Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* Time to ensure the full participation of Roma women to build a more equal Europe
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, ERIO reminds the importance of gender equality and calls for action to improve the situation of Roma women. We welcome the improvements achieved in the long way to gender equality. However, we are strongly concerned by the persistence of deep inequalities affecting Roma women who are confronted to complex and multidimensional forms of discrimination and exclusion.
Read our press release here

OTHER news

* The Documentary about Romanians that Sparked Protests in the UK
By Mariana Berbec-Rostas

On March 3, British TV Channel 4 aired the final episode of its three-part documentary The Romanians Are Coming, the story of several Romanian immigrants in the UK as told by the immigrants themselves. From the very first episode, in which three poor Romanians are shown seeking work and a better life in Britain, the series has spurred angry protests from both the Romanian diaspora in the UK and Romanians at home. Critics accuse the series of perpetuating negative stereotypes of Romanians living in the UK, who are largely perceived as criminals or poor people “leeching off” Britain’s social welfare system.
It was not surprising to me, therefore, that Romanians living in the UK immediately took to social networks to protest the documentary. As noted by many critics, the title of the series itself is inflammatory, insinuating that there is a wave of Romanians lining up at the British border like barbarians at the gate.
What was surprising to me, however, was that a good number of those dissociating their situation from the documentary could have starred in the series themselves. Many of them came to the UK from Romania for precisely the reasons featured in the series: to search for a better life for themselves and their families. How could they protest a depiction that mirrored their own story, even if under different circumstances?

Read more here
* DG NEAR Stocktaking mission on Roma inclusion in BiH
By Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina

03/03/2015 - Ms Marta Garcia Fidalgo, responsible for the co-ordination of Roma policy at the European Commission's Directorate-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations visited BiH on 23-26 February. The aim of the visit was to discuss Roma integration, monitor progress on the five priority areas identified by the EU (housing, health, education, employment and civil registration) and to participate in the Roma Decade discussion related to the launch of the Commission/Soros IPA Regional Co-operation Council project that will continue the spirit of the Roma Decade 2005-15 after its conclusion.
Read more here
* Civil Rights Group Sue Swedish State Over Illegal Roma Register
By Luke Hurst

Swedish organisation Civil Rights Defenders file lawsuit against Swedish state Civil Rights Defenders
05/03/2015 - A civil rights group in Sweden is suing the state on behalf of 11 people whose details were put on an illegal police register, claiming the only reason they were added was because of their ethnicity. A lawsuit was filed this morning by Civil Rights Defenders at the district court in Stockholm, accusing the police administration in Skane in southern Sweden of compiling a register of 4,700 Roma people on the basis of their ethnicity, which they say is against Swedish data privacy laws and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter revealed in 2013 details of a police register, titled Kringresande - which translates as ‘Travellers’ - that held the details of 4,700 people, all of whom were reportedly from the Roma community or connected with the community.

Read more here
* 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
Rome, 06/03/2015 - 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”.
Read more here
* Case Watch: EU Court’s Legal Adviser Assesses Roma Discrimination Case
The legal advisor to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued an opinion this week on a case in which a Czech-owned electricity company stands accused of discriminating against customers living in a predominantly Roma district of Bulgaria.
In her opinion on Nikolova v CEZ, Advocate-General Juliane Kokott examined how the EU law banning discrimination on racial or ethnic grounds affects service provision disadvantaging a whole district. In districts with large Roma populations, CEZ puts electricity meters on the top of a 7-meter pole, supposedly to stop tampering. The Bulgarian Anti-Discrimination Commission condemned this as discrimination and the case was sent to the CJEU, which has authority on matters of European Union law. The CJEU Grand Chamber heard the case in January 2015. Though not binding on the court, the Advocate-General’s opinion is influential.

Nikolova is represented by the Open Society Justice Initiative in her challenge to CEZ, the monopoly provider of electricity to Western Bulgaria. Advocate-General Kokott dealt with three main issues. First, is the case within the prohibition on ethnic discrimination? She agreed Roma are an ethnic group, referring to the landmark judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in D.H. v Czech Republic. Nikolova, the complainant, had told the CJEU she is neither Roma, nor does she live in the affected district of Gizdova: the CEZ practice affected her because she is a shop-owner there. A-G Kokott reasoned that Nikolova, while not herself Roma, should still be able to complain under the law of suffering from the effects of anti-Roma discrimination. Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights does not limit the protection against discrimination to people who suffer discrimination based on their ethnic origin: only some language versions of the Race Equality Directive make that distinction. She considered the notion of discrimination includes “collateral damage,” such as residents and business people affected by a ‘wholesale and collective’ measure.

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* Shocking video shows Slovakian police officers forcing Romani children to strip naked and fight each other after they were arrest for robbing an elderly woman
By Jennifer Newton for MailOnline

06/03/2015 - A shocking new video has emerged showing police in Slovakia forcing Romani children to fight each other and strip naked after they were arrested on suspicion of robbing an elderly woman.
The footage has appalled the country after it was also revealed that the officers involved will not face any punishment after a local court refused to accept the video as evidence. The images, that spread quickly online, show how 10 police officers had forced the young children to beat each other, strip and even lick a shoe, causing widespread public outrage.
Read more here


* 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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