Ceramic Frogs: A Form of Indirect Discrimination Against Roma


  • Isabel P. Meireles Independent scholar




Roma, discrimination, minorities, Portugal, frogs, antigypsyism, International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), racism


This article analyses a peculiar practice that exists in Portugal, which consists of displaying ceramic frogs at the entrance of shops and restaurants in order to keep Roma customers away—taking advantage of the negative connotation of frogs in the Romani tradition. Aiming to contribute to the discussion of a topic that is not widely explored in literature, this research looks at the use of ceramic frogs from the perspective of International Human Rights Law, based on descriptive legal and factual analysis. The view presented here is that this practice is an indirect form of discrimination in the access to places open to the public, and that the Portuguese state is currently breaching its international obligations to protect and fulfil that right, under Articles 2 and 5(f) ICERD. Furthermore, this paper explores the relation of this practice with the prohibition of apartheid and segregation, under Article 3 ICERD, as well as its roots in antigypsyism, systemic racism, and other interdisciplinary concepts. In that respect, this research finds that, by allowing this practice to persist, the Portuguese state is breaching its obligations under Article 3 ICERD. This article ends by trying to contribute to possible legislative and policy solutions to this problem




How to Cite

Meireles, I. (2021). Ceramic Frogs: A Form of Indirect Discrimination Against Roma. Journal on Ethnopolitics and Minority Issues in Europe (JEMIE), 20(2), 60–86. https://doi.org/10.53779/IKCB5455