Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* Continuing our training on Roma history and culture with school teachers
01/06/2015 - On the 1st of June, ERIO will hold its second training as part of its course on history and Roma culture in a primary school in Brussels. This training, part of the SMILE project, is focused on modern Roma history and the Holocaust.

Two more trainings will be carried as part of this course, the first on Roma traditions, symbols and beliefs on the 29th of June and the second about Roma stereotypes in September. 
Visit the SMILE project website here

OTHER news

* The city you won’t find in guidebooks

A gritty Budapest neighbourhood that’s been compared to parts of New York City is hoping to attract visitors with a new tour about its history and unique ethnic mix.

20/05/2015 - Known as Jozsefvaros (Joseph Town), Budapest’s central 8th district is not typically featured in guidebooks. The far side of the neighbourhood has been called the Bronx or Harlem of Budapest, its ethnic mix dominated by Roma — as Gypsies are often called — but also featuring Turks, Chinese, Arabs, Africans and others in an ever-richer blend.
Aiming to break down prejudices and stereotypes, Roma volunteers from the Uccu Foundation provide tours not just for foreigners but also for Hungarians, especially students who may not know this part of the city. “We just wanted to show the people how Roma people are living here, the everyday life,” said tour guide Andrea Ignacz, a student at the Central European University who also spoke of how some Hungarians avoid the area because “they are really afraid to come here.”
Read more here
* Jobbik mayor accused of forcing out poor Roma tenants in Ózd
By Hungary Matters

20/05/2015 - With a “scandalous housing regulation”, the far-right Jobbik mayor of Ózd, in north-east Hungary, is forcing poor people – many of them Roma – out of their homes, the Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party said. Bence Tordai, PM’s spokesman, told a news conference that “the chief intent” of Dávid Janiczak, the town’s mayor, “is to discipline poor people and especially Roma whether they deserve it or not.” He insisted that a change to the local housing regulation now makes it easier for the local authority to evict tenants that it regards as undesirable, as well as to choose new ones.
Read more here
*  Seasonal Roma workers brave worsening living conditions

When Gülten Dumrul (50) first listened to the ambitious promises made by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2009, she hoped to finally have a better life and future for herself and her family after years of discrimination and poverty.

23/05/2015 - Six years later, all of her euphoria is gone, as the government kept very few of its promises to upgrade living standards and rights for Turkey's isolated Roma community. Dumrul and her family of five used to live in a nylon tent when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) first reached out to them in 2009. They still do so in their Roma neighborhood in Germencik, in the province of Aydın, earning their living as farm workers in the summer.

For decades, the Turkish state ignored its millions of Roma citizens, with the media following suit. The Roma have long complained that the stereotypes TV shows perpetuate are inappropriate, as they show Roma neighborhoods as places where there is always dancing on the streets or fights taking places. The image presented is one of a community without any problems. The reality is that the first thing one recognizes when entering a Roma neighborhood is poverty.
Read more here
* Fighting school segregation in Europe
By Margareta Matache and Arlan Fuller

22/05/2015 - All member states align their anti-discrimination legislation with the EU Race Equality Directive. However, local and central institutions do not consistently enforce it, argue Margareta Matache and Arlen Fuller. Dr. Margareta Matache is an instructor at Harvard’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. Arlan Fuller is the Executive Director at the Harvard François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.

School segregation stands as a stark expression of historic and current injustice against the Roma in Europe. In spite of legal and policy measures that now exist, the practice has neither stopped nor significantly diminished, as emphasized by Harvard FXB and DARE-Net in the Strategies and Tactics to Combat Segregation of Roma Children in Schools report. The resistance to has impeded inclusive education. Therefore, in dealing with institutions tactical adaptation, NGOs have had to employ and revisit frequently their tactical innovations (to use Doug McAdams’s language on protests).

Read more here
* France sees annual celebration of Sara e Kali, the patron saint of Roma
By min, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

On Sunday, 24 May, the traditional pilgrimage of Sara e Kali, a celebration of the patron saint of Romani people, Saint Sarah, took place in the south of France. The festival takes place in the village of Saintes Marie de la Mer and tens of thousands of Romani people from all over Europe visit it annually.  
A statue of Saint Sarah, which is usually kept in the cellar space of the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer, is placed on a pedestal covered with flowers during the course of the ceremony and then carried on the shoulders of several Romani men in the presence of Romani guards on white horses to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. The statute is submerged in the water and then carried back to the church.      
The whole ceremony is accompanied by Romani music and song. There are various versions of the story explaining the origins of Saint Sarah.  
A Romani story says that Sarah was a woman of noble blood who lived in southern France on the coast of the Mediterranean. One day God appeared to her and told her that the three most faithful followers of Jesus would be arriving by boat.
When Sarah went to the coast to welcome them, she saw that their boat had capsized. Sarah did not hesitate:  She spread her cloak on the water and used it as a vessel to sail to their rescue.

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
Contact us