Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 08-04-2016

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the EESC hearing
ERIO was an invited speaker at the European Economic and Social Committee hearing “Anti-gypsyism: possible responses” that took place in Brussels on the 5 April. The hearing highlighted the need to focus attention on anti-Gypsyism and possible ways to fight such phenomenon. ERIO’s senior policy officer, Marta Pinto, provided some tentative indicators to measure anti-Gypsyism such as incitement to death, hate, intimidation and violence towards Roma; denial of fundamental rights; discrimination and socio-economic disadvantages. Moreover, Ms Pinto discussed the strong impact of the current refugee situation on Roma inclusion. As she said, “With the refugee situation, Roma inclusion slipped down the political agenda and is used as an excuse to stop or delay the implementation of Roma inclusion policies.”

More information, including agenda of the hearing can be found here

http://www.eesc.europa.eu/?i=portal.en.events-and-activities-anti-gypsyism-programme
* Press release: Roma’s political participation is essential to safeguard their rights
Brussels, 8 April 2016 -  On the occasion of the International Roma Day, ERIO would like to stress the importance to promote Roma’s full participation in political structures at local, national and European levels to ensure the effective implementation of Roma related policies, including the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). As stressed in the Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures in the member states, empowering Roma by promoting their political participation in society is critical to advance the process of Roma inclusion.
 
Roma have a history of exclusion and continue to be denied access to decision-making processes and institutions. “To guarantee the rights of Roma, it is essential to ensure their genuine political participation so they are adequately represented in local, national and European decision-making structures.” notes ERIO’s Executive Director Ivan Ivanov.
 
The “For Roma with Roma” motto should be genuinely applied at all levels. Roma need to be empowered to become democratic and participatory leaders in the process of Roma inclusion. To ensure this, conditions have to be created to grant them with equal opportunities to be represented in decision-making institutions. More investment is needed in political training and education aiming at Roma’s active political participation at local, national and European level. Roma’s political participation is closely linked to their inclusion enabling them to be involved in decision making processes concerning the design, implementation and evaluation of Roma related programmes and policies. It will further ensure the effective implementation of the NRIS at national and local levels. As Mr Ivanov concludes, “It is crucial that Roma stop being passive recipients of policies affecting them and become equal participants in society.”
 
For more information, please contact: Tel: +32 273 33 462, E-mail: office@erionet.eu
 
Note to the editor:
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy organisation which promotes political and public discussion on Roma issues by providing information to the EU institutions, civil society and governments. Through its wide network, it aims to combat racist discrimination against Roma through awareness raising, lobbying and policy development.
 
www.erionet.eu - www.facebook.com/erionet.eu - www.twitter.com/ERIO_EU

OTHER news

* Revised Strategic Guidelines of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for the Inclusion of Roma and Travellers approved by the Congress Bureau
By Express News Service

Strasbourg 01 April 2016 - The new version provides a clear vision for the Alliance, obligations of its participants and remedies against harmful conduct of participants
At its most recent meeting, that took place on 21 March 2016,  one day before the start of the 30th Session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, the Congress Bureau adopted a revised version of the Strategic Guidelines for the Alliance. The document serves as a programmatic outline of the work of the Alliance, emphasising its role as platform for exchange between participating local and regional authorities.
The guidelines also clarify the obligations of the Alliance participants. They are obliged to uphold the human rights standards and good governance standards of the Council of Europe. Also, they have to refrain from hate speech against Roma and Travellers, end school segregation and refrain from forced evictions that lead to the loss of shelter of Roma and Traveller families.
The new guidelines also open the possibility to exclude participants from the Alliance in case their policies and conduct harm the credibility of the Alliance or the Council of Europe. An exclusion is foreseen as a measure of last resort and after a thorough investigation and consultation with the concerned participant.

EN Revised Strategic Guidelines of the Alliance

Read more here
* New York Times: Roma Poisoned at U.N. Camps in Kosovo May Get Apology and Compensation
By Rick Gladstone

07/04/2016 - Hundreds of Roma families in Kosovo, who were forced to live for more than a decade in squalid United Nations camps built on toxic wasteland that leached lead and poisoned their children, have long become accustomed to frustration and despair.
Now the Roma, also known as Gypsies, may be close to receiving compensation — and a public apology — from the United Nations, which has not acknowledged any responsibility for the mass lead poisoning even as human rights groups and medical experts including the World Health Organization, a United Nations agency, repeatedly recommended immediate relocation of camp inhabitants. The camps were finally demolished in 2010, and the inhabitants were resettled elsewhere.
In an opinion dated Feb. 26 but not issued until this week, a human rights advisory panel that is part of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, the peacekeeping operation known as Unmik, found that the mission had failed to protect the Roma families who had been moved into the camps after war broke out in 1998 between Serbia and ethnic Albanian separatists seeking an independent Kosovo.

Read more here
* Do Roma need protection from themselves?
The Council of Europe comes under fire from academics for reinforcing prejudice
By Yaron Matras

Almost one hundred academic researchers specialising in Romani studies have signed an open letter to the Council of Europe’s Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, expressing their concern about a recent Council of Europe communication announcing its new four-year Thematic Action Plan on Roma and Traveller Inclusion. They take issue with the statement’s depiction of Roma as having a pre-disposition to early marriage, violence, organised crime and begging, and say that such suggestions contribute to, rather than confront stigmatisation and prejudice.
 
The 93 signatories, all members of the European Academic Network on Romani Studies that was set up in 2011 by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, are based at over 70 different universities and research institutions in more than 20 different countries. They include eminent scholars such as historians Henriette Asséo and David Mayall, anthropologists Michael Stewart and Alain Reyniers, ethnomusicologists Carol Silverman and Iren Kertesz Wilkinson, social policy experts Margaret Greenfields and Phillip Brown, and linguists Ian Hancock and Victor Friedman. The list also includes some key figures from Romani cultural and public engagement initiatives, such as Jana Horvathová of the Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, musician Santino Spinelli of the Università degli Studi di Chieti, Rumyan Russinov of the Public Policy Advocacy Centre, and Traveller activist and researcher Janie Codona MBE.
 
Read more here
* Celebrating 8 April - International Roma Day
By CoE

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland made the following statement on the occasion of International Roma Day.
“45 years ago, Roma people from across the world came together for the first World Romani Congress, near London, to congregate around their common identity."
“Today over 10 million Roma live in Council of Europe member States. Events are planned across Europe to mark today’s anniversary and to celebrate the proud contribution of Roma arts and culture to Europe’s common heritage."
“We know that much work is needed to end the segregation still experienced by Roma communities. The Council of Europe has therefore recently adopted a new strategy to help governments tackle anti-Gypsyism and to support innovative, local projects to boost inclusion."

“The Council of Europe is also working with our partners – an alliance of Roma artists and the Open Society Foundations – to establish a new Roma Institute for Arts and Culture. This is an initiative to which I have attached huge personal importance since becoming Secretary General. Crucially, the Institute will be Roma-led, giving Roma a space in which to tell their own story."

Read more here
* Slovak MP "symbolically" declares himself Romani in official online profile
By voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Ondrej Dostál, a legislator seated on the National Council of the Slovak Republic who chairs the Civic Conservative Party, has "symbolically" chosen "Romani" as his nationality when filling out his official online profile for the legislature. The Markíza television station reports that Dostál also listed his nationality as "Romani" during the census for the same reason.
"According to Article 12 of the Slovak Constitution, everyone has the right to freely decide their nationality. I have taken advantage of that," he told the Markíza interviewers.
"I consider it important for national minorities, including such a large national minority as the Roma, to be represented in the National Council," he said when asked why he made the choice. A reporter for TV Markíza also asked Ľudovít Gunár, head of a particular group of Roma from the community of Krásnohorské Podhradie in Rožňava, what his opinion was of the legislator's move.

Read more here
* More action needed to support Roma inclusion and combat anti-Gypsyism
By FRA

On International Roma Day, FRA calls for greater efforts to combat discrimination and anti-Gypsyism and further the inclusion of Roma, Sinti, Traveller and other similar communities. The success (or failure) of Roma integration is a test of Europe’s ability to provide decent conditions for any vulnerable group.
“The persistent pattern of discrimination that Roma communities face and the sheer scale of this discrimination is a disgrace for Europe,” said FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “Roma have the same rights as us all to live in dignity, to work, to education, to decent housing and healthcare.”
Numerous studies demonstrate the high level of discrimination and hate crime faced by Roma throughout the EU. FRA surveys show that Roma are one of the most affected groups in the EU, with every second Roma reporting having been discriminated against over the previous year and a fifth having been victims of racist assault, threat or serious harassment. In the second half of 2016, FRA will publish Roma-related findings of the second round of its minorities survey, allowing for an analysis of trends over time and thus helping the EU and its Member States to better address this persistent blot on Europe’s landscape.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

Join the The European Roma Media Network!

The European Roma Media Network was an outcome of ERIO’s conference “Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism” organised on 23 June 2015 in Brussels. The ultimate goal of this informal Network is to join efforts 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.Who can join? Members of the Network should be journalists (Roma and non-Roma), media experts or NGOs working on media.

Want to apply for membership?
To apply for membership please fill in this registration form and send it to office@erionet.eu
External Communication & Development Consultant at ERIO - European Roma Information Office
Job Location: Brussels
Expiration Date: 31 Mar 2016
Contract duration: until the end of 2016 with the possibility for extension
Starting date: 1 May 2016
This position can only be granted to someone who is officially registered as independent consultant.

PROFILE
Education:
Minimum bachelor’s degree or equivalent
Experience:
Experience of fundraising (funding research and development of funding proposals)Skills:
Excellent written and verbal English language skills Very good written and verbal French language skills
Very good communication and interpersonal skills to interact with all organisational levels
Able to work well both independently and within a small team and in a multicultural environment be responsive, flexible and adaptable, able to multitask and to prioritise workload to meet deadlines Strong planning and organisational skills
Accuracy, an eye for detail and a keenness to learn
Good IT skills (ability to use computer-based tools including electronic mail, and word processing)
DESIRED
Knowledge of Romani language
Knowledge of Roma issues and experience of working with disadvantaged and minority groups, and with Roma communities
DUTIES
Communication tasks under the general guidance of the Executive Director, the consultant will:
Facilitate and coordinate the communication with the existing network members provide updates to network members as it relates to ERIO’s activities and relevant Roma related initiatives at EU and national levels assist in the coordination of an informal media network liaise with many levels of people including local authorities, civil society representatives and Roma activists to organise roundtables and activities at national and local level perform other related duties that may be assigned
Development tasks under the general guidance of the Executive Director, the consultant will:
Carry out donor and funding research whose criteria match ERIO's aims and activities contribute to the writing and production of project proposals maintain organised files of all fundraising information perform other related duties that may be assigned salary:

Please send us your offer (including monthly rate) with your application form.
HOW TO APPLY
Please email your CV, a cover letter explaining how you meet the required criteria and your offer (quoting “Communication and Development Consultant”) to: office@erionet.eu
Interviews will take place during 18-22 April 2016
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