Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 02-10-2015

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO invites you to join the European Roma Media Network
Are you a journalist, media expert or an NGO working on media? If so, we invite you to join the European Roma Media Network.
 
The European Roma Media Network aims 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.

Find out more on www.erionet.eu/european-roma-media-network
* MUSIC4ROM partner’s meeting
Partners of the project MUSIC4ROM will be meeting on the 6-8 October in Barcelona, Spain. Partners will discuss the progress of the implemented activities and the work still to be done. More information will be available after the meeting.

Visit the project website here.
* SMILE final conference
The final conference of the SMILE project will take place on 28-29 October in Catanzaro, Italy. The conference will be the closing event of the project will finish at the end of October. This will be a good opportunity to inform participants about the outcomes of the project and the lessons learnt. The project documentary on Roma culture and history will also be launched at the conference.
Visit the project website here.
* ERIO at the consultation meeting at the European Commission (DG JUST)
ERIO was present at the latest consultation meeting, on 30 September, concerning inclusion policies for Roma organised by the European Commission (DG Justice), with representatives of European level civil society, international organisations and academics' network. In the first session, discussion was focused on presentations of promising practices and projects brought by the civil society. Healthy Communities, an NGO-government project from Slovakia, presented its work. The NGO implements health activities in segregated Roma settlements by training and empowering health mediators from the communities. Moreover, the "Roma Inclusion Index" was presented. The index is a recent publication of the Decade for Roma Inclusion Secretariat, with the aim of proposing and providing an overview of relevant indicators to measure progress in closing the Roma-non-Roma gap in education, employment, healthcare, housing, discrimination and poverty. Additionally, NGOs reported on the effects of the refugee crisis on their work. The main concerns shared were regarding authorities postponing projects in the current context, the increase of hate speech and hate crime towards Roma, and ways to secure the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies. The second session included presentations from Commission colleagues, which focused on fighting discrimination and anti-Gypsyism. Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s director, spoke on the impact of the refugee crisis on the work of Roma NGOs. He stated that the refugee situation may push Roma issues to the sideline and the surge in refugees entering Europe has made right-wing extremism more prevalent and reinforced anti-Roma sentiment; as a result hate crime and racial discrimination may increase. European Commission’s representatives took note of the concerns and assured the participants of their continued efforts and hearings to ensure continued communication between all the bodies.
* ERIO member lead the Walk for Dignity for Homeless, Migrants and Refugees in France
ERIO’s network member Esmeralda Romanez, the President of the European Federation for Roma and Traveler women is involved in the organization of a long "Walk for Dignity for the Homeless, Migrants and Refugees". Esmeralda is part of this intiative in her capacity of an active member and president of a network of Romani organizations.
 
The Walk is to create more awareness on the situation of the Roma communities in France and throughout Europe. Esmeralda Romanez will be walking on this month long event with a Romani flag and posters accompanied by many Roma NGOs and members from the Romani community. Participation in this event includes other minority groups - notably members of American Indian organizations , who will converge on the main street of Paris - the Champs Elysees - with 8000 drums end Nov 2015, as well as numerous European humanitarian organizations, artists and writers.

OTHER news

* Zazzle responds about anti-Gypsyist T-shirt
By mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

23/09/2015 - News server Romea.cz reported yesterday that the German-language pages of the Zazzle online retailer were offering a T-shirt reading "GYPSY HUNTER BADGE - WE KILL THE GYPSIES". The item was no longer for sale approximately two hours later.
Customers wrote indignant protest letters to the company and shared them through Facebook. News server Romea.cz also contacted the firm with questions.
Communications Director Diana Adair responded to Romea.cz yesterday evening as follows: "Thank you for contacting us regarding the matter of this motif. We are working to remove it. Zazzle provides an open market where users can create a broad range of products themselves. Whenever we ascertain that a product violates our norms because of hateful or violent content, we immediately remove it."

Read more here
* 'Gypsy' No More: Romani Music Festival Combats Stereotypes
By Tom Smurthwaite

"We would love a permanent address - it would be like winning the lottery," said member of group camped for a week in CobhamSenior members of the Romany-Irish travellers group who were camped in Cobham for a week have spoken of the "racism and discrimination" they encounter in everyday life, and called on councils to provide more permanent sites for their community. The settlement - including a motorhome, caravans and white vans - was on the grass area at The Tilt, off Stoke Road, for a week from last Thursday afternoon (July 16).
In July alone in Elmbridge borough, traveller encampments have been spotted in Waterside Drive, Walton, and at three separate spots in Hersham - Old Esher Road, Hersham Recreation Ground and land near Rydens School. There is one permanent site in Elmbridge - 16 socially rented pitches at The Oaks, in Woodstock Lane, Claygate.
According to the Elmbridge Borough Council website, it is "full and has been for a number of years".

Read more here
* Bulgarian NGOs get injunction suspending demolition of Roma homes in Peshtera
By agw, press release from the National Roma Coalition "Intellect" in Bulgaria, Roma Virtual Network

17/09/2015 - A Bulgarian coalition of Romani NGOs called the National Roma Coalition "Intellect" has issued a press release in response to the advice given to the Bulgarian Government by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 15 September. The ECtHR said that “without a definite commitment on its part to ensure the accommodation of the vulnerable members of the applicants’ families before the demolition of their homes, the Court will, in application of Rule 39 of its Rules, indicate to that Government not to proceed with this measure”.
 
Read more here
* EU Ban on Balkan Asylum Seekers Alarms Roma
By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonian Roma associations say EU plans to ban Balkan nationals from claiming asylum are deeply unfair to their own persecuted and marginalised community.
Roma associations in Macedonia - home to a large community - have condemned EU plans to exclude Balkan nations from claiming asylum as part of measures to cope with the growing refugee crisis. They say it is unfair towards thousands of migrants, mainly Roma from Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania, who are fleeing both poverty and total marginalization in their countries of origin.

Read more here
* 2014 Annual Report on Discrimination against Roma
By Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Another year has passed and the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) presents its Annual Report on Discrimination and the Roma Community. This is the 10th year of publication of this report, the main objective of which is to shed light on and report discrimination which, unfortunately, the Roma community continues to suffer.
 
We believe it is extremely important for the government and the society at large to be aware of these cases of discrimination and thus have an idea of the everyday reality that Roma families face in gaining access to housing, employment, education and services simply because of their ethnic background. In some cases, rejection has overstepped the boundary of discrimination and turned into racist violence as was the case this year in two towns in the south of Spain, Estepa and Castellar, where the homes of several Roma families were set on fire during the course of racist demonstrations. Unfortunately, political parties and human rights organisations failed to speak out against these inadmissible and unjust acts.
 
We’ve been working for ten years in the area of equal treatment and anti-discrimination and can confirm that discrimination against the Roma community is caused by the negative social image people have of them, i.e. prejudice and stereotypes that are proving difficult to eliminate because they are deeply rooted in our society and in the arguments used by most citizens when erroneously referring to this sector of the population. Many Roma have a standard lifestyle and don’t even remotely resemble the negative social image which limits their right to equal treatment.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

Dignity for Lety and the upcoming Roma Pride.

Roma Pride will take place on October 4th in about 20 countries. As agreed, this year EGAM Members and partners will strongly focus on Lety in order to ask for the removal of the pig farm from the site of the former concentration camp.
Dignity For Lety European Manifesto is calling for the removal of the farm. This manifesto is to be signed by European civil society leaders together with public figures and European political leaders (MPs or MEPs). The purpose is indeed to gather as much support as possible to put pressure on both Czech and EU authorities.

To sign the Manifesto  

Paul Max Morin Executive Director
0033 6 83 11 46 45 paul.morin@egam.eu
 
EGAM - European Grassroots Antiracist Movement
48, ter rue du Faubourg Saint Denis
75010 Paris
Michael O'Flaherty has been chosen as the new Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

“It is with great pleasure that FRA’s Management Board announces the appointment of Michael O'Flaherty as the next FRA Director,” said FRA Management Board Chairperson Frauke Lisa Seidensticker. “His profound human rights expertise and wealth of experience on the national, European and international stage will strengthen FRA’s role as a major player in shaping the fundamental rights landscape across the EU.”
 
FRA’s Management Board members interviewed the candidates during their meeting on 24-25 September. The final decision was then put to a vote.
“It’s a great honour for me to take up this important position,” said incoming Director Michael O'Flaherty. “I very much look forward to working together with the staff and the Management Board to advance the protection and promotion of fundamental rights throughout the EU, particularly in these critical times.”
Michael O'Flaherty is currently Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland Galway, as well as Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He has also been a member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee and has been active in the field of human rights for over 20 years, nationally and internationally. He has been a senior expert for Ireland as part of FRA’s multidisciplinary research network, FRANET, since 2014.
For further information please contact: media@fra.europa.eu
Tel.: +43 1 580 30 642
 
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