UK government out-of-step with United Nation’s recommendations on human rights for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities

Every four and a half years United Nations member states have their human rights records analysed as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. It was the UK Government’s turn in 2017. We submitted a report to the UN highlighting some of the issues Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities face in the UK and argued that much more needs to be done to improve the human rights of Gypsy and Traveller communities. We worked with the British Institute of Human Rights, who coordinated the joint civil society report, to ensure Gypsy, Roma and Traveller issues were included in the agenda.

What does the UN UPR say about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities?

A number of UN member states including Guatemala, Indonesia, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Lebanon put forward recommendations on how the UK government could strengthen human rights for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. These included that the UK:

  • Elaborate a general strategy, in consultation with members of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, to ensure a systematic and coherent approach to address the problems that such communities continue to face, including discrimination and stigmatisation (134.89 – noted by UK government).
  • Take all necessary steps to prevent all kinds of discrimination directed at minorities in the community, namely the Roma community (134.90 – supported by UK government).
  • Collaborate in the approval of an integration strategy for Gypsies, Travellers and Roma people in all the United Kingdom (134.91 – noted by UK government).
  • Strengthen and activate existing laws and legislations in the field of combating discrimination and all forms of racism and to make further efforts to combat discrimination against Gypsies, nomads and Roma (134.92 – supported by UK government).

Speaking about the UN UPR, Abbie Kirkby, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT) said:

“We are really encouraged to see several UN member states put forward recommendations to the UK Government to improve the human rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. We are pleased that some of the recommendations affecting Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities have been accepted and we will now be looking to ascertain how the UK government intends to fulfil these commitments. We are disappointed to see that the UK government has once more failed to commit to a National Roma Integration Strategy, which would set out a strategy for Roma inclusion enabling the government to make much needed improvements in the areas of health, education and accommodation.”

Adding to this, Lisa Smith, Romany Gypsy, Global Leader for Young Children at the World Forum Foundation and Youth Engagement at Travellers Times’ said,

“Without a National Roma Integration Strategy, there is no way to measure improvements in the lives of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities”

The full report is available in our Policy and Publications section – view it now.

About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)

FFT is a Traveller led charity which has been working for equality for Gypsies and Travellers since 1994. We are a national charity who work on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.

Find out more

If you would like to find out more information about issues affecting Gypsy and Traveller communities in the United Kingdom, please visit our Policy and Publications section.

Media Contact

Sarah Sweeney

Tel: 01273 234 777 Email: [email protected]

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