Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 27-11-2015

ERIO news and activities

* The European Legal Framework on Hate Speech, Blasphemy
Resumed by ERIO

Hate speech and hate crime incidents, including those committed online, are on the rise in Europe, despite the existence of a robust legal framework. This resume provides an overview of the legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime, as well as to blasphemy and religious insult. It also evaluates the effectiveness of existing legislation in selected Member States and explores opportunities to strengthen the current EU legal framework; whilst fully respecting the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Legal framework on hate speech and hate crime
At the EU level the legal framework includes inter alia: Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA (CFD), (which requires Member States to penalise the most severe forms of hate speech and hate crime.  The other components of the legal framework are the Audiovisual Media Services (AMSD) and Electronic Commerce Directives (ECD) that deal with controlling racist and xenophobic behaviours in the media and over the internet. It is important to view the EU measures aimed at addressing racism and xenophobia in the context of the broader EU legislative framework. Instruments aimed at supporting victims of crime and antidiscrimination measures are of particular relevance in this respect. These include Directive 2012/29/EU (Victims’ Support Directive) and the EU’s equality and anti-discrimination legislation (e.g. Directive 2000/43/EC (the Racial Equality Directive)). The Racial Equality Directive is complemented by other antidiscrimination legislative instruments such as Directive 2000/78/EC (the Employment Equality Directive) and Directives 2004/113/EC and 2006/54/EC (the Equal Treatment Directives). The EU also provides its support in practice by financing projects aimed inter alia at fighting hate speech and hate crime. Examples of these projects are the ones under the Europe for Citizens Programme 2014-2020 or the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme 2014-2020.

The current study, developed on the basis of information gathered from seven national studies (Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden), has revealed some major drawbacks of the current legal framework applicable to hate speech and hate crime:
Shortcomings related to the transposition of the CFD include its incomplete transposition. Gaps in transposition mainly arise in connection with Article 1(1) (c) and 1(1) (d) of the CFD requiring the penalisation of the condoning, denial or gross trivialisation of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and of Nazi crimes, respectively. To ensure effective protection against the most severe forms of hate speech and hate crime, it is recommended that the European Commission (EC) initiates infringement proceedings against Member States failing to transpose the CFD. Another issue derives from the transposition of the protected characteristics, which are the grounds upon which hate speech and hate crime are prohibited), they are set out in the CFD, the AMSD and the ECD. As a general rule, Member States’ legislation refers to characteristics beyond those required by the CFD, the AMSD and the ECD. Member States have not taken a harmonised approach in this respect, thus the list of protected characteristics varies from one Member State to another. Therefore an ambitious review of existing EU law might be necessary.

Read more here

OTHER news

* Memorial to Gypsy Victims of Holocaust Is Desecrated in Berlin
By New York Times

A three-year-old memorial in Berlin to Gypsy victims of the Holocaust was defaced on Thursday morning with a spray-painted swastika and a neo-Nazi message, “Gas them,” according to the foundation that runs the memorial, which is in the Tiergarten, across from the Reichstag. The paint was quickly removed, security was tightened, and the German federal police have opened a criminal investigation, according to Uwe Neumärker, the director of the foundation that runs the memorial, which honors hundreds of thousands of people in the Sinti and Roma communities (often referred to as Gypsies) who were killed during World War II. As refugees continue to pour into Germany, officials have expressed concern about right-wing violence against ethnic minorities.

Read more here
* Zazzle responds about anti-Gypsyist T-shirt
By Roxy Freeman, The Guardian

Although a minority, the ethnic group has always formed an important part of Spanish society and culture, most notably because of its strong links to Spain’s emblematic flamenco music. One of the country’s most internationally renowned flamenco dancers, Joaquín Cortés, is a Gypsy.
And while giant steps have been made towards greater integration in society, Roma are still often marginalised and discriminated against in the areas of housing, education and jobs.

Everybody wants to know more about the various cultures that differ from their own, whether it's learning the details of arranged marriages in India or the eating habits of the Japanese. The desire to have an insight into the unknown is universal, but when there's a hidden culture living on your doorstep, the desire burns even stronger. For that reason, the Gypsy culture is one that fascinates most people. This may be down to the mysterious nature of their way of life, and the shadowy ambiguity that surrounds their world, but it's more likely to simply be because Gypsies and Travellers live extensively throughout Europe and exist on the edges of society. One can see them, but most people don't really understand them.

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* European Commission President Juncker: EU countries must not reject refugees because of Paris attacks
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Speaking today at a side press conference convened at the summit of the G20 countries in Turkey, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said European Union
countries should not begin to reject refugees in response to Friday's attacks in Paris. In his view there is no need for the EU-28 to change their approach to addressing the migration crisis.
Juncker also emphasized that the perpetrators of the assassinations in Paris were not asylum-seekers, but criminals. "We should not confuse two different categories of people coming to Europe," he said at the press conference. "Those responsible for the attacks in Paris... are criminals and not asylum-seekers or refugees."

The Commission President's remarks were made in the context of announcements that the first of the attackers, a 29-year-old Frenchman, has been identified. "I would like to call on those in Europe who are attempting to alter the migration agenda adopted to take it seriously and to not succumb to these simplistic reactions, I dislike them," Juncker said.

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* Slovakia: Roma build new homes with EU money
By ČTK, adg, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Office of the Slovak Government's Plenipotentiary for Romani Community Affairs allocated financing last year for three local administrations to build lower-standard small apartment buildings. That successful project can now continue thanks to a subsidy in the amount of EUR 70 million to be provided to Slovakia by the European Union for the purpose of building more such dwellings.

Municipalities will be able to apply for the new subsidy to build dwellings for Romani people at the beginning of next year. Around 400 000 Romani minority members ares estimated to live in Slovakia, very often in substandard conditions in settlements on the peripheries of towns or villages. The approved subsidy from the EU funds will facilitate building roughly 4 500 new apartment units that can contribute to a basic improvement in Romani families' standard of living. "This is good news for Slovakia," Peter Pollák, the Slovak Plenipotentiary, said when asked for comment on the European Commission's decision.

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* UK: Traveller planning policy continues to marginalise Gypsy families
By Martin Myers

Gypsies have rarely been served well by policy-makers in the UK. Here, Martin Myers outlines a glaring catch-22 embedded in planning policy for Traveller sites. The legislation and the discourse it uses work to reiterate fifteenth century legislation that requires Gypsies to comply or be cast out from society as non-citizens.

05/11/2015 - Published in August, policy from the Department for Communities and Local Government defines Gypsy and Traveller ethnicity in terms of a mobile or nomadic way of life. This makes the overt mobility of Gypsies a precondition of being granted planning permission for new Traveller sites. Politically the policy is an effective measure: at a local level many voters protest against development plans for new Traveller sites. But restricting planning permission to “persons of a nomadic habit of life” will not improve existing accommodation problems. Fewer new sites will be built, with the potential to damage other areas of Gypsy lives. Such policy then, is ill-informed for at least two significant reasons.

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* Meeting between Romanian Ombudsman and UN rapporteur
By ActMedia

The evacuation of Roma people in Eforie Sud and Caracal was the topic of talks held on Tuesday by Romanian Ombudsman Victor Ciorbea with UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Geoffrey Alston, who is on a visit in Romania. The situation of forced evacuations was debated during talks, deputy People’s Lawyer Erzsebet Dane reviewing the involvement of institutions in punctual cases, among which the evacuation of Roma people in Eforie Sud and Caracal. Victor Ciorbea pointed out the involvement of People’s Lawyer in the evacuation of Roma people at 50, Vulturilor street in Bucharest by issuing recommendations to Bucharest City Hall and to Sector 3 Mayoralty, a press release shows.

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* Roma gypsies most negatively perceived European minority group, survey finds
By Rose Troup Buchanan

The Roma and Gypsy communities are regarded the most negatively by northern Europeans, a study has found.
The YouGov poll also found 40 per cent of the French had a negative impression of Muslims - the same as the UK. Only the Danes and Finish populations polled at higher levels (45 per cent). Overall, Jewish communities were the least negatively perceived, with LGBT groups polling just above. Overall, the Finnish and Danes were found to have the most negative impressions of minority groups, in particular the Roma or Gypsy people. Germans were found to hold the least negative views about minority groups in Europe.

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* Czech Republic: Eight years after the D.H. judgement a comprehensive desegregation of schools must take place
By Amnesty International

Eight years ago today, the Czech Republic was condemned by the European Court of Human Rights for discriminating against Roma children in its education system in the landmark D.H. judgment. Piecemeal measures post 2007 failed to eliminate discrimination and in 2014 the European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against the Czech Republic, since when the Government has accelerated and expanded the scope of its reforms.

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* Travellers must talk and we must listen
By Colum McCann, Irish Times

19/11/2015 - The ability of Irish Travellers and the Roma to tell their stories is paramount to their dignity and survival
I was at a literary reading a few years ago when a man stood up and asked me why I had bothered to write a book about the “gypsies.” He spoke with the thin accent of a man who would only put a pejorative lowercase “g” on the word. I asked why shouldn’t a novelist write a book about the Roma or the Travellers?

He proceeded to whip a list of adjectives out from the tight collar of his throat, and he applied them forcefully: secretive, immoral, dishonest, uncouth, nomadic, rapacious and predatory. I asked him if he would prefer that I wrote a book about the good folks at Anglo Irish Bank. Irony wasn’t his strong suit. He huffed and walked away. I thought to myself that he moved like an advertisement for Nama: appropriating all the space around him, ready to sell it to an outsider.

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* Czech Republic: Museum of Romani Culture director says economic situation of Roma deteriorating
By ČTK, mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Museum of Romani Culture in Brno, Czech Republic, which will celebrate 25 years of existence next year, is attempting to influence both the majority society and Romani people equally. The Museum aids Romani people in finding their roots and maintaining their traditions while attempting to disseminate information and refute some of the prejudices and stereotypes held about them by others.
"We are following the growth in the number of Roma who visit the Museum and who are slowly learning what this museum is, because it has long been a foreign, unknown institution to them," Museum director Jana Horváthová told the Czech News Agency in an interview. For the past 10 years the Museum has provided its experience in Brno as a state-established organization based in Bratislavská Street in the middle of a quarter with a large Romani community.
The Museum's focus is unique in Europe. Although it is headquartered in Brno, it operates throughout the country by working to document Romani life in the field and by holding traveling exhibitions.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* ERIO’s Training “Advocacy for Roma inclusion” INVITATION
Brussels, 10-11 December 2015

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend a training on advocacy skills which will be held on the 10 and 11 December from 9:30-15:30 at the Maison Notre Dame Du Chant d'Oiseau, Centre de Formation, Avenue des Franciscains 3a, 1150 Brussels.
The training is for Roma activists and it aims to:
- Improve the advocacy skills of Roma to enable them to be involved in the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS) as well as in anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies at European, national and local level;
- Inform Roma organisations and representatives about the different types of EU funds, how to apply and how to effectively use them for the successful integration of Roma;
- Inform about relevant EU developments such as the EU Framework, the NRIS and the Council recommendation in order to be exploited within advocacy activities.

The training will be in English.

Read more here

Registration
Places are limited. Please confirm participation as soon as possible, latest by 08 December 2015.
Register by email/phone by sending your name, surname, title and the organisation you represent to:
office@erionet.eu
Tel: +32 (2) 733 3462
Join the The European Roma Media Network!

The European Roma Media Network was an outcome of ERIO’s conference “Media: a key tool to fight hate speech and anti-Gypsyism” organised on 23 June 2015 in Brussels. The ultimate goal of this informal Network is to join efforts 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.Who can join? Members of the Network should be journalists (Roma and non-Roma), media experts or NGOs working on media.

Want to apply for membership?
To apply for membership please fill in this registration form and send it to office@erionet.eu
Music4ROM closing concert 11 January 2016
A concert will be the closing event of Music4ROM project on the 11 January 2016. Gilles Apap and his musicians will take us on a musical journey through the pieces of those classical composers inspired by Gypsy music. Also, Roberto de Brasov and his musicians will help us discover the colourful richness of the Romani repertoire from their country, Romania, with Jorge Chaminé's voice building a bridge between these two groups of unrivalled virtuosos.

Music4ROM, a very symbolic project Promoting Roma Integration Through Music
Music4ROM, a project funded by the European Commission, has successfully developed its activities for the past two years thanks to the involvement of all its partners from seven EU countries. This project aims to promote Romani values to build intercultural bridges, social inclusion and educate children through music. The values advocated by this project are recognition, understanding of others, creativity, tolerance and admiration. Great achievements have emerged since the beginning of Music4ROM, including the superb Masterclass proposed by Sons Croisés and brilliantly promoted by Jorge Chaminé, which inspired the young Romani and non-Romani musicians that took part in it. In each country, this inspiration gave rise to notable achievements involving Romani communities, children and young musicians through a series of participatory workshops.

Press contact person: Sophie Lupcin – IYMF Mobile: +32 (0) 473198560 sophie.lupcin@menuhin-foundation.com or
ERIO: +32 (2) 733 34 62 office@erionet.eu
Project website: www.music4rom.eu
Project Facebook: https://fr-fr.facebook.com/Music4Rom-1536583583225358
School Drawing Competition: For Roma, with Roma

You are invited to take part in a drawing competition organised by the European Commission for 7-10 year olds. The aim of the competition is to help children, teachers and parents think about what we share that allows us to live together in an inclusive and mixed society.
To enter, work in a group to create a drawing that represents the theme above. Draw your ideas of five ways we are all the same; whether we are Roma or not.

The deadline for the competition is 16 February 2016.
More information can be found here.
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