Gypsies “still discriminated against in Portugal”

After this week’s horror story about gypsies “beating a horse to death in Lagos” (see elsewhere on this page), an EC report suggesting how Portugal can improve its measures to combat discrimination against gypsies may make difficult reading.

The Council of Europe presented its report on Friday – the day horrified tourists called our offices in Lagos to complain about the barbaric ‘execution’ they had witnessed from their holiday apartment window.

According to the council, Portugal has made “limited steps” in its implementation of the convention for the protection of national minorities, but there is still a long way to go.
Key areas for improvement are housing, education and employment, said the report.

Education particularly needs work, as gypsies are still all too often segregated into classes that only involve their own kind.

This does not “strengthen intercultural education or promote the idea that minorities make up part of Portuguese society”, said the consultative committee behind the report, which went on to “lament” that “some forms of the press continue to disseminate stereotypes and preconceptions against minority groups, particularly gypsies and immigrants”.

The bottom line is that changes to the anti-discrimination laws are being suggested to “increase their impact and promote equality”.

Meantime, Portugal has strategy for integration of gypsy communities with five years more left to run (2013-2020).

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