Friday, November 18, 2011

PRESS RELEASE Financial crisis fuels discrimination in Europe

Financial crisis fuels discrimination in Europe

A significant increase in the number of atrocities against minorities, such as the Roma, the Sinti, the Travellers, the Ashkali, etc. raises deep concern about the violation of human rights within the European Union. Discriminatory treatment of minorities has been a serious problem for many years and despite official policies to improve the standing of such people the number of attacks on individuals, groups and their cultural identity has significantly increased.

Austerity programs aimed at resolving the global financial crisis have had a disproportionately harsh impact on those individuals and groups who were already most at risk from poverty and exclusion. They have also contributed to a heightened blame culture fuelling discrimination and destroying positive opportunities for the future. EU and member countries must ensure that they have effective measures to combat discrimination and the scape-goating of minority groups.

The crisis within the European Union is not simply a crisis of the Euro or a crisis of finances, it has become a crisis of humanity and of caring for the weakest and most vulnerable groups in society.

Social Workers all over Europe are profoundly disturbed by this negative development and have joined together to raise their voices against the abuse of fundamental rights and the denial of basic entitlement to welfare benefits, housing, clothing, medical and social care and education as a consequence of austerity programs. Poverty is rising fast in many countries across Europe and marginalized people such as Roma, Sinti, Travellers and Ashkali are in the forefront of those who are unable to secure sufficient funds to meet their basic survival needs.

Human Rights are indivisible and every human being is entitled to dignity. It is simply not tolerable that the weakest are being forced to pay such a high price for the mistakes of the powerful and wealthy. Social workers demand measures that:
Save people – not money
Guarantee basic needs – not only bank balances
Uphold human rights – not shareholders dividends
Promote well being – not profit-margins
Celebrate diversity of people and cultures and social coherence in a united Europe

Contact: Nicolai Paulsen, President of the IFSW European Region [International Federation of Social Workers – Europe e.V.]

Cell phone: + 45 40 56 19 59

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