Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* Statement condemning the attack against Roma youngster in France
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) expresses its deep concern over the most recent case of violence against Roma in France. On 13th of June in Pierrefitte-sur-Seine, a Paris suburb, Darius, a 16-year-old Romanian-born Roma, was dragged away from the camp where he was living with his family, by local teenagers who accused him of breaking into an apartment to steal. He was beaten, dumped in a supermarket trolley and left for dead on the side of the road. The youngster is still in the hospital in a coma, fighting for his life. His family and camp-fellows have disappeared within hours of the attack, abandoning their encampment for fear of retaliations after what happened to Darius.

French President Hollande condemned these actions as “unspeakable and unjustifiable actions which strike against all the principles on which our Republic is founded”. The French interior minister, Cazeneuve, assured that “Everything possible will be done to bring the culprits to justice”. Although these comments are reassuring, they came rather late, six days after the incident occurred.

Read the full statement here
* ERIO’s advocacy training “Learn how to fight for your rights”
On 19-20 June 2014 ERIO organized the advocacy training “Learn how to fight for your rights” in Brussels. The training was designed to assist Roma civil society activists, as well as programme planners in conducting advocacy campaigns to fight discrimination and improving their advocacy skills to advance the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies, as well as anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies at European, national and local level. The training was developed with the view that Roma community-based advocacy needs to be better promoted, especially at the level of grassroots groups, networks, and organizations with the necessary information and advocacy skills to demand that Roma community needs and priorities need to be addressed. Special focus was placed on the delivery of information concerning Roma rights and recent developments in European Roma policy making at EU and national level relevant to community- and national-based organizations.

Speakers included ERIO Chair Board Ronald Lucardie, ERIO Executive Director Ivan Ivanov, ERIO Policy Officer Marta Pinto, ENAR Policy Officer Julie Pascoët, Advocacy Expert Svetoslav Naoumov, and Radio Patrin Director Orhan Galjus.  
Presentations were followed by group discussions where participants developed recommendations on education, employment, housing and health advocacy strategies. The advocacy training offered our team as well as our participants the opportunity to exchange experiences, and good practice examples in terms of advocacy approaches, and establish new contacts with a view to improving the tools for the social inclusion and non-discrimination of Roma in the EU. The training was very informative and beneficial to all attendees.
* Interview with Dr Huub van Baar
As part of our project MemoROM, we are carrying out a series of interviews with experts on the Roma and Sinti Holocaust for a DVD. On Wednesday 25 June, we interviewed Dr Huub van Baar who is Assistant Professor of European Studies and Research Fellow of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalization Studies, University of Amsterdam. He also works as an Assistant Professor of Political Theory Justus, Liebig University Giessen. He stressed the need for a new and more inclusive narrative on Roma. The DVD will be available later this year.
You can find out more about our project here.
* ERIO at the AEDH’s conference: “Fundamental Rights for Roma People”
By Marie Louvet, ERIO
On Monday 23rd June 2014, ERIO attended the public conference “Fundamental Rights for Roma People” organised by the European Association for the Defense of the Human rights (AEDH), in the framework of the project INSEROM.
The project aims at producing a kit composed of a reference book, a trainer’s guide and educational video clips. The reference book is addressed to Roma communities including a diversity of profiles (settled, travelling, migrants). It is completed by a trainer’s guide addressed more specifically to trainers and volunteers working with Roma communities to help them to convey the information of the reference book and improve their interventions.
At the conference, the current Roma’s situation in several European countries (United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Spain and France) was addressed. Other issues discussed were the difficulties faced by civil society on the field, and the identification of good practices. Actions of the European institutions for Roma inclusion were also reviewed.
Ivan Ivanov, ERIO’s Executive Director, as an invited speaker, recalled that when ERIO started its work more than 10 years ago, the general knowledge and awareness about Roma issues at the European level was very poor. Today, the various bodies at the European and national levels are better informed about the Roma condition, but the main issue is still to implement efficient policies, he emphasised. After the development of the National Strategies by the 28 members states (MS), the adoption of the Council Recommendation is a strong step forward. It is the first legal instrument available at the European level for Roma inclusion which can be used by civil society to hold MS accountable. Mr Ivanov listed several reasons for the current low efficiency of some policies for Roma inclusion. He recalled that still too few Roma were involved in policy design and implementation, which is not only the EC’s responsibility but also civil society’s. Moreover, he asserted that the current discrimination against Roma was hindering all the policies implementation at the European level and consequently a stronger transversal approach should be carried out to address this issue.

OTHER news

* The European Commission publishes a Webpage with relevant information at policy and financial level on Roma inclusion in each EU country
By EURoma

Every country page holds information on allocated funds under the different Structural Funds over 2007-2013 funding period as well as provisions foreseen for 2014-2020
Every Member State, except Malta, has drawn up either a National Strategy for Roma Integration or a set of measures concerning the integration of their Roma populations. Each country has its own view and approach on how to improve the integration of its Roma populations and how to access and manage EU funds for vulnerable people, including Roma.
Funds for projects that help improve Roma integration across Europe are allocated in two ways: either under the European Commission’s direct management or in the form of shared management between the EU and Member States.

In this new Webpage the EC has developed country pages offering information on strategies, contact points, Managing Authorities, country factsheets and how EU funds can be used for Roma inclusion.
Each country page contains the information about allocated funds under the different Structural Funds over 2007-2013 funding period and provisions for next one (2014-2020). Moreover, the contact of the Managing Authorities of the different Structural Funds allocated in each country is published. This Webpage also provides a layman´s guide to EU funding with several frequently asked questions .

Read more here
* The First Roma Feminist
By John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus (www.fpif.org) at the Institute for Policy Studies

20/06/2014 - In the United States, women of color frequently experience the double burden of discrimination. They are discriminated against by race and also by gender. The same applies to Roma women in East-Central Europe. And sexism imposes its own double burden, for Roma women must confront not only the prejudices of society as a whole but also discrimination within traditional Roma families.
I met Ilona Zambo in 1993, after she'd already set up her Gypsy Mothers' Association. She was focusing at the time on family and social welfare laws that discriminated against Roma women, and she was also hoping to adapt affirmative action to the Hungarian context. She was a powerful advocate of women and children when many organizations focused on Roma men. When re-interviewing her last May, I was surprised to learn that her advocacy did not come so much from her own experience as those of other Roma women she had met.

Read more here
* For Roma in France, Is Climate of Intolerance Fueling Violence?
By Violeta Naydenova

18/06/2014 - Somewhere in a hospital in Paris tonight, a Roma teenager lies in a coma fighting for his life. Accounts suggest that the boy, known to us only as Darius, was accused of burglary by residents of a poverty-stricken public housing development in Pierefitte-sur-Sienne; they subsequently abducted him, beat him into a coma in a basement, and dumped his body in a shopping trolley.

President François Hollande has called the attack “unspeakable and unjustifiable,” and Prime Minister Manuel Valls also condemned the perpetrators. Le Monde, the leading French daily, characterized the attack as part of a culture of score-settling in a poor community that scorns the police. But it also saw the violence, after a new Roma group had established an encampment in the area, as the outcome of several years of failed public policy that has “perpetuated Roma poverty, and fueled a latent racism towards them in French society.”

Read more here
* Minister: It’s disturbing that Romanian Embassy finds out about French attack on Roma teenager from the media
By Irina Popescu

18/06/2014 - A Romanian teenager of Roma ethnicity was recently the victim of an attack in France and is currently struggling to survive after being admitted to a hospital. The Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Titus Corlatean recently said that it’s disturbing that the Romanian Embassy learned about this incident from the press, and not from the French authorities.
“One thing that is disturbing me, as a Foreign Minister, is that our Embassy finds out from the press what happened, and not from the French authorities,” said Corlatean on local TV station Realitatea TV, reports Agerpres. He also said that the reason why the teenager was beaten is not of importance, adding that, if he broke the law, there are state institutions to sanction him.

Read more here
* Flood in Varna, Bulgaria, Immersive disaster!
23/06/2014 - This is the only word that could describe the huge flood in Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Dobrich and other regions in Bulgaria.

At least 13 people died (3 children among them) tens of houses were destroyed, big areas were flooded and thousands of people lost their property. This happened only for several hours in Thursday and Friday.

The disaster affected hardly Roma people. Nevertheless, only few hours after it, Roma volunteers joint the efforts of entire society to help the victims and to bring a hope.

More information and pictures here
* Turkey's Roma community produce first newspaper
By World Bulletin / News Desk

21/06/2014 - Izmir Roman Association head Abdullah Cistir said 'This will be the first time the Roma community produce a newspaper in Turkey.' Turkey's Roma population have started printing their first newspaper in the country. The 8 Nisan (8 April) newspaper has been named after the date celebrated as World Roma Day.
Izmir Roman Association head Abdullah Cistir spoke to Al Jazeera Turk on behalf of his community based in the western coastal city, saying that he hoped the newspaper would information awareness among Izmir's Roma residents. He also aid that he hopes the newspaper will explain the social and economic plight of his community in search for solutions.

Read more here
* Porrajmos: The Romani and the Holocaust with Ian Hancock
By UCtv

The Romani, not to be confused with the Romanian nation or people, are a diasporic ethnicity more widely known as “gypsies.” Throughout the world they are variously known as Rom, Roma, Romane, Cigáni and Gitano, just to name a few.
In this presentation about the Romani and the Holocaust, Ian Hancock, professor of English and linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, and director of the Romani Studies program and the Romani Archives and Documentation Center, estimates that the Holocaust claimed anywhere between 500,000 and 1.5 million Romani lives. The Romani people refer to this tragedy as the Porrajmos, or “the Devouring.”
A Romani-born British citizen, activist, and scholar, Hancock has done more than anyone to raise awareness about the Romani people during World War II.

Watch this Library Channel presentation of Porrajmos: The Romani and the Holocaust with Ian Hancock – Holocaust Living History, a Library Channel presentation


* 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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