The Scottish Government's Race Equality Statement, published on 8 December 2009, makes it clear that Gypsies/Travellers are a particularly discriminated against and marginalised group.
Although it is not in our power to make change in relation to the legal recognition of Scottish Gypsies/Travellers as an ethnic group since legislation around equal opportunities is reserved, the Scottish Government continues to recgonise Gypsies/Travellers as an ethnic group in it's work and encourages others to do likewise. The Scottish Government acknowledges that Gypsy/Traveller communities have specific requirements and require the same level of protection from discrmination and abuse in common with all of Scotland's minority ethnic communities. A recent judgement in relation to an employment tribunal (K. MacLennan Vs Gypsy Traveller Education and Information Project) has set a precedent in this regard, it concluded that "Scottish Gypsy/Travellers" is a group which can be defined by reference to it ethnic origins and therefore can be afforded the protection offered by section 2(1)(d) of the Race Relations Act 1976.
Case law in England has ruled that Roma and Irish Travellers are protected by the 1976 Act.
Scottish (devolved) public bodies have a statutory duty to promote race equality. Key public bodies, including the Scottish Government, local authorities and the police, are also required to publish a Race Equality Scheme. Race Equality Schemes must set out, among other things, their arrangements around consultation, impact assessment, ethnic monitoring and training staff in connection with the statutory duties. Along with many other public bodies, the Scottish Executive published a new Race Equality Scheme 2008 in November 2008.
The Scottish Executive's 'One Scotland' anti racism and awareness raising campaign website includes information about Gypsies/Travellers in Scotland - including a number of stories from Gypsies/Travellers themselves under "Tell Your Story"- as does the Young Scot sub-site.
The One Scotland anti-racism campaign has also included a focus on Gypsies/Travellers i.e. a radio advert and editorial material in print media. We are continuing to look at how the campaign can raise awareness of discrimination against these communities.