Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO at the OSCE-ODIHR consultation meeting in Warsaw
ODIHR CPRSI held a consultation meeting on 23rd of May at the OSCE ODIHIR premises in Warsaw. The purpose of the consultation was to get feedback and suggestions from key experts  regarding the draft text of the second assessment report by ODIHR on the status of implementation of the OSCE commitments towards Roma and Sinti.
 This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE Area, adopted at the Maastricht Ministerial Council in 2003. Five years ago, ODIHR issued its first Status Report assessing efforts undertaken by OSCE participating States to implement the Action Plan. The anniversary is an ideal occasion for coming up with a new assessment that ODIHR intent to conclude and release at the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in November in Vienna this year.

Human rights experts and academics analysed the current situation the advanatges and the cahllenges fro implementation of the OSCE ODIHR Roma Action Plan. They made valuable recommendations of the report should be structured and what issues should be stressed so that  they are taken into consideration in the next implementation period. ERIO Director Ivan Ivanov underlined that there are  a number of barriers challenging the  implementation of any Roma related action plan and strategy. Institutionalised discrimination and constantly increasing heatread agains Roma makes the realization of such well intended plans impossible. This is why ODHIR should focus its future efforts together with other intergovernmental organizations in fighting all form os discrimination.

OTHER news

* Roma union targets inclusion issues
By Ivana Jovanovic for Southeast European Times in Belgrade

24/05/2013 - Representatives in the parliaments of Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Slovakia created the Roma Inter-Parliamentary Union in order to resolve the lack of institutional state support for Roma communities in the region.
The union aims to initiate Roma inclusion in all life areas, support governments in resolving Roma issues and foster better co-operation with international organisations.
The Serbia parliament, which hosted the first meeting of the union earlier this month, adopted several laws to improve the Roma position, including legislation on Roma integration and on judicial proceedings that contribute to the visibility of a minority without identification documents.
"By adopting such laws and by initiating such activities … we recognised Roma people as a potential stability factor, which provides new qualities in the approach to Roma integration in social and political life," Nebojsa Stefanovic, the president of the parliament, told SETimes.

Read more here
* God Among the Roma
by  Melody Wachsmuth in Croatia

Dreams, visions, and healings spur new disciples among the 10-12 million Roma in Europe.
 23/05/2013 - A shivering 15-year-old, Biljana Nikolić, stood shielding her one-month-old on a street corner in Serbia as a fierce thunderstorm whipped through town.
Biljana leaned against a house to steady herself against the wind. She was fleeing her abusive second husband, and this, less than a year after running away from her first husband, a man her mother forced her to marry. She watched her baby struggle to breathe, and remembered a song her aunt taught her when she was 9: I have a phone that goes up into the sky, when I have problems I can call Jesus.
"God, I know you are here and that you gave me this child," she muttered, "but I don't know what to do with him. If you want, take him."
Just then, a Serbian woman opened the door of the house Biljana was leaning against. She urged Biljana to come inside. It was the first of a long string of answers to prayer that would change her life.

Read more here
* Time for Roma integration in the EU
By Maurizio Molinari

21/05/2013 - European Commission Vice President Viviane Reding has called on EU Member States to do more to integrate its Roma populations.
Last week she spoke at the Roma Roundtable, attended by a number of key players from Roma civil society. Along with the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, they discussed the progress made so far and the next steps to be taken to ensure the proper integration of Europe’s 10-12 million strong Roma population.
“The laws that we need to prevent discrimination of Roma are there,” Reding told Equal Times. “What is not functioning is integration.”
Reding commended some states for making “real and serious efforts” towards improving the lives of Roma citizens but said that high levels of poverty amongst Roma populations speak of severe social exclusion.
“I’m very disappointed at some Member States, as they are not putting in practice what is stated in their national strategies,” she said.
But she did encourage some member states to look at examples of good practice to learn from them: “Ministers, unlike students, are allowed to copy when they stumble upon a success story.”
At the round table, NGOs and the European Commission could share their views on the outcomes of a three-year joint effort towards Roma integration and assess what is still to be done.

Read more here


* OSCE meeting with Belgian civil society
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is organizing meeting with the Belgian civil society and community-based organizations with the three Personal Representatives of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Tolerance Issues.
Location: Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (Please use the entrance to the building of the Centre for Equal opportunities from Rue de Ligne 37)
Date: Monday, 10 June 2013
Time: 10:00 – 13:00 The meeting will be conducted in English.
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office has appointed three Personal Representatives on Tolerance Issues: Rabbi Andrew Baker is the Personal Representative on Combating Anti-Semitism; Senator Adil Akhmetov is the Personal Representative on Combating Intolerance against Muslims; and Ambassador Tetiana Izhevska is the Personal Representative on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions. Each year, the Personal Representatives conduct a number of country visits to assess challenges, identify examples of good practice and make recommendations in the area of tolerance and non-discrimination.

Further information on the Personal Representatives and their activities can be found here
* Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 - 24th International Steering Committee Meeting (ISC) - 19-20 June 2013 ; Zagreb, Croatia
On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Croatia as the President of the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015, we are pleased to invite you to the 24th International Steering Committee Meeting that takes place on 19-20 June 2013 at Hotel International in Zagreb, Croatia. This event will be the last one organized under the Croatian Decade Presidency and marks the formal handover of the Presidency to the Republic of Montenegro.
At its 23rd meeting, the International Steering Committee endorsed the Croatian Decade Presidency initiative to establish a working group that would assess options and possibilities for the Decade of Roma Inclusion beyond 2015 through a consultation process in the Decade countries. The options paper that is discussed and finalized by the working group will be presented at the morning session on June 19th 2013, followed by a moderated discussion with high level officials from the Decade Participating Countries and Mr. George Soros.

The meeting will provide opportunity for the participants to discuss the topic with the objective to provide guidance to the Montenegrin Presidency and the Decade Secretariat whether and how to advance any proposals for the Decade extension. In addition, Decade governments will report on progress made in the Decade priority areas in 2012.  Civil society partners will present their findings on the implementation of the National Roma Integration Strategies and Decade Action Plans in 2012.
Read more here
* Citizens’ picnic, taking place on the first day of the Yo! Fest
Thursday 30 May. I would kindly ask you to relay the information among your networks and members.
Join hundreds of European Citizens lunching in front of the European Parliament during the inaugural European Citizens' Picnic on Thursday 30 May from 12.30 - 14.30. Explore what European Citizenship means to you on hashtag #YOFest13 & also enter our competition to have a chance of winning an Xbox360. President Herman Van Rompuy will deliver a message during the Picnic.

More info here
*  ERIO is currently looking for interns
We are looking for interns to start their internship from September 2013. If you are interested in an unpaid internship, please send your CV and a motivation letter stating your interest for this internship as well as your availability to:  office@erionet.eu.
You can find out more here:  http://www.erionet.eu/internship.htm
Contact us