Access to justice for Roma and antigypsyism as a special form of racism
Romani people are among the social groups of the population that suffer severe and increased discrimination and racist violence. Hate crimes, however, are one of the many issues that Roma face today. Anti-gypsyism is a form of racism that manifests itself against Roma, has specific characteristics and is reinforced by ideas and prejudices based on racial superiority. While official Greek government statistics show an increase in recorded racist crimes, it remains a matter of concern that less than half of the reported incidents are prosecuted. At the same time, there seems to be a huge problem with regard to police violence and arbitrariness against Roma; in our country in particular, reports of such incidents are now particularly worrying, while few efforts are being made to reduce this phenomenon. A key problem linked to the recurrence of torture and police arbitrariness is impunity. Although interventions, actions and strategies for the social integration of Roma have been planned in recent years, we have not yet managed to design and implement targeted measures and interventions at the level of prevention and repression to tackle racist violence.
Alexandra Karagianni is a legal expert and human rights defender. She has worked with national and international organisations including the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.