The European convention on human rights and the protection of the Roma as controversial case of cultural diversity
The Roma are often the victims of systemic discrimination which is closely related to the prejudices against them and their particular way of life, their own minority identity. When studying to what extent the Roma and their own way of life are protected on the basis of individual human rights in the European Convention on Human Rights, it becomes clear that slowly but surely the European Court of Human Rights acknowledges the vulnerable position of the Roma and their concomitant need of special protection. While significant developments have taken place concerning the preliminary issues of non-discrimination and the protection of physical integrity, the actual protection concerning language rights or educational rights is still rather meagre. Nevertheless, the gradual emergence of a right to an own way of life for Roma and the ensuing positive state obligations might very well enhance the latter incipient protection. The overall tendency of the latest judgements of the Court is to increasingly restrict the margin of appreciation of states, also in the sensitive domain of minority protection.