Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert has recognised the role Newham can play in delivering greater equality for Roma migrants and refugees and ending the prejudice and isolation faced by the community at a special film screening in Canning Town.
The documentary ‘Vortex’, which was handed the Premier Award by the British Film and Video Council at the Learning on Screen Awards in March, follows the lives of young Roma children and their families living in poverty in a remote village in rural Hungary. Often denied their rights to housing, employment, healthcare and education, Roma suffer massive discrimination throughout Europe, evidenced by forced evictions, racist attacks and police ill-treatment .
Newham is now home to the largest Polish Roma community in the UK, some of whom have suffered persecution in their home country as well as some from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and other former Soviet Union countries where discrimination is still rife. Following the screening, there was an in-depth discussion to explore how east London boroughs like Newham can help shape policies at both a national and European level to help improve the quality of life for Roma communities across the UK.
Speaking after the screening, Jean, a member of the European Parliament Anti-Racism Group, said: “Across Europe, millions of Roma are facing pervasive discrimination and prejudice, yet the EU is failing to hold national governments to account. It is the duty of the EU and its Member States to take the necessary action to break this cycle of discrimination, poverty and exclusion faced by one of Europe’s oldest ethnic minorities.
“Newham, with its vibrant and thriving Roma community, has a real role to play in making recommendations to the EU on how to deliver greater equality for Roma and end the prejudice and isolation faced by many across Europe. However, examples of best practice must start at home – we all have a role to play in developing a community in which intolerance is rejected outright and we must renew our pledge to continue to fight for true Roma equality in both Newman and the UK.”