Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 07-11-2014

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the High Level Event on Non-Discrimination and Equality in Rome, Italy
On November 7th ERIOs Executive Director Ivan Ivanov participated in the High Level Event on Non-Discrimination and Equality in Rome. The event was organized by The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. The main objective of the event was to stress the importance of Equality policies in the European Union. High Level Representatives of governments from the EU Member States and key stakeholders working on Equality issues were invited to discuss and identify current challenges and future paths to make Equality a reality for all. In his presentation Mr. Ivanov highlighted the need of cultural change for equality and diversity and combating stereotypes. He also stated that it is widely agreed that in order to make sustainable progress in improving the situation of Roma, it is necessary to take action to combat the dramatic levels of anti-Gypsyism across Europe in all segments of the European societies which is also continuously fuelled by the media and anti-Roma rhetoric of politicians and  public officials. Racist stereotypes too often serve to justify ongoing and past discrimination and inspire its continuation. Anti-Gypsyism also serves to obstruct the implementation of measures aimed at improving the situation of Roma. For example measures developed at national level often remain empty promises with local officials taking no action to implement these measures fearing the political costs of challenging the anti-Gypsy attitudes of local populations.

OTHER news

* Greece: Court must consider hate motive behind attack on Romani woman
By Amnesty International

Any failure of a court in Messolonghi, western Greece, to consider the racist motive in the brutal attack on a Romani woman and her nephew will be a failure of justice, Amnesty International said ahead of the opening of the trial, on 4 November, of three men accused of causing serious bodily harm during an attack two years ago.

In October 2012, Paraskevi Kokoni, and her nephew Kostas, who has a learning disability, were beaten by a group of local men in a violent attack while they were out shopping in the town of Etoliko, western Greece. Her 11-year-old son could only look on as they were punched, kicked and beaten with logs. Paraskevi told Amnesty International that she was singled out as a relative of a local Roma leader. The attack took place amongst a series of vicious racist raids on Roma families in the same town between August 2012 and January 2013.

Read more here
* One in four Croatian Roma has no identity documents
By Dalje

A free legal assistance project has been launched in Croatia to determine the actual number of Croatian Roma who do not have identity documents in light of estimates saying that around 25% of the Roma community do not have such documents, heard a round table organised in Slavonski Brod on Wednesday by the local Legal Information Centre (IPC) and the UNHCR Office in Croatia. The round table on the status of Roma in Croatia was held on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.

"It is estimated that around 25% of the Roma population in Croatia have no identity documents. That is why the IPC in 2011 launched, with UNHCR's support, a project for free legal assistance to establish the actual situation on the ground," said the executive director of the IPC Slavonski Brod, Natasa Kovacevic, adding that two mobile teams, consisting of legal advisors and including Roma representatives, were working on the ground.

Read more here
* Welfare for Roma is not a fiscal issue, it's social
By Roman Cuprik

Not even 2.2 percent of total public spending goes to Roma citizens even though they are often depicted as those who abuse the social welfare system in Slovakia. This is the finding from an analysis conducted by the Institute for Economic and Social Studies (INESS) released on October 22.

The think-tank looked into numbers provided by the Central Office of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (ÚPSVaR), social insurer Sociálna Poisťovňa and the Atlas of Roma Communities and concluded that the costs of welfare paid in districts with a two-thirds Roma population makes up 2.2 percent of public spending, which is €578 million.

Read more here
* Czech Gov't report finds Roma cannot access ordinary housing
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The number of impoverished ghettos and Romani families living in overpriced, substandard residential hotels significantly increased last year. Romani tenants' access to rental housing deteriorated during the same time period. There was no improvement when it comes to the inclusion of Romani children into regular schools or the employment of Romani adults. Those are the findings of the Report on the State of the Romani Minority in the Czech Republic for the year 2013 which the Government will discuss tomorrow.

According to the report, last year the number of impoverished localities rose. What's more, they have begun to change. Such ghettos have stopped developing mainly in towns and have spread to a large number of rural areas. In more remote communities, however, it is even harder for adults to find work and children must travel further to school; social services are also lacking.

Read more here
* Italy faces EU rap over Roma treatment
By The Local

The European Commission may launch an infringement procedure against Italy over its treatment of the Roma community, a rights organization said on Tuesday.  The Commission has written to the Italian government warning that the EU “could decide to start an infringement procedure”, Roma rights association 21 luglio said.

The EU’s executive arm has reportedly requested information on Roma accommodation in Italy, the only country in Europe to build camps specifically for the Roma community. Drawing on La Barbuta camp in Rome, the Commission said it was concerned about Italy housing people “on a very remote and inaccessible site, fenced in with a surveillance system”. Such a scheme “seriously limits fundamental rights of those concerned, completely isolating them from the surrounding world and depriving them of the possibility of adequate work or education,” the Commission letter said, according to 21 luglio.

Read more here
* Somewhere between Indifference and Rejection: Sinti and Roma in Germany
By ERRC

The recent study published by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) has found that Sinti and Roma face more discrimination than any other minority group in Germany. The head of the Agency, Christine Lüders described the findings as dramatic, stating that "Indifference, ignorance and denial are the fatal mixture that lay the groundwork for discrimination against the Sinti and Roma people.”

In a statement in response to the reports, the Central Council of Sinti and Roma in Germany expressed great concern to the results. Romani Rose, the group's chairman said "The study shows there is a rejection of Sinti and Roma people as well as deep-seated prejudices.”

Read more here
* Civil Society Monitoring Report on the Implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategy in the UK
By the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups

This report was prepared by the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups. Membership of the NFGLG is made up of 15 member groups across England, Scotland, and Wales. The NFGLG is also grateful for input into the report by a number of other civil society organisations – the Traveller Movement, London Gypsy and Traveller Unit, Roma Support Group, Roma Community Care, Advisory Council for the Education of Romanies and Travellers, National Association of Teachers of Travellers, and An Munia Tober.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* European Roma Information Office (ERIO) high level Conference with Local authorities, November 27 in Brussels
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend a conference with European local authorities which will be held on 27th November at the European Economic and Social Committee, room TRE 7701 (7th floor), 74 Rue de Trèves, 1040 Brussels from 09:30-17:00.
 
Roma in Europe continue to face constant discrimination. Segregation in education, poor housing, violence and forced evictions are some of the types of discrimination they face in their daily lives. As a way to improve the integration of the 10-12 million Roma across Europe, in 2011 the European Commission adopted an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. Following this Framework, member states committed themselves to ensure equality and improving the socio-economic situation of Roma by delivering their National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). In December 2013, the Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures was adopted. This contains a number of provisions which emphasise the necessity of Roma integration at the local level. It is clear that the challenge now falls upon national governments to involve local authorities in the implementation of the NRIS.
 
Against this backdrop, this European level conference will gather together representatives of local authorities from across Europe. It aims to provide a platform for discussion and exchange of information between the different local authorities in Europe concerning the NRIS and the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive (RED). Secondly, to facilitate the exchange of successful practices and identify the challenges faced by local/regional authorities in the NRIS and RED implementation and any potential solutions to overcome them.

The conference will be in English.

Registration
 
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 24th November 2014.
For registration or any other queries, please contact: office@erionet.eu or Tel: +32 (2) 733 34 62
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