Situation of the Roma Community in Govanhill, Glasgow

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The Roma have been identified as the most vulnerable and deprived ethnic group within Europe. As Harda (2006) argues, モDisproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education, health care, administrative and other services, they face considerable obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedomsヤ.1 With the collapse of state socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), those living in the former Eastern Bloc have seen their quality of life deteriorate, losing what little employment they had along with their housing and many of the social programmes on which they depended.2 Facing increased hardship, racism and discrimination the Roma have fled their worsening situation in greater numbers, first as asylum seekers and later, after May 2004, as 'new' citizens of an enlarged European Union (EU). However, they have been met by a new wave of anti-Roma attitudes emerging in Western Europe, marked by media speculation about the consequences, real and imagined, of large scale immigration of Roma from the East. This report brings together research on a number of complex and inter-related issues regarding the social exclusion of Roma minority groups in Europe. In particular, the authors have examined the challenges that Roma communities, migrating from Eastern to Western Europe, face. The report is organised into several sections dealing with barriers to Roma inclusion across Europe and across a range of public services, as well as more specifically in relation to access to housing and employment opportunities in the UK. A significant part of this study evaluates the work of service providers in the Govanhill area of Glasgow where Slovak Roma are now residing. This evaluation places the Roma experience within the broader political, social policy and cultural context. It also recognises the complexity and multiple levels of the policy-making arena.
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  Report on the Situation of the Roma Community in Govanhill, Glasgow Authors: Lynne Poole and Kevin Adamson, School of Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland ScottishUniversitiesRoma Network  Table of Contents Executive Summary ...........................................................................................Background to this Report ....................................................................................The Research ..................................................................................................Roma in Europe: A Brief Account of a Persecuted Group ................................................Refugee Policy in Britain ......................................................................................From ‘Forced’ to ‘Voluntary’ Migration?.......................................................................The EU Policy Context .......................................................................................... Pre Accession Post-Accession: The Challenge for EU policy-making Post-Accession: The Challenge for the Roma Post-Accession Challenges for UK Policy MakersThe National Policy Context in Britain: The Challenge of Immigration ...................................Roma Rights in Scotland and the UK ........................................................................Evaluation of Service Provision for Roma in Govanhill:Research Methodology ........................Research Findings ............................................................................................. Access to Employment and Employment Services Access to Welfare Benefits Access to Social Housing and Homelessness Assistance Access to Health Services Access to Schooling and Education ServicesCommunity Building, Community Integration and Community Safety ...................................Summary .......................................................................................................Recommendations .............................................................................................Bibliography ....................................................................................................List of participant organisations and agencies ............................................................Acknowledgements ........................................................................................... 1 Roma Report   213141520252660606060303235366060606060464748535757  Executive Summary  The Roma have been identified as the most vulnerable and deprived ethnic group within Europe. As Harda (2006) argues, “Disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education, health care, administrative and other services, they face considerable obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms”. 1 With the collapse of state socialist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), those living in the former Eastern Bloc have seen their quality of life deteriorate, losing what little employment they had along with their housing and many of the social programmes on which they depended. 2  Facing increased hardship, racism and discrimination the Roma have fled their worsening situation in greater numbers, first as asylum seekers and later, after May 2004, as ‘new’ citizens of an enlarged European Union (EU). However, they have been met by a new wave of anti-Roma attitudes emerging in Western Europe, marked by media speculation about the consequences, real and imagined, of large scale immigration of Roma from the East.Historically, immigration has presented a number of significant challenges to nation states, not least in relation to their nationally-based systems of welfare. The development of the welfare system in Britain took as its starting point the prioritising of British workers and their families and notions of the ‘national interest’. 3  Indeed, Britain, not unlike other European member states, has a long history of, at best, the subordinated inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities deemed to be ‘in’ but not ‘of’ the nation 4  and, at worst, their total exclusion from welfare services and benefits. Similarly, the EU project has represented a particular kind of challenge to its member states insofar as it has been built on a commitment to the free movement of capital and labour, goods and services. More specifically, as the EU has enlarged over time, those previously deemed to be ‘outsiders’ have been reconstructed as ‘citizens of Europe’, legitimate ‘insiders’ in possession of a portfolio of formal rights that cannot be limited by individual national governments within the framework of EU law, whilst at one and the same time being at risk as a result of processes of racism and discrimination operating at the local and national level. 5  In short, the Roma are vulnerable to the combined impact of being an ethnic minority and migrant workers. In addition to these two factors, their historical, and at times systematic, abuse by both state and civic society across Europe has left a legacy of mistrust and isolation. This report brings together research on a number of complex and inter-related issues regarding the social exclusion of Roma minority groups in Europe. In particular, the authors have examined the challenges that Roma communities, migrating from Eastern to Western Europe, face. The report is organised into several sections dealing with barriers to Roma inclusion across Europe and across a range of public services, as well as more specifically in relation to access to housing and employment opportunities in the UK. A significant part of this study evaluates the work of service providers in the Govanhill area of Glasgow where Slovak Roma are now residing. This evaluation places the Roma experience within the broader political, social policy and cultural context. It also recognises the complexity and multiple levels of the policy-making arena.The research found that many of the problems of the Roma stem from their deliberate exclusion from citizenship in the EU countries from which they srcinate. This exclusion is a result of deep-rooted racism at all levels of society. Clearly more needs to be done to protect the rights of Roma people in countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania and in this the EU, and hence all of 2 Roma Report
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