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ERIO news and activities

* Eurodiaconia, ERIO and EESC Hearing on the Gender dimension of Roma Inclusion
Eurodiaconia organised in close cooperation with ERIO its hearing titled “Roma Inclusion: Exploring the gender dimension” on the 21st of October 2015, hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.  The aim of the hearing was to raise awareness about the particular challenges Roma women are facing across Europe when it comes to accessing education or employment, and making their voices heard in the political arena. The current situation of Roma women was first examined by representatives of the European Commission, FRA and civil society. It was stated that gender based violence is a major issue facing the community. Moreover, the Roma women are still struggling when attempting to take financial decisions. When it comes to education, there is an improvement in the statistics but a high dropout rate is still present.

The hearing discussed positive practices to empower Roma women. As a good practice, ERIO’s policy officer Marta Pinto presented the project KEYROMA funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme. ERIO was involved as partner in this 2-year project which aimed to boost the socio-economic integration of Roma women through adult education and to increase their chances on the labour market (particularly the service sector). A learning module was developed with the Roma women which included units on attitudes, skills, knowledge and mediation aimed to increase their participation in the service sector. The module is available in seven languages and can be downloaded here.

The presentation can be found here.

Strategies to empower Roma women were then discussed. MEP Damian Draghici spoke on the insecurity and violence facing his Roma community. He also explained to the participants the normalization of domestic violence amongst the Roma. During the session it was continually stated that the Roma women already have will power but are greatly restricted by both the Roma and non-Roma communities. Furthermore, it was discussed that the Roma women need to take control of running projects and positions of leadership to realize their potential. Through the empowerment of Roma women, the Roma community as a whole will develop across all fields.

The hearing brought out key points of highlighting the hidden potential amongst the Roma women and promoting social inclusion with anti-discrimination actions.
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OTHER news

* Roma become human trafficking victims
By Slovak Spectator

14/10/2015 - ROMA living in socially excluded communities belong to the most vulnerable groups when it comes to human trafficking. They are abused mostly for forced labour but there are also cases of forced begging and sexual exploitation, said Tímea Stránská from the People in Need non-governmental organisation at the October 13 press conference.
Slovak Roma often depart to Great Britain, particularly to the cities of Peterborough, Sheffield, Leicester, Derby, Birmingham and Glasgow. Other countries of interest include Germany and the Czech Republic. Human traffickers often lure their victims directly from Roma settlements.

“The victim is often recruited by members of their distant family or one of their acquaintances,” Stránská said, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
Read more here
* Integrating Roma Into Europe's Future: Change Must Come From Within
By Athéna Tacet

As the European Union is intensifying its efforts to promote dialogue with member states on the necessity to fight discrimination and marginalization of Roma minorities in Europe as part of the Decade of Roma Inclusion (2005-2015) and the EU's Europe 2020 strategy, a recent proposition set forth by a French union has sparked outrage after it suggested the creation of a separate bus service for Roma people in the Southern French city of Montpellier.
Sadly enough, the French case is not isolated. A similar controversial apartheid-like project was also discussed last year in Italy and many cases of discrimination have been reported in member states with large Roma populations.

In this context, a large majority of the estimated 10-12 million Roma living in Europe, six million of them in the EU and the majority in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, and Romania, continue to face social-economic prejudice, exclusion from mainstream education and healthcare, intolerance, xenophobia and stigmatisation. Referred to as Europe's most marginalized minority, they continue to live, for the most part, in very poor social-economic conditions with limited prospects for the future.

Read more here
* Hungary links Roma to jihadists in Syria
By Nikolaj Nielsen

19/10/2015 - Hungary’s minister of justice Laszlo Trocsanyi on Monday (19 October) said there is a risk Roma could end up in Syria as foreign fighters alongside jihadist or other radical groups.
Speaking at a conference in Brussels, the centre-right Fidesz minister said the some 12 million Roma in Europe “could be a target for radicalisation,” according to Hungary’s spokesperson.

Roma are among the most discriminated minorities in Europe. Roma in Hungary are segregated in schools, some don’t have access to water, and their average life expectancy is shorter than the national average. Around 700,000 are estimated to be in Hungary. Hungary’s EU presidency had spearheaded an EU-level strategy on the Roma in the past, but activists say it is paying lip service to integration efforts.

The Budapest-based European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) has documented numerous cases of abuse against the minority in Hungary. A contact said they are also discriminated at the work place and that some of the women in the recent past were sterilised by force.
Asked why a Roman Catholic Roma would choose to fight alongside radical jihadist groups in Syria, a Hungarian spokesperson said “it is because they are deprived people and they are usually more exposed to radical views”.

Read more here
* Victory in the Romanian Parliament
By ovid (Romania)

On the 7th of October the Chamber of Deputies passed a bill promoting every child's right to participate in preschool and kindergarten: 289 in favor, 1 against and 5 abstentions. The bill finances a national program to encourage 3-5 year old children living in poverty to regularly attend grădiniță. Based on OvidiuRo's highly successful model, parents living under the poverty line will receive food coupons worth 11 euros PER MONTH if their child attends preschool every day.
That's how author Peter Hurley expressed it after spending a day in Întorsura Buzăului, where OvidiuRo runs the Fiecare Copil în Grădiniță (FCG) program. Read the article he wrote, here.
This month-long project,organized in partnership with Raiffeisen Bank, funds the FCG programs in Brasov and Covasna that reach 750 children per year. In October, thirty public figures and sixty Raiffeisen employees are spending a school-day in a rural classroom interacting with the children, reading stories, dancing, painting, and playing. Meanwhile the volunteers also learn about the reality of growing up poor in rural Romania and get a chance to talk with the teachers and meet with parents in their homes. (Pictures posted daily on OvidiuRo FB page.)
Read more here
* Constitutional Court orders case on possible discrimination against Romanies to be reopened
By Daniela Lazarova

The Constitutional Court has ruled on the reopening of a case pertaining to the possible discrimination of three Romanies who were refused accommodation in a hotel in north Bohemia. The three men claim that the receptionist had confirmed they had vacant rooms over the phone but refused to accommodate them when they turned up in person. A ruling by the regional court in Ustí nad Labem went in favour of the hotel which produced an earlier booking for all of the hotel’s 156 rooms by a German entrepreneur who allegedly failed to turn up. The Romanies are demanding an apology and 25,000 crowns in compensation.

Read more here
* Roma People, a Stateless Community in Georgia
By Tamar Svanidze

Even in the 21st century there exist people who do not have an Identity and are not recognized by the legal institutions of the country. The Roma minority group which has been living in Georgia since the beginning of the 20th century has problems unlike those of other ethnic minorities living in collective conditions in various districts of Georgia.
Once Georgia was formed as an independent state, the Roma found themselves in an extremely difficult situation. Following the 1990s civil war, most of the Georgian population was left unemployed and the majority of the Roma turned to fortune-telling to earn a living. However, those working in governmental structures were dismissed because they did not know the Georgian language.
Official data has revealed that 1,500 Roma are registered in Georgia, most of whom live on the outskirts of Georgia’s capital city Tbilisi. A second large group of this ethnic minority has settled in Gachiani village of the Gardabani municipality, Kakheti region. Roma people are considered one of the most impoverished ethnic groups in Georgia, having a common problem: the majority of them have no access to education, jobs and healthcare services, because most of them do not have ID cards.

Read more here


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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