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ERIO news and activities

* ERIO’s publication “Implementing National Roma Integration Strategies: challenges and solutions for local authorities”
The paper published by ERIO is part of the 2014 Action plan supported by DG Justice of the European Commission. It was based on a research and analysis as well as outcomes from the discussion in a number of events initiated by ERIO.
Whilst all member states adopted a NRIS and transposed the Racial Equality Directive 2000/43[1] (RED), many obstacles remain on the ground to achieve a full and effective implementation of the policies and legislation. Lack of support from the national level or difficulties to access EU funds constitute significant challenges faced by regional and local authorities.
This paper, developed by Anna Defour, Coline Ach, Marta Pinto and Ivan Ivanov, outlines the key findings of two conferences organised by ERIO on the 24th October 2013[2] and 27th November 2014[3] with local authorities, on roundtables and on networking meetings done in 2014. Part 1 emphasises the vital role of local authorities for an effective implementation of the NRIS and the RED. Part 2 focuses on the key challenges faced by local and regional authorities when implementing the NRIS and the RED, as well as possible solutions to overcome them. Part 3 provides a set of recommendations to the European Commission, member states, local authorities and Roma civil society, to ensure an effective implementation of the NRIS and the RED. Part 4 provides examples of good practices of local authorities that might be helpful in order to achieve this goal.
Read the paper here

OTHER news

* US government deeply concerned about racist statements in Bulgaria
By The Sofia Globe staff

The United States government is deeply concerned about ethnic intolerance, according to a statement released on December 18 by the embassy in Sofia some days after nationalist leader Valeri Simeonov caused uproar by saying in Parliament that Roma people had become “brash, overconfident and ferocious great apes wanting the right to be paid without working”.
Simeonov, co-leader of the Patriotic Front, told the National Assembly that Roma people “wanted sickness benefits without being ill, child care for children who play with the pigs in the streets and maternal benefits for women with the instincts of street bitches”.

The statement via the US embassy made no direct reference to Simeonov, but said, “to hear public statements denigrating people on the basis of their race or ethnicity is shocking”.

Read more here
* Equality of Opportunity: A Fair Chance for Marginalized Roma
By World Bank

Inclusion of the Roma, Europe’s largest, poorest and most disenfranchised ethnic minority, is not only an ethical imperative, but also smart economics for the rapidly aging countries of Eastern Europe, as well as core to the World Bank’s efforts to operationalize the twin goals of eradicating extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in the region.

The World Bank is consulting key stakeholders on a report, Equality of Opportunity: A Fair Chance For Marginalized Roma. The objectives of this study are to consolidate existing knowledge on barriers to Roma inclusion, and promote awareness of good practices of social inclusion, with a view to informing European institutions and national governments.

Read more here
* Council of Europe sounds HR alarm for Hungary
By Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (CoE), the continent's leading human rights organization, has warned about rights violations in Hungary. The body cautioned about exacerbating discrimination against the country’s minorities in a report issued on Tuesday.
The council noted a "deterioration of the general climate of tolerance in recent years," saying that the treatment of gypsies, or Roma, is the "most blatant form of intolerance." Recounting the findings by the council's commissioner for human rights, Nils Muižnieks, the report said, the official “is deeply concerned at the widespread presence of racist and extremist organizations and movements in Hungary and extremism in the country's political arena."

Read more here
* Czech court says assault was not racially motivated
By Romea

At the start of December the trial of two non-Romani men who assaulted a Romani man in July 2013 in a bar in the town of Bystřice pod Hostýnem ended with a remarkable verdict. Even though 37-year-old Miroslav Vybíral was charged with the particularly serious crime of racially motivated attempted murder, for which he faced the possibility of extraordinary sentencing and a minimum of 10 years in prison he was ultimately convicted of grievous bodily harm and sentenced to six years.

His friend, Martin Urbanec, got away with a six-month sentence, suspended for two years. According to the online edition of the Zlín daily paper, Judge Jiří Dufek said the following when reading the verdict: "We came to the conclusion that this was not racially motivated behavior,... [but] a misunderstanding in a bar that culminated in a rather brutal attack on the victim."

Read more here
* Czech Republic restricts payouts to traffickers in poverty running residential hotels
By Romea

The payment of housing supplements for accommodation in residential hotels will now be restricted by law. The supplements will be provided by the state to residential hotel operators based on the amount of space rented, not per the number of people living in a single unit. The amount of rent charged for such housing is not supposed to exceed normal local rates. The change will be introduced by a Government amendment to the law on aid to those in material distress that takes effect as of January.
The amendment is supposed to prevent the operators of residential hotels from benefiting from being overcompensated for the housing they provide. It also establishes the requirements that such housing must meet in order to be eligible for the program.

Read more here
* Italian Parliament to Implement Roma-Sinti Resource “Giving Memory a Future”
By Romea

Italian Parliament has passed a decree that will pave the way for USC Shoah Foundation’s multimedia resource Giving Memory a Future to be used in schools across Italy to teach about the Roma/Sinti experience during the Holocaust.

Giving Memory a Future, which launched in May 2014, was developed by USC Shoah Foundation and researchers at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, with support from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The site provides in-depth information about the history and culture of the Roma and Sinti people in Italy, the persecution they faced during World War II, and ongoing issues they deal with today. The site includes clips of Roma and Sinti Holocaust survivors from the Visual History Archive and has both English and Italian-language versions.

Read more here
* BBC: Roma pupils need more support, says Ofsted
By Romea

Children from Roma backgrounds in England's schools must be better supported to learn and achieve, a report by the watchdog Ofsted says.
Ofsted surveyed three local councils and 11 schools with a large intake of Roma pupils from Eastern Europe. The report says head teachers reported no adverse effect on the achievement of other pupils already in their schools. But some schools had struggled to get pupils to follow school routines and behave appropriately.

Read more here


* Anti-Gypsyism and the Holocaust: Remembering the past and shaping the future - MemoROM project closing event


Brussels, 30 January 2015
As the coordinating partner of the MemoROM project which aims to raise awareness about the Roma and Sinti Holocaust, the European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend the conference “Anti-Gypsyism and the Holocaust: Remembering the past and shaping the future” which will be held on 30 January 2015 at the European Economic Social Committee, 2 rue Van Maerlant - 1040 Brussels (room VMA 3, 2nd floor, Van Maerlant building) from 09:00-16:30.
Roma and Sinti have a history of persecution. They have been oppressed and discriminated against for centuries and their persecution reached a climax throughout the Nazi regime during which they were subjected to genocide and deprived of their civil rights. The suffering of Roma and Sinti communities during WWII is mirrored today by persistent practices of discrimination and acts of violence against these populations across Europe. While they constitute the largest ethnic minority in Europe, they alarmingly remain the most hated and discriminated against on a daily basis. Anti-Gypsyism is a reality in today’s Europe and xenophobic sentiments are exacerbated by racist and extremist discourses and by the socio-economic difficulties that Europe has to go through.
Against this backdrop it is urgent to mobilise all efforts to raise awareness about the Roma and Sinti Holocaust in order to fight discrimination, prejudices and stereotypes about these communities and avoid the repetition of Europe’s darkest period. By rediscovering the relatively unknown history of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust, the MemoROM project which is implemented in Belgium, France, Spain, Bulgaria and Germany from December 2013 until March 2015 aims to promote tolerance, mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue between Roma and non-Roma.

You can register by email or phone by giving your name, surname, title and the organisation you are working for. The deadline for registrations is 28 January 2015 at 14:00 (Brussels time).
For registration or any other queries, please contact: office@erionet.eu or Tel: +32 (2) 733 34 62
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