Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee is marking Human Rights Day 2017 by focussing on Gypsy/Traveller communities in Scotland.
The Committee has chosen to once again shine a light 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 will give evidence to the Committee. The Committee will be keen to hear 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 is Sunday 10 December. This marks the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The Scottish Social Attitudes ‘Attitudes to discrimination and positive action’ is available here.