A Hindu religious leader and statesman Rajan Zed (in picture) has spoken out against a Roma apartheid in Europe and strongly criticized the EU’s failure to address the problem. “Immoral, inhuman and a sin,” is how Rajan Zed, President of the Universal Hindu Society, describes the treatment of Roma communities in 21st Century Europe. He insisted that the conditions that Roma live in amount to apartheid.
The widely respected religious leader said that the much trumpeted schemes to tackle Roma marginalization have had little or no real impact. Referring to the EU’s 2005 – 2015 decade of Roma inclusion, he said it “has failed to make a real impact on the condition of Roma in Europe, as almost no signs of inclusion are seen.”
Rajan Zed asked how many more centuries Roma have to live in Europe to be accepted, after living on the continent for almost a thousand years. He also said he was baffled by an apparent failure of European religious leaders to speak out more on the subject.
After describing Roma people as Europe’s most persecuted and discriminated against community, Rajan Zed listed the difficulties he sees Roma regularly facing: “social exclusion, racism, sub-standard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, low life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuses.”
He challenged Europe’s religious and political leaders to try living as many Roma do and also made reference to the destruction of Roma camps and deportations in “an otherwise border-less Europe.” Although there was no specific mention of France, there have been many reported cases of deportations and the breaking up of Roma camps by the French police. Rajan Zed highlighted the scapegoating of Roma people and its use by politician to gain political currency.
He finished by urging Europeans to wholeheartedly embrace their Roma brothers and sister word to urgently end Roma apartheid in Europe.
Rajan Zed is the President of the Universal Society of Hinduism and is regular media commentator. He has also worked with government institutions in Europe and the US on a variety of issue and spoken at many inter-faith events.
He possesses an MBA from the University of Nevada-Reno, MSc in Mass Communications from San Jose State University, California; and Bachelor of Journalism from Panjab University, India.
Liam Lever, [email protected]