S: Roma situation prompts General Synod statement

The General Synod of the Church of Sweden is in session this week in Uppsala in the Church year that has social responsibility as its theme. The General Synod would particularly like to highlight the plight of the Roma by issuing the following statement.
“The Roma are a group strongly discriminated against in Europe. The persecution of the Roma has a long history. Today we see how the Roma, even those who are citizens of an EU country, are subject to victimization and inhumane treatment and are deprived of their rights.

The growing hostility towards the Roma must be opposed throughout Europe and the Roma provided with tangible opportunities for education, health care, homes and means of support. Their civil rights as EU citizens must be considered to be equal to those of other EU citizens. When a Roma from a non- EU country seeks asylum in an EU member country, his or her reasons for seeking protection must be taken seriously.

We in Sweden and the Church of Sweden have a responsibility to work in a strategic, goal-oriented and long-term manner for the Roma in our country to have their rights assured. We must also work to ensure that the situation of the Roma in Europe is thoroughly analysed and that action is taken within the EU to secure and develop the responsibilities the member states have towards their Roma citizens. Regardless of the religious beliefs of the Roma, the Church of Sweden at all levels has a responsibility to contribute to ensuring that the human dignity of the Roma is upheld and their human rights assured. Church of Sweden parishes are encouraged to strengthen their commitments and to further develop the participation of Roma in services of worship and in parish life.”

Ewa Almqvist. Press Secretary. Tel.: +46 (0)18-16 96 77, +46 (0)705-46 96 77, E-mail: ewa.almqvist@svenskakyrkan.se Duty press service outside office hours: +46(0)18-16 94 75

Read more about the Church of Sweden and migration issues at: www.svenskakyrkan.se/migration You can also read the debate article written by Archbishop Anders Wejryd and Thomas Hammarberg about the situation of the Roma in Europe at: http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?id=690836Church of Sweden