Gypsy traveller community to tell MSPs about discrimination experiences

Scottish Parliament has been evacuated (iStock)
Scottish Parliament (Getty Images)


MSPs will hear directly from members of the gypsy traveller community about discrimination experienced in Scotland.

Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee will take evidence from a panel of gypsy travellers to mark the run-up to World Human Rights Day on Sunday.

The committee is examining what progress has been made on tackling entrenched discriminatory attitudes towards the community since past Holyrood inquiries into the issue.

The most recent Scottish Social Attitudes survey found 34% of people believed a gypsy traveller would be unsuitable to be a primary-school teacher while 31% would be unhappy if a close relative married into the community.

Committee convener Christina McKelvie said: “Continued discrimination against the gypsy/traveller community will be a concern to all of us who want Scotland to be a tolerant, welcoming place.

“While we welcome some reduction in discriminatory attitudes, there is clearly a long way to go. For too long, discrimination against gypsy/travellers has been the last form of ‘acceptable racism’.

“By using our World Human Rights Day session to celebrate gypsy/traveller communities, we want to clearly signal our determination to end the formal and informal discrimination gypsy/travellers face.

“Of course, we will also be exploring the role that government and local authorities could have in stemming this problem and trying to find out what changes there have been since this issue was looked at last.”