Welcoming Croatia as 28th member of the European Union (EU), Hindus have urged Croatia to end the maltreatment of its Roma population, who reportedly live in apartheid like conditions.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that Croatia should make an all out effort to do something “concrete and real” for Roma upliftment.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that Roma people in Croatia reportedly frequently faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, endemic joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, hate speech, appalling living conditions, prejudice, intolerance, violence, reduced access to healthcare, human rights abuse, etc.
Rajan Zed argued that reported Croatian neglect was trapping Roma in cycles of persecution and poverty. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Croatia and EU should ensure that it was undertaken as a matter of urgency.
Zed urged various religious leaders and organizations of Croatia, especially the majority Roman Catholic Church, to openly embrace and bless the Roma cause as religion told us to raise the voice for the helpless. It was a sin to watch the Roma suffer day after day for the last many centuries and not do much about it, Zed added.
Rajan Zed further said that instead of reportedly continuing to marginalize Roma socially, this country of explorer Marco Polo and seven World Heritage sites should be more embracing of Roma brothers and sisters.
Talking about Croatia, Croatia National Tourist Board claims: “Songs extol justice and love, indeed a love for justice and fairness in whatever kind of love…”. Croatia should exhibit that love, fairness, and justice to its Roma minority also, Zed noted.
According to US Department of State Report on Human Rights Practices for 2012 on Croatia: “Societal violence, harassment, and discrimination against Roma continued to be a problem… Roma faced widespread discriminatory obstacles, including in citizenship, documentation, education, employment, and language.”