Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* Shooting a documentary on the Roma culture
10/06/2015 - We started the shootings of a documentary which aims to raise awareness about the Roma culture through dialogues between Roma and non-Roma actors of different generations from Belgium, UK, Italy, Bulgaria and Croatia. Each partner will film five dialogues: two children, two teenagers, two women or mothers, two adults and two people aged over 60.
The short documentary is being prepared in the context of the SMILE project.

Visit the SMILE project website here
* ERIO at the conference “How to safeguard the fundamental rights of the most deprived EU citizens”
11/06/2015  - On the 11 June, ERIO took part in a Macedonian Study Visit focusing on Fundamental Rights and Anti-Discrimination. Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director, presented ERIO activities and EU Roma policy development to the participants representing Macedonian civil society organisations active on a local and national level.

OTHER news

* Left behind
By The Economist

Life is not improving for one of Europe’s biggest and most ostracised minorities

09/06/2015 - “NO ROLE models,” says Zvezdelina Atanassova when asked why education is not valued in Lozenets. In this Roma (Gypsy) neighbourhood in Stara Zagora, a town of 138,000 in south-eastern Bulgaria, she is a rarity: a Roma, a woman and a student. Girls here rarely study beyond primary school. Boys drop out around 15, as soon as they can get a driving licence. Asked about their aspirations, seven in ten say they want to become pimps, laments Gantcho Iliev, who runs a charity working with Lozenets’ youth. No other occupation comes with a big house, posh car and the attention of attractive women.

Roma make up 5% of Bulgaria’s population, says the census. Yet this is an underestimate, as many distrust officials and refuse to register, or misstate their ethnicity because prejudice equates it with backwardness and petty crime. In six central and eastern European countries the Roma are thought to make up 7-10% of the population (see chart 1). Across Europe, half of Roma lack such amenities as running water. Only 15% have secondary education.

Read more here
* The Roma are a problem exacerbated by Lega Nord
By Giuseppe Terranova

09/06/2015 -  Let’s clear the Roma camps to mop up Lega Nord’s bile. The agglomerations of shacks and caravans have the same effect on the Roma that Scampia has on Naples. You just need a few bad apples, it matters little whether they’re homegrown or imported, and the whole place will be written off.
It’s maybe worth remembering that of the 180,000 nomads living in Italy, the majority (61%) have citizenship and, most importantly, 80% live like everyone else: in rented accommodation or their own homes. But the real problem is the remaining 20%, who have erected micro towns of crime on the peripheries of our cities, with campers, containers, tents and bivouacs. That is the point, if only because this minority, who disregard the law, eclipse the majority. The proof of this is the fact that many people believe that the vices of the few define the entire Roma community.
Read more here
* EU Fundamental Rights Agency holds workshop on indicators of Romani integration
By agw, Press release of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency

From 10-11 June the EU Fundamental Rights Agency convened a workshop in Vienna for its National Roma Contact Points (NRCPs) on the Roma Integration Indicator and a template for reporting on such indicators. The workshop was to bring together 22 Member States' National Roma Contact Points, the European Commission, and representatives from national statistical offices.
The aim of the workshop was to assist Member States with applying the indicators' framework in practice and to discuss various approaches to data collection that might be applicable in specific contexts. The workshop was also supposed to discuss how the indicators' framework could be applied in countries with limited possibilities of generating or using data disaggregated by ethnicity.

Read more here
* Mayor of Bulgaria’s Kyustendil to call local referendum but without Roma people’s votes
By FOCUS News Agency

09/06/2015 - “I have always said that there is a need of equality in politics and think that my two mandates as mayor are enough as motive to call a local referendum,” Mayor of Kyustendil Petar Paunov said, speaking for Nova TV about his plan to call a local referendum to ask citizens whether he should run for a third mandate in Bulgaria’s forthcoming local elections this fall.
An interesting fact around the local referendum is that the citizens of Roma origin have been excluded from the public poll. Asked to comment on the issue, the mayor said, as follows: “Every single news coverage on the elections days is connected with the vote buying. We do not want to discredit the poll.”
Read more here
* Italian Court Rules Against Rome Forcibly Relocating Romani Families
By RTT Staff Writer

An Italian court has ruled that the Municipality of Rome acted unlawfully by forcibly relocating Romani families to an ethnically segregated camp. The judgment, revealed by the complainants at a joint press conference in Rome Tuesday, found that making Roma live in the ethnically segregated La Barbuta camp constituted discriminatory treatment.
The judgment, issued on 30 May by the civil section of the Tribunal of Rome, found that the Municipality of Rome had discriminated against Romani families by housing them in the La Barbuta camp. The camp, consisting of pre-fabricated containers surrounded by fencing, was built in a remote location near the city's airport, using powers granted under a state of emergency declared by the Italian government in 2008. Despite a court decision in 2011 annulling the state of emergency and all resulting measures and decisions, the Municipality of Rome completed the construction of the La Barbuta camp and proceeded to assign housing units in the camp to Romani families only. These included many families forcibly evicted from the camp of Tor de' Cenci.

Read more here
* French MPs vote to scrap special identity papers for travelling people

10/06/2015 - The lower house of France’s parliament voted late Monday in favour of cancelling special travel permits that worked as identity cards for nomadic people known as gens de voyage (travellers). While travellers' and rights groups hail the bill as a measure against discrimination, critics say it will not resolve France’s strained relations between nomadic and sedentary people.
The proposal affects some 350,000 French citizens who fall into a legal category of travellers, which is used to refer to a number of ethnic groups including Manouches, Gitans and Roma – who are themselves not to be confused with Roma originating from outside the country.
Read more here
* Helsinki Police: Roma camps dismantled almost every day
By Yle

11/06/2015 -  Police say they dismantle illegal camps occupied by Roma on a nearly daily basis. On Thursday Helsinki Police dispersed several Roma from under a bridge in the Linnunlaulu park area, along Töölönlahti Bay.
Nearly every day, Helsinki Police find and then dismantle illegal campsites set up by Roma and advise them if they want to camp, they should go to the Meri-Rastila camping area in eastern Helsinki. There are usually only a few people at most of the campsites they come across police say, but occasionally they find as many as a dozen people in a camp.

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
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