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Human rights of Romani and Traveller communities under threat as Police Bill goes through House of Lords

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across the UK will face further discrimination as a result of the measures and guidance in the Bill

The Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill is currently going through its Report stage in the House of Lords, where Peers are debating the content of the Bill.

Earlier this month, BASW UK, SWU, GRTSWA and several partner organisations co-signed a letter to the Home Secretary, opposing inhumane and unlawful draft guidance recently published in support of the Bill. It is our view that the guidance will criminalise Romani and Traveller communities' way of life, and has no regard for fundamental human rights.

Proposed amendment in House of Lords

This week, Opposition Peers put down an amendment that would require local authorities to make suitable alternative pitches available for Gypsy and Traveller communities to use where they are being removed from a site that they are currently on.

The vote on the amendment was a tie, which means that the Government won the vote – and that there would be no requirement for alternative suitable sites to be made where there is objection to an encampment on a particular site.

BASW UK has described the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill as an attack on human rights - including the rights of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community, who will face further discrimination as a result of the measures in the Bill.

Allison Hulmes, BASW Cymru National Director, said: "I’m still trying to process the impact of last night’s vote and what it means for us as social workers upholding fundamental human rights.

"What I’m thinking as a Welsh Romani Gypsy at this moment is, if your neighbour’s house is burning you help put out the fire.

"As social workers, and protectors of our international codes of ethics, we must stand alongside Gypsy and Traveller communities and help put out the fire…”

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