Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the Workshop on the thematic evaluation on IPA support to Roma communities
On the 15 April, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR) of the European Commission organised a workshop on the thematic evaluation of IPA support to Roma communities in Brussels.  Participants included representatives of the European institutions, international organisations, IPA beneficiaries and Roma and non-Roma NGOs. ERIO was invited to participate. During the workshop evaluators presented their tentative findings, conclusions and recommendations, which were discussed and consulted with all the participants.

OTHER news

* Federal police agree to stop using term “Gypsy”
By Derek Blyth

16/04/2015 - The Belgian police have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” on official reports in response to complaints by local agencies that it is stigmatising

Police in Belgium have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” on official reports in response to a complaint lodged by the Minorities Forum and the Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities. “The word gypsy stigmatises a group of people and so is unacceptable,” said Wouter Van Bellingen, Minorities Forum director.
According to Van Bellingen, using the word gypsy in police reports is a form of ethnic profiling, which classifies a person on the basis of appearance or conduct. That is illegal in Belgium, he pointed out. The correct term to use is, he said, is “caravan resident”. The police have agreed to stop using the word “gypsy” and to agree on a new term. They will work with several interest groups to find a neutral word.
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* Slovenia: Govt Sets Up Roma Community Commission
By mab/moz/ago/apo/eho

Ljubljana, 16/04/2015 - The government set up on Thursday a commission for safeguarding the Roma community. The 15-member body will be headed by Stane Baluh, who is also the head of the Government Office for National Minorities.

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* Canadian Officials In Hungary To Seek Information On Roma Exodus From Miskolc
By index.hu/Bálint Hirling

17/04/2015 - Around 40-50 local Roma families have emigrated from the Hungarian city of Miskolc to Canada over the previous months, community leader Mihály Dancs has claimed, adding that the number may multiply soon. Roma families are planning to leave Hungary not only from in and around Miskolc but also more distant areas, he claims.
In the meanwhile, officials from Canada’s immigration authority and representatives of the Canadian embassy in Budapest are in Miskolc to gather information on the situation. The Canadians met the head of the local Roma self-government and also town councillors, Mr. Dancs said.
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* Slovenia: European Roma Forum Shocked by Lack of Drinking Water in Settlements
By gz/ep

Ljubljana, 17/04/2015 - A round-table debate organised by the European Roma and Travellers Forum highlighted in Ljubljana on Friday the continuing failure to secure running water in some of the Roma settlements in the country. Participants stressed that resolving the situation was the responsibility of the state.

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* French Mayor Dumps Alleged Manure on Roma Settlement
By Melodie Bouchaud

17/04/2015 - The mayor of the northern French town of Haubourdin on Thursday dumped three truckloads of what has been described as manure on the edge of an informal Roma settlement housing five families, including 11 children and a baby.
Mayor Bernard Delaby denied the dirt was manure, describing it instead as "wet agricultural soil." But local witnesses have reported the stench coming from the dirt, which they say is getting worse in the heat. Activists gathered at the site Thursday were able to prevent a third truck from pouring out its load of foul-smelling muck.
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* Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu says will assign Romani adviser
By Today's Zaman

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Sunday he will form a new mechanism in the Prime Ministry to prevent discrimination against the Romani people and will appoint a Romani adviser for himself.
19/04/2015 - In his remarks during a meeting with representatives of Romani civil society organizations and Romani figures at his office in Dolmabahçe Palace ahead of parliamentary elections slated for June 7, Davutoğlu vowed to fight against discrimination and prejudice faced by the Romani people.
“If such discrimination takes place, I promise you, if you are subjected to discrimination or a negative attitude, I will establish a mechanism in the Prime Ministry to follow [these incidents] and will assign a Romani brother as an adviser to myself through negotiating with you,” Davutoğlu said.
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* France: Clear majority has negative perceptions mainly of Muslims and Romani people
By ČTK, mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

A clear majority of French people (82 %) continue to view Romani people negatively, while 74 % of French people view Muslims negatively as well. The minority group that is best-received in the country is that of Jewish people, but prejudices against them persist as well, such as the sentiment that they wield too much power and that they have a specific relationship to money. Overall, according to researchers, the tolerance of the French toward local minorities has improved. The number of people who do not consider themselves to be racist rose this year for the first time since 2010 to 43 %.
Another phenomenon is the fact that more French residents say they perceive secularism to be a protection against Islam. Seven out of 10 French people are also of the opinion that there are too many immigrants in France, according to the authors of a report on French tolerance of minorities three months after the bloody attacks perpetrated by Islamist terrorists in Paris. "In response to those dramatic events, social relationships have become stronger, not weaker," said Christine Lazerges, chair of the National Advisory Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH). Similar surveys in the Czech Republic usually ask respondents how they would respond if a neighbor of theirs was of a certain nationality.
Traditionally the foreign nationals most liked by inhabitants of the Czech Republic are Slovaks - 90 % say they would not have a problem with a Slovak neighbor. The Czechs also perceive Americans, the English and the French as not problematic. At the other end of the scale for Czechs are Afghans (18 % acceptable), Arabs (21 % acceptable), and Chechens (19 % acceptable). The clearly least-liked group, however, is that of Romani people - only 11 % of respondents consider them not problematic, while 36 % of respondents say they would be "completely unacceptable" neighbors.
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* Roma Petition Pope Over Forced Evictions in Rome
By Conor Gaffey

21/04/2015 - Romani families in Italy are calling on the pope to save them from eviction and separation as Rome cracks their makeshift accommodation ahead of the Vatican’s so-called ‘Year of Mercy’ jubilee celebration.
The number of forced evictions of Roma from their homes in dilapidated shacks across the Italian capital increased fivefold in the three weeks following the pontiff’s announcement of the celebration, independent monitors Associazione 21 Luglio told Newsweek. Since March 13, when Pope Francis - known for his work with the poor and homeless - declared a year-long jubilee beginning in December focusing on forgiveness and hospitality, more than 300 Roma have been evicted.
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UK: Roma police officer receives OBE from Queen Elizabeth II
By Dominik Jůn

Petr Torák, a Czech Roma who moved to the UK in 1999, is to be honoured with an OBE for his outstanding work as a police officer. Torák, who was targeted by neo-Nazis in the Czech Republic, has been making headlines for many years for his remarkable commitment to public service.

As far back as 2008, the UK press was hailing Petr Torák, a young Roma refugee, as “the new face of British policing”. By age 27, he was serving as a community support officer in the city of Peterborough, but in 2006 graduated to become a fully-fledged police officer. He speaks five languages and has been applauded for his skills in dealing with migrants – an issue that took on a fresh dimension in Britain following the eastward expansion of the EU in 2004 and 2007.Born in the Czech city of Liberec, Torák says he experienced countless racist physical attacks in his native country. He moved to the UK in 1999, and found jobs in the fast food industry and as a security guard. But the young Roma soon set out to fulfil a life-long dream of active community service. Torák spoke to Radio Prague’s Rosie Johnston back in 2008, describing his work as a UK police officer:
“Most my time is spent working with newcomers from Eastern Europe in particular, from the Czech Republic, and from Poland. Not only because I am from the Czech Republic originally, but because I know the majority of these sorts of languages and I can do it well because I can interact with them and understand their culture. So that is why I work with them so much.”

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* 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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