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ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the EPP session on the Roma Holocaust
On Tuesday the 29th January 2013, the European People’s Party Roma Working Group hosted an open session at the EU Parliament in Brussels: “Establishing a European Day of Remembrance for Victims of the Roma Holocaust”. The session was organised by MEP Lívia Járóka’s office, Chairwoman of the EPP Working Group on Roma Inclusion and rapporteur of the EU Strategy on Roma Inclusion.

The seminar was opened by MEP Augustín Díaz de Mera, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group Working Group on Legal and Home Affairs. In his speech, he recalled the intensive persecution the Roma minority had to face during the Second World War: "The goal of this meeting is to learn from the past and unite our efforts to ensure that this deliberate ethnic cleansing process with such dramatic consequences will never be repeated in the future. I highly appreciate Ms Járóka's efforts to preserve the memory of the victims, reinforcing peace and stability at the same time and confirming the unity of our continent as free and equal European citizens".

The session continued with addresses from MEPs Lívia Járóka, Cecilia Wikström and Mikael Gustafsson who led the lobby within the European Parliament for a Written Declaration on establishing a European Day for the victims of the Roma Holocaust last year. Lívia Járóka recalled that due to the lack of documentation and the scientific processing of historical events, the Roma Holocaust is still largely unknown to the general public. She also presented the latest developments of the Written Declaration by the European Parliament to recognize the 2nd of August as the European Remembrance Day of the Roma Holocaust and stressed ERIO's active support in the campaigning for collecting signatures.

ERIO’s screening of a short documentary, "The untold story: Roma Holocaust", shone a light on the persecution of Roma in Germany before and during WWII. The self-produced video documented the progressive enactment of anti-Roma legislation over more than a century that culminated in the genocide now known as the Roma Holocaust. In providing the closing speech, ERIO Executive Director Ivan Ivanov stated that people cannot ignore history and the fact that hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti people have been killed during the Holocaust. There is a need for high level institutional recognition of the Roma victims in order to send a positive message and to challenge strong prejudices the Holocaust created towards the Roma, he said. There is a political fear to recognize Roma as one of the largest exterminated groups during Nazism. Mr Ivanov strongly encouraged different political groups and lobbyists to openly condemn the Roma genocide during the WWII and reject prejudices established by the Nazi regime and still maintained by extreme right politicians.
* ERIO Press release on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day
The 27 January, is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day; a time for people all over the world to remember the millions of victims and survivors of the Nazi regime. ERIO calls for an official recognition of the Roma Holocaust victims.
Read our press release here.
* ERIO paper "Discrimination against Roma in the EU in 2012"
We've just released a paper "Discrimination against Roma in the EU in 2012". In 2012 there have been various examples of discrimination against the EU’s Roma population in breach of the Race Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) (“the Directive”). In particular the Roma have been discriminated against in receiving less favourable access to: education, police protection and housing, compared to the majority population, in a wide variety of EU countries including France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Particularly notable incidents of discrimination include the failure of the Hungarian and Bulgarian police to prevent racial abuse and violence against Roma and the failure of various countries, notably the Czech Republic and Slovakia to prevent the segregation of Roma children within their education systems. This paper takes a general look at the degree to which the Roma are discriminated against in contravention of the Directive in the EU countries in 2012.
Read the paper here.

OTHER news

* UK moots blocking health access for EU migrants
EU migrants could be prevented from using Britain's National Health Service (NHS) under government measures to dissuade Romanian and Bulgarian citizens moving to the UK.Mark Harper MP, immigration minister, indicated on Monday (28 January) that migrants without a job could be blocked from using NHS services and forced to have private health insurance. The government is also considering whether to deport migrants who do not find a job within three months."EU students and those that are self-sufficient should not be a burden on the host member state, which means they should have things like health insurance. We have a National Health Service, not an international health service," Harper said.
Read more here.
* Political parties drive hate in EU, commission says
Far-right political discourse is feeding hatred throughout the EU and could harm the European project in the upcoming 2014 European Parliament elections, says the European Commission. Disparaging words geared towards minority groups like Roma, Muslims, Jews and immigrants are becoming more common as elected officials attempt to woo a growing number of the voting electorate rooted in populist movements."Not since World War II have extreme and populist forces had so much influence on the national parliaments as they have today. In some countries even neo-nazis have been elected," said EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom in Brussels on Monday (28 January).
Read more here.
* Letter to the Hungarian Government by Roma Youth Organizations Concerning Racists Statements in Media
The Forum of European Roma Young People FERYP and PAKIV European Network, the undersigned Roma youth networks, write to you to express our serious concerns about the newspaper column of the last January 5, written by Zsolt Bayer, founding member of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz Party, in which he likened the country’s Roma minority to animals.

We are very concerned about the racism and Romaphobia experienced by Hungarian Roma during the last years. Such treatment is offensive, unethical and a clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, inciting to discrimination and violence against Hungarian Roma, against Hungarian citizens.
Read the full letter here.
* Holocaust memory as a fig leaf for modern hate
The fall of the Berlin Wall in October 1989 aroused a euphoric debate about the city’s post-Communist future. In a Die Zeit op-ed entitled “Berlin as Federal Capital of Germany, Yes or No,” I argued that political functions should remain anchored in the western city of Bonn, thereby decentralizing any resurgent phantom German ambitions; that Berlin should be the cultural mecca, capitalizing on the best of the Western and post-Soviet liberationist creativity of the Eastern sector; and that federal power should be further diluted by the autobahn democracy linking Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg as financial capitals. Indeed, such bifurcated capitals are common: Washington/New York, Ottawa/Toronto, Canberra/Sydney, Brasilia/Sao Paolo, Jerusalem/Tel Aviv etc.
Read more here.


* Genocide of Roma and Jews in Eastern Europe: Research, Methodology and Source Issues Exhibition “Routes Of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma Memory of Transnistria”

On the 6 of February, at 10.00 at the site of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC), the Jewish Heritage and Holocaust Museum in Moscow on Poklonnaja Gora will play host to an International Forum, dedicated to research on the genocide of Roma and Jews during the Second World War period. Special attention will be devoted to studies of occupied USSR territories, sources and methodological issues. The Forum will be attended by leading scholars from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Israel, Sweden and France.

This Forum is the first in the post-Soviet region to present the topics of genocide of Roma and Jews during the Holocaust as equally deserving of attention, and will enable scientists with differing perspectives to take part in presentations and roundtable discussions with colleagues. At 17.00, as part of the Forum, the Exhibition “Routes of Disappearance. Jewish and Roma memory of Transnistria” will be opened. The exhibition is dedicated to the fate of Jews and Roma during the Romanian occupation of the Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina territories during the Second World War.

A research group travelled across Ukraine and Moldova, uncovering previously untold survivor testimonies concerning Jewish and Roma survival in the Romanian occupation zone. New information about the genocide of Roma and Jews was revealed, and unique documents found, among them pre-War photographs of Jews and Roma that had been executed by Nazis, a birth certificate that was sewn into a pillow and kept safe during the entire war, a photograph of the pigsty where several Jewish families were interred over several months, and much more. The exhibition makes use of interview excerpts from survivors, original photographs and family archive documents, as well as scientific, Internet and archival sources.

The exhibition “Routes of Disappearance” has been successfully exhibited in Cishinau, Odessa, Kiev and Stockholm between 2010 and 2012. Parts of the exposition were displayed in Moscow in 10.12.2012, in the Romen theater, as well as in 27.01.2013 during International Holocaust Memorial Night at the Central House of Literature. The exhibition has been produced by an international team from Ukraine and Poland as part of the program “Paths of Remembrance”, undertaken by Geschichtswerkstatt Europa realized by Institute for Applied History in cooperation with the European University Viadrina, under financial support from the foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, Future" (EVZ).

The opening ceremony will feature addresses from Jewish and Roma Holocaust survivors, Russian public officials and community representatives, foreign diplomats, representatives of the UN Information Center in Moscow, Roma and Jewish organizations, as well as cultural performances.

Read more here.
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