On Thursday October 12 the EEB, ERGO Network and partners are bringing together organisations and individuals from across Europe for the first ever Conference on Environmental Justice for Roma Communities.
In some of the richest countries in Europe, systematic environmental racism is pushing Roma communities into marginalised neighbourhoods, exposing them to pollution and depriving them of access to basic environmental services. This is the conclusion of a report that will soon be published by the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network. Following a previous report which uncovered cases of environmental racism in Eastern and Central Europe, this report locates cases in Ireland, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.
Despite this only four EU countries explicitly mention the environment in their national strategies for equality, inclusion and participation of Roma.
Through the conference, stakeholders in Roma rights and environmental justice will discuss how to eradicate the environmental racism that is harming Roma communities on the continent. Among other things, we will explore how the Roma Strategic Framework might be leveraged and how Green Deal policies can support this effort, as well as establish a direct link between the fight against antigypsyism and the impact of environmental discrimination.
Diego Francisco Marin, Policy Officer for Environmental Justice at the EEB, says:
“Across Europe, we witness the cruel intersection of environmental injustice and social inequality. The burdens of pollution, poor housing, lack of access to water, and energy poverty disproportionately affect marginalised communities, like the Roma. These stark realities remind us that true progress can only be achieved when we address both the environmental and social dimensions of justice.”
Gabriela Hrabanova, Director at ERGO Network, says:
“The fact that the conference is taking place in Cluj is symbolic, as the Roma living beside the toxic waste site in Pata-Rat have been intentionally segregated then abandoned and victimised by the local authorities because of racism. We hope that with this conference, we will not only raise awareness about the impact of environmental racism but also that the authorities in Cluj will start dealing with the Pata-Rat community and provide appropriate solutions for all those living there.”