Editorial and Documentary Photographer Ricardo R Silva is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. From his project ‘Embracing Roma‘. To see Ricardo’s stories and gallery of photographs click on any image.
For centuries, Gypsy communities have been a part of the European territory. However they are still the most discriminated minority in Europe.
Portugal is no exception and throughout the country walls separate the Gypsy population from the non-Gypsy.
With a strong sense of Pride and Tradition, the Romani people is far from real integration.
The construction of social housing away from city centers has contributed to the rise of ghettos. The attribution of the Social Inclusion Income to many Gypsy families in addition to the usual preconception that Gypsies steal, smuggle and evade taxes has grown a feeling of discontent within the communities that has lead them to further close in on themselves.
During the relocation, of Bairro da Esperança (Neighborhood of the Quarries) into Bairro das Pedreiras (Neighborhood of Rocks) in 2006, a 3 meter high wall was built to “protect” the Gypsy population. The population felt ostracized and with less quality of life. Despite having electricity and running water, their homes were placed 3 kilometers away from the city, without access to public transport or infrastructures.
After a complaint was filled on April 2010 by the ERRC (European Roma Rights Centre) the European Comity ruled, in 2011, in favour of the ERRC: “Gypsy communities live in precarious conditions and the alternatives presented by government authorities have not been adequate.” For more on this case click here .
Since the wall has been lowered to 1 meter.
On assignment for Amnesty International we tried to access the situation.
For more on this subject click here.
By Ricardo R Silva