ECMI Issue Brief #31 released

ECMI PublicationsThe Situation of Roma between Human Rights and Economics is now online. The ECMI Issue Brief #31 is written by Dr Eben Friedman.

In the Issue Brief #31 of the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI), Dr Eben Friedman describes and questions a shift in focus in intergovernmental organizations’ approach to Roma.

The dominant focus of documents on Roma published by intergovernmental organizations in the 1990s was on providing redress for past violations of human rights and protection from future discrimination.

According to Friedman, this is no longer the case as of early 2014 Europe. In the ECMI Issue Brief #31 he demonstrates how “Over the last decade, it has become increasingly common for calls to improve the situation of Roma to be justified in terms of economic benefits for society as a whole.”

Concluding his overview of the shifting focus, Friedman points out some serious concerns:

“Although presumably intended to build support for measures to improve the situation of Roma, the coexistence of human rights and economic discourses is not necessarily an easy one.”

“… the increasing frequency with which economic arguments are deployed … suggest at the very least a need for vigilance to prevent the backsliding on human rights commitments which is implicit in discussion of assimilation or extermination as a policy option in the present day.”

With this background, and when the attempt is to improve the situation of Roma, Friedman suggests as the most promising “… the promotion among non-Roma of a broad understanding of human rights as including the economic and cultural as well as the civil and political.”

Dr Friedman is an independent consultant and an ECMI Non-Resident Researcher

ECMI Issue Briefs © from the European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI)

ECMI Issue Briefs problematize and present minority issues that have been identified as relevant for greater dissemination by the Centre’s research team. They aim to introduce important issues for further debate and where relevant make recommendations for future agenda setting.

ECMI Issue Briefs are written either by the staff of ECMI or by outside authors commissioned by the Centre. As ECMI does not propagate opinions of its own, the views expressed in any of its publications are the sole responsibility of the author concerned.

The European Centre for Minority Issues (ECMI) is a non-partisan institution founded in 1996 by the Governments of the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German State of Schleswig-Holstein.

ECMI was established in Flensburg, at the heart of the Danish-German border region, in order to draw from the encouraging example of peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities achieved here. ECMI’s aim is to promote interdisciplinary research on issues related to minorities and majorities in a European perspective and to contribute to the improvement of interethnic relations in those parts of Western and Eastern Europe where ethnopolitical tension and conflict prevail.

ECMI Roma in FocusECMI’s work on and with Roma is described more thoroughly in this booklet.

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