Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO invited for consultation on the upcoming European Roma Platform conference
On February 11 The European Commission invited ERIO and other European level Roma and non-Roma network organizations for consultation on the topics and structure of the upcoming annual European Roma Platform meeting in Brussels. ERIOs proposal was to focus on one of two key topics and build the panels and thematic workshops accordingly. One of the topics discussed was Roma anti-discrimination and Anti-Gypsyism and the second was Networking and Multi-stakeholders cooperation. ERIO was delegated the responsibility to coordinate the workshop on Networking and Multi-stakeholders cooperation including the selection of speakers, rapporteurs and participants. The European Roma Platform will take place on 16-17 March in Brussels.
* ERIO Mission Trip to Sweden
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

* A ban on beggars in Norwegian cities is not the answer to homelessness
By Harald N Røstvik

Norway’s dirty little secret is out: how did one of the world’s richest nations grow so mean as to consider banning begging on its streets? We must use this controversy to tackle deeper issues facing our cities, writes Harald N Røstvik

The most visible of the beggars that Norway has been seeking to outlaw are immigrants, arrived from poverty-stricken parts of eastern Europe. During the day they line the city streets here, holding out little cardboard cups. At night they retreat to their worn-out, overcrowded box vans – ageing, rusty vehicles that might contain six people sleeping. They park wherever they can, sometimes in the middle of well-established housing areas, until they are asked to leave by neighbours or the local police.

But there are plenty of Norwegian-born homeless too, if more hidden from view. The majority of these are single mothers, victims of violence in the home. A fifth are 18-25 years old, half are addicted to drugs or alcohol, and 40% suffer from psychiatric illnesses. Most find a place to stay at night thanks to private shelters and NGOs, but some sleep on the streets and in doorways. Others go to noisy hostels paid for by the municipalities, where they stay warm but attract drug and alcohol pushers who only make the problem worse.
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* Big Fat Gypsy Wedding investigation handled correctly, high court rules
By The Guardian

Traveller Movement loses legal challenge that claimed Ofcom’s inquiry into complaints about Channel 4 series was procedurally unfair

Gypsy campaigners have lost their high court challenge over Ofcom’s handling of their complaint about Channel 4’s Big Fat Gypsy Wedding television programmes. Mr Justice Ouseley on Friday dismissed a judicial review brought against the media regulator by the Traveller Movement, a charity supporting 300,000 gypsies and travellers. At a hearing in London at the end of last year, its lawyers said that Ofcom unlawfully dismissed its complaint in November 2013 after conducting a procedurally unfair investigation into accusations that the Channel 4 programmes gave a negative portrayal of Traveller communities and confirmed social prejudices in a way likely to cause harm to children in those communities. The charity had claimed that the Channel 4 broadcasts of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and Thelma’s Gypsy Girls had depicted children in a sexualised way and portrayed men and boys as feckless, violent and criminal

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* Roma people win court battle over Italian legal text linking Gypsies to crime
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Court in Rome orders legal textbook to be withdrawn over discriminatory explanation of Italian legal code defining ‘suspect goods’ as ones sold by Gypsies

An Italian publishing company that printed a text suggesting “Gypsies” were criminals has been found guilty of discrimination by a court in Rome, marking a victory for activists who say that biases against the Roma people are widespread in Italy.
There are more than 100,000 Roma in Italy and roughly 8,000 of them live in squalid conditions on the outskirts of Rome in authorised camps that have been compared to segregated ghettoes.

The legal case against Gruppo Editoriale Simone, a publisher of technical books, was initiated in 2012 by two pro-Roma rights groups and a Roma woman named Dzemila Salkanovic, who used to live in a camp but has since become an Italian citizen. The case centres on a textbook for law students that explains the Italian penal code, including the legal term “goods of suspect origin”. The publisher defined the term as items sold by “panhandlers, Gypsies and well-known persons with a criminal record”.

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* Roma people to honor Erdoğan
By Anadolu Agency

Ankara, 04/02/2015 - President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with representatives of Turkey’s Roma community from the country’s 81 provinces during his visit to the northwestern province of Bursa on Feb. 7, where he will receive the first ever “Statesman of the Century” award.

After attending the Friday prayer service in Bursa’s landmark Grand Mosque, Erdoğan will participate in a local opening ceremony and a “Grand Roma Community Meeting,” organized by the Confederation of the Roma Community in Turkey.

Community representatives from across Turkey are expected to be present in the meeting at the Merinos Atatürk Congress Center, where Erdoğan will be honored with the first ever “Statesman of the Century” award, said Ahmet Çokyaşar, the chairman of the confederation.

“[The award represents] the Roma community’s duty of loyalty to President Erdoğan. As a community we have great respect for him and consider him to be a role model,” Çokyaşar said. 

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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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