ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 06-02-2014
ERIO news and activities
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Berlin - Romanian President Traian Basescu on Friday (31 January) strongly defended freedom of movement within the EU, saying Roma have the same rights as other EU citizens and should not be misused for populist campaigns. Seven years after Romania joined the EU, Basescu said that his country is still not "fully integrated" as it is waiting to be accepted in the border-free Schengen area and, sometime in 2018-2019, in the eurozone.
"But I am happy from 1 January we are now fully integrated on the EU labour market," the President told journalists in Berlin, in reference to the lifting of labour market restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. Basescu criticised the campaign against so-called social tourism in Germany, led by the Bavarian Conservatives (the CSU), whose slogan for the EU elections is "who cheats is kicked out."
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Nazif Mujić, a Romani man from Bosnia, was the star of last year's Berlinale film festival, winning the Silver Bear for Best Actor for his performance in the docudrama "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker". As of the end of last month, he and his family were living in a residential hotel for refugees on the outskirts of Berlin and waiting to learn whether they would have to leave Germany against their will.
The German authorities have requested Mujić's asylum request and he is only able to remain in the country until 25 February. Berlinale organizers are now doing their best, at the last minute, to prevent his deportation.
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Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Hungary has apologized for the first time ever for the role the country played in the Holocaust. News agency MTI reported today that the apology was made last Thursday by the Hungarian Ambassador to the UN, Csaba Körösi. “Until today at this forum, no one has ever expressed, on behalf of the Hungarian state, its responsibility for its role in the Holocaust,” MTI quoted Ambassador Körösi as saying. The ambassador went on to say he would be making two separate statements of Hungarian responsibility that Thursday.
The ambassador made the apology during an event held at the UN on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, whose victims were Jewish and Romani people. He then repeated it at the opening of an exhibition called “Remembrance of the Holocaust in Hungary” which was put together by various organizations with the participation of the Hungarian mission to the UN.
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BELGRADE – An agreement between local governments in Serbia and the project Technical Support for Roma Inclusion, which is worth EUR 4.8 million, was signed on Tuesday, formally obligating 20 municipalities to support the Serbian government strategy for improving the position of the Roma.
Head of the Serbian government office for human rights Suzana Paunovic opened a meeting in Belgrade by saying the Serbia had made significant progress in the implementation of the Roma inclusion strategy since its adoption in 2009. According to Paunovic, 20,679 Roma have been entered into civil registries since 2009, and the plan is to register all those who are currently “legally invisible” by the end of 2015.
Athens, Greece - The Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn will find a way to participate in local elections and elections to the European Parliament even if harsh measures are adopted against it. Party spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris issued the party's official statement on the issue this past Saturday.
Reuters reports that if the Greek authorities make it impossible for Golden Dawn to participate in the May elections, it could be replaced by a new party with the name "National Dawn". "We are participating in these elections one way or the other," Kasidiaris, who is an MP, told a gathering of roughly 3 000 supporters in the center of Athens who were commemorating the anniversary of a 1996 dispute about islands in the Aegean Sea that brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war.Read more here
Czech MP Tomio Okamura, chair of the "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit přímé demokracie) movement and its vice-chair, Jaroslav Novák, visited Vlastimil Pechanec today in prison in Pardubice. Pechanec was convicted of perpetrating the racially-motivated murder of Ota Absolon, a Romani man, in 2001 in Svitavy.
Novák and Okamura are endeavoring to reopen Pechanec's trial, which they claim was manipulated. Novák told the Czech News Agency that one reason they visited Pechanec was to get to know him personally and to learn more details about his case.Read more here
Youth clubs, integration projects and advice on recycling and clearing up are all being offered to the Roma community as they look integrate in Normanton, Arboretum and Pear Tree. Derby City Council, the police, the Multi-Faith Centre and social services are working together on translation services for Roma people. More than 500 Roma and Eastern European youngsters are regularly attending a club that meets every Tuesday at Pear Tree Baptist Church.
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A Slovak court has just completed a two-day hearing into the case of police officers who harassed Romani boys in 2009. Four of the children and several of their parents have testified to date.
News server Korzár.sk reports that 10 residents of Košice have sued the police in the case from 2009. On Wednesday and Thursday at the Košice II District Court, 10 active and former police officers faced charges of abusing their powers as public officials. The case concerns harassment that took place at the Košice-Jih police station in March 2009. An investigation was begun after a DVD recording was published that showed police officers forcing six boys, who were suspected of having robbed a pensioner, to beat one another, kiss one another, and strip.Read more here
ANNOUNCEMENTS and events
ERIO is organising a workshop on 26 February. The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges faced at national level when it comes to raising awareness and recognition of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust and finding possible solutions to overcome them taking into consideration the national context. The workshop will result in concrete recommendations to send to national governments, media, schools, museums, etc.
This workshop is part of a one-year project funded by the European Commission under the Europe for Citizens Programme: MemoROM “Keeping the Memory Alive: the Roma and Sinti Holocaust”.
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