HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, HSPH; Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law, HLS


As we finalize this special section on Romani People and the Right to Health, a landmark ruling on Roma health rights has just been handed down by the European Committee of Social Rights. On October 16, 2017, the committee accepted as admissible the European Roma Rights Centre’s complaint against Bulgaria alleging systemic discrimination against Romani women in maternity wards. The complaint details segregation, substandard and abusive maternity care, and disproportionate barriers in access to health insurance for this part of the Roma population. The committee’s finding advances official recognition of the intersectional discrimination affecting Romani women and girls across Europe and perhaps beyond. We use the word “perhaps” advisedly, for conclusive evidence documenting discriminatory and racist practices against Roma living on other continents is lacking, a point underlined in 2016 by Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on minority issues.


Bhabha, Jacqueline, Margareta Matache,and Teresa Sorde Marti. "The Critical Role of Research in Advancing Romani’s Right to Health." Health and Human Rights 19.2 (Winter 2017): 5-7.