Swoboda slams Swedish police for illegal Roma database: „Diametrically opposed to European principles“

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter has revealed that the police have a database of around 4,000 Roma who live in Sweden. The data is kept in the form of a genealogical tree, tracking family ties between individuals. Ethnic directories are a violation of Swedish law as well as the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, commented on the revelations: „I am astonished that the police in a European country could so blatantly ignore and violate European principles. To store data on ethnicity and family ties brings back European memories of a time that we should have left behind us long ago. The people in this database have been subjected to a deliberate breach of privacy. This case in Sweden should prompt enquiries about whether similar databases exist in other EU member states too.

„I call on the Swedish government to launch a full investigation into this violation. I furthermore appeal to the European Commission to assess if such a database based on ethnic origins could constitute direct discrimination, prohibited by Directive 2000/43 and by the EU Treaties.“

Speaking on the integration of Roma across the European Union, Hannes Swoboda added: „We see many deficiencies in the national strategies for the integration of Roma people. The European Commission must take this problem more seriously. All countries with Roma populations, as well as the countries with the biggest communities, Romania and Bulgaria, must do more to promote active integration. But the help of the European Union is essential.“