Gypsy/Travellers celebrated for World Human Rights Day

Date: 12th December 2017
Category: Non-discrimination

The Equalities and Human Rights Committee marked Human Rights Day 2017 by focussing on Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.

The Committee chose to focus on Gypsy/Travellers in Scotland following research showing entrenched and stubbornly high levels of discrimination against the community. The most recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found that 34% of people in Scotland believe that a Gypsy/Traveller is 'unsuitable' to be a primary school teacher, and 31% would be unhappy if a close relative married a Gypsy/Traveller.

Gypsy/Travellers gave evidence to the Committee. The Committee heard what, if any, improvements have taken place since the predecessor Equal Opportunities Committee conducted inquiries into Gypsy/Travellers.
Speaking ahead of the session, Committee Convener Christina McKelvie MSP said:

"Continued discrimination against the Gypsy/Traveller community will be a concern to all of us who want Scotland to be a tolerant, welcoming place. While we welcome some reduction in discriminatory attitudes, there is clearly a long way to go. For too long, discrimination against Gypsy/Travellers has been the last form of 'acceptable racism'.

"By using our World Human Rights Day session to celebrate Gypsy/Traveller communities, we want to clearly signal our determination to end the formal and informal discrimination Gypsy/Travellers face.

"Of course, we will also be exploring the role that Government and Local Authorities could have in stemming this problem, and trying to find out what changes there have been since this issue was looked at last."

World Human Rights Day was Sunday 10 December. It marked the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.