Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO’s 4th Workshop “Fighting hate speech against Roma: the Role of Equality Bodies”
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO), in close cooperation with the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET) organises to attend a workshop with Equality Bodies and Roma representatives which will take place on 16 October 2015 at the Rue de Ligne 37, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.
Within the framework of the Race Equality Directive 2000/43 (RED) and national equality laws (legal provisions regulating media), the workshop will focus on how Equality Bodies can fight hate speech against Roma. By organising this workshop, we aim to:
- Foster discussion between different Equality Bodies, civil society and experts on effective practices and challenges to tackle hate speech against Roma
- Provide a platform for Equality Bodies to exchange good practices on hate speech (e.g. prevention, public awareness, litigation)
- Promote cooperation between Equality Bodies and civil society to jointly address hate speech against Roma

OTHER news

* The Roma and European Union Citizenship: In Search of a Humane Answer from the EU
By Nuno Ferreira and Dora Kostakopoulou (eds.), The Human Face of the European Union: Are EU Law and Policy Humane Enough?, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (Forthcoming)

Abstract: How does European integration affect the Roma communities? What does EU citizenship mean for the Roma and how has their mobility been viewed by the European Union Member States? In this chapter, we focus on the issues affecting the lives of Roma EU citizens wishing to migrate within the EU, such as the existence of transitional periods, the overall securitisation trend in domestic migration policies, the restrictive and deficient transposition of the Citizenship Directive, and Roma cultural specificities in the context of EU free movement. Although there has been a renewed commitment since 2010 on the part of the European institutions to address the problems facing the Roma, a more coordinated and multi-stakeholder approach is needed in order to ensure the effective exercise of free movement and other rights associated with EU citizenship status.
Read more here
* Separate and unequal in Hungary: “catching up” and falling behind on Roma inclusion
By Bernard Rörke

Immediately prior to the launch of the Decade of Roma Inclusion in 2005, the ERRC reported to the European Commission that the “recent legal and policy amendments aiming to combat racial segregation in schooling in Hungary” were “among the most far-reaching and innovative policies on Roma anywhere in Europe.”

Ten years later towards the end of the Decade, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HLCU) declared that Roma continue to suffer from racist violence and face anti-Gypsyism in every aspect of life including discrimination by authorities and institutions. As for education, the verdict was damning: “Hungary’s system of education is one of the most segregated, unable to close the achievement gap due to wide differences in student’s family, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.”

So what happened in the interim? What went so profoundly wrong to dash the promise of progress, equity and inclusion in education? How did a national commitment to school desegregation come to be displaced by a cynical policy of ‘separate but equal’ style segregation, re-packaged as ‘social catching up’?

Read more here
* UN Committee criticizes Czech Republic over Roma discrimination and xenophobia
By mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

 The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published a report today on its review of the Czech Republic, which took place on 12 and 13 August in Geneva. Its report begins with an overview of positive steps, including the adoption of the Romani Integration Strategy and an amendment to the Schools Act that promotes inclusive education.
Criticism of the Czech Republic predominates, however. The report finds that the country is not producing any available, reliable statistical data about ethnic minorities. CERD says insufficient funds were allocated to fulfilling the Government's Romani Integration Strategy and Strategy to Combat Social Exclusion in the past. The Commitee also notes that the number of people living in excluded localities has risen.

Read more here
* Analysis: Migrants and emergency welfare: explanation of recent European and international case law
By Marc UHRY, Head of Mission Europe, Fondation Abbé Pierre

September 2015 - As so often happens when it comes to immigration, the streets of France again began to buzz with vague rumours when the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently returned its ruling in the Dano versus Germany case[1]. “Prevention of social tourism” did the rounds of the media, without proper explanation of the content and scope of this decision. At the same time, other decisions of international courts were sending out conflicting messages as regards the social rights that can be claimed by migrants, including persons in irregular situations. Not one of these recent decisions has succeeded in bringing about any change of case law tack, nor do they form any kind of contradictory whole. They set out the basic rights of migrants with regard to welfare and the room for manoeuvre available to the authorities that claim to regulate access.

The Dano affair concerned the application by a family of European workers, none of whom have ever worked in Germany, a family already receiving several forms of basic welfare, to also receive an optional benefit, known as “basic insurance” [²], paid out to job-seekers. The CJEU upheld the lawfulness of the German authorities in refusing entitlement to this “non-contributory cash assistance ” on the grounds that none of these European nationals was employed. It might be helpful to point out that a European regulation on the coordination of social security systems [3] makes distinction, for each country, of the list of forms of unconditional benefits to which European nationals are entitled and the optional forms of support, the benefit requested; in this case, falling within the latter category.
Read more here
* Czech school opens "special" first-grade class, only Roma assigned to it
By bau, mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

08/09/2015 - The principal of a primary school in the town of Krásná Lípa in the Šluknov foothills has created a "special" class only for Romani first-graders. Their parents are complaining that they did not know their children would be attending a class that would be separate from the other children.
The school is arguing that the children are not being differentiated by ethnicity, but according to whether they have attended nursery school or not. The Romani parents allege that non-Romani parents put together a petition to the principal stating that they did not want their children attending the same class together with the Romani children.

The mayor of the town has also admitted that majority-society parents expressed such displeasure. "My son began first grade today. The principal has set up three first-grade classes and a socially vulnerable class that is being attended by my son and others. The parents of the children in the other classes put together a petition saying they did not want our Romani families attending the same class as their children. They did not give us any opportunity to choose, this all happened without any regard for our opinions," a Romani mother wrote to news server Romea.cz on 1 September.   

Read more here
* Paris Fails the Migrants
By The New York Times

18/06/2015 -  France’s failure to devise a realistic, humane plan to deal with migrants from Africa and the Middle East and Roma people from Bulgaria and Romania is having devastating consequences. The main victims are the migrants, forced to shelter in squalid temporary encampments. But another casualty may be a sense of unity in the European Union.
On June 8, a week after demolishing a migrant tent camp, the police in Paris used tear gas to clear migrants from a sidewalk where some were camped. On that same day, a 4-year-old Roma child died in a fire in a camp in Lille, one day after another child died in a fire in a Roma camp outside Paris and one day after Unicef France released a report on child poverty highlighting the “unacceptable” conditions in which many migrant children live. African migrants in Paris are, for now, being allowed to camp in a park.
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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