Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 25-09-2015

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO invites you to join the European Roma Media Network
Are you a journalist, media expert or an NGO working on media? If so, we invite you to join the European Roma Media Network.
 
The European Roma Media Network aims 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.

Find out more on www.erionet.eu/european-roma-media-network
* Civil Society Europe plenary meeting
On 23 September, Civil Society Europe had a plenary meeting in Brussels. Discussion of future activities and common strategies were discussed, Civil Society Europe currently has 31 members and ERIO is one of them.
Civil Society Europe was established as a permanent platform of European civil society organisations sharing a common vision for Europe and working together on the promotion of the values of equality, solidarity, democracy and inclusiveness among EU member states and its citizens.

Visit the website: http://civilsocietyeurope.eu
* SMILE 3rd newsletter
The 3rd newsletter of the SMILE project is now available. It includes information about an online learning platform created for school teachers and students to learn about Roma culture, history, traditions and language.
You can download the newsletter here.
* ERIO member  lead the Walk for Dignity for Homeless, Migrants and Refugees in France
ERIO’s network member Esmeralda Romanez, the President of the European Federation for Roma and Traveler women is involved in the organization of a long "Walk for Dignity for the Homeless, Migrants and Refugees". Esmeralda is part of this intiative in her capacity of an active member and president of a network of Romani organizations.
 
The Walk is to create more awareness on the situation of the Roma communities in France and throughout Europe. Esmeralda Romanez will be walking on this month long event with a Romani flag and posters accompanied by many Roma NGOs and members from the Romani community. Participation in this event includes other minority groups - notably members of American Indian organizations , who will converge on the main street of Paris - the Champs Elysees - with 8000 drums end Nov 2015, as well as numerous European humanitarian organizations, artists and writers.

OTHER news

* 2015 European Year of Development
EU policy has been developing over the past decade to foster intensive growth inside the Union. At the same time, EC has put hard effort to develop an effective and visible foreign policy and external action. In the light of this, it is essential to point 2015 European Year of Development as a keystone of the EC new successful role to create, maintain, and practically implement a vital action outside of the Union.
2015 European Year of Development makes Europe a major player at the international scene. The initiatives included provide for EU to be not only involved with world-effect projects, but it also transforms EU experience into practical programs launched to support sustainable growth in the developing countries. Now Europe, built upon the principles of solidarity and humanism, shows to the world its primary role as developer, missionary, end evolution instrument to help others, thus contributing to the world balance, social inclusion, environment protection, and global economic perspective.

The European Year for Development 2015 is the first year designated with such a global theme, since European years have been designated thematically since 1983. The initiative originated in Latvia. The European Year for Development 2015 took place in Riga on 8 January, as part of the events marking the beginning of the first Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The second half of the European Year for Development is happening now, during the Luxembourg presidency. CONCORD Europe, the European NGO Confederation for Relief and Development was instrumental for the launch of the “European Year for Development 2015”. The initiative is seminal in terms of events and decisions – for example, the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December, as well as the expected decisions concerning the post-2015 development agenda.

Commission representatives, communication experts, as well as figures from the NGO and business sector all agreed that the European Year for Development 2015 is providing an opportunity to reach out to a wider public regarding the importance of the development agenda. Possible new alliances are being sought with youth and women's organisations, local authorities, and unions.

Read full text here
Find more information here

International Cooperation and Development - European Commission
The European year for development: everyone's year | European Year for Development
European Year for Development
European Year for Development 2015 - European Commission
* Zazzle responds about anti-Gypsyist T-shirt
By mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

23/09/2015 - News server Romea.cz reported yesterday that the German-language pages of the Zazzle online retailer were offering a T-shirt reading "GYPSY HUNTER BADGE - WE KILL THE GYPSIES". The item was no longer for sale approximately two hours later.
Customers wrote indignant protest letters to the company and shared them through Facebook. News server Romea.cz also contacted the firm with questions.
Communications Director Diana Adair responded to Romea.cz yesterday evening as follows: "Thank you for contacting us regarding the matter of this motif. We are working to remove it. Zazzle provides an open market where users can create a broad range of products themselves. Whenever we ascertain that a product violates our norms because of hateful or violent content, we immediately remove it."

Read more here
* 'Gypsy' No More: Romani Music Festival Combats Stereotypes
By Tom Smurthwaite

"We would love a permanent address - it would be like winning the lottery," said member of group camped for a week in CobhamSenior members of the Romany-Irish travellers group who were camped in Cobham for a week have spoken of the "racism and discrimination" they encounter in everyday life, and called on councils to provide more permanent sites for their community. The settlement - including a motorhome, caravans and white vans - was on the grass area at The Tilt, off Stoke Road, for a week from last Thursday afternoon (July 16).
In July alone in Elmbridge borough, traveller encampments have been spotted in Waterside Drive, Walton, and at three separate spots in Hersham - Old Esher Road, Hersham Recreation Ground and land near Rydens School. There is one permanent site in Elmbridge - 16 socially rented pitches at The Oaks, in Woodstock Lane, Claygate.
According to the Elmbridge Borough Council website, it is "full and has been for a number of years".

Read more here
* Bulgarian NGOs get injunction suspending demolition of Roma homes in Peshtera
By agw, press release from the National Roma Coalition "Intellect" in Bulgaria, Roma Virtual Network

17/09/2015 - A Bulgarian coalition of Romani NGOs called the National Roma Coalition "Intellect" has issued a press release in response to the advice given to the Bulgarian Government by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 15 September. The ECtHR said that “without a definite commitment on its part to ensure the accommodation of the vulnerable members of the applicants’ families before the demolition of their homes, the Court will, in application of Rule 39 of its Rules, indicate to that Government not to proceed with this measure”.
 
Read more here
* EU Ban on Balkan Asylum Seekers Alarms Roma
By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonian Roma associations say EU plans to ban Balkan nationals from claiming asylum are deeply unfair to their own persecuted and marginalised community.
Roma associations in Macedonia - home to a large community - have condemned EU plans to exclude Balkan nations from claiming asylum as part of measures to cope with the growing refugee crisis. They say it is unfair towards thousands of migrants, mainly Roma from Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania, who are fleeing both poverty and total marginalization in their countries of origin.

Read more here
* 2014 Annual Report on Discrimination against Roma
By Fundación Secretariado Gitano

Another year has passed and the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) presents its Annual Report on Discrimination and the Roma Community. This is the 10th year of publication of this report, the main objective of which is to shed light on and report discrimination which, unfortunately, the Roma community continues to suffer.
 
We believe it is extremely important for the government and the society at large to be aware of these cases of discrimination and thus have an idea of the everyday reality that Roma families face in gaining access to housing, employment, education and services simply because of their ethnic background. In some cases, rejection has overstepped the boundary of discrimination and turned into racist violence as was the case this year in two towns in the south of Spain, Estepa and Castellar, where the homes of several Roma families were set on fire during the course of racist demonstrations. Unfortunately, political parties and human rights organisations failed to speak out against these inadmissible and unjust acts.
 
We’ve been working for ten years in the area of equal treatment and anti-discrimination and can confirm that discrimination against the Roma community is caused by the negative social image people have of them, i.e. prejudice and stereotypes that are proving difficult to eliminate because they are deeply rooted in our society and in the arguments used by most citizens when erroneously referring to this sector of the population. Many Roma have a standard lifestyle and don’t even remotely resemble the negative social image which limits their right to equal treatment.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* ERIO’s 4th Workshop “Fighting hate speech against Roma: the Role of Equality Bodies” - CONFERENCE INVITATION

Brussels, 16 October 2015

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO), in close cooperation with the European Network of Equality Bodies (EQUINET) invites you to attend a workshop with Equality Bodies and Roma representatives which will take place on 16 October 2015 at the Rue de Ligne 37, 1000 Brussels,
Belgium.

Within the framework of the Race Equality Directive 2000/43 (RED) and national equality laws (legal provisions regulating media), the workshop will focus on how Equality Bodies can fight hate speech against Roma. By organising this workshop, we aim to:
- Foster discussion between different Equality Bodies, civil society and experts on effective practices and challenges to tackle hate speech against Roma
- Provide a platform for Equality Bodies to exchange good practices on hate speech (e.g. prevention, public awareness, litigation)
- Promote cooperation between Equality Bodies and civil society to jointly address hate speech against Roma

The workshop will be in English.

Registration
Places are limited. Please confirm participation as soon as possible, latest by 25 September 2015.
Register by email/phone by sending your name, surname and the organisation you represent to:
office@erionet.eu
Tel: +32 (2) 733 3462
Dignity for Lety and the upcoming Roma Pride.

Roma Pride will take place on October 4th in about 20 countries. As agreed, this year EGAM Members and partners will strongly focus on Lety in order to ask for the removal of the pig farm from the site of the former concentration camp.
Dignity For Lety European Manifesto is calling for the removal of the farm. This manifesto is to be signed by European civil society leaders together with public figures and European political leaders (MPs or MEPs). The purpose is indeed to gather as much support as possible to put pressure on both Czech and EU authorities.

To sign the Manifesto  

Paul Max Morin Executive Director
0033 6 83 11 46 45 paul.morin@egam.eu
 
EGAM - European Grassroots Antiracist Movement
48, ter rue du Faubourg Saint Denis
75010 Paris
Michael O'Flaherty has been chosen as the new Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

“It is with great pleasure that FRA’s Management Board announces the appointment of Michael O'Flaherty as the next FRA Director,” said FRA Management Board Chairperson Frauke Lisa Seidensticker. “His profound human rights expertise and wealth of experience on the national, European and international stage will strengthen FRA’s role as a major player in shaping the fundamental rights landscape across the EU.”
 
FRA’s Management Board members interviewed the candidates during their meeting on 24-25 September. The final decision was then put to a vote.
“It’s a great honour for me to take up this important position,” said incoming Director Michael O'Flaherty. “I very much look forward to working together with the staff and the Management Board to advance the protection and promotion of fundamental rights throughout the EU, particularly in these critical times.”
Michael O'Flaherty is currently Professor of Human Rights Law at the National University of Ireland Galway, as well as Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. He has also been a member of the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee and has been active in the field of human rights for over 20 years, nationally and internationally. He has been a senior expert for Ireland as part of FRA’s multidisciplinary research network, FRANET, since 2014.
For further information please contact: media@fra.europa.eu
Tel.: +43 1 580 30 642
 
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