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Finland must end inhumane treatment of Gypsies

president of Universal Society of Hinduism

Roma have reportedly been evicted from Kalasatama camp and are not allowed to camp on City of Helsinki property or sleep in their cars in the severe winter.

On the other hand, Occupy Helsinki movement has reportedly been permitted to continue their camp on City of Helsinki land, which included a tent and a hut, for the last few months in the middle of Helsinki. They were not against Occupy Helsinki movement but were simply concerned about Roma and fair implementation of existing laws.

Yet, all should be equal before the law. Instead of systematic discrimination against Roma, Finland should work on poverty elimination and Roma inclusion programs. It is simply inhuman to continuously crack down on poor Roma.

In the past, City of Helsinki has dismantled Roma camps without providing alternative accommodation, while there are similar camps/shacks within the Helsinki city limits occupied by Finnish derelicts and homeless alcoholics.

Finland should take care of its Roma population who reportedly face apartheid conditions. Roma had been living in Finland since 1500s and took part alongside other Finns in all of the wars the country participated in. What more Roma need to do and how many more centuries they have to reside in Finland to prove that they are “real and equal” Finns like any other ?

It is 2012 and many Finland restaurants, stores, and other licensed premises still reportedly refuse them entry.

Replying to a telephone survey in the past, some employers reportedly admitted that they would not want to hire a Roma even if he/she had the qualifications for a job.

Prejudicial treatment occurs even though the Finnish Penal Code, through an amendment adopted in 1995 [sections 11(8) and (9)], criminalizes incitement to racial hatred and racial discrimination. The Criminal Code at Article 47(3) also provides for punishment of discrimination in employment.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which represents about 80 percent of the Finns, should also come out in support of the cause of this distinct ethnic and cultural group of Roma, because religion teaches us to help.

March 27, 2012

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Rajan Zed
By Rajan Zed

President of Universal Society of Hinduism, Nevada, USA

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