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Survey shows 80 percent of Roma at risk of poverty

BRUSSELS, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Some 80 percent of Roma people are at risk of poverty compared with an average of 17 percent in the European Union (EU), a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released on Tuesday showed.

The Roma people are Europe's largest ethnic minority. Of an estimated 10-12 million in the whole of Europe, some six million live in the EU.

The report said widespread deprivation is destroying Roma lives. Roma families are living excluded from society in shocking conditions, while children with little education face bleak prospects for the future.

As part of the second European Union minorities and discrimination survey conducted by the FRA, a report was derived from nearly 8,000 face-to-face interviews with Roma in nine EU members.

The result showed that 80 percent of Roma interviewed are at risk of poverty, and 30 percent live in households with no tap water and 46 percent have no indoor toilet, shower or bathroom.

The reports also found that 30 percent of Roma children live in households where someone went to bed hungry at least once in the previous month.

On education, 53 percent of young Roma children attend early childhood education, often less than half the proportion of children their age from the general population in the same country.

Only 30 percent of Roma surveyed are in paid work, compared with the average EU employment rate for 2015 of 70 percent.

In general, 41 percent of Roma feel they have been discriminated against over the past five years in everyday situations such as looking for work, at work, housing, health and education.

"Our manifest inability in Europe to honor the human rights of our Roma communities is unacceptable. The level of deprivation, marginalization, and discrimination of Europe's largest minority is a grave failure of law and policy in the EU and its member states," said FRA director Michael O'Flaherty.

Noting that EU members are still falling short of most of their integration targets, the director expected the publication of these findings will provide an opportunity to galvanize policymakers into action and focus resources on redressing the situation.

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