Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* 3rd SMILE’s partnership meeting in Croatia
The 3rd partner’s meeting of the SMILE project was held on 20-21 January in Koprivnica, Croatia. The aim of the meeting was for partners to discuss about the current progress of the project and the organisation of the future training of teachers about Roma culture, history, language and pro-sociality.

Visit the SMILE website here
* ERIO meets Swedish delegation
On 21st January ERIO received a delegation of young people from Sweden. The visit in Brussels was organised by the Swedish Agency for Youth and Civil Society. As a state actor working with NGO’s, the agency often organises missions to Brussels to meet with EU institutions and key civil society actors. One of their programs is to promote the health of Roma citizens with giving grants to different Roma NGO’s. The young delegation was interested in ERIO’s work and how ERIO advocates for the rights and social inclusion of Roma. ERIO representatives talked about the work of the organization, about the network of Roma NGOs  from across Europe, the key role ERIO had in the lobbying with the European Commission for the adoption of European Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies. ERIO presented its new priorities and its long short and long term strategy.

OTHER news

* French mayor in racism row after dead Roma baby refused cemetery place
By The Guardian

A French mayor has been accused of being racist and inhumane after a two-month-old Roma baby who died at Christmas was refused permission to be buried in a local cemetery. Christian Leclerc – mayor of Champlan, near Paris’s Orly airport – was quoted as saying there were not enough places in the graveyard and that priority had to be given to “those who pay their local taxes”. The rightwing mayor’s decision caused a wave of opprobrium from politicians, officials and support groups who accused him of racism and xenophobia.
The infant, named Maria Francesca and born on 14 October 2014, was reported to have died during the night between Christmas Day and 26 December. Her mother was said to have raised the alarm after discovering the child’s body was cold and lifeless when she went to breastfeed her at 5am.

Read more here
* Ukip MEP of Romany Gypsy heritage contacts police over racist abuse
By The Guardian

A Ukip MEP of Romany Gypsy heritage has asked police to investigate racist abuse received on Twitter. James Carver, who represents the West Midlands for Nigel Farage’s party, says he was referred to as a “Pikey bastard” after posting a blog urging the travelling community to register to vote before May’s general election. West Mercia police are investigating, a Ukip spokesman said.
Carver, whose paternal grandmother was a Romany Gypsy, received the messages after posting that he had met the pressure group The Traveller Movement last week to discuss a campaign called Operation Traveller Vote.

Read more here
* Czech Republic: Hundreds of illegally sterilized women will probably be compensated
By Romea

The victims of illegal sterilizations could be compensated as much as CZK 300 000 (EUR 10 000) in the coming years. Those who did not give their informed consent to such an operation prior to undergoing it would be eligible for compensation.
That is the content of a draft outline of a law arranging for their compensation. Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) and the head of his Human Rights Section, Martina Štěpánková, announced the details to journalists today.

Štěpánková said several hundred persons might qualify for the compensation. "Eligibility will be determined by whether informed consent was actually given to the operation. In many cases a consent form was signed, but not until after the operation had been performed or even immediately during preparations for it to be performed. Sterilization is not considered a life-saving intervention. There are also cases in which it was performed during a Cesarean delivery or immediately after delivery, etc.," she said.

Read more here
* Case Watch: Inaccessible Electricity Meters for Roma Challenged under EU Law

When is it racial discrimination to put a Roma community’s electricity meters out of reach? And is the right to a remedy limited to Roma residents—or can anyone affected complain?

Read more here
* Constructor destroys shacks in Istanbul, leaves Roma people homeless in winter cold
By Anadolu Agency

Istanbul. A construction company has demolished a small number of shacks inhabited by Roma people on the outskirts of the gigantic construction site of Istanbul’s new financial center, leaving them homeless in the winter cold. The Roma people who had been living in the makeshift shacks for two years said police arrived with heavy construction machines early on Jan. 5 and proceeded with the demolition on the grounds that the land was private property.
Nebahat Bilgiç, the head of a local association to help Roma people, said the police raid came after the landowner sold his land to a construction company, but no evacuation order had been given yet. She also slammed the oppressive tactics used by the municipality to evacuate the area.

Read more here
* Turkey: Killing of Romani boy sparks unrest in Denizli
By Daily Sabah

Istanbul, The murder of a 10-year-old Romani boy by a landlord accusing him of theft in the western Turkish city of Denizli on Sunday has sparked clashes between locals and the Romani community. An angry crowd set four houses on fire in the city's Honaz district, where the murder suspect lives, and clashed with the suspect's relatives. Four people were injured in the incidents raising concerns of maltreatment of the Romani citizens of Turkey.
Yaşar Kopuk, 62, allegedly fired shots when he saw Ali İnci, a Romani teenager, stealing pieces of metal from his courtyard. The teenager, whose age was reported as 15 by some media outlets and claimed to be 10-years-old by his family, was injured and died at the scene. 

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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