Letter to Commissioner Jourova

16 May 2019

Brussels, 14 May, 2019

 

Dear Commissioner Jourova,

I hope that you are fine. I am turning to you with a request.

According to recent news, there was a police action against the Roma and Traveller community in Belgium on 7 May with the intention of arresting traffickers of stolen vehicles. In the framework of the police action, arbitrary, discriminatory and disproportionate measures were taken by the police, such as the arrests of innocent people and the confiscation of their belongings, including their caravans, thereby depriving many people, among them children, from their housing. Caravans are recognised by the Belgian state as a form of housing, their right to housing was therefore violated and no alternative shelter or assistance were provided for the victims of over-policing.

ERGO Network and other Belgian organisations called on the Belgian Ministry of Interior on 10 May to stop the disproportionate and discriminatory arrests of entire communities and to take remedial actions, among others, to return the caravans to their rightful owners.

With the approach of the EP elections, as well as Belgian national parliamentary elections, we are seriously concerned that the Roma and Traveller community is once again victim of hate crime and hate speech, and that politicians will use them as scapegoats to justify their racist political messages and to make political gains.

Knowing your dedication to fighting against anti-Gypsyism, we would kindly ask you to help us achieve justice for these innocent Roma people.

Thank you for your kind considerations.

Best regards,

Soraya Post