Situation of the Roma Community in Govanhill, Glasgow

Publication date

21 Jul 2008

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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. 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.