Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* Interview with Patrick Desbois - President of Yahad-in Unum
On Tuesday 17 June ERIO interviewed Patrick Desbois - President of Yahad-in Unum in Paris. He shared with us the main findings of his work on documenting the sites of killings of Roma during WWII. We also discussed the importance to collect testimonies of Roma Holocaust survivors. This interview will be included in a DVD we’re preparing for the MemoROM project.

You can find out more about our project here.

OTHER news

* Czech Republic: Romani Expert Team warns co-financing requirements will keep NGOs from EU money
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

17/06/2014 - A group of Romani experts is warning against the introduction of rules requiring organizers to raise part of the money needed to co-finance EU-funded projects themselves so the state will not have to provide it. The experts believe many organizations would never access EU financing and services for the needy would decline as a result.
The team is comprised of 11 Romani experts, both men and women. It was created this past January.
The focus of the team is opportunities for making use of EU funds for Romani inclusion. According to a proposal from the Czech Finance Ministry, those receiving EU money should raise at least 5 % of any budget for a project focusing on social inclusion.

Read here here

* Albright says Roma not respected in Czech Republic and elsewhere
By The Irish Times

Architect Daniel Libeskind to design memorial
12/06/2014 - After European elections that raised the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism in the Netherlands, Amsterdam has announced a major new Holocaust memorial – which will name for the first time more than 100,000 Jews and Roma deported to the Nazi concentration camps.
The memorial will be designed by the Jewish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, the master-plan architect for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site in New York’s Lower Manhattan, and is due to be completed next year – in time for the 70th anniversary of the end of the second World War.

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* It's Time Historians Get Past the Stereotype of Romani Peoples and Write Them into History
By Becky Taylor,  lecturer at Birkbeck College, University of London and the author of ‘Another Darkness, Another Dawn’: A History of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (2014).

 In Europe, never far from the front papers when outrage is called for, Romani peoples are back in the news: the British Daily Mail has published an article claiming that a Bulgarian Roma woman has schooled ‘hundreds of children’ in the art of pickpocketing; government promises to clamp down on ‘welfare tourism’ in the wake of the dropping of border controls from Bulgaria and Romania have been explicitly linked to expected ‘invasions’ of Roma. Once again, it seems, society’s wider insecurities about social change have found a scapegoat in Europe’s most marginalized and vilified minority. This is nothing new: in 2014 scaremongering about Bulgarian Roma may be a way of expressing deep seated fears over migration, the expansion of Europe and the lack of a democratic voice; in early modern Europe repression targeting ‘Egyptians’ and ‘counterfeit Egyptians’ was means for regimes trying to control the rapid rise in vagrancy and the social uncertainty caused by wars and religious upheavals.

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* Norwegian populists want begging ban, opposition says the law targets Romani people
By ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

17/06/2014 - The Norwegian Government is planning to ban begging in public spaces. The proposal is part of an amendment to a law that Parliament began discussing yesterday. The law would make it possible for municipalities to ban begging on their territories starting in July. The ban would then apply to the country as a whole as of 2015. The opposition is criticizing the law as intentionally targeting Romani people. Those violating the controversial law would risk a fine and a sentence of up to three months in prison.

Justice Minister Anders Anundsen of the populist right-wing Progress Party has defended the law by referencing a direct connection between begging and crime. He believes beggars often commit pickpocketing as well. The City of Helsinki decided this past winter that undocumented underage children arriving in Finland will be eligible for more comprehensive healthcare for both acute and non-acute conditions. However, officials say that healthcare is not a motivating factor for these people to come to the country, rather increasingly difficult conditions at home are driving them to look elsewhere for the means to survive.

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* Czech residential hotel issues remain unresolved
By ČT24.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Varnsdorf, 14/06/2014 - All of the Czech Republic was shocked three years ago by the footage of otherwise honorable citizens marching side by side with ultra-right radicals and chanting "Gypsies to the gas chambers" in the town of Varnsdorf. Residential hotels for socially vulnerable people were the thorn in their side.
The demonstrators blamed the tenants of those facilities for increased crime and noise in the town. The exacerbated situation was calmed by riot police.
However, that does not mean the social tensions in the town of 15 000 on the Czech-German border have disappeared. New potential detonators of conflict are surfacing in Varnsdorf again.

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* Simply being Roma from Hungary is not proof of persecution, refugee judge rules
By Adrian Humphreys

12/06/2014 - The Federal Court of Canada has rejected the refugee claim of a Hungarian man of Roma background by dismissing the portrayal of sweeping, generalized persecution against the Roma in his homeland. The man’s credibility was also questioned over his reliance on a variation of a classic excuse: his dog ate his cellphone.
The case of Mario Gyula Varga is the latest clash over Canada’s reception of the diasporic Roma. “What does it take to be a refugee? Is it enough to simply prove that one is a Hungarian Roma? Mr. Varga’s counsel came perilously close to making that submission,” Justice Sean Harrington began his stern ruling.
the director of Smile of the Child confirmed to news server ČT24.cz.

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* Al Jazeera: Albania's missing children
By Al Jazeera

People & Power investigates the sinister disappearance of 500 Albanian 'street' children from a Greek State orphanage.
12/06/2014 - It's a sinister mystery that has confounded the governments of two countries and still haunts one of Europe's poorest ethnic minorities. Over a decade ago more than 500 Albanian Roma children - street beggars rounded-up by the police in Greece prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics - disappeared from this state-run care home. Why were they there in the first place and where did they go? People & Power sent Sarah Macdonald to investigate.

Read more here
* Roma discriminated even after natural disasters
By Nicola Dotto
06/06/2014 - If you’re Roma, you can’t expect the same rights as other citizens even after a natural disaster. In Serbia, a group of gypsies, including 20 children, who were displaced after flooding in recent weeks, have been housed in shelters invaded by nutrias, without water, sewage pipes and bathrooms. This report comes from the Serbian Ombudsman and refers to the violation of basic human rights in a very urgent and vulnerable situation that requires equal treatment and indiscriminate protection for all citizens. The appeal, which is also aimed at the Red Cross, asks that this ethnic group, like others, is assured the provision of sanitation services, education for young people, social and food security, clothing and any other form of assistance provided to victims of natural disasters.

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* Grants - Roma Initiatives Fellowships
By Roma Initiatives Office
6 June, 2014 - The Roma Initiatives Office offers fellowship opportunities for talented individuals committed to Roma advocacy who have courage, ideas, and the capacity to pursue innovative and unconventional approaches.
Both junior and senior fellowships are available in three tracks that correspond with the Roma Initiatives Office’s major support programs:
Barvalipe—richness or pride in the Romani language: supports the emergence of a confident new generation of Roma advocates capable of leading Roma organizations or working in EU institutions, international organizations and national public service.
Zoralipe—strength or power: supports the institutional growth of Roma organizations.
Paruvipe—change: supports advocacy campaigns aimed at influencing public opinion, decision-making and service delivery.Each of these tracks has different objectives and covers different countries, as described in the full application guidelines.

Application deadline: June 22, 2014

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* RCC Presents The Roma – from ‘extra’ to ‘ordinary’ Project
19 June 2014 - 6 July 2014 | Mon – Fri, 11.00 am – 6.00 pm | Admission free
This exhibition starts from the premise that we can only accurately understand the Roma if we make a conscious effort to stretch beyond our historically constructed prejudices about them. Roma – from ‘extra’ to ‘ordinary’ does not cover up the history of oppression that has resulted in negative and distorted images of Roma people in the media, both in the UK and in Eastern Europe. At the same time it seeks to show how Romani lives are not so different from those of everyone else, with a focus on the banal and everyday, rather than the sensational.

Read more here
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