The Roma in Europe are increasingly subject to racism, social exclusion, trafficking, and violence, in spite of efforts by European Union institutions to uphold Roma human rights, according to a new article by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights.

Europe’s Roma population “constitutes the poorest, most stigmatized, and excluded population within the EU,” wrote Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB director of research and professor of the practice of public health and human rights, and Margareta Matache, FXB instructor, in an August 2, 2014 article on the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs website. As an example, they cited the June 2014 kidnapping and vicious beating in Paris of a Roma teen, who nearly died.

Such brutal incidents are not unusual, the authors wrote. Against a backdrop of financially unstable times when xenophobic views are on the rise, there has been an uptick in negative public sentiment about the Roma, in openly racist anti-Roma statements made by politicians, and in moves to keep the Roma in segregated communities and schools. Such anti-Roma sentiment has emerged time and again throughout the long history of Roma life in Europe, the authors wrote. During the Holocaust, between 220,000 and 1.5 million of Europe’s Roma were killed.

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