Roma and Travellers together comprise the largest set of minority groups in Europe, and the biggest one that faces discrimination and other human rights abuses. With this in mind, the Council of Europe issued "The human rights of Roma and Travellers in Europe" report that among other issues includes a section on the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
Throughout Europe, the average life span of the Roma and Travellers is shorter than that of non-Roma and non-Travellers residing in the same area or country. Roma and Traveller infant mortality rates are higher. Factors precluding Roma and Travellers’ access to health care include a lack of funds to pay for insurance or treatment, a lack of identification documents, and a lack of means of transportation from remote areas to health care facilities. In relation to housing, water and sanitation conditions, segments of the Roma community live in slum housing, in close proximity to garbage dumps, have no access to quality water and sanitation - all of which manifestly threaten their health.
Health care providers also reportedly discriminate against Roma, including in the provision of emergency services, hospital placements segregation (especially on maternity wards). Very few Roma or Traveller persons work as health professionals.
Existing provisions on the right to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health should be applied to Roma and Travellers, as was recommended by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers in 2006. Geographically accessible and affordable health care should be provided to Roma and Travellers without discrimination. Efforts should be made by member states in the field of preventive care and awareness-raising campaigns regarding Roma and Travellers, particularly in the area of sexual and reproductive health of Roma women, who traditionally enter marriages and bear children at early age.
Furthermore, the report provides information on the issues of:
violence against Roma and Travellers
respect for private and family life
right to education
access to adequate housing, including homelessness
access to employment and the right to social security
access to goods, services and public places
EPHA related articles