ERRC Launches ‘Roma Justice Project’ Platform

Today, on Roma Resistance Day, the European Roma Rights Centre launches its Roma Justice Project: a long-term, evolving initiative arguing for a restructuring of Europe’s criminal legal systems to provide better accountability and fairer representation for Roma before the law. The project is centred around a web platform that explores Romani people’s interactions with the criminal legal systems of Europe. By linking our lived experiences of discrimination as Romani individuals with a body of evidence that includes research reports, legal judgments, and quantitative data, the project exposes a criminal legal system that is deeply embedded with institutional racism and unable to function in a way that provides equality or justice for Roma.

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“The evidence in the ERRC’s legal docket, in the judgments it has won, and in its field-research points to a more institutionally racist criminal legal system than most people imagine. Police harassment and brutality is a scourge on Romani communities for sure, but it is often only the first indignity in a much bigger system that profiles, prosecutes, and imprisons Roma at an alarming scale in Europe. Calling this racist system out is a necessary first step to challenging it. The Roma Justice Project is an undertaking that pledges to do just that while arguing for a restructuring of this system that was never designed to bring justice for Roma in the first place” said the ERRC’s Advocacy & Communications Director, Jonathan Lee.

Starting with documentation of widespread ethnic profiling and police misconduct, the platform illuminates racism in investigative bodies, prosecution services, and judiciaries, and links these with the ultimate overrepresentation and mistreatment of Romani individuals in prisons. The platform includes an interactive map showing incidents of police misconduct against Roma, Sinti, and Travellers in Europe, interviews with legal experts, and testimonies from Romani people who have experienced each stage of the criminal legal system.

The ERRC has carried out a significant amount of research into institutional racism in Europe’s criminal legal systems, in partnership with the global criminal justice watchdog Fair Trials, and produced reports on the Czech RepublicSlovakiaSerbia, & North Macedonia. In addition, around half of the ERRC’s active legal case files concern police misconduct against Romani people in Europe, with the most recent research report on police brutality in the EU detailing widespread violence and institutional racism against Roma by law enforcement.

The Roma Platform is an ongoing work in progress. The current platform is in beta testing and will be expanded as the project evolves to include additional functionality including greater interactive and multimedia components, AI support with additional quantitative data, and a mobile version of the site.

You can access the Roma Justice Project here.

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