Nevada (US), Dec 24 (ANI): Hindus and Jews have blamed Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), which is coming to an end on December 31, for not doing enough for European Roma (Gypsies).
Well known Hindu statesman Rajan Zed and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA, in a statement in Nevada today, said that about 15-million Roma brothers/sisters were facing apartheid in Europe and was the biggest issue facing Europe today, but Belgian Presidency almost ignored them as they did not exist.
In his assessment report of the Belgian Presidency posted on the Presidency website, Steven Vanackere, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, did not even mention the word "Roma" despite the fact that 2010 was dedicated as "European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion". Instead of showing strong political will, courage, and commitment in support of Roma cause, Belgian Presidency almost stayed apathetic and silent spectator when Roma were reportedly facing blatant injustice and discrimination in Europe, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, and Rabbi Freirich argued.
Rajan Zed and Jonathan Freirich pointed out that as before the start of Belgian Presidency, Roma in Europe reportedly continued to face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, etc.
Belgian Presidency claims to have covered together some 300,500 kilometers, held several thousands of official meetings and hundreds of cultural and scientific activities/events, its website enabled 700,000 visitors to read 2,500,000 pages of information, and the Budget was 75 million Euros. This was the 12th time when Belgium chaired six-month rotating Presidency of EU Council, where Jean De Ruyt is the Permanent Representative to the Presidency, while Yves Leterme and Albert II are Prime Minister and King respectively of the Belgium.
Belgium, which hosts European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is known for its chocolate, beer, waffles, Bruges, cartographer Gerardus Mercator, Big Bang theorist Georges Lemantre, painter Jan van Eyck, poet Emile Verhaeren, etc. (ANI)