Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the “Good Practice Plus Policy” Conference in Belfast
​On September 21-22, ERIO representative participated in a conference in Belfast organised by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities. The topic of the conference was Hate Crime and Hate Speech in popular politics: the roles of criminal justice agencies

The Purpose of the event was to: Identify good practice to support victims of racial and religious hate crime and hate speech in Member States; build a strong partnership between the police and prosecution authority and minority ethnic community to support victims; identify issues and gaps at both national and EU level on the existing law, policy and practice; and showcase the progress of the Good Practice Plus project in different national contexts. The audience was addressed by the Minister of Justice of Northern Ireland Ms. Claire Sugden; Mr. Christian Ahlund Chair, the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), Council of Europe; Ms. Linda Ravo legal and Policy Officer DG Justice, European Commission; Ms. Joanna Goody, Head of department Freedom and Justice, Fundamental Rights Agency and Mr. Ivan Ivanov, Executive Director of the ERIO. Speakers presented instruments for legal protections for victims of hate crime and hate speech, examples of hate crime recording and reporting system and the General Recommendation 15 of ECRI for combating hate speech. Mr. Ivanov spoke about Victim’s Right Directive and lessons learned from Roma community. He stressed that many Roma fall victims of hate crime every day, and the whole Roma population is subjected to hate speech by media, populist politicians and extreme right nationalistic groups in the society. “Every EU member state has specific provision in its Criminal Code forbidding racist offence and hate statements, but the reality shows that these provisions are not effectively applied” stated Mr. Ivanov. He added “The newly adopted Victims’ Rights Directive should be transposed by EU Member States in their domestic law in a way that make other hate crime and racism related legal provisions work”. Mr. Ivanov gave an example of hate crime referring to case of Nachova and Others v. Bulgaria, which was initiated by him and his colleagues in Bulgaria in mid 90s and ended up with a Grant-Chamber decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg where the Court for first time in its history recognised violation of Art. 2 of the European Convention for Human Rights the right to life in conjunction to Art.14 the right to non-discrimination. The case concerns the murder of two Roma soldiers by a military officer."

Participants also discussed issues concerning cybercrime, hate crime and extremism, good practices on police and public prosecutors.
* ERIO at the Belgian National Roma Platform meeting
​On the 29 September, ERIO attended a meeting organised by the Belgian National Roma Platform, which was launched in May 2016. The topic of the meeting was Roma’s access to healthcare. The aim of the meeting was to formulate recommendations for policy makers and which can provide some input for the evaluation of the National Roma Integration Strategy.
During the meeting, ERIO stressed the need to ensure the participation of Roma in the full process related to the national strategies and any policy relevant for Roma which is currently non-existent in the Belgian context. Since the aim of the Belgian National Roma Platform is to trigger the dialogue with all stakeholders and Roma communities in Belgium, this is a requirement that needs to be improved and respected. Small interactive group discussions between participants took place to discuss what is currently working and missing in Belgium in terms of Roma’s access to healthcare and what can be done to improve the situation.
Other thematic meetings focusing on education, housing and employment will take place until the end of the year.

To find out more about the Belgian National Roma Platform, visit their website here.

OTHER news

Germany: Racist assaults increasing
​By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

​The number of violent attacks with a racist subtext has increased in Germany. From January until mid-September, police recorded 507 such assaults, almost double the number for the same period last year, according to the magazine Spiegel.
The overall number of politically-motivated crimes targeting asylum-seekers and refugees is also high. Responding to a question in Parliament from MPs for the Green Party, the German Interior Ministry reported that this year there have already been more than 1 800 such crimes.
Police have also recorded 78 arson attacks committed by right-wing extremists. The Interior Ministry reports that against the background of the debate over refugee reception, the "rhetoric of resistance" has been rising.
The civilian counter-intelligence agency reported on growing activity by right-wing extremists this summer in its annual report for 2015. The number of right-wing extremists, according to the agency, has risen from 21 000 last year to 22 600 this year.
Read more here
* England fans in Lille have been filmed humiliating children understood to be from the Roma community
By Sky News

​The shocking footage shows supporters throwing coins at the children and laughing - with one man seen pretending to fight a small child. The children are said to be from the Roma community, but Sky News has been unable to verify this.
In a statement, a Roma advocacy group said: "We firmly condemn what happened and we underline the urgency to take measures against anti-gypsyism, because in Europe every day the balance shifts to the far-right."

In the latest trouble in Lille, 16 people were treated in hospital and there were 36 arrests following confrontations, which saw French riot police charge at chanting fans and spray tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Read more here
One-third of Roma People Do Not Consider Themselves Poor 
By Novinite, Sofia News Agency

​One-third of Roma people in Bulgaria do not consider themselves poor, while 67.2% reckon so, showed data of the National Statistical Institute from the 2015 annual survey. The survey is carried out every year, but, for the first time this year, it included a question on ethnic identity.
People who identified themselves as Turkish showed a similar tendency as Roma people. A total of 63.6% reckon that they are not poor. 36.4% thought they are poor. With respect to Bulgarians, 84.8% considered themselves not poor. There are significant differences regarding the distribution of the poor from the different ethnic groups depending on their economic activity, noted experts from the institute.
Within the Bulgarian ethnic group, the poor are mainly pensioners (49.9%), while among the Roma the poor are predominantly jobless (43.7%).
In terms of employed people, the relative share of the working pour is highest for the Turkish ethnic group – 26.7%, compared to 20.8% for the Roma and 18.9% for the Bulgarian ethnic group.

Read more here
The Roma People Demonstrate in Oslo
By NRK/Aftenposten

​The Norway Post. The Roma people and other disadvantaged groups demonstrated against the city council's plans to ban outside sleeping in Oslo. A large number of Roma people met Oslo politicians on their way to work with banners, signs, songs and dance Wednesday morning. Wednesday evening, the city council will most likely issue a ban against sleeping outside, a ban requested by the Oslo Police District. As of today it is illegal to spend the night, camp or set up a tent in public parks or recreational areas, but it has so far been unclear what the rules are for densely populated, urban areas outside of parks and recreational areas. The suggestion up for discussion at Wednesday's meeting is a ban on all outdoor camping in public places. The Roma People's support group, Folk er Folk ("People are people", arranged Wednesday's demonstration outside of Oslo City Hall. Representatives for other disadvantaged groups were also present.

Carl I. Hagen, group manager of the Progress Party, was one of the politicians who were stopped on his way to the office. Several of the demonstrators accuse the Conservatives and the Progress Party for lack of human compassion, but Hagen disagrees.
"I can't be a compassionate human being with all the voters' money," he said. "Norway should demand that far more of the money we give to Romania are spent on helping the Roma people, rather than investing in a corrupt regime," Hagen told NRK.

Read more here


* ERIO at the High Level Event on Roma youth empowerment
The EU Slovak Presidency and the European Commission is organizing a High Level Event on Roma youth empowerment which will take place on October 10-11 in Bratislava. The event will bring together around 200 participants , representing relevant national authorities from the EU Member States, enlargement countries,international organizations, EU and national level NGOs, Roma and non-Roma youth and media. The conference will focus on promoting the role of Roma youth as a driving force in the Roma integration process. Official opening speeches will be delivered by Ms. Mrs Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, European Commission , Mr Ján Richter, Minister of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of Slovakia and Mr Ábel Ravasz, Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak republic for Roma Communities. ERIO representative will present the organizational experience in working with Roma youth and their role in advocacy for access to education and employment at national and local level.
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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