Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO’s at the kick-off meeting of the project SMILE
On 16-17 January, ERIO met with its European partners in Città di Castello (Italy) for the kick-off meeting of the new project SMILE.
The SMILE project is funded by the European Commission’s Life Long Learning Programme and is implemented in five different countries: Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, United Kingdom and Belgium. The aim of this project is to fight against an early drop out of Roma students by addressing this problem with a prosocial approach and ideas of shared responsibility and solidarity between communities.

You can find out more about this project here: http://www.erionet.eu/smile

OTHER news

* Commission’s report on the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive (RED) and the Employment Equality Directive (EED)
By Gianluca Cesaro, ERIO

On the 17th January 2014, the Commission released a joint report on the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive (RED) and the Employment Equality Directive (EED). According to the report, both directives have now been correctly transposed into national laws. However, major shortcomings can still be found in the implementation phase. These include weak awareness of rights by all kinds of minorities, lack of equality data (sometimes due to national provisions forbidding to collect data on ethnic basis), underreporting of discrimination practices because of a general lack of trust in public authorities, barriers to access to justice (costs of the proceedings, insufficient legal aid etc.) and the application of the lower scale of sanctions and remedies by national courts.

As regards Roma, the Commission estimates that they “squarely fit” the scope of the two directives, meaning that their provisions already assure a priori their legal protection against discrimination. Nevertheless, the report also points to the need of complementary measures in this respect, such as tailored public policies and appropriate funding.

Although no case concerning anti-Roma discrimination reached the EU Court of Justice, a number of cases concerning the infringement of the EU directives have been dealt with by national courts. These include two cases of school segregation in Hungary and Slovakia, discrimination in the employment in Latvia and Romania and discrimination in access to services in Sweden. All cases have attested the existence of some form of direct or indirect discrimination against Roma individuals.

These cases show that the effects of the two directives slowly begin to arise. However, considering the shortcomings outlined above (in particular weak awareness and underreporting), their full potential is still to be released.

The full report is available here.
* Human Rights Watch: Violations rising, tolerance declining in EU
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Berlin, Germany, 21.1.2014 - Tolerance is declining in the European Union and cases of human rights violations are more frequent. Those are the conclusions of the report on the year 2013 by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which was just presented in Berlin.
The organization criticizes the approach taken by several EU Member States toward asylum-seekers, Muslims, and Romani people. Neither the Czech Republic nor Slovakia were mentioned.
Read more here
* Slovakia: Villages burned by Nazis during WW II elect right-wing extremist

By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

In the Central Slovakian villages of Kľak and Ostrý Grúň, whose inhabitants were massacred during the Second World War, most people are now voting for right-wing extremist Marián Kotleba. The online edition of the Slovak newspaper Sme notes this fact in its commemoration of the massacre, which took place 69 years ago.   

Kľak and Ostrý Grúň, where the anti-partisan Edelweiss commando murdered 148 civilians ranging from three months to 78 years old in January 1945, is located in the Banská Bystrica Region. Last November the provincial governor there became Kotleba, a right-wing radical leader who makes no secret of his sympathies for the wartime Slovak state, which was a satellite of Nazi Germany. 

Read more here

* The Plight of the Roma: Europe's Unwanted People

January 07, 2014  -  More than 10 million Roma live in Europe. Tens of thousands of them are fleeing westwards from poverty and discrimination in the countries of southeastern Europe. But EU member states are failing to help them.

The cupboard door sails out of an upper floor window and lands on a heap of rubbish on a lawn in the Duisburg suburb of Rheinhausen. Half a dozen men in thick jackets and woolen hats stand just two meters (six feet) away. The door could have injured someone but Marian, Nico and the others don't move a muscle. "They're renovating," says Marian. The men laugh. "There are no problems."

Read more here
* Russia criticizes Czech Republic over Roma, EU over human rights
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Russian Foreign Ministry says it is disturbed by the state of human rights in the European Union, with Russian diplomats saying there are "serious flaws" in that area. The ministry published a report on the issue on Tuesday which has been reviewed by the international and the Russian media. 

The report mainly mentions Romani topics in connection with the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is available for download at: http://www.romea.cz/cz/zpravodajstvi/zahranicni/ruska-diplomacie-vycita-eu-stav-lidskych-prav-cesko-kritizuje-za-pristup-k-romum

Moscow is criticizing Brussels mainly for violating the rights of immigrants; for discriminating against national minorities, particularly Russian-speaking ones; for underestimating neo-Nazism; and for its "aggressive advocacy for the rights of sexual minorities" in a concept that is foreign to other states. The authors of the report claim that the EU pretends to be "the main bastion of the fight for human rights in the world" but that EU practice "does not confirm that such claims are well-founded."

Read more here


* Call for Applicants: New Research on Roma and the Holocaust

September 15-18, 2014 - Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies - United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies invites applications for a workshop, New Research on Roma and the Holocaust, scheduled for September 15-18, 2014. The program will consist of three days of consultation and discussion of participants’ research, followed by a day-long public symposium.

This workshop will bring together scholars working on Roma and the Holocaust across Europe, as well as histories of pre-war persecution and the effects of the Holocaust on Romani communities in its aftermath,  in order to foster scholarly cooperation on emerging research on these themes. The workshop will also introduce participants to the Museum’s extensive archival and other collections.

Read more here

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