Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO’s training about Roma history in a Brussels primary school
On the 18 May 2015 ERIO held its first training session in the context of the SMILE project in a primary school in Brussels. The training provided an introductory module on Roma history and was attended by 28 teachers.
Elvira Hasan, of Roma origin, was the trainer for the module on Roma history and culture. The first module covered the origins of the name “Roma” and who it includes. The migration patterns of Roma from northern India to Western Europe and how they split up into different groups heading into different directions were also addressed. Trainees were given a brief history of Roma’s persecution and the repartition of Roma nowadays. The training was concluded by a short section on the main issues that Roma children face with schooling and what could be done in order to increase the odds of Roma continuing education.
The training will be followed by other sessions on the 1st and 29th of June and in September, where the history of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust, Roma art and culture and Roma stereotypes will respectively be discussed. After this module on Roma history and culture, ERIO is holding two more modules on the Romani language and on the concept of pro-sociality at the same school, which are due to begin in September. 
See photos of the trainings here
Visit the SMILE project website here

OTHER news

* UN human rights office: France must to more to stop racism in suburbs, abuse of Roma, refugees
By Fox News

Paris, 15/05/2015 - The U.N. human rights office says France is not doing enough to stop racism against minorities in poor suburbs or to prevent abuse of Roma people and migrants seeking asylum.
In a report released Friday, the Geneva-based agency also urged France to do more to fight online extremism and anyone who incites racist or anti-Semitic hatred. The government has been increasing its tools to do both since terrorist attacks in January.
Read more here
* Özcan Purçu: a Roma on his way to Parliament
By Nursel Dİlek

For the first time ever, the estimated 6 million Roma citizens of Turkey are very near to achieving representation in Parliament.
Istanbul, 16/05/2015 - If Republican People's Party (CHP) İzmir candidate Özcan Purçu is elected, he will be Europe's third Roma parliament representative. Purçu was born in a nylon tent; he grew up as the son of a mother who peddled clothes and a father who sold baskets. When their tent was ripped up, they turned to the district governor's office for help, and so it was that Purçu grew up steeped in an atmosphere of respect for the district governor's office, believing it to be the zenith of the state. As a young boy, he was generally the highest ranked in tests and academic contests, but when it became clear he was ethnically Roma, he would invariably be eliminated from the finals. But now, while he couldn't become a district governor, Purçu is preparing to stand as a candidate for Parliament from the CHP. And if elected, he'll enter Parliament as Turkey's first ever Roma deputy.
Read more here
* Ombudsman claims discrimination in EU projects
By Quentin Ariès

Watchdog found that many EU-funded projects do not comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
18/05/2015 - The European Union’s public watchdog claims that regional projects across EU member states are vulnerable to civil rights abuses and that spending on such programs has not been monitored adequately.
In a new report, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly targets the EU’s Cohesion Policy, which is designed to spur development in the bloc’s poorer regions by spending more than €325 billion on a huge range of projects between 2014 and 2020. She found that many EU-funded projects are not in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights — the main EU legal text protecting human and social rights. Signed in 2000, attached to the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, and upheld by the European Court of Justice in a ruling in 2014, the charter holds that human rights should be part of EU law. O’Reilly said EU funding needed to be more closely watched so that it complied with the charter.

Read more here
* France building a wall around Romani camping site
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

18/05/2015 - The French town of Wattrelos, located on the border with Belgium, is erecting a wall around a campsite that is reportedly used by Romani people. The 2.4 meter high barrier will extend to the border.
The wall was recently added to the existing plans for the campsite. It is supposed to prevent the Romani people from traveling into the small Belgian town of Mouscron on the other side of the border. The plan for the wall has sparked controversy in Belgium and in France. It was the town hall of Mouscron that demanded the roadblock be erected.
"Those people will not be able to cross into Belgium from there, they will have to make their way around the barrier, which means they will not cross the border so frequently. The aim is not to hide them from view, but to create a safer environment," said Alfred Gadenne, a member of the Mouscron local council.
Read more here
* Norway Roma treatment needs improving, says Council of Europe
By Michael Sandelson and Sarah Bostock   .

19/05/2015 - The Roma community in Oslo and how they are treated is cause for concern, the COE’s new report states. Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks makes his statements following his visit to Norway between 19th and 23rd January this year. He held discussions with state authorities, Human Rights structures, and non-governmental organisations.
... Amongst Commissioner Nils Muižnieks’ concerns regarding the Roma community are extremely frequent uses of child protection measures to separate children from their families. In a press release, he states that, “the Norwegian authorities must review Roma children’s alternative care decisions for their human rights compliance and provide support to Roma parents in exercising their parental role.”
Read more here
* Justice, morality and exclusion from the law: the case of the Roma in Finland
By Raluca Bianca Roman

‘Culture’ appears to be both an easy way in and out of understanding the complexity of the ‘moral’ and the ‘just’ among minority or excluded groups. From States of Impunity.
19/05/2015 - A law case made headlines in March 2015, concerning the kidnapping, sexual abuse and bodily harming of a young Finnish Roma woman by a Finnish Roma man and his daughter. The case revived the distinction between cultural individual rights, since much of the discussion revolved around the seemingly ‘parallel’ system of moral conduct according to which members of the group lived. The case simultaneously, and unsurprisingly, polarised members of the Finnish Roma community, as many from the majority society found the ruling inappropriate.

Read more here
* Roma and Sinti women activists discuss gender equality issues at OSCE/ODIHR consultation meeting
By Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

19/05/2015 - The promotion of gender equality was among the challenges faced by Roma and Sinti women that were the focus of a consultation meeting for Roma and Sinti women activists at the Warsaw headquarters of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 18 and 19 May 2015. The meeting brought together 12 Roma and Sinti women activists from OSCE participating States to discuss gender mainstreaming and gender targeting in ODIHR’s activities focusing on Roma and Sinti communities.

“The OSCE Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti acknowledges the particular situation of Roma and Sinti women, and calls for systematic mainstreaming of Roma women’s issues in all relevant areas of Roma integration,” said Beatriz Balbin, First Deputy Director of ODIHR. “This consultation meeting enables us not only to receive direct feedback from women activists on our work with Roma and Sinti, but also input as to how ODIHR can better champion gender equality by taking into account the specific needs of diverse communities.” 
Read more here


* Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism - CONFERENCE INVITATION

Brussels, 26 June 2015
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend the conference “Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism” which will be held on 23 June 2015 at the European Economic Social Committee, room TRE 7701 (7th floor), 74 rue de Treves, 1040 Brussels from 09:00-17:00.

Media represent a strong communication tool in shaping the opinion and behaviour of Europeans on a daily basis. Roma are subject to discriminatory and racist discourses in the media whose reports continues to identify them as ‘outsiders within’ and as a threat to the fabric of the European society. Media tends to reinforce and reproduce existing stereotypes of the Roma and constructs them as useful scapegoats in times of economic crisis. These representations greatly influence individual attitudes and strengthen racist discrimination against this community, prejudice, xenophobia and even incitement to ethnic hatred.
There is an urgent need to address these issues. Due to the significant impact of media on European societies, journalists should take a special approach once informing about vulnerable groups such as Roma, who constitute the largest European ethnic minority. We should invert the role of the media as a tool for anti-Roma sentiment and use it to fight 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.
This conference will focus on finding appropriate and effective ways to sensitise journalists to Roma culture in order to overcome media negative stereotyping while discussing the role of the media in combating anti-Gypsyism. It will provide a platform for participants 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.

This conference will be in English.

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 19 June 2015 at 15:00 (Brussels time).
For registration or any other queries, please contact: office@erionet.eu or Tel: +32 (2) 733 34 62
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