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ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the EESC conference on a better inclusion of the Roma community through civil society initiatives
ERIO was invited to participate in a final conference of the European Economic and Social Committee`s (EESC) project "Better inclusion of the Roma community through civil society initiatives" held on 3 February 2015 in Brussels. The objective of the event was to present the final report and recommendation of the EESC`s project. The conference was attended by representatives of civil society, international organisations, local authorities, European Parliament and different Directorate Generals of the Commission.
This concluding conference provided opportunities to express the ideas, criticism and recommendations of participants on the presented document. During the event Ivan Ivanov, the executive director of ERIO, expressed his comments and recommendations on the final recommendation, particularly the importance of institutional recognition of anti-Gypsyism, the necessity of independence for Equality Bodies and the need of discussion between Member States and civil society. He welcomed the existence of the document (e.g. the provision related to the important role of churches in stamping out personal and institutional segregation), but voiced his concerns about the special contribution of the document distinguishing it from others as well as about the obstacles in implementation. Good practices of visited Member States (Finland, Romania, Spain and Bulgaria) in the field of education, housing, employment and health were also introduced and promoted during the conference. The suggestions made by participants will be taken into account by EESC before submitting the document.
More information about the event is available here
* ERIO at the EESC conference on a better inclusion of the Roma community through civil society initiatives
As a way to improve the integration of the 10-12 million Roma across Europe, in 2011 the European Commission adopted an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. Following the Framework, member states committed themselves to ensure equality and improving the socio-economic situation of Roma by delivering their National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). In December 2013, the Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures was adopted. This contains a number of provisions which emphasise the necessity of Roma integration at the local level. Whilst some progress has been made, significant obstacles remain in securing the full social inclusion and equal treatment of Roma. Although the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43 (RED) has been transposed in all member states, its practical impact has been limited. Lack of awareness of anti-discrimination legislation and under-reporting amongst discrimination victims constitute particular barriers to achieving its full and effective implementation.
This paper, developed by Helen Gould, Marta Pinto and Ivan Ivanov outlines the key findings of three workshops organised by ERIO on the 30th October 2012, 27th September 2013 and 21st October 2014 with Equality Bodies from 20 member states.  Part 1 discusses the vital role of Equality Bodies for an effective implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) and the Racial Equality Directive (RED). Part 2 focuses on the key challenges and potential solutions to effectively protecting Roma against discrimination. Part 3 provides a set of recommendations to the European Commission, member states, Equality Bodies and Roma civil society in order to secure greater practical enforcement of the NRIS and the RED. Part 4 provides good practices of Equality Bodies in effectively addressing Roma discrimination which have been elaborated during the workshops. Finally, Part 5 provides contact details for Equality Bodies.
* ERIO at the meeting on anti-Roma stereotypes
Brussels. On 21 January a meeting on anti-Roma stereotypes was organized by the Amalipe foundation.  Participants were Members of the European Parliament, representatives of DG JUST and DG EMPL of European Commission, national institutions, NGOs and municipalities from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Hungary. Two weeks after the entire world became Charlie and in a city full with policemen and soldiers like never before, they discussed a model for overcoming the anti-Roma stereotypes among young people, the place of anti-discrimination in the EU Roma policy and how activities for tolerance will be supported via European financial instruments. ERIOs Executive Director Ivan Ivanov stressed in his speech “…No progress could be achieved even with the best Roma integration strategy if there is no joint efforts by NGO, Institutions and media to eliminate negative stereotypes and prejudices against Roma people…”.

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OTHER news

* Norwegian, UK, US ambassadors to Czech Republic praise nonprofit and school for Romani inclusion in Trmice
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Norwegian Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Siri Ellen Sletner, UK Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jan Thompson, and US Ambassador to the Czech Republic Andrew Shapiro have praised a nonprofit organization and a primary school in the town of Trmice as a good example of how social inclusion should work. Trmice is considered a socially excluded locality; more than one-third of the children attending the local school are Romani.
Marie Gottfriedová, director of the school, told the Czech News Agency after the diplomats' visit that she believes they will all collaborate further. The school has already been cooperating for several years with an educational institution in Great Britain.

Ambassadors: We are interested in the problems of inclusion in practice
"We are interested in the problems of inclusion and how it works in practice. We consider this a very important matter, not just social inclusion per se, but the inclusion of the Romani community specifically. We have seen unbelievable cooperation between pupils and teachers here and enthusiasm coming from both sides," Ambassador Thompson told the press.

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* Politics.hu: EU funds wasted with gov’t assistance, says LMP
By All Hungary Media Group.

Hungary throws community funds to the wind with assistance from the government, the opposition LMP party told a press conference on Friday. LMP expert Akos Hadhazy said that the National Roma Self Government (ORO) had spent “on nothing” a total 300 million forints (EUR 962,000), half of the EU funds aimed to boost employment of the Roma.
ORO’s spending the amount raises a serious suspicion of graft, Hadhazy said, and cited such disbursement items as renting cars for 29 million forints, purchasing office furniture for 31 million, or a similar amount spent on studies about recruitment. ORO also spent 26 million forints on renovating its headquarters, the expert said. Hadhazy insisted that though half of the total is gone, the spending “has not contributed to helping a single person to a job”.

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* Al Jazeera America: Forgotten Roma in Auschwitz Massacres
By Vivienne Walt

About 19,000 Roma died at Auschwitz, yet they have no official presence at commemorations
Paris, 27/01/2015 - Presidents and prime ministers, movie moguls and elderly survivors of slaughter gathered on Tuesday to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation in 1945 of Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi death camp where about 1.1 million people were killed. "The French Republic will never forget," French President François Hollande said to those gathered at the site in western Poland, including 300 Auschwitz survivors. Remembering what happened there, said British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is "of fundamental importance … for prevention of future genocides."
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* WHO/Europe: Improving chances for vulnerable communities in Serbia
By WHO Regional Office for Europe

27/01/2015 - Striking data revealed by a recent WHO survey showed that more than 75% of Roma adults in the southwest region of Serbia were illiterate, another 25% of Roma adults had left school in early grades and no students were currently attending the final grades of elementary school or secondary education.
The WHO Country Office in Serbia was one of several United Nations agencies implementing a joint project in 2012–2014 to improve overall human security for vulnerable communities in southwest Serbia, a deprived area that is home to a large number of Roma as well as refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees under readmission agreements. WHO’s role in the project was to help improve their access to rights and services. WHO’s mandate extended in this case beyond improving access to health services, as this is closely interlinked with the social determinants of health, lack of personal documents, lack of education, health awareness and lack of health insurance.  

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* Urgent: Film Maker Volunteer at European Roma Information Office (ERIO)

Starting date: ASAP
Duration: May-June 2015 (approximately 5 days)
Salary: None – volunteer post
Location: Brussels
Closing date of application: 15 May 2015 at 12:00 (CET)
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is looking for a volunteer to participate in a short documentary to be filmed in the context of a European project which aims to improve Roma inclusion in primary schools across Europe. The documentary will consist of several small scenes picturing individuals, Roma and non-Roma, discussing every day topics such as school, sports, family/marriage, food and/or work. The scenes will be filmed in Brussels.

Although this is an unpaid position, the volunteer will have the opportunity to gain valuable professional experience as he/she will be involved with every stage of the pre-production of the documentary (including filming and editing). This will also be a great opportunity for the volunteer to network with other European professionals and film makers from the UK, Italy, Croatia and Bulgaria and to gain practical knowledge of the development of European level projects.
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