Scottish Gypsy Traveller reports

Date: 2nd April 2012
Category: Basic Health and Welfare
Author: Amnesty Scotland

The reports outline findings on local authority service provision and practice and media coverage of Scottish Gypsy Travellers throughout Scotland, and are the result of the organisation's campaign to highlight the widespread and systematic discrimination suffered by this community throughout Scotland.

The research which forms the basis for the reports was based on the 2001 report and recommendations from the Scottish Parliament's Equal Opportunities Committee.

Amnesty International Director in Scotland, Shabnum Mustapha, said:

"It is extremely disappointing that, after so long, this community is still suffering such direct and indirect discrimination. Whilst our research has found that there are some positive steps being made, and we welcome this, there is a long way to go to tackle the deep-rooted inequalities which Scottish Gypsy Travellers face every day. It is time that all local authorities learn from the good practice that is being developed, with the community, in certain parts of Scotland. We also want to see the Scottish Government adopt a much more prominent and public role on Scottish Gypsy Travellers, showing clear national leadership to ensure this community's rights are being met.

"Unfortunately much of this discrimination is being fuelled by an irresponsible media that uses loaded language and stereotypes to stoke an already hostile environment and maintain tensions between Scottish Gypsy Travellers and the settled community. Whilst there are professional journalists who are responsible in their coverage of Scottish Gypsy Travellers, they are sadly overshadowed by sensationalist reporting which does not adhere to ethical guidelines. "

Lynne Tammi, National Co-ordinator of Article 12 in Scotland, said:

"In terms of provision and services, examples of good practice are emerging. However, if we are to address the inequalities experienced by Gypsy/Travellers, much more must be done. The provision of more permanent and halt sites and opportunities to participate in decision making processes at local and national level would be good starting points.

"Addressing prejudice and inequality is everyone's business. The media has a role to play in this. A quick Google search of key words such as 'Gypsy' and 'Traveller' will throw up myriad negative articles about the community, these serve only to reinforce stereotypes. Fairer reporting, which gives due regard to ethnic status and culture, would go a long way to address this."