Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 19-02-2016

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO meets with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Permanent Study Group on Roma Inclusion
On December 01, 2015 ERIO’s Executive Director Ivan Ivanov was invited to the first meeting of the newly established Permanent Study Group on Roma Inclusion in the EESC. Mr. Ivanov was asked to give an overview of the EU policy framework for Roma inclusion and the state of play of implementation of this policy framework. Mr. Ivanov talked also about the problems Roma have and the challenges local and national authorities face in the implementation of their National Roma Integration Strategies and other relevant policies. The President of the Permanent Study Group Mr. Akos Topolansky also expressed its concerns on the current situation or Roma and the way Member states implement their National strategies. Mr. Topolansky asked ERIO to contribute to the future work of the Study Group and continue closely to cooperate with the EESC.

OTHER news

* European Commission meeting with Roma integration representatives
By FRA

On 19 February, 2016 the European Commission is going to meet with European networks involved in the Roma policy making. FRA will take part in a meeting on Roma inclusion in Brussels. At the European Commission meeting discussions will focus on the further development of the online tool for reporting progress on Roma integration by civil society organisations. Participants will share their experience of the reporting template and will present their assessment of thematic areas relevant for several countries.

Read more here
* Czech Republic: Racist murderer of Romani man is ultra-right's candidate in regional elections
By ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Vlastimil Pechanec, who was convicted in 2003 of racially-motivated murder, will run in the Czech Republic's regional elections this autumn as a candidate for the Worker's Social Justice Party (Dělnická stranu sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). Pechanec, who was characterized during his trial by expert witnesses as a recidivist whom it would be hard to reform, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for the racist murder of a Romani man, Otto Absolon, in the town of Svitavy, and was then released on parole after serving 12 years of that sentence. Before being sentenced for murder, Pechanec had been convicted of two other crimes, grievous bodily harm and rioting. In 2001 he attacked Mr Absolon with a knife when a group of Romani people entered a discotheque.

Pechanec stabbed Mr Absolon twice in the abdomen and the 30-year-old victim died as a result of his wounds. According to the court, Pechanec addressed Mr Absolon with racist abuse before attacking and murdering him for absolutely no reason other than that he was a Rom.
Mr Absolon was survived by two young children and his seriously ill common-law wife, who passed away one year later. Despite the evidence that resulted in his conviction, Pechanec insists he did not murder Mr Absolon.

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* Most important thing as regards Roma people’s integration is reversing negative trends: Bulgaria labour minister
By FOCUS News Agency

Sofia. “Most important thing as regards Roma people’s integration is reversing the negative trends,” said Ivaylo Kalfin, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for Demographic and Social Policies and Minister of Labour and Social Policy, speaking at a roundtable dedicated to structural priorities needed for the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria 2012-2020, the press centre of the ministry announced.
Kalfin announced all Roma NGOs could submit concrete proposals relating to improving the activity of the National Council on Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Matters by February 20. “There are three highly important questions the answers to which we should find in the shortest possible time to improve the efficiency of the National Council on Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Matters. They are related to the Council’s functions, composition, and expertise,” the government member pointed out.

The minister stressed it was important to implement measures to lead to a lasting decrease in the influence of factors leading to social exclusion.
 
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* Albania Ombudsman Slams Razing of Roma Homes
By Ivana Dervishi

The office of the Ombudsman on Friday condemned as illegal the demolition of several Roma homes by the construction inspectorate to clear way for a new road.
Albania’s National Inspectorate for the Protection of the Territory, IKMT, has been condemned for demolishing seven homes belonging to the Roma community with police assistance in the suburb of Selita, clearing the way for Tirana’s new ring road. The Ombudsman’s office complained that the IKMT had failed to follow standard procedures for the demolition of "illegal buildings", breaching the rights of the vulnerable Roma community.
 
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* Slovakia: Court finds violation of Roma woman’s rights
By Compiled by Spectator staff

The Constitutional Court has overturned the ruling in a case of a Roma woman who unsuccessfully took legal action against discrimination in her access to employment.
The lower instance courts violated Viera Pompová’s guaranteed right to a just court process, the court said, as reported by the TASR newswire.
“This decision might significantly improve the odds of many individuals who are being discriminated against to secure justice in discrimination lawsuits,” said Pompová’s lawyer Vanda Durbáková of the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, as quoted by TASR.
Pompová applied for a job as a social worker in Spišská Nová Ves (Košice Region) back in 2010. Despite the fact that she met the requirements in terms of education and multi-year field experience with social work in Roma communities, the job went to another candidate of non-Roma origin, who was less qualified and did not have any command of the Roma language.
 
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ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

Join the The European Roma Media Network!

The European Roma Media Network was an outcome of ERIO’s conference “Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism” organised on 23 June 2015 in Brussels. The ultimate goal of this informal Network is to join efforts to invert the role of the media as a tool to fight anti-Roma sentiments and anti-Gypsyism. The media has a crucial role in combating racism and stereotypes about the Roma. This can be achieved with an ethical and critical journalism which aims to raise awareness and provide a greater understanding regarding Roma issues.
 
The role of the Network is to provide an online platform for different stakeholders to exchange information and ideas about good practices and to discuss possible challenges and opportunities in tackling negative stereotypes and hate speech in the media. A parallel objective of the Network is to monitor and react to hate speech and negative portrayal of Roma in the media and address the responsible authorities.Who can join? Members of the Network should be journalists (Roma and non-Roma), media experts or NGOs working on media.

Want to apply for membership?
To apply for membership please fill in this registration form and send it to office@erionet.eu
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