ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 20-02-2014
ERIO news and activities
Art4Rom website: www.art4rom.eu
20 February 2014 - At the end of 2013 work restrictions imposed by some EU countries on Romania and Bulgaria were lifted sparking fears that some of the more prosperous European countries could see mass immigration. Livia Jaroka is the only Roma MEP in the European Parliament, representing the Fidesz Party in Hungary. She tells HARDtalk's Zeinab Badawi the EU needs to do more to tackle Roma poverty and where there has been immigration it has been a positive advantage for the countries concerned.
You can watch the full interview on BBC World News on Thursday 20 February at 16:30 and 21:30 GMT and on the BBC News Channel on Friday 21 February at 00:30 GMT.
You can watch the video here
Roma are a large ethnic minority group in Bulgaria. As many as 60 different Roma groups live in the country, representing a wide-range of cultures, religions, traditions, and livelihoods. Although diverse in many regards, Roma throughout Bulgaria struggle with one primary development challenge: poverty. As many as one out of every three Roma lives in extreme poverty - earning less than $4.30 a day - compared to just one in twenty among the rest of the population. Approximately 86% of Roma belong to the bottom 40% of the income group in Bulgaria. But poverty alone is not the only challenge Roma are coping with. According to a new World Bank report, Roma face a variety of challenges that can adversely affect their strategic life choices, such as those concerning education, employment, and family formation.
Read more here
Sofia - 83% of Bulgarian people are very worried by the possibility of the country seeing a population composed of prevailing Roma people [in number] over Bulgarians. These are the results of an Exacta Research Group poll assigned by FOCUS News Agency carried out in the period February 5 – 11, 2014.
The highest sensitivity to the topic was displayed by countryside residents and elderly people. The data once again attests the mass fear dispositions related to the demographic future of the nation.
A question was posed to respondents in the current nationwide research of Exacta Research Group, asking them what, in their opinion, needs to be done in order to overcome the demographic crisis.
Read more here
Today, faith leaders from across the UK have highlighted the plight of Europe's Roma community. Their call could hardly be more timely. The recent debate over migrants coming to the UK has put a spotlight on Romania and Bulgaria, with a focus on Roma that has sometimes swerved into sheer prejudice.
Across Europe, there is a groundless belief that Roma have been the cause of multiple problems in society for centuries. They have suffered from discrimination and are still being treated as second-class citizens. They are often segregated into "informal settlements", forcibly evicted from their homes, and have restrictions placed on their access to jobs and education. This racial discrimination ought to be totally unthinkable in today's Europe, yet human rights violations towards Roma are carried out with impunity in many towns and cities right across the European continent.
Read more here
The presence in France of thousands of Roma people from Eastern Europe has been a hot national issue since 2010. In July that year, following clashes between travellers and police in central France, conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy said the illegal camps where Roma people live were rife with "exploitation of children for begging, of prostitution and crime", and called for their destruction.
Since coming to power in 2012, the Socialists have stepped up the policy of camp clearances. France has also continued to deport thousands of foreign camp-dwellers every year, mainly to Romania. But the Roma issue was exercising local politicians long before it broke through at national level.Read more here
Czech Radio reports that authorities in the Neukölln quarter of Berlin have 5 500 people predominantly from Bulgaria and Romania registered there, but unofficial estimates claim actual numbers are twice that. The immigrants are drawn to Germany by its comparatively higher wages as well as its welfare system, and some landlords are doing their best to make money on the trend.
"When you walk through the neighborhood, you see many buildings in poor condition. The landlords do not take care of them, but they have discovered immigration as a new kind of hustle. You can find as many as 20 people sleeping on mattresses in a two-room unit. They pay between EUR 200 and 300 per month for a single sleeping place," Neukölln local councilor Franziska Giffey describes.
Read more here
News server iDNES.cz reports that illegally sterilized women in the Czech Republic have not yet been compensated. Two years ago the Czech Government Human Rights Council recommended the cabinet compensate them, but it has not yet happened.
Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier wants to resolve the situation and is preparing a compensation bill. Dienstbier told iDNES.cz that compensation for women who were wrongfully sterilized is one of the topics he will be involved in.
"There is of course a need to establish the compensation amount and determine the number of people who can claim compensation," the minister said. For the time being he cannot say when the bill will be ready. "It's a rather long road from the drafting of a law to its approval," Dienstbier said. However, he does believe it is necessary to resolve the matter once and for all.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”.
Read more here