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Bulgaria: EU intervention needed at mounting anti-Roma sentiment

president of Universal Society of Hinduism

Rising anti-Roma sentiment in some quarters of Bulgaria raises concern.  The European Union (EU) should urgently intervene to protect the human rights and freedoms of Roma (Gypsies) in Bulgaria.

Roma have always been used as a scapegoat in history. Last week a number of anti-Roma rallies and violence in Bulgaria have blamed Roma for almost all the major problems faced by the country like corruption, crime, etc. and have asked for dismantling of their settlements. Language of hatred does not belong in a civilized and moral world and must be put to an end. All Bulgarians, Roma or non-Roma should be treated equally and fairly.

Roma upliftment should be the first priority in Bulgaria and Europe as their maltreatment is a dark stain on the face of the continent. It is simply immoral to continue staying apathetic and a silent spectator ignoring Roma plight, who reportedly regularly face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, etc.

Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg has visited a Roma settlement in the Republika district of Sofia (Bulgaria) in the past, where he assessed the living conditions as inhumane. “No one should live in these conditions in today’s Europe”, he declared.

Bulgaria is known for its long sandy Black Sea Coast, multicolored monasteries, footballer Hristo Stoichkov, poet Peyo Yavorov, etc. Georgi Parvanov is President and Boiko Borisov is Prime Minister of Bulgaria, which boasts of nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

October 2, 2011

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Rajan Zed
By Rajan Zed

President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Nevada, USA

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