Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 04-07-2014

ERIO news and activities

* Joint statement calling for anti-racism intergroup in the European Parliament
ERIO has signed a joint statement with ENAR and 94 other organisations calling for the establishment of a strong intergroup on anti-racism in the European Parliament in order to:
1) mainstream racial equality and anti-racism in policy and legislative work of the EU bodies and monitor EU equality and diversity initiatives;
2) monitor the situation of groups at greater risk of racial discrimination and propose remedies and corrective measures to be taken by Member States, and
3) consult and liaise with civil society organisations and representatives of ethnic, racial and religious minorities to enhance their participation in decision-making processes.

Read the full statement here
* Interview with Elvira Hasan, a Roma activist
Under the project SMILE (Supporting motivations to Intervene on Learning and Experience), ERIO interviewed Elvira Hasan, a Belgian Roma activist originally from Macedonia. The interview focuses on the inclusion of Roma and the schooling of Roma children.
 
The aim of this project is to fight against an early drop out of Roma students by addressing this problem with a prosocial approach and ideas of shared responsibility and solidarity between communities. The project SMILE intends to support primary schools in their effort of involving Roma students, creating a welcoming learning environment for the Roma children and families and developing a sense of community through the foundation of a new spirit of community feeling based on the concept of prosociality.
 
Watch the interview here.
Find out about the project here.
*ERIO’s advocacy templates for national and local authorities
As part of our advocacy activities, we have prepared template letters for Roma activists, our network members and advocacy trainees to use in order to address national and local authorities to pressure them to effectively transpose the National Roma Integration Strategies at national, local and regional level in cooperation with Roma representatives and to implement the EC Council Recommendations.
 
You can download the templates here
* SMILE’s second partnership meeting
On 7-8 July 2014, ERIO is organising a partnership meeting under the SMILE project in Brussels. The SMILE project is funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme and is done in partnership with six organisations: ERIO (Belgium), Centro Studi e Formazione Villa Montesca (Italy), AIZO Onlus (Italy), Municipality of Koprivnica (Croatia), BHA (UK) and ADRA (Bulgaria). The aim of this project is to fight against an early drop-out of Roma students by addressing the problem with a prosocial approach and ideas of shared responsibility and solidarity between communities. Moreover, the project SMILE is designed to support primary schools in their effort to involve Roma students, create a welcoming learning environment for the Roma children and families and develop a sense of community through the foundation of a new spirit of community feeling based on the concept of prosocialty. This is the second meeting of the consortium where the project implementation progress will be discussed. 

Read more here.

OTHER news

* Revisiting the EU’s social exclusion discourse: Residential segregation, Greek Roma and the participatory governance lock in
By Ioannis Chorianopoulos, Irene Tsetsiou, Electra Petracou

Abstract: In this paper, we discuss the controversy over the EU’s social policy goals and the vibrant debate about the means through which they are promoted. In particular we explore the “citizenship rights” and the “participatory governance” pillars of the EU’s “social exclusion” approach. The paper examines the Roma population in Greece; a de facto minority experiencing multidimensional, material and discursive exclusion that has recently attracted the attention of the EU’s social policy makers.

Read more here
* Czech mayor says he hopes Roma newcomers will leave his town soon
By RESPEKT, Dolní Poustevna, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

27/06/2014 - The mayors of villages throughout the Šluknov foothills recently sent a letter to the Czech Prime Minister asking the state for help and warning that last year's hate marches against Romani people could be repeated again this summer. During the summer of 2011, neo-Nazis convened a series of marches in towns throughout northern Bohemia and outraged citizens from the region, which is afflicted with high unemployment, threatening to lynch Romani people there.
RESPEKT magazine has reported that during recent visits to the towns of Rumburk and Varnsdorf, some of these mayors have proven able to reduce these tensions on their own. The small town of Dolní Poustevna, two sides of which abut the border with Germany, is now just beginning to experience these tensions as well.

Read more here
 
* ERRC Welcomes Irish Government’s Apology and Hopes this Will Set an Example for All Governments
By ERRC

Budapest, Dublin, 2 July 2014: The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) welcomes the Irish Government’s multiple apologies regarding the unlawful removal of two Romani children from their families in October 2013 and the publication of the report by the Ombudsman for Children on the same matter. The ERRC urges the Irish authorities to develop the necessary policy and legal mechanisms, as suggested in the Ombudsman’s report, to ensure full integration of Roma in society. The ERRC further expects all measures to be taken to ensure unlawful removal of children does not occur in the future.

In October 2013, the Irish police (An Garda Síochána) removed two Romani children, a two-year-old boy in Westmeath and a seven-year-old girl in Dublin, from their families, because they looked different than the other family members.

Read more here
* Hungary’s Roma poorly protected against violence, says international report
By MTI

03/07/2014 - The International Minority Rights Group has issued critical remarks about Hungary’s hate-crimes legislation in its latest 2014 report targeting several European countries.
Hungary’s Roma minority is “poorly protected against a rising wave of targeted violence”, the report says, though it acknowledges Hungary’s efforts in sentencing four people last year for the serial killing of six Roma in 2008-2009. However, the report insists that the suspects were only arrested after the eleventh attack and their trial lasted 28 months, during which the court had to remedy shortcomings in the original investigations. It adds that hate crimes targeting the Roma community are often overlooked by police

Read more here
* Montenegro: Obstacles in education for Romani and Egyptian children
By Kristina Cetkovic

 Wearing old clothes, but still going to school: The famous poet, Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj stated, “From cradle to grave, the most beautiful (period) is the school age.” This statement, however, could hardly be supported by those familiar with the education that children living in the Konik camps receive. World Bank statistics report that only 32 percent of Romani and Egyptian children finish primary school compared to 98 percent of all children in Montenegro. In order to increase the number of Romani and Egyptian children attending primary school as well as to enabling them to complete school, the Roma Education Fund (REF) has committed to joining a complex process of integrating the children living in Konik camp into mainstream society.

Read more here
* Social inclusion important not only for Roma, says state secretary
By MTI

27/06/2014 - Social inclusion is extremely important not only for Roma people but to all who live in disadvantaged regions, Ministry for Human Resources state secretary Karoly Czibere said in Friday’s daily Magyar Hirlap. Czibere, who has recently been appointed to state secretary in charge of social affairs and inclusion, said that “an estimated 1.4 million people live in poverty in Hungary and around 300-400,000 of them live in deep poverty. In the case of the latter group, immediate action is necessary.”

Izmir Roman Association head Abdullah Cistir spoke to Al Jazeera Turk on behalf of his community based in the western coastal city, saying that he hoped the newspaper would information awareness among Izmir's Roma residents. He also aid that he hopes the newspaper will explain the social and economic plight of his community in search for solutions.

Read more here
* Undermining the ‘last acceptable form of racism’
By Matthew Reisz

3 July 2014 - Matthew Reisz talks to Annabel Tremlett, an academic whose work challenges common perceptions of Romani life
A new exhibition draws on a University of Portsmouth academic’s work to challenge stereotypes about Romani life. Annabel Tremlett, senior lecturer in social inclusion, first became interested in the subject when she spent a year in central Hungary on a European Youth Exchange programme working with the long-term unemployed, many of whom were Romani.

This was around the time of Hungarian accession to the European Union, so “there was a lot of focus on Roma as a poor minority”. What was striking was “the gap between EU, national and local discussions of Roma”.

Read more here
* Turkey: Continued impunity ruining justice (Selendi case)
By Günal Kurşun

29/06/2014 - I watched the14th hearing of the Selendi case, which is about the attack on Roma people in Selendi, Manisa, with a group of lawyers and human rights defenders last Wednesday. Nothing notable happened during this hearing, as was expected. The case, with 83 accused and dozens of victims, is being heard in the Uşak Palace of Justice for security reasons.
 In the first days of 2010, on Jan. 5, hundreds of people in Selendi marched to protest against the Roma people living in this small town in the Aegean region. The protest march quickly turned into a lynch mob and ended with the burning and demolishing of Roma houses that night. The next day, 18 Roma families -- 76 people -- left and moved to Salihli, a neighboring town. The case started in 2011 and it is still continuing without notable progression in 2014.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* Paruvipe Grants Program
The Paruvipe grants program — paruvipe means “change” in the Romani language — supports advocacy campaigns in Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Romania aimed at influencing public decision-making, service delivery, and state responses to acts of hate.
Through this call for concept papers, the Roma Initiatives Office is seeking proposals for campaigns that will forge new interest-based alliances, build mass constituencies, and use new communication tactics.
This call supports opportunity-driven advocacy, which involves recognizing and utilizing opportunities in mainstream decision-making processes.
Application deadline: July 17, 2014u

Read more here
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