Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 21-03-2014

ERIO news

* ERIO present at 4th ERNE partners meeting and conference in Koprivnica (Croatia) 14-15 03 2014
ERIO was present at the fourth partner's meeting and conference in Koprivnica, Croatia, from 14-15 March 2014. The ERNE project is funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Programme and it is implemented in four countries (Croatia, Italy, Romania, Austria) over a two year period (December 2012 - November 2014).
The ERNE project is a contribution to the implementation of the National Roma Inclusion Strategies and aims to maximise chances of success for Roma integration. This will be done through an exchange of experiences and of best practices via a network. The purpose of this network is the analysis of good practices which have been submitted by project partners. These good practices will concentrate on the four most important educational areas: pre-school, school, higher and vocational education.

For more information, visit the ERNE website: www.erne-project.eu

OTHER news

* Czech Republic: PM tells CE: Gov't opposes violence against Roma
By the Czech News Agency (ČTK)

19/03/2014 - The new Czech government will oppose violence and discrimination against Roma and focus on the causes of their marginalisation, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wrote the Council of Europe (CE) on Monday in reaction to the concern that it expressed.
In a letter sent to Sobotka in late February, CE human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks warned against racist extremism aimed at Roma in the Czech Republic. Muiznieks said the anti-Roma events, which were organised across the country and often led by extremist groups, required a more comprehensive response from Czech authorities. He said 22 Roma were attacked in the country last year alone. Steps should be taken against the organisations that promote racial discrimination, Muiznieks wrote. He also said it was crucial to ban "demonstrations in the vicinity of Roma neighbourhoods when there are indications that the participants intend to march towards these neighbourhoods with the aim of targeting Roma communities."
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* Naples residents 'hurl fireworks' at Roma camp
By The Local

Roma people fled their camp on the outskirts of Naples on Wednesday morning after clashing with local residents over an alleged attempted attack on a teenage girl.

12/03/2014 - A group of Naples residents threw stones and fireworks at the camp in Poggioreale after a 16-year-old girl claimed two Roma men attempted to assault her, La Repubblica reported. They also formed a roadblock in protest. The girl is reported to have returned home on Tuesday night in an “agitated state” following the alleged attempted assault. La Repubblica said that two of her cousins went to the camp, which houses about 250 Roma people, in a bid to “punish” the two men, but instead came to blows and ended up with minor injuries. Police are now monitoring the camp while the president of Poggioreale has called for it to be closed.
An estimated 40,000 Roma people live in camps on the outskirts of Italian cities and are denied access to adequate public housing, education and healthcare. Italy has often come under attack for its treatment of the community. In October, Amnesty International accused the Rome authorities of keeping thousands of Roma people on the margins of society through an “assisted housing” system designed to banish the community in “ghettos” beyond the city’s periphery.

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* Anti-Gypsy Politico Heads Roma National Strategy
By Grattan Puxon

05/03/2014 - Inclusion may now be his mantra but Secretary of State Eric Pickles, the UK politician whose hands guide our EU-inspired National Strategy, has long had a reputation as a Gypsy-chaser and excluder. Pickles built that reputation in the 1980s when as Tory-leader in Bradford he drove Travellers from their encampments the city. He's been adding to it ever since. Nevertheless, it's to him Britain's burgeoning 500,000 Roma and Traveller population must look to for succour - at least until the present Coalition Government departs from office next year.
It was Pickles provided the funding for the original police-led and lately thwarted Dale Farm evictions. Only last month he was rebuffed by the High Court over an ill-conceived attempt to clear Dale Farm die-hards from their land, three winters after the first £10m failed removal operation. Basildon council, with Pickles' backing, overstepped the law according to the Environmental Agency when they dug up a large part of the Dale Farm estate in 2011. Undeterred, the same political partners attempted recently to do a frail widow out of her right to appeal against a further Enforcement Notice.

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* Italian Jewish leader decries bakery’s discrimination against Roma
By JTA

21/03/2014 - An Italian Jewish leader declared it “shameful” and “unacceptable” that a Rome bakery posted a sign barring entry to Roma, or Gypsies, and said the action recalled Holocaust-era anti-Jewish discrimination.

The “shameful sign evokes in a worrying way the darkest period of our history” Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said in a statement Thursday. “Even if this is an isolated incident, we cannot, as Italian Jews, remain silent in face of these racist gestures.” He called it “an offense against memory and an unacceptable, irresponsible discrimination against a minority” and expressed solidarity with the Roma community.

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* Hungary court orders school closure over Roma segregation
By The Local

A bakery sign in Rome banning "gypsies" from entering has sparked outrage in Rome, with one organization likening it to those in Nazi Germany and Apartheid South Africa.

20/03/2014 - The “Gypsies strictly forbidden from entering” (“È severamente vietato l’ingresso agli Zingari”) sign was spotted in a bakery window in Rome’s Tuscolano neighbourhood. A photograph was published on Thursday by 21 lugio, an association campaigning for the rights of Roma and Sinti traveller communities. The sign recalled those of Nazi Germany, when Jews were banned from shops, and racial segregation in South Africa during the Apartheid era, the association said.
“Are we perhaps so accustomed to a certain terminology to consider it harmless and no longer sense the gravity of some statements?” 21 lugio said in a statement.

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* Much more EU money to target Czech ghettos, social inclusion in future
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

22/03/2014, Prague - Much more EU money than previously is slated for investment into the fight against poverty, into measures promoting social inclusion, and into solving the problems of ghettos in years to come. Moreover, individual programs managed by the Czech Education Ministry, the Labor Ministry, and the Regional Development Ministry may become more interconnected in order to improve their impact.
Czech Human Rights Minister Jiří Dienstbier (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) and the head of the Czech Government Agency for Social Inclusion, Martin Šimáček, met in Prague yesterday to discuss the issue with EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Lászlo Andor. There are currently 1.58 million inhabitants of the Czech Republic at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

Of that number, 128 500 do not have sufficient incomes, material amenities, or work. Be that as it may, the Czech Republic is still the EU country that is the best-off when it comes to poverty statistics. On average about 25 % of EU citizens are at risk of exclusion and poverty compared to 15 % of Czechs. There are about 400 impoverished apartment building complexes and neighborhoods throughout the Czech Republic. Such ghettos are predominantly inhabited by Romani people. Their total numbers may be around 80 000.

Adults in such communities are usually unemployed and the children often end up enrolling into "special" schools. During yesterday's meeting, Andor reiterated that at least 20 % of the money from the European Social Fund is supposed to be spent on the fight against poverty and toward inclusion in the Member States during the new budget period. Between 2007 and 2013 the Czech Republic could have received EUR 3.8 billion for such work. "We can, therefore, imagine how great of a sum could be available for social inclusion in future," Šimáček said.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* Internship opportunity for young Roma at the Roma Education Fund (REF)

Internship positions are an important component of REF activities as it allows young educated Roma to get acquainted with the organization and issues related to education of the Roma people in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe. It also helps the REF to establish a network of young and dynamic people that following their internship program at REF will support in various ways the objectives and mission of the Fund and Roma inclusion in conventional educational systems.

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* National Democratic Institute Seeks Resident Program Manager in Hungary

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI or the Institute) seeks a full-time Resident Program Manager to develop and implement a regional program aimed at promoting civic and political engagement of Roma citizens through targeted in-country assistance and cross-border learning and exchanges among participants from Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The initiative would focus on equipping Roma activists with the capacities to conducted targeted issue-based advocacy in the areas such as education, employment, housing or healthcare, leading to better policies governing discrimination and violence against Roma citizens. The position is based in Budapest, Hungary, and requires regular travel within Hungary and in the region.

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