriers to education for Romani students resulted in a continued increase in school attendance rates. For the 2010-11 school year, there were 2 percent fewer Romani students enrolled in primary education and 13 percent fewer in secondary education than during the previous school year.
The population included more than 10,000 persons of Arab, African, and East European origin. There were periodic reports in the media that owners of some bars and discos discouraged or prohibited darker-skinned persons, particularly of African or Arab origin, from entering their establishments. The government took no specific action to discourage these problems.
In March a man was discharged conditionally for two years (comparable to a suspended sentence) after being found guilty of inciting racial hatred for posting comments on a newspaper blog. In September the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted with concern the "discriminatory discourse and hate speech" of some Maltese politicians, as well as the "racial discourse" in certain media outlets.
Roma continued to be subject to social marginalization and societal discrimination and often lacked proper access to education and other government
services. While the government adopted a Roma Action Plan for 2011-2015, in practice its social inclusion policy did not target Roma. According to the 2004 census, there were 12,271 Roma in Moldova. However, Romani NGOs estimate this number to be as high as 250,000, including 100,000 persons of voting age. NGOs asserted that government census forms allowed persons to identify with only one ethnic group and that many Roma declined to identify themselves as Roma.
A 2011 UN report on the implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in the country noted that the Roma Action Plan was primarily a medium for cultural events. Roma policy was supervised by the Bureau on Interethnic Relations, a Soviet-era
institution which focused primarily on cultural events, hosting roundtables and conferences but lacking the authority to exercise oversight of ministries with regard to social inclusion.
The literacy level of the Roma was well below the national average. Officially 25 percent of Roma could not read or write. Romani NGOs estimated that 80 percent of Romani children were illiterate. Many Romani children--estimated to be as high as 50 percent--did not attend school. Very few Roma received a secondary education, and only 4 percent of Roma had a higher education degree, compared with 38 percent of non-Roma.
The reasons for school nonattendance by Romani children included the lack of financial means to buy clothing and books for school; unofficial school fees required for repairs, supplies, and other school expenses; and the discrimination that Romani children faced when attending school. According to Romani families, their children were subject to hazing and discrimination from both fellow students and teachers. The government did not provide education in the Romani language.
Surveys indicated that 30 percent of Roma in Moldova lived in housing in a high state of disrepair, as opposed to 7 percent for the general population.
Other concerns with respect to the Roma included denial of emergency health care services to Roma in secluded Romani settlements, unfair or arbitrary treatment by health practitioners, a gap between Roma and non-Roma in rates of coverage by health insurance, and discrimination against Roma in the job market. There were no Roma in elected office and an extremely limited number worked in any capacity in public administration. The Ministry of Labor, Social Protection, and Family opposed regarding Roma as a vulnerable group for the purpose of social inclusion policy.
In Transnistria, authorities continued to discriminate against Romanian speakers. While the use of the Latin alphabet is forbidden by the Transnistrian "constitution," and reading/writing in the Latin script is punishable by a fine of approximately 480 lei ($40.50), the extent of enforcement of this rule was unknown. However, as part of the 1992 ceasefire agreement, Transnistrian authorities allowed eight Latin-script Romanian-language schools (five high schools and three elementary schools) under the Moldovan Ministry of Education to operate in Transnistria. Approximately 7,700 children in the region attended these eight schools. According to media reports, Transnistrian authorities claimed--without presenting evidence--that the figure was much lower and that attendance levels dropped in recent years.
Students and teachers from Grigoriopol commuted daily to the Romanian script school Stefan cel Mare's temporary premises in Dorotcaia. Aside from the difficult commute, since the start of the school year, Transnistrian authorities regularly stopped buses with teachers and 200 pupils at the "border" for lengthy identification checks, resulting in delays in the school program and stress to children and staff.
No information in the subsection on National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
The constitution and law on minority rights provide both individual and collective rights for minorities, and these provisions were generally observed for most groups, but Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians were disadvantaged in access to social services and continued to experience societal discrimination.
According to government statistics, in 2009 more than 50 percent of school-age children from the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities were not integrated into the obligatory primary education system. Those school systems that are integrated often maintain institutional and geographic segregation. For example, the Bozidar Vukovic primary school continued to maintain a remote facility in the Konik refugee camp in Podgorica that was attended only by Romani, Ashkali, and Egyptian students. During the year Romani NGO leaders renewed their request that authorities eliminate this type of de facto school segregation. During an assessment of the country in February, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance warned that the continued separation of Romani children from children of other ethnic groups would seriously impede the integration of Roma into society.
According to the Fund for Providing Roma Scholarships, an NGO, the primary-school dropout rate for students belonging to these minorities was
approximately 50 percent in the 2010-11 academic year. There was some progress enrolling students from these communities in secondary school. The number rose from 37 students in 2009 10 to 65 in 2011-12. Only eight individuals attended university in 2010-11.
According to 2011 census, Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians constituted approximately 1 percent of the population. According to 2009 UN data,
approximately 40 percent of them lacked birth or citizenship certificates. Many, including IDPs from Kosovo, lived illegally in squatter settlements, often widely scattered, and lacked such basic services as public utilities, medical care, and sewage disposal. The 2008 Law on Citizenship and its accompanying regulations made obtaining citizenship very difficult for persons without personal identity documents (see section 2 d.). According to the UNDP, approximately 70 percent of Roma were illiterate, 50 percent were unemployed, and 36 percent lived below the poverty level.
Societal prejudice against Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians was widespread, and local authorities often ignored or tacitly condoned it. Members of these minorities lacked political representation and generally stayed out of politics. They occasionally lacked access to advanced medical professionals, such as surgeons and other specialists, that was available to other residents. According to a study carried out by three NGOs, the Monitoring Center, Juventas, and Cazas, the greatest barriers facing Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians in the labor sector were inability to speak the national language, lack of education, and employer discrimination. In August the government introduced tax incentives aimed at encouraging private entrepreneurs to hire Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians.
The government has a formal strategy and action plan for improving the situation of Roma in 2008-12 but took no significant measures to advance it during the year. Authorities appropriated 325,000 euros ($423,000) during the year to implement the action plan, a much smaller amount than envisaged by the strategy. A group of human rights NGOs accused the government of failing to establish the proper mechanisms to monitor funding for projects aimed at the country's Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities.
The Albanian National Council requested new textbooks for Albanian students and more involvement of Albanian authors in writing them.
The leaders of ethnic minority communities continued to allege that the government did not comply with the constitutional requirement of affirmative action
for minorities. They asserted that these rights included ethnic representation in the National Assembly and in local self-government assemblies in areas where a minority group forms a significant share of the populations. They also complained that minorities were underrepresented in the government administration, the judiciary, and state-owned economic enterprises. A study conducted in June by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights showed a large imbalance in the ethnic distribution of public sector jobs. Ethnic Montenegrins, who constituted less than half of the population, held 79 percent of public administration positions. At year's end, there were two Roma in the central administration and none in local government bodies. Nevertheless, amendments to the election law enacted on September 8 to enhance affirmative action gave minorities additional representation in the National Assembly. It applies to minorities that win less than 3 percent of votes and those that constitute 15 percent or less of the population. This law has received mixed
reactions from minority communities; ethnic Albanians were displeased that their set-aside Assembly seats were eliminated, while others welcomed the opportunity to have representation in the government.
A government Fund for Minorities financed national councils intended to represent the interests of minority groups. There were national councils for Serbs,
Bosniaks, Albanians, Muslims, Croats, and Roma. The fund continued to be the focus of public attention for alleged misappropriation of funds. Authorities provided 800,000 euros ($1.04 million) to the councils during the year to implement specific projects. In March the State Auditing Office reviewed the work of the fund and concluded that its internal auditing system was imprecise and inefficient. Auditors also reported that the fund failed to monitor the
implementation of approved projects and did not evaluate their results. The authorities decided to allocate 2011 funds to the councils on October 31, one day before a ban took effect prohibiting participation by members of the Assembly in institutions like the fund (see section 4). On November 10, the NGOs Montenegrin Legal Committee for Human Rights Protection and Civic Alliance sued the members of the fund for embezzlement, claiming that they acted to advance their own personal interests.
The kingdom's constitution prohibits racial, national, or ethnic discrimination in all kingdom territories.
In the Netherlands, members of minority groups experienced verbal abuse and intimidation and were at times denied access to public venues, such as discotheques.
A Muslim community of approximately 850,000 persons faced frequent discrimination. Members of immigrant groups also faced discrimination in housing and employment. According to the CBS, in 2010 the minority unemployment rate (11 percent) remained roughly three times that of the ethnic Dutch workforce (4 percent), while the unemployment rate among minority youths was 26 percent compared to 11 percent for native Dutch youths.
The government pursued an active campaign to increase public awareness of racism and discrimination and conducted a national campaign to counter discrimination and improve the reporting of hate crimes, including hate speech, through a special Web site.
Both the government and NGOs actively documented instances of discrimination, and the government's National Diversity Expertise Center (LECD)
worked to register, evaluate, and prosecute cases. Organizations involved in combating discrimination voiced concern about the reluctance of victims to report incidents. In 2010 the LECD registered 170 offenses of discrimination. Of these, 43 percent related to race and 43 percent to religion (36 percent against Jews, 7 percent against Muslims). During the same year officials dealt with 171 offenses, brought 121 indictments, obtained 90 convictions, and entered into 17 out-of-court settlements.
In 2010 the MDI recorded 684 instances of "punishable" discrimination on the Internet, a significant increase from 2009. Of these, 296 qualified as racial, ethnic, or both. Those responsible removed most (89 percent) of the offending sites voluntarily when requested by the MDI to do so. The MDI reported three cases to the prosecutor's office; prosecutors obtained several convictions.
Most defamation cases filed in criminal courts involved race. Persons who were not ethnically Dutch also filed civil lawsuits alleging discrimination in the supply of such services as cell phones and access to clubs. The CGB focused on discrimination in the labor market, including discrimination in the workplace, unequal pay, termination of labor contracts, and preferential treatment of ethnically Dutch employees.
On July 22, rightwing extremist Anders Behring Breivik detonated a large improvised explosive device (IED) next to government buildings that housed many ministries and the prime minister's office, killing eight persons and injuring scores. After detonating the IED, Breivik drove to a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya outside of Oslo and shot and killed 69 persons (mostly youths) and injured many others. Shortly before the attack, Breivik posted a manifesto on the Internet in which he accused the Labor Party of treason for, among other things, encouraging multiculturalism, feminism, and Muslim immigration.
The Center against Racism reported that, in the hours after the attack and before the perpetrator's identity was established, some immigrants and Muslims in Oslo reported being harassed, spat upon, yelled at, or chased. The government responded to the July22 attacks by calling for "more democracy, more openness, and more humanity." Commentators noted that, in the months following the attack, there was a greater feeling of inclusiveness towards all members of society.
In a year in which there were few reports of racial profiling by police, media reported that a Ugandan researcher with the International Panel on Climate Change was stopped and searched by Oslo police in October. The police officer reportedly apologized on the spot, saying he searched the man because his behavior was suspicious, not because he was African. The Oslo Police District subsequently sent a letter of apology. There were increasing instances
of stigmatizing and hostile rhetoric against immigrants and Muslims during the year, particularly on the Internet. KRIPOS maintained a Web page for the public to contact police regarding online hate speech. In 2008, the latest date for which figures were available, KRIPOS reportedly received 160 complaints about racism and racist expressions on the Internet, but none led to further investigation or action by authorities.
In its concluding report on the country this year, CERD expressed concern over racist views by extremist groups on the Internet and by some representatives of political parties, "which constitute hate speech and may lead to acts of hostility against certain minority groups." CERD also expressed concern over the lack of judicial statistics on the number of complaints, investigations, prosecutions, and condemnations regarding racist acts. After a Congolese-Norwegian woman was attacked violently December 12 and told to "go back to where she came from," there were calls for police to do more to monitor and address hate crimes.
Immigrants and their children sometimes had more difficulty finding employment than equally qualified ethnic Norwegians. As of August 30, the
unemployment rate among immigrants was 6.5 percent, compared with 3.3 percent among nonimmigrants, according to government statistics. African immigrants had the highest unemployment rate at 12.4 percent, followed by Asians at 8.2 percent, immigrants from eastern EU countries at 7.4 percent, and Central Americans at 6.3 percent.
The constitution gives ethnic groups who have been living on the territory of present-day Poland for more than 100 years additional rights to preserve their
own language, customs, and culture. The law defines nine as so-called "national minorities" (Belarusian, Czech, Lithuanian, German, Armenian, Russian, Slovak, Ukrainian, and Jewish) and four "ethnic minorities" (Karaim, Lemka, Roma, and Tatar). The law also contains several provisions against hate crimes and incitement to violence based on ethnic origin; however, government enforcement efforts were sometimes ineffective.
Government agencies reported that their statistics did not show a rise in the total number of hate crimes. However, during the year there was a series of high-profile xenophobic incidents, including a number directed against symbolic places tied to Lithuanians and other minority groups. According to local NGOs, including Never Again, Open Republic, and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the incidents were more high profile and symbolic than in
past years, but not necessarily more numerous. The government, while generally quick to denounce them on the national and sometimes local level, was generally unable to find the perpetrators of the incidents.
NGOs, media, and academic experts believed that the incidents were likely linked to a rise in the numbers and activities of extreme nationalist groups. Extremist groups, while still small in number, maintained a public presence in high-profile marches and on the Internet. The neofascist group Red Watch updated its Web site several times with the names and contact information of persons it considered traitors to the white race, including politicians and journalists.
On August 22, an unidentified arsonist set fire to the apartment of a Pakistani-Polish couple in the Podlaskie region's capital of Bialystok. The couple escaped unharmed. Media and NGOs classified the attack as a xenophobic act, but the government believed it was committed as part of a nonxenophobic neighbors' dispute.
Ethnic Lithuanians and Germans were the targets of symbolic acts of vandalism. On August 22, unknown perpetrators covered 28 Lithuanian-language signs in the Podlaskie region with the colors of the Polish flag and painted the insignia of the nationalist organization Falanga on a Lithuanian monument in a park. A day later, a monument to a Lithuanian poet was damaged. The governor of the Podlaskie province set up a special taskforce of police, the
border guards, and the ABW to investigate the incidents. On October 14, vandals defaced a German community cultural center in Opole, one of a series of such incidents aimed against the German minority there.
There were also scattered incidents of racially motivated violence including verbal and physical abuse directed at Roma and persons of African, Asian, or Arab descent. The Ukrainian and Belarusian minorities continued to experience petty harassment and discrimination.
Societal discrimination against Roma continued. The 2002 national census recorded approximately 12,700 Roma, although the Romani community estimated the number to be much higher. There were reports that some local officials discriminated against Roma by denying them adequate social services. Romani leaders complained of widespread discrimination in employment, housing, banking, the justice system, the media, and education.
In December 2010 some restaurants and clubs in Poznan denied entry to members of the Romani community. On February 22, the Poznan prosecutor refused to initiate a criminal investigation into these complaints, but two security guards who did not admit the Roma to a restaurant were charged with a petty offense and fined 1,000 zloty ($310) each. The Roma Association appealed the case, and the prosecutor reopened it on April 14. The Roma Association reported that, despite government assistance programs, many Romani children did not attend public school. This was because of either
financial constraints or fears that teachers would encourage assimilation and discourage traditional practices. However, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, 2,764 of the 3,369 Romani children between the ages of six and 16 were enrolled in school in the 2009-10 school year, the latest data available. The association stated that inadequacies in Romani children's education made it impossible for Roma to escape their poverty. In October the association reported that many Romani children were placed in schools for children with mental disabilities, even though two-thirds were intellectually able to study in regular schools. Research by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow showed that the improper placement might have resulted from improper testing by psychologists. On May 31, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration reported that in 2010, 16.8 percent of Romani children were placed in schools for children with mental disabilities.
Approximately 80 percent of Roma were unemployed nationally, but levels of unemployment in some regions reached nearly 100 percent.
The government allocated approximately 10 million zloty ($3.1 million) to the annual program for Roma, which included educational and other projects to improve health and living conditions and reduce unemployment. The program also focused on civic education and provided grants for university and high school students.
On July 29, the Sejm established August 2 as the official Roma and Sinti Genocide Remembrance Day. On the day, the Sejm joined the Romani and Sinti communities in commemorating the extermination of the Romani camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1944.
The government estimated the Romani population at between 40,000 and 50,000 persons. On February 9, the European Roma Rights Center alleged the government had cut off water to an informal Romani settlement in Vidigueira; the water service was restored by May 26.
Discrimination against Roma continued to be a major problem. Romani groups complained that police brutality, including beatings, and harassment, was routine. Both domestic and international media and observers widely reported societal discrimination against Roma. At the end of the year, the parliament enacted a National Roma Strategy aimed at improving the lives of Roma. The NGO and diplomatic communities were widely critical of the strategy for not having measurable goals for progress or adequate funding.
Observers estimated that there were between 1.8 and 2.5 million Roma in the country, approximately 10 percent of the total population. However, the
most recent official census, taken in 2002, counted 535,000 Roma, or 3 percent of the population. According to NGOs, earlier government figures were low because many Roma did not reveal their ethnicity, were mistakenly assumed to be Romanian, or lacked any form of identification.
On April 8, following a violent incident between the family of the mayor of Racos, Brasov County, and a group of Roma, four Roma and the mayor's son needed medical care. Approximately 300-400 ethnic Hungarians prepared to go to an area inhabited by Roma with stones, axes, and other weapons in hand. Significant police forces arrived in time to prevent violent clashes, and police started an investigation of the incident. The city hall subsequently hired a private security company to help defuse tensions in the locality. Both the mayor and the Roma filed complaints. The prosecutor's decision to send the Roma to court for disturbance of public order was appealed, and a decision was pending at year's end. Police were investigating the Romani complaint at the end of the year.
Stereotypes and discriminatory language regarding Roma were widespread; journalists and several senior government officials made statements that were viewed as discriminatory by members of the Romani community.
The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies rejected separately, on February 9 and April 5, a draft bill submitted by Chamber of Deputies member Silviu Prigoana that proposed replacing the word "Rom with "Gypsy in official documents. The initiative generated heated debates, with a broad range of state institutions, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Agency for Roma, the Ministry of Culture, the Interethnic Relations Department, the
government's Secretariat General, and the CNCD, opposing the bill. However, the Romanian Academy supported the bill, arguing that the term "Gypsy represented the "correct name of this transnational population.
On October 17, the CNCD admonished President Basescu for a September statement blaming Finland's opposition to Romania's accession to the Schengen area on the "Gypsies, who "aggressively beg and steal in Finland.
According to media reports, evictions of Roma continued in Bucharest, Buzau, Cluj Napoca, and other localities during the year. In a report released in June, Amnesty International criticized Romania for failing to observe the right of Roma to decent housing and urged the government to stop the evictions. Amnesty International noted that the alternative housing offered to the evicted Roma did not meet minimum living standards, lacking water, heating, and electricity.
On November 15, the CNCD decided that the forced relocation of 40 Romani families to an area next to a garbage dump in the Pata Rat neighborhood, on the outskirts of Cluj-Napoca, represented a discriminatory act and fined the local authorities 8,000 lei ($2,392). It further recommended that local authorities identify an adequate solution for these Roma. Amnesty International called on the local authorities of Cluj-Napoca and the national government to provide effective remedies and reparations to the victims of the forced eviction.
A similar crisis was averted by domestic and international pressure from Amnesty International, and with the assistance of the Soros Foundation, when the mayor of Baia Mare canceled the removal of four Romani neighborhoods and demolition of the houses there. However, on November 15, the CNCD fined the mayor 6,000 lei ($1,794) for erecting a large concrete wall that separated the housing of Roma and their neighbors in a highly symbolic way. At year's end the wall remained in place, and negotiations continued concerning alternative housing for the affected Roma.
NGOs reported that Roma were denied access to, or refused service in, many public places. Roma also experienced persistent poverty, poor access to government services, a shortage of employment opportunities, high rates of school attrition, inadequate health care, and pervasive discrimination. According to the Barometer for Social Inclusion 2010, 45 percent of Roma who worked did not have a stable job. NGOs and the media reported that discrimination by teachers and other students against Romani students was a disincentive for Romani children to complete their studies.
Despite an order by the Ministry of Education forbidding segregation of Romani students, there were anecdotal reports of Romani children being placed in
the back of classrooms, teachers ignoring Romani students, and unimpeded bullying of Romani students by other schoolchildren. In some communities, authorities placed Romani students in separate classrooms or even in separate schools. The NGO Ovidiu Rom worked to assist and encourage Romani children in the school enrollment process. The NGO also continued its national public awareness campaign "scoala te face mare" ("school makes you great") to promote the importance of school enrollment, particularly kindergarten enrollment, to Romani parents and children.
A research project by the Impreuna Agency for Community Development conducted in April-May 2010 in 100 schools revealed that Romani children were segregated, received lower quality education, experienced discrimination from non-Romani peers and teachers, and had a higher dropout rate than non-Romani students (6.7 percent of Romani children, compared to 4.3 percent of non-Romani). The main reasons for dropping out of school were material shortages such as lack of school supplies and clothes (44 percent), poor grades (16 percent), lack of parental interest in schooling their children (9 percent), and early marriage (4 percent).
According to a survey conducted by Romani CRISS as part of a project funded by the UN Children's Fund entitled "Dimensions of Early Childhood Education and School Participation of Roma in Romania," segregation is more often encountered in primary school, where 64.5 percent of Romani students learned in segregated classes, whereas in secondary school 53 percent were in such classes.
On December 21, Romani CRISS and ECPI filed a complaint with the CNCD regarding the segregation of Romani children in Marie Sklodowska Curie Emergency Hospital for Children in Bucharest.
Romani communities were largely excluded from the administrative and legal systems. According to surveys in 2007 and 2008, between 1.9 and 6 percent of Roma lacked identity cards, compared to 1.5 percent of non-Roma. The lack of identity documents excluded Roma from participating in elections,
receiving social benefits, accessing health insurance, securing property documents, and participating in the labor market. Roma were disproportionately unemployed or underemployed. According to the Barometer for Social Inclusion 2010, 60 percent of Romani households lived on less than the minimum wage. The average monthly income of Romani households was 657 lei ($196).
NGO observers noted Romani women faced both gender and ethnic discrimination. Romani women often lacked the training, marketable skills, or relevant work experience to participate in the formal economy. According to a survey by the Association of the Romanian Romani Women, 67 percent of the Romani women polled were housewives and 80.7 percent did not report any professional skills.
The National Agency for Roma is tasked with coordinating public policies for Roma. Romani NGOs, however, criticized the scope of this agency's
responsibilities, noting that they are too broad and often overlap with the activities of other government bodies. During the year, the National Agency for Roma worked on six three-year strategic projects, costing 22.2 million euros ($28.9 million), financed jointly with the EU. The agency completed five of them by year's end.
In December the government approved a national strategy for the inclusion of the Roma for the period 20 12-2020. Romani NGOs and others criticized the strategy for not defining specific measurable benchmarks and goals and failing to identify its funding sources.
To improve relations with the Romani community, police continued to use Romani mediators to facilitate communication between Roma and the authorities and assist in crises.
Within the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, an advisory board is responsible for managing the relationship between police and the Romani community. During the year the Institute for Public Order Studies within the Ministry of the Administration and Interior conducted six training sessions for more than 300 police officers to promote human rights legislation and the prevention of torture and other forms of mistreatment. In May the general inspectorate also signed a partnership with the Ovidiu Rom Association to implement a project designed to reduce juvenile delinquency and child victimization within the Romani population. Several other projects were implemented throughout the year by local police units in Bucharest, Braila, Dolj, and Mures to facilitate police interaction with the Romani community and to encourage young members of this ethnic group to apply for police jobs.
According to the most recent census conducted in 2002, ethnic Hungarians are the country's largest ethnic minority with a population of 1.4 million.
In the Moldavia region the Roman Catholic, Hungarian-speaking Csango minority continued to operate government-funded Hungarian-language classes. According to the Association of Csango Hungarians in Romania (AMCM), 1,011 students in 17 schools received Hungarian-language classes during the 2011-2012 academic year. In 25 localities the AMCM sponsored daily educational activities in the Hungarian language. In some other localities, such as Pargaresti, Luizi Calugara, and Tuta, requests for Hungarian language classes were denied. The AMCM continued to complain that there was no
Hungarian-speaking school inspector at the School Inspectorate of Bacau County.
The law prohibits discrimination based on nationality. However, government officials at times subjected minorities to discrimination. There was a steady rise in societal violence and discrimination against minorities, particularly Roma, persons from the Caucasus and Central Asia, dark-skinned persons, and foreigners. The number of reported hate crimes increased during the year, and skinhead groups and other extreme nationalist organizations fomented
racially motivated violence. Racist propaganda remained a problem, although courts continued to convict individuals of using propaganda to incite ethnic hatred.
According to the SOVA Center, during the year racist violence resulted in the death of at least 20 persons, while 103 others were injured and six received death threats. Incidents were reported in 34 regions. Violence was concentrated in the major cities: seven were killed and 28 injured in Moscow city, four were killed and 19 injured in the greater Moscow Oblast, and three were killed and 16 injured in St Petersburg. The main targets of attack continued to be Central Asians (10 killed and 24 injured); leftist and youth activists (14 injured); and natives of the Caucasus region (six killed and four injured). There were 45 acts of neo-Nazi vandalism recorded in 20 regions during the year.
Violence against African minorities continued. On May 1, Interfax reported that two men in a bar yelling nationalist slogans beat an African doctoral student. The victim was taken to a hospital with multiple injuries and traumatic brain injury. According to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy's Task Force on Racial Violence and Harassment, police in Moscow consistently failed to record the abuse of African minorities, charge alleged attackers with any crime, or issue copies of police reports to victims.
On September 8, the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow started hearings against five men who were charged with inciting mass disorder, hooliganism, and using violence against law enforcement officers in connection with the Manezhnaya Square riots between ethnic Russians and people from the North Caucasus in December 2010. The men continued to be held in pretrial detention.
Skinhead violence continued to be a serious problem. Skinheads primarily targeted foreigners, particularly Asians and individuals from the North Caucasus, although they also expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, neofascist movements had
approximately 15,000 to 20,000 members, more than 5,000 of whom were estimated to live in Moscow. However, the ministry stated that if the category includes "extremist youth groups" in general, the number would be closer to 200,000 countrywide. In 2009 MBHR estimated there were as many as 70,000 skinhead and radical nationalist organizations, compared with a few thousand in the early 1990s. Skinhead groups were most numerous in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Yaroslavl, and Voronezh. The three most prominent ultranationalist group--the Great Russia Party, the Slavic Union Movement, and the Movement against Illegal Immigration--claimed 80,000, 10,000, and 20,000 members, respectively. Membership claims by these underground organizations were difficult to verify.
The deputy head of the FMS International and Public Relations Directorate, Konstantin Poltoranin, made the following statement to the BBC in April: "What is now at stake is the survival of the white race. We feel this in Russia. We want to make sure the mixing of blood happens in the right way here, and not the way it has happened in Western Europe where the results have not been good." Poltoranin was fired after the comments were made public.
Human rights organizations expressed concern that Romani children in schools experienced discrimination. According to Memorial a number of schools refused to register Romani students on the grounds that they lacked documents, while others segregated Romani students or placed them in classes designed for children with learning disabilities because of their ethnicity.
No information in the subsection on National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities
Numerous observers noted the existence of a climate of hostility toward national and ethnic minorities, which constituted 25 to 30 percent of the country's
population and included ethnic Hungarians, Bosniaks, Roma, Slovaks, Romanians, Vlachs, Bulgarians, Croats, Albanians, Ashkali, Egyptians, and others.
Roma, who constituted 1.4 percent of the population in the 2002 census but whose actual number was believed to be approximately 5.4 percent, continued to be the most vulnerable minority community and were the targets of police violence, societal discrimination, and verbal and physical harassment.
On June 27, six individuals were convicted for inciting racial and national hatred and intolerance in Jabuka village in June 2010. All six were given sentences below the legally prescribed minimum, one to eight years of imprisonment. Four were sentenced to five months of probation and two, who were convicted as minors, were sentenced to "correctional measures," including being required to finish high school. On October 7, both the prosecution and the defense appealed the case with the Court of Appeals of Novi Sad. The appeal continued at year's end.
Many Roma continued to live illegally in squatter settlements lacking basic services such as schools, medical care, water, and sewage facilities. According to UNICEF, Romani children were one-third as likely to live to their first birthday as other children and often faced difficulties in accessing health care. While the educational system provided nine years of free, mandatory schooling, including a year before elementary school, ethnic prejudice, cultural norms, and economic hardship discouraged some Romani children, especially girls, from attending school.
Ethnic Albanian leaders in the southern municipalities of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedja continued to complain that ethnic Albanians were underrepresented in state institutions at the local level. During the year the government began approving Albanian-language textbooks for elementary
school use and, on October 28, inaugurated an Albanian-language faculty of business in Bujanovac. Ethnic Albanians continued to lack textbooks in their mother tongue for secondary education.
The government took some steps to counter violence and discrimination against minorities. It operated a hotline for minorities and others concerned about human rights problems. Civic education classes, offered by the government as an alternative to religion courses in secondary schools, included information on minority cultures and multiethnic tolerance. Bodies known as national minority councils represented 22 minority communities and had broad competency over education, mass media, culture, and the
use of minority languages. Contrary to the December 2010 announcement by the minister for human and minority rights, elections for a Bosniak national minority council were not held during the year, and it remained the only un-constituted national minority council.
Government and societal discrimination against Roma and individuals of non-European ethnicity was common. Roma were the second largest ethnic minority with a population of 90,000 according to the 2001 census. Experts estimated that the Romani population was actually between 350,000 and 500,000. The discrepancy was attributed to Roma identifying themselves as Hungarians or Slovaks. Results of the most recent census, conducted in May, were not available at year's end.
NGOs reported racially motivated attacks on minorities (Roma and others) throughout the year, but authorities' investigation of such incidents varied by jurisdiction. During the year four cases of racially motivated attacks resulting in bodily harm were reported. Roma were singled-out for violence, and police detained numerous individuals for racially motivated attacks against Roma.
Several non-Romani minorities as well as foreigners were also victims of racially motivated attacks. In July a small group of right-wing extremist sympathizers verbally and physically attacked a man of African descent in Bratislava. The man's girlfriend called police, but because he suffered only minor injuries, the attack was handled as an administrative offense. Eventually, criminal proceedings were initiated on the grounds that the attackers were part of a group that supported the repression of rights and freedoms.
Extreme rightist, nationalist, and neo-Nazi groups continued to hold events designed to intimidate minority groups. Dressed in uniforms similar to those of
the Hlinka Guards (the fascist wartime militia), the groups' members held marches and rallies to commemorate the wartime fascist state and to spread messages of intolerance against ethnic and religious minorities. In the first nine months of the year, the LS-NS organized 13 public gatherings throughout the country. In addition to commemorating historical events and figures associated with the World War II Slovak fascist state, the LS-NS organized
anti-Roma public gatherings in locations where there were tensions between Roma and non-Romani population. While the nature of the gatherings was often thinly disguised under such euphemisms as fighting for social justice, security, or equal application of the law to all citizens, their anti-Romani character was sometimes more open, as during a protest against "gypsy extremists and gypsy parasitic criminality" that was held in Zilina in April.
An alleged 2006 attack and subsequent perjury charges against Hedviga Malinova, an ethnic Hungarian university student in Nitra, continued to draw media attention. Two young men allegedly physically assaulted Malinova after hearing her speak Hungarian. The district prosecutor discontinued the investigation after two weeks, concluding that Malinova had lied about the attack. In October 2010 the National Council's Human Rights Committee convened a hearing
to question the prosecutor general about delays in the case. In November the ECHR accepted an agreement between Malinova and the government and subsequently dropped the case pending before it. The agreement provided for the government, among others, to express regret over Malinova's case through a press release. As of year's end, the press release had not been published.
Widespread discrimination against Roma continued in employment, education, healthcare, housing, and loan practices.
Roma continued to face discrimination in accessing a wide variety of commercial services, including restaurants, hair salons, and public transportation. NGOs asserted that the cases of discrimination reported to organizations operating legal help lines represented only a fraction of discrimination cases in practice. In many cases, Romani individuals from socially excluded communities did not report discrimination and simply accepted refusal of access to commercial services as an everyday reality.
Activists frequently alleged that employers refused to hire Roma, with an estimated 80-90 percent of Roma from socially excluded communities being unemployed. NGOs working with Roma from socially excluded communities reported that, while job applications by Roma were often successful during the initial phase of selection, in a majority of cases, these applicants were excluded once the employer found out they were Roma. Cases of discrimination in hiring were rarely pursued through the courts.
Local authorities and groups forced evictions of Romani inhabitants or blocked them from obtaining construction permits or purchasing land. There were reports of local residents purchasing property to prevent it from being acquired by Romani families.
During 2010 several municipalities, mainly in eastern Slovakia, built walls to create a physical barrier between Romani and non-Romani communities. Local
councils often justified such walls as measures to reduce theft and criminality, reduce disruption of the peace, or reduce noise. The walls were criticized for further segregating Romani communities and limiting their access to communal facilities.
NGOs reported persistent segregation of Romani women in maternity wards in several hospitals in Eastern Slovakia, where they were accommodated separately from non-Romani women and not permitted to use the same bathrooms and toilets. Hospitals claimed that women were grouped according to their levels of hygiene and adaptability, not along racial lines.
Romani children from socially excluded communities faced educational segregation, both in terms of their disproportionate enrollment in special schools but also in schools in some municipalities, which were predominately attended by either Romani or non-Romani children (see section 6, Children).
Anti-Romani sentiments permeated public and political discourse. NGOs engaged in monitoring activities noted that media reports concerning Roma overwhelmingly focused on crime or other problems associated with socially excluded communities. Political discourse also contained sentiments or
policies which discriminated against Roma, both in the form of derogatory remarks, such as during election campaigns (see section 3), or through often- populist policies that placed Roma at a disadvantage.
Following the 2010 parliamentary elections, the Ministry of Interior created the position of Advisor on Roma Criminality. Activists criticized the decision for
implying causality between ethnicity and criminality. The ministry was also criticized for populist policies that claimed to get tough on criminality in areas bordering socially excluded Romani settlements but failed to address the causes of criminality or tackle crime issues within excluded settlements.
The law prohibits defamation of nationalities in public discourse; however, authorities enforced this law only when other offenses, such as assault or destruction of property, were also committed. There were instances during the year of public officials at every level defaming minorities and making derogatory comments about Roma. Inflammatory speech by government officials also continued to increase tensions between ethnic Hungarians and ethnic Slovaks.
The law provides for the imposition of fines on government institutions, civil servants, and legal entities that did not provide information required by law in Slovak. The law authorizes the Ministry of Culture to levy fines of up to 5,000 euros ($6,500) for noncompliance. Members of the ethnic Hungarian minority criticized the provision as discriminatory and a restriction on their right to free speech.
During the year the government made efforts to address violence and discrimination against Roma and other minorities, although some observers expressed concern that judges lacked sufficient training in relevant laws and court cases involving extremism and often did not handle cases properly. The government continued to implement its action plan against xenophobia and intolerance, which included monitoring of extremist activities by a special police unit. A commission consisting of NGOs, police, and government officials advised police on minority issues.
During the year the government made only limited progress on its national minority strategy, which incorporated a wide range of education, employment, housing, and social integration policy recommendations from the Romani advocacy community. While the government allocated approximately 200 million euros ($260 million) of EU structural funds to projects addressing the needs of the Romani community, NGOs complained that the funds had not been successfully distributed and the government lacked a comprehensive approach to Romani integration.
In August 2010 the government appointed Miroslav Pollak, a non-Roma with extensive NGO experience in social work, as the plenipotentiary for Romani affairs. The plenipotentiary maintained five regional offices to supervise the implementation of governmental policy on Romani issues, support infrastructure development, and cooperate with municipalities and villages to improve interaction between Romani and non-Romani populations. The Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family assigned specially trained social workers to Romani settlements to assist with government paperwork and to
advocate the importance of education and preventive health care. The Government Council on Human Rights, National Minorities, and Gender Inequality operated a Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Racism, Xenophobia, Anti-Semitism, and Other Forms of Intolerance.
The law provides special rights and protections to indigenous Italian and Hungarian minorities, including the right to use their own national symbols and access to bilingual education. Each of these minorities has the right to representation as a community in parliament. Other minorities do not have comparable special rights and protections.
The government considered ethnic Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Kosovo Albanians, and Roma from Kosovo and Albania to be "new minorities, and the
special constitutional provisions for indigenous minorities did not apply to them. The new minorities faced varying degrees of governmental and societal discrimination with respect to employment, housing, and education.
According to press reports, police opened an investigation in July into the appearance of posters with the slogan "Gypsies Raus (Gypsies Get Out) and neo-Nazi signs in the town of Lendava. Police arrested three young men for the crime. The Speaker of the National Assembly Pavel Gantar, Minister for Slovenians Abroad Bostjan Zeks, Human Rights Commissioner Zdenka Cebasek Travnik, and the head of the Slovenian Roma Association Jozko Horvat Muc condemned the incident.
Many Roma lived apart from other communities in settlements that lacked such basic utilities as electricity, running water, sanitation, and access to transportation. According to Roma Association officials, 68 percent of Romani settlements were illegal. Organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community noted that the exclusion of Roma from the housing market remained a problem. The UN special rapporteur for human rights declared in August that Slovenia had failed to fulfill the basic human rights of its minority population, specifically failing to provide adequate water and housing to Roma.
Official statistics on Roma unemployment and illiteracy were not available. However, organizations monitoring conditions in the Romani community and
officials employed in schools with large Romani student populations unofficially reported that unemployment among Roma remained at approximately 98 percent and that illiteracy rates among Roma remained approximately 85 percent. Government officials emphasized that illegality of settlements remained
the biggest obstacle to implementing the rights of Roma to adequate housing, water, and sanitation. The independent ombudsman recommended to the government that it act on an emergency basis to legalize Romani settlements.
The government continued the second year of a five-year national action plan of measures to improve educational opportunities, employment, and housing for the Roma. NGOs and community group representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Roma propagated within society, largely through public discourse.
There were instances of societal violence and discrimination against members of racial and ethnic minorities, and the government generally undertook efforts to combat the problem.
During 2010 the government-sponsored Network of Centers for Assisting Victims of Discrimination received 235 complaints of discrimination, of which 39 percent were from the African community, 20 percent from the Romani community, and 17 percent from the Latin American community. Of the complaints, 24 percent were related to discrimination based on unequal access to goods and services in both the public and private sectors, 22 percent were against
security forces, and 17 percent were related to discrimination in the workplace. The 2010 Raxen Report by the Movement against Intolerance estimated that there are approximately 4,000 racially motivated crimes in the country each year as well as over 200 xenophobic Web sites. The Office of the Spanish Ombudsman reported 48 complaints of racism and xenophobia in 2010.
On March 10, the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a report urging the country to take effective measures to eradicate the identification controls based on ethnical and racial approaches," which can lead to unfair arrests. The committee urged Spain to review the police staff
notice 1/2010 where arrest quotas of immigrants were included. According to the media, since 2008, the National Police have had orders to identify as many possible illegal immigrants in Madrid, with the objective of expelling them from the country. Four police unions have confirmed the reports both to the
Office of the General Prosecutor and the ombudsman, stating that they were forced to arrest foreigners just because they look like foreigners and could be without papers. The Ministry of Interior had denied the existence of the controls.
According to the domestic NGO Fundacion Secretariado Gitano (FSG), Roma continued to face discrimination in access to employment, housing, and
education. The Romani community, which the FSG estimated to number 650,000, experienced substantially higher rates of unemployment, poverty, and illiteracy than the general population. During the year the FSG reported 115 cases of discrimination against Roma, of which 30 percent involved discriminatory portrayals of Roma in the media and online.
On April 4-6, Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights, visited Madrid and met with the secretary general of social policy and consumption, Isabel Martinez Lozano. In his report on the visit, Hammarberg noted that the economic downturn had a disproportionally severe impact on Roma, whose rate of employment in 2009 declined by 35 percent, compared with a decline of 18 percent experienced by the general population, and may endanger improvements the country has achieved. He also noted that disproportionate numbers of Roma continued to live in segregated and substandard dwellings, with civil society reporting that 12 percent of Roma in the country lived in substandard housing and 4 percent lived in shantytowns. Hammarberg criticized certain Spanish media" for propagating negative stereotypes about immigrants and Roma, associating them with illegality, deviance, and lack of adaptation."
Politicians known for their hard-line stances against immigration gained ground following Catalonia's municipal elections in May. Xavier Garcia Albiol of the Popular Party of Catalonia became the new mayor of Badalona, a suburb of Barcelona that is the third largest city by population in Catalonia, in part due to his polemical views linking immigrants from Romania and other countries to crime and promising a tougher stance on illegal immigration. As a result of a 2010 campaign flyer linking immigrants to crime that stated We don't want Roma," Albiol was charged with inciting racist hate. As of year's end,
investigators were determining whether to send the case to trial.
In the May elections, the far-right, anti-immigrant Platform for Catalonia (PxC) increased its number of city council representatives in Catalonia from 17 to 67, but the party neither won any mayoral races nor earned a seat in the regional parliament. In November Juan Carlos Fuentes Linares, the PxC's former
secretary general and city councilman in the town of Vic, was sentenced to one-and-a-half years in prison for inciting hate. The charges stemmed from anti-Muslim pamphlets that Fuentes Linares distributed in the 2007 election campaign. In the same trial, the court absolved PxC founder and president Josep Anglada of the same charges, citing insufficient evidence to prove that Anglada knew about the pamphlets.
On May 27, the government approved the disciplinary code of the armed forces, which calls for penalties for the use of any type of discriminatory or xenophobic expressions.
On November 4, the Council of Ministers approved the Integral Strategy against Racial Discrimination and Xenophobia. The strategy called for improvement in the gathering of statistical information from public institutions, strengthening of the cooperation between entities and institutions, and
creation of prevention plans for vulnerable groups, including immigrants, refugees, unaccompanied minors, or those suffering discrimination because of their gender or religious beliefs. The strategy paid special attention to labor discrimination.
The law recognizes Sami (formerly known as Lapps), Swedish Finns, Tornedalers, Roma, and Jews as national minorities. The law protected and the government supported minority languages.
Societal discrimination and violence against Arab and Somali immigrants and Roma continued to be a significant problem during the year.
Police registered reports of xenophobic crimes, some of which were related to neo-Nazi or white-power ideology. Police investigated and the district attorney's office prosecuted race-related crimes. Official estimates placed the number of active neo-Nazis and white supremacists at 1,500. Neo-Nazi groups operated legally, but courts have held that it is illegal to wear xenophobic symbols or racist paraphernalia or to display signs and banners with inflammatory symbols at rallies, since the law prohibits incitement of hatred against ethnic groups.
It was frequently difficult to determine whether hate crimes had ethnic or religious motives, but abuses directed at members of ethnic minorities from Muslim-majority countries officially were reported as being anti-Islamic." Anti-Islamic behavior was aimed at both Arab and Somali immigrants. The NCCP hate crime report for 2010 counted 272 reported anti-Islamic hate crimes, or 49 percent of the total antireligious hate crimes. In 2009, 194 of the hate crimes reported were anti-Islamic crimes (33 percent of religion-related hate crimes), down from 272 in 2008.
The most frequent anti-Islamic crimes were crimes against persons, with 148 reported incidents in 2010, and 80 reported cases of agitation against an ethnic group. According to the report, 3 percent of anti-Islamic crimes were ideologically motivated.
The discrimination ombudsman received 694complaints regarding ethnic discrimination during the year.
The government estimated the Romani population at 50,000 persons. In 2010 a special delegation for Romani problems reported that a majority of Roma lived as outcasts, unemployment reached 80 percent, elementary education was rare, and a Rom's average life expectancy was significantly lower that the country's average. In 2010, 150 reported hate crimes were identified as anti-Romani. On September 9, the government announced a 46-million-kronor ($6.7 million) supplement to the 2012 budget aimed at improving the situation of Roma over a four-year period.
During the year the discrimination ombudsman handled five mediation and court cases involving Roma. The most common complaint was against landlords who refused to rent apartments to Roma. Conciliation with financial compensation to the Roma was the most common outcome.
Right-wing extremists, including skinheads, who expressed hostility toward foreigners, ethnic and religious minorities, and immigrants continued to be publicly active. Police estimated that the number of extremists remained steady at approximately 1,200. Statistics gathered by the Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism indicated that there were a total of 178 incidents against foreigners or minorities reported in 2010, compared with 112 incidents
recorded in 2009. These figures included instances of verbal and written attacks, which were much more frequent than physical assaults. Following the November 2010 adoption of the referendum on the automatic expulsion of foreigners convicted of serious crimes, left-wing protesters caused property damage at offices of the conservative Swiss People's Party (SVP). Authorities arrested some of the more violent protesters and charged them with willful property damage but released them the next day. On June 16, the Federal Commission against Racism released an analysis of incidents of ethnic discrimination in 2010 indicating that most were linked to sociopolitical events, such as the antiminaret referendum in 2009 or tensions in the country's relationship with Germany. Most victims were of Sub-Saharan African descent or from Central Europe, but many were Swiss citizens.
In 2010 a network of seven counseling centers, including the National Commission against Racism, recorded 230 cases of racial discrimination. For the first half of 2011, the Foundation against Racism and anti-Semitism documented 51 cases.
In December 2010 five men attacked a man of African descent on a tram in Basel. The perpetrators poured beer over the man and assaulted him verbally.
As the victim tried to escape, the assailants punched him in the face. He suffered severe facial injuries, which required medical treatment. No arrests or investigations were reported by year's end.
During the year the four main groups actively spreading racist ideology and engaging in anti-Semitic rhetoric were Geneve Non Conforme, Europaeische Aktion, the Lega dei Ticinesi, and the Party of Nationally Oriented Swiss (PNOS).
On April 22, PNOS held its general meeting in Bern and announced its candidacy in the national elections. Party leaders adopted a platform to abolish naturalization and laws against racial discrimination. They also advocated for the country to withdraw from the UN International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
On June 24, several dozen right-wing extremists held a festival in the Canton of Neuchatel, which was attended by extremists from the region and by the Artam Brotherhood from neighboring France. Press photos of the festival showed individuals performing the Nazi salute.
The government recognized the Jenisch as a minority group with approximately 35,000 residents in the country. A lack of proper camping facilities and transit areas reportedly forced many Jenisch to occupy land illegally. Between 2007 and 2011, the federal government allocated 750,000 Swiss francs ($840,000) for measures and projects to improve living conditions for the Jenisch.
In 2010 the Roma Foundation Zurich estimated that approximately 50,000 Roma resided in the country. In 2010 the Federal Commission against Racism expressed concern about increasingly hostile attitudes against Roma and urged the cantons and municipalities to create new campsites and parking areas to eliminate systemic discrimination against them. On October 14, the NGO humanrights.ch asserted that the situation for itinerant people had not improved and that the living situation for those without permanent residence had worsened within the past two years due to cantonal and national restrictions.
The constitution provides a single nationality designation for all citizens and does not expressly recognize national, racial, or ethnic minorities. In October the EU Commission's progress report observed the country's approach to respecting and protecting minority and cultural rights remained restrictive.
The country's law is interpreted to recognize only three religious and ethnic minorities: Armenian Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Greek Orthodox Christians. Other ethnic or religious minorities, such as Alevis, Assyrians, Protestants, Roman Catholics, Caferis, Yezidis, Kurds, Arabs, Roma, Circassians, or Laz, are prohibited from fully exercising their linguistic, religious, and cultural rights, and continued to face varying levels of pressure to assimilate.
Citizens of Kurdish origin constituted a large ethnic and linguistic group. More than 15 million of the country's citizens identified themselves as of Kurdish origin and spoke Kurdish dialects. Kurds who publicly or politically asserted their Kurdish identity or promoted using Kurdish in the public domain risked censure, harassment, or prosecution. In practice children whose first language is Kurdish could not be taught in Kurdish in either private or public schools.
Restrictions remain on use of languages other than Turkish in political and public sector spheres. On March 17, the Constitutional Court rejected the request of a Turkish citizen to use a Syriac surname, stressing that the law regulating surnames was vital for national unity.
Some parents were allowed to register the birth of their children under names derived from the Kurdish language, although the letters W, X, and Q could not be used because they do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.
Some progress occurred on preserving cultural rights. In July Mardin Artuklu University began offering Syriac language courses in addition to Kurdish literature and culture courses added in 2010 under its "Living Languages Institute." In October 2010 the university began classes for its inaugural undergraduate Kurdish Language and Literature Department degree program, the country's first such undergraduate program.
There is no firm estimate of the number of Roma in the country. Roma continued to face problems with access to education, health care, and housing. In January the parliament approved removing the word "gypsy" from a discriminatory clause in the law on the movement and residence of aliens which authorized the Ministry of Interior to "expel stateless and non-Turkish gypsies and aliens that are not bound to the Turkish culture." The EU Commission's
October progress report noted steps to address long-standing problems regarding the Roma but stated a comprehensive policy to address the needs of the Roma was still missing.
In July the government employment agency (Is-Kur) started implementing three- to six-month vocational training programs for Roma in 15 provinces. The European Roma Rights Center, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, and the Edirne Roma Culture Research and Solidarity Association conducted a program during the year to train the Romani community on civil society organization and activism. Literacy courses for Romani women offered by the Roma Culture and Solidarity Association of Izmir continued. Numerous associations celebrated International Roma Day in Ankara.
In the Sulukule neighborhood of Istanbul, redeveloped housing continued to sell for four to five times the amount that the original, mostly Romani occupants received as compensation for leaving the area. Most former residents declined the government's offer of new housing on the outskirts of the city. In Edirne
many members of the Romani community also declined the government's offer of new apartment-style housing on the grounds that it did not meet their needs.
Mistreatment of minority groups and harassment of foreigners of non-Slavic appearance remained a problem, although NGO monitors reported that hate crime incidence continued to decrease. While incitement to ethnic or religious hatred is a crime, human rights organizations stated the requirement to prove
actual intent, including proof of premeditation and intent to incite hatred, made its legal application difficult. Police and prosecutors generally prosecuted racially motivated crimes under laws against hooliganism or related offenses.
The government acknowledged that racism and ethnically motivated attacks were a problem. However, some officials continued to minimize their seriousness, maintaining that xenophobia was not a problem and violent attacks were isolated incidents. Law enforcement authorities often recommended that Africans studying in the country stay at home after dark and generally stay away from areas where young people congregate.
No official statistics were available on the number of racially motivated attacks. However, the Diversity Initiative monitoring group, a coalition of international and local NGOs headed by the IOM mission in Kyiv, reported 23 attacks involving 40 victims during the year. During the same period in 2010, seven attacks were reported. According to the Diversity Initiative, police initiated eight criminal cases in the attacks they documented during the year.
According to the Prosecutor General's Office, courts received three cases involving criminal intent to incite hatred, and investigations into three other
cases remained pending at year's end. During the year five persons were found guilty of violating the law against inciting hatred, compared with three in 2010 and four in 2009. According to the Prosecutor General's Office, four of the five people received amnesty and the fifth person was freed because of "active repentance." The IOM noted that members of law enforcement agencies are generally poorly trained on the application of the law against inciting hatred, and police generally applied laws against hooliganism to make arrests in such cases.
The criminal code provides increased penalties for hate crimes. Premeditated killing on grounds of racial, ethnic, or religious hatred carries a 10- to 15-year prison sentence. Other hate crimes can be punished by a fine from 3,400 to 8,500 hryvnias ($425 to $1,063) or up to five years in prison.
Advocacy groups asserted that police occasionally detained dark-skinned persons and subjected them to far more frequent and arbitrary document checks. At times victims of xenophobic attacks were prosecuted for acting in self-defense.
Some of the most active xenophobic groups were the unregistered Ukrainian National-Labor Party, the Patriots of Ukraine organization, the Ukrainian
Movement against Illegal Immigration, White Power-Skinhead Spektrum, the country's branch of Blood and Honor, and the World Church of the Creator Ruthenia. Such groups appeared to be marginal and poorly organized.
Roma continued to face governmental and societal discrimination. Romani rights groups estimated the country's Romani population to be between 200,000 and 400,000. Official census data placed the number at 47,600. The discrepancy was due in part to a lack of legal documentation and poor record keeping in the Romani community. According to experts, there were 200 Romani NGOs, of which two were national.
Approximately two-thirds of Roma were illiterate, 15 percent were infected with tuberculosis, and 60 percent of Romani children in Trans-Carpathia were infected with tuberculosis. One-third of Roma had no funds to pay for medicine or doctors' services.
Representatives of Romani and other minority groups claimed that police officials routinely ignored and sometimes abetted violence against Roma and referred to Romani ethnicity in crime reports. Romani rights NGOs reported several incidents in Lviv Oblast, where police entered Romani settlements, detained men, and brought them to police stations for fingerprinting and identification. According to these reports police did not identify the reason for detention or fingerprinting and mistreated the detained Roma.
There were fewer reports of government cooperation with the Romani community than in 2009. The chairman of the Roma Congress of Ukraine, Petro
Hryhorychenko, was formerly a member of the presidential council on ethnic-national policy and a member of the NGO advisory council with the SCNR.
The constitution provides for the free development, use, and protection of Russian and other minority languages. According to the Ministry of Education, 1,149 educational facilities used Russian as the main language of instruction, serving 685,806 schoolchildren. According to ministryfigures, 1,242,184 students studied Russian as a separate subject in secondary schools, and 13,147 secondary school students studied Russian as an extracurricular course.
Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities in Crimea continued to complain of discrimination by the ethnic Russian majority on the peninsula and in Sevastopol. They urged that the Ukrainian and the Crimean Tatar languages be given a status equal to Russian.
As of January 1, the Crimean Republican Committee for Interethnic Relations reported that approximately 264,500 registered Crimean Tatars lived in the country, including in Crimea and in Kherson Oblast.
According to the committee, Crimean Tatars resided in 300 settlements on the Crimean Peninsula, and authorities allocated 24.9 million hryvnias ($3.1 million) for their integration during the year. Crimean Tatars asserted that discrimination by local officials deprived them of equal opportunities for employment in local administrations and that propaganda campaigns, particularly by pro-Russian groups, promoted hostility against them. On October 5,
during a meeting with the representatives of the diplomatic community of Ukraine, Mustafa Jemilev, the chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, warned of increasing discrimination against Crimean Tatars. He stated that many Crimean Tatars were beginning to think that the "government considers them as second class people."
The law prohibits racial discrimination, but Travellers, as well as persons of African, Afro-Caribbean, South Asian, and Middle Eastern origin, at times reported mistreatment on racial or ethnic grounds.
On October 19, after a legal process that began in 2005, Essex police began an operation to clear an illegal Travellers' encampment at Dale Farm in Basildon, Essex. Thirty-nine protesters were arrested. Amnesty International estimated that 300 to 400 persons were evicted from the illegal settlement. Although some claimed this action was anti-Traveller, the evictions were in accordance with established legal procedures, and the Basildon Council offered alternative housing to those evicted.
In 2010/2011 the Home Office reported 2,982 racially or religiously motivated assaults with bodily harm or other injury; there were 4,058 such assaults without injury. These figures represent a 15 percent and a 6 percent decline, respectively, from 2009/2010 figures. It was frequently difficult to determine whether hate crimes had ethnic, xenophobic, or religious motives, and abuses directed at members of ethnic minorities from Muslim countries were officially reported as being "anti-Islamic."
In Scotland the August 2010 murder of a Chinese man, Simon San, continued to have a high profile. In August police issued a public apology
acknowledging their failure to investigate the attack as a racist incident. Two men convicted in the attack on San were sentenced to two years in prison, while a third was sentenced to five years. The lawyer of the victim's family said the accused would have faced tougher sentences if racial bias had been considered. However, the Crown Office stated there would be no inquiry into how prosecutors handled the case.
In Bermuda there were multiple instances of graffiti and one instance of stone throwing in July and August that were aimed at Asian and Indian migrant workers. In October several vehicles belonging to Filipinos were set ablaze. An MP and Amnesty International Bermuda condemned the acts. The Human Rights Commission responded by reminding the public that every person has equal dignity and an obligation to respect the rights of others.
No report done by the United States