234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Shelly Han
February 15, 2012
VIOLENCE AGAINST ROMA
U.S. Helsinki Commission to hold hearing on violence against Roma
WASHINGTON—Today the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced the following hearing:
Building Bridges – or Burning Them?
The Escalation of Violence against Roma in Europe
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
B-318 Rayburn House Office Building
Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe today (estimated at over 12 million). But over the past 20 years, they have been caught in a downward spiral of profound social exclusion and economic marginalization. To make matters worse, since 2007, there has been an escalation of violence against Roma, including by sniper fire, Molotov cocktail attacks, and anti-Roma rioting. Anti-Roma political discourse may further inflame an already combustible situation.
This hearing will examine the factors contributing to the escalation of violence in the region, the potential risks for countries that fail to bring this phenomenon under control, and recommendations for steps to counter these human rights violations.
The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:
• Andrzej Mirga, Senior Advisor on Romani Issues, OSCE
• Dezideriu Gergely, Executive Director of the European Roma Rights Center
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.