EU agency study: Situation of Bulgarian Roma is appalling

Written by on November 29, 2016 in Bulgaria, Latest, Minorities & Justice - 1 Comment

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released on November 29 2016 its latest Minorities and Discrimination Survey. The study deals with the situation of Roma people in nine EU member states: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, Croatia, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia.

The FRA report says that there are huge problems in several areas. Especially in Bulgaria, most Roma are far from being granted their fundamental rights. Poverty, exclusion from good education and discrimination in the job market, as well as in other areas, are just some of the problems. 

In the nine countries surveyed, 80 per cent of all Roma live below the poverty threshold. In Bulgaria, the rate is 86 per cent, higher than the average, compared to 22 per cent of the general population.

In all nine countries surveyed, a third of all Roma people live in housing without tap water, and half of all Roma aged six to 22 do not attend school. The publication also cites “intolerable discrimination and unequal access to vital services”. The right to non-discrimination guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is not being fulfilled in many countries, including Bulgaria. 

The basis for the study is an in-depth survey, which includes information collected from more than 30 000 people living in Roma households in the countries mentioned. 

The proportion of Roma early school-leavers is disproportionately high, compared with the general population. School segregation remains a problem in Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia, despite the legal prohibition of this practice and recent legal cases at the European Court of Human Rights.

In Bulgaria, nine per cent of compulsory-school-age children from Roma families do not go to school. School segregation is another issue.

In the nine countries, 25 per cent of all Roma people aged 16 or older are employed, while 34 per cent are unemployed. The rest keep the house, are enlisted in the army, or retired. In Bulgaria, only 23 per cent of all Roma are employed, while 55 per cent are unemployed.

The rate of 16 to 24-year-old Bulgarians of Romani origin, who are neither in work, nor in education or training, is 65 per cent, while the rate is 79 per cent for girls and women, and 52 per cent for boys and men.

Only 45 per cent of all Bulgarians of Romani origin, aged 16 or older, are covered by a national, basic health insurance. This is by far the worst rate of all countries, which are part of the study.

In Bulgaria, 65 per cent of all Roma people live in dwellings without any toilet, shower or bathroom inside. This is the second highest rate, while, in this regard, the situation is worse only in neighbouring Romania.

The full report entitled “Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey” can be obtained here.

 

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