Council of Europe firmly condemns anti-Roma rhetoric against a member of the ROMACT team

The Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe for Roma issues rejects without reservation comments made earlier this month by Lega Nord MEP Gianluca Buonanno, during the Italian TV show Piazza pulita broadcasted on La7.
MEP Buonanno indulged in hate speech against Roma and their representative during the programme, Ms Dijana Pavlovic, President of the Roma and Sinti Federation and National Project Officer for ROMED and ROMACT Joint Programmes of the European Commission and the Council of Europe.
Statements that he made including “Gypsies are the dregs of the society” hardly contribute to fostering useful dialogue in addressing Roma issues.
The Council of Europe often draws attention to biased rhetoric and reporting in the public domain. Negative portrayals of Roma are widespread in today’s Europe, and such prejudices fuel discrimination and intolerance towards Roma. The power of persuasion of those who have access to the public domain should instead be used to counter hate speech and to encourage the inclusion of all citizens.
All public discourse which publicly incites direct or indirect discrimination, hatred or violence against Roma should be condemned.
Further reading on Council of Europe's texts and activities related to anti-Gypsyism:
ECRI General Policy Recommendation No.13: Combating anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma
Commissioner for Human Rights on European media and anti-Gypsy stereotypes and Politicians using anti-Roma rhetoric
Dosta! Campaign
No Hate Speech Movement

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