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* ‘Roma people prepare for Hıdırellez spring holiday in Turkey’s Edirne’
By Daily Sabah Turkey

Last year Roma community of Edirne prepared for their annual Kakava holiday, which is also called Hindirellez. Traditionally, the celebration starts on May 5 and ends on May 6.

It is a festival of colorful displays, plenty of music and dance that took place in the historic remains of the Sarayiçi palace, which was built by Sultan Murat II.The festival represents the rebirth and purification of nature and associated with the prophets Hızır (al-Khid)r and Ilyas, (Elijah).On the last day (May 6), they jump over the fames of bonfire which is believed to protect them from the effects of the evil eye and any negative influence.

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* Slovak project focused on Roma awarded
By The Slovak Spectator

The project employing ordinary Roma women from settlements as agents who actively improve their status in the community, as well as the status of their communities in society, has received international acclaim.

The project has helped women become active in various activities, including sports and cultural events, a pilgrimage to Levoča, educational courses and creative workshops

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* Visit of the Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues (CAHROM) to Austria
By Council of Europe

This thematic visit, held in the European Centre of Modern Languages in Graz on 29-31 March 2017, was devoted to the protection, preservation and teaching of languages spoken by Roma, Sinti, Kaale and Yenish, including ways to handle the opposition of the traditional communities to have their languages spoken.

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* Bulgarian Police assault two Romani men, one of whom then died
By Romea.cz

The European Roma Rights Centre reports that a Romani father and son who were assaulted and beaten up by a group of police officers near their home in the town of Bohot, Pleven Province, Bulgaria on 13 April were victims of police brutality. The incident began when the men parked their car near a forest to collect kindling.

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* ROMACTED Programme to kick off in the Western Balkans and Turkey
By Council of Europe

ROMACTED, “Promoting good governance and Roma empowerment at local level”, is a Joint Programme between the European Union (DG NEAR) and the Council of Europe. The programme will be implemented by the Council of Europe’s Support Team of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues and the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Serbia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey for a period of 36 months, starting in May 2017.

One of the leading guidelines in the methodology of the programme is that participation in local governance can only be effective if it is context-appropriate. Thus, a preliminary mapping, assessment, baseline survey and research are done in each selected municipality so as to facilitate the adaptation of the programme and its support and monitoring of the process.

In addition to the Strasbourg-based team, the programme will have project officers in the Council of Europe offices in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Serbia, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Turkey and a national support team from Roma civil society in each of the beneficiary countries.

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* Identity and Leadership Seminars: Where I failed and where we failed by Valeriu Nicolae
By Council of Europe

On Friday, May 5, 2017 Valeriu Nicolae, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Roma issues (SRSG) was a guest speaker at the Identity and Leadership Seminars of the Roma Access Programmes of the Central European University.

In his lecture, the SRSG talked about the Roma identity in the 1980s in Craiova; 1990s lost in Europe and Roma identity as an international project; 2000 anti-Gypsyism and the European Union; European Framework of Roma National Inclusion Strategy; Brussels’ role and the disappearance of watchdog NGOs and the new Roma elites.

His final remarks were on the work of the Council of Europe 10 goals for the next 10 years and the new concept of “Schools as Engines of Social Inclusion” based on a life-cycle approach.

Read more here.
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