Copying from the report 'Human rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe' (2012) by the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Counil of Europe Thomas Hammerberg:
"Anti-Gypsyism, a term indicating the specific expression of biases, prejudices and stereotypes that motivate the everyday behaviour of many members of majority groups towards the members of Roma and Traveller communities, is deeply rooted in Europe. Many Europeans who have never interacted with Roma or Travellers volunteer detailed, stereotypical descriptions of Roma or Traveller appearance and behavior as a result of having absorbed this general cultural understanding.1
Anti-Gypsy stereotypes that are prevalent throughout Europe – such as the idea that Roma or Travellers are disproportionately reliant on welfare, or are the exclusive perpetrators of various kinds of crimes – pose significant obstacles to overcoming negative attitudes towards these persons. The Commissioner has repeatedly highlighted that anti-Gypsyism is a crucial factor preventing the inclusion of Roma in society and that resolute action against it must therefore be central to any efforts to promote their integration. As a consequence, the Commissioner has noted that “without changes in attitudes within the majority population, all programmes aimed at improving the situation of the Roma people are bound to fail”.2
In addition, all efforts made by the Roma communities themselves to break out of their marginalisation and relate positively to the rest of society will remain in vain. Efforts that are made towards the inclusion of Roma and Travellers should also be accompanied by measures to eradicate anti-Gypsyism within the majority of the population. Recognising that anti-Gypsyism must be eradicated from European society if discrimination against Roma and Travellers is to be eliminated, the Council of Europe and the European Commission launched the “Dosta! Go Beyond Prejudice, Discover the Roma!” campaign in 2006. The Commissioner has supported the launch of the “Dosta!” Campaign in many countries.
Anti-Gypsyism is reflected in the use of stigmatising anti-Roma rhetoric in public, notably political and media, discourse. The Internet is increasingly used as a platform for both expression of anti-Gypsyism and the organisation of groups that promote it. The widespread lack of knowledge of Roma history and culture, both amongst the general public and at the political level, including the lack of recognition of Roma as victims of genocide during the Second World War, further fuels anti-Gypsyism across Europe."
1. Dosta! Campaign, “Aspects of anti-Gypsyism”, 22 November 2006.
2. Commissioner for Human Rights, “Positions on the human rights of Roma”, Position Paper, Strasbourg, 30 May 2010.