Podcast : Yaron Matras – The myths and facts about Roma migration

In this podcast, Yaron Matras discusses a new four year project to study the migration of eastern-European Roma people.

The coordinator of the Mig-Rom consortium, which has as a partner the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF*), says: “Roma don’t migrate more frequently but they do get noticed more than others.

“Roma escape poverty and exclusion that are much more severe than other migrants. Roma migrate in families and that makes them more conspicuous when they arrive. They live and work under conditions that other migrants would not want to do.

“Perhaps, the most distinctive issue about Roma migration is the perception by others. Institutions, the public, the media perceive Roma in a way that is distinct and that imposes a lot of obstacles on them and those are the issues that we are trying to understand most.”

The Manchester University professor, who was a keynote speaker at last week’s annual ERTF meeting, says that the biggest problem facing Roma migrants is the lack of permanent housing, especially in countries such as France and Italy, where according to Matras, Roma people are “subject to repeated evictions and expulsions.”

He added: “Where we find stability in access to housing, we see that immediately there is participation, in terms of employment, school, attendance and relations with neighbours.

“Removing the obstacles seems to be the solution to allowing Roma to seize opportunities.”

* The ERTF has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe.

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