NGOs demand respect for Swiss gypsies

Jenish children at a campground in Bern Keystone

To mark International Roma Day, minority and human rights organisations have demanded more respect and recognition for gypsies living in Switzerland. They say the Jenish, Sinti and Roma people are often stigmatised in politics and in the media.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

In an open letter to Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga, published on Wednesday, groups including Amnesty International and Caritas asked the Swiss government to encourage Roma residents to participate in politics.

Between 80,000 and 100,000 Roma – most of them with a Swiss passport – live in Switzerland. However, they are completely absent in politics, criticised the coalition of groups behind the letter.

Coalition members also said that the Roma are often victims of targeted racial profiling by the authorities. They called for measures to educate public officials about the situation of the Roma.

On a more positive note, they lauded the creation of a working group tasked with the problem of too few campsites, but called on the government to make more space for foreign travellers who are passing through.

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