Hindus have urged British authorities for suspension of business license of Croydon (England) store of international furniture giant IKEA for reported incident of racial profiling banning the entry of Gypsies.
According to reports, this IKEA store employed security guards to prevent entry of Gypsies. IKEA Croydon Store, where the incident happened, is only about 12 miles from London’s 10 Downing Street.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, also asked Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights & Equality and Human Rights Commission of United Kingdom (UK) to take appropriate action against IKEA for maltreating gypsies in UK, sending a strong signal to other businesses.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, also asked IKEA CEO Mikael Ohlsson and Supervisory Board Chairman of its parent company Göran Grosskopf to publicly apologize over this incident. IKEA, whose “vision” was “to create a better everyday life for the many people”, should be ashamed of such a behavior of its store, Zed added.
Rajan Zed asked Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks; and UK Equality and Human Rights Commission Chair and Chief Executive, Trevor Phillips and Mark Hammond, respectively, to personally investigate this issue and put a stop to unnecessary targeting of the helpless community. Racism and discrimination was already escalating against Gypsies/Travelers in Europe, it did not need any IKEA push, he argued.
This blatant racism and singling out of gypsies should not be acceptable in 21st century Europe, which boasted of its human rights record, Zed pointed out.
Rajan Zed urged the religious leaders of UK and Europe to strongly stand up against racism in all its forms as religion told us to help the helpless. He urged Lord Archbishop of Canterbury Most Reverend Dr. Rowan Douglas Williams to take up the issue of Gypsies who were facing apartheid conditions in Europe. Besides the absence of any serious efforts at their inclusion, Gypsies were being used as “punch bag” and blamed for the social ills of Europe, Zed added.
Zed noted that Gypsies in Europe reportedly regularly faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, etc.
IKEA, said to be the world’s largest furniture retailer, launched in 1943 in Sweden but presently headquartered in Netherlands, has now presence in 41 countries generating annual sales of over 24.7 billion Euros.