The Church of England has passed a motion calling on its leaders to combat racism “in all its forms” against Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller communities.
The motion was passed at the General Synod - the Church’s national assembly - on Saturday the 23rd of February calling it “a blasphemy” against Christ to tolerate racism and discrimination against the Roma, Gypsy, and Traveller communities.
A report published the same day also called on church leaders to make land available for new sites for Gypsy and Traveller communities.
Furthermore the report made the following recommendations:
- Speak out publicly against racism and hate crimes directed against Gypsies, Irish Travellers and Roma
- Urge the Media to stop denigrating and victimising these communities
- Instigate a Commission on Sites for Gypsies and Travellers and encourage the local and national Church to make land available for new sites managed by Housing Associations
- For Bishops in the House of Lords to continue to speak out boldly against legislation that seeks to further marginalise Gypsies Irish Travellers and Roma
- We urge the Bishops to call on central government to address the extreme distress of those Roma who have migrated to the UK in recent times and are anxious about their ongoing status in the light of the Brexit negotiations.
- For each Diocese to be encouraged to appoint a Chaplain to Gypsies and Travellers, to harness the potential for Church growth here, and work to combat racism in the Church and wider community.
Traveller Movement research from 2017 found that 91% of Gypsy, Roma and Travellers have experienced discrimination due to their ethnicity. A YouGov poll from 2018 also revealed that one in four (42%) of GB adults said they would be unhappy with a close relative having a long-term relationship or marriage with a Gypsy/Traveller.
Traveller Movement CEO Yvonne MacNamara said:
Given the long history of racism and discrimination against Travelling communities this report is most welcome. Insufficient site provision is often the cause of much online hate and negative media portrayals of GRT communities. We applaud the Church of England for taking such a positive stance. We would urge the Government to follow suit.
M: 0207 607 2002
NOTES TO EDITORS
- The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community charity dedicated to promoting inclusion and community engagement with the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities in Britain. For more information see: http://travellermovement.org.uk/
- A link to the Church of England report can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2019-01/GS%202123.pdf
- Traveller Movement report Last Acceptable Form of Racism can be found here: https://travellermovement.org.uk/reports?download=88:sep-2017-the-last-acceptable-form-of-racism-the-pervasive-discrimination-and-prejudice-experienced-by-gypsy-roma-and-traveller-communities
- Traveller Movement and YouGov poll can be found here: https://travellermovement.org.uk/equality-human-rights?download=68:oct-2017-yougov-poll-finds-shocking-racism-toward-gypsies-and-travellers