Weekly news

ERIO'S WEEKLY E-NEWS 30-10-2015

ERIO news and activities

* ERIO invites you to join the European Roma Media Network
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
...

OTHER news

* ECRI’s reports on Austria, the Czech Republic and Estonia
By ECRI

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published monitoring reports on Austria, the Czech Republic and Estonia.

Austria: ECRI reports, among the main problems, antipathy towards migrants and online hate speech at worrying levels, despite integration policies and awareness raising.  [English]

Czech Republic: ECRI expresses serious concern over the lack of progress in eradicating segregation of Roma children in schools and the prevalence of anti-Roma hate speech in political discourse. [English]

Estonia: Concerns remain, such as higher unemployment in regions which are predominantly Russian-speaking, or the unsatisfactory implementation of the new linguistic policy in the upper secondary school. [English]

Read more here
* UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Czech Republic is systematically violating refugees' rights, Czech President is a xenophobe
By mik, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

23/10/2015 - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has charged the Czech Republic with systematically violating the rights of refugees who have been arriving there since August. Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein also made it know that he is disturbed by the "xenophobic public pronouncements, including Islamophobic remarks" made by Czech President Miloš Zeman.

The statement from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was issued yesterday with the heading "Zeid urges Czech Republic to end detention of migrants and refugees". The UN official explained his opinion by asserting that it is customary for Czech authorities to detain immigrants for anywhere between 40 and 90 days, to subject them to personal searches, and to confiscate their money in order to pay for the costs of their stay in facilities for foreign nationals.

Read more here
* WYG wins £6.5m EuropeAid deal for Turkish social inclusion project
By Yorkshire Post

16/10/2015 - WYG (White Young Green) has won a multi-million pound contract to advise the Turkish government on social inclusion.
The two-year deal, which is worth €8.8m (£6.5m) to WYG, was awarded by EuropeAid and will see the consultancy and its partners provide technical assistance to the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policies. EuropeAid is the European Commission (EC) organisation that supports countries outside the European Union (EU) who may become future members.

Leeds-based consultancy WYG is lead partner in the consortium, which includes Project Group, Archidata, Archidata International, A.N.F.E. Delegazione Regionale Sicilia and the National Agency for Roma. Under the contract, the group will provide technical assistance to a major social inclusion programme focused on densely Roma populated areas of Turkey, primarily by “facilitating their entry into the formal labour market”.

Read more here
* BBC World Service - The Documentary, Roma: A Decade On
By BBC

Delia Radu reflects on the 'Decade of the Roma Inclusion'. In 2005 a plan was launched to improve education, health, housing and jobs for the Roma – Europe’s poorest minority. But did it succeed? Ten years later Delia Radu travelled across Eastern Europe to find the Roma she spoke to when the plan was launched. Delia wanted to ask the people who the plan was supposed to help - if it delivered its promises and if anything changed.
 
Read more here
* Strasbourg Court Rules In Favour Of Hungarian Roma Man For Suffering Racist Violence
By index.hu

20/10/2015 - The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has condemned Hungary in a first-instance ruling for failing to adequately investigate into a racist attack. The lawsuit against the Hungarian state was launched by a 23-year-old Hungarian citizen of Roma background after the Hungarian prosecution service dropped proceedings for violence against a member of a community and sentenced the perpetrator for truculence, the state news agency MTI reports.

The man and his girlfriend were attacked by a group of three people at a night club in the southern city of Szeged back in January 2011 when a man identifying himself as a policeman intervened. The man, who was later revealed to be an employee of the prison service, verbally abused the man before police arriving to the scene broke up the fight.
 
Read more here
* Hungarian Justice Minister says Europe's Roma could "join the terrorists"
By adg, agw, Central European University, The Daily Mail, ERRC, EU OBSERVER, Global Policy Journal, RVN

23/10/2015 - The EU Observer reported on 20 October that Hungarian Justice Minister László Trócsányi told a conference on “criminal justice in response to radicalization” in Brussels that Europe's 12 million Romani people "could be a target of radicalization" and there is a risk they will travel to Syria as foreign fighters to join the jihadists or other radical groups. When asked why Romani people, most of whom are Roma Catholic, would choose to fight alongside jihadists in the Syrian war, a spokesperson for the Hungarian Government told euobserver.com that the Roma are "deprived people and they are usually more exposed to radical views.”

The spokesperson added that while the minister’s stance is “just a hypothesis” that has not yet been fully explored, it cannot be ignored. Euobserver.com noted that Hungary has no known foreign fighters in Syria to date, while Austrians of Chechen background and Chechens granted asylum in Austria did begin fighting in Syria after Russia joined the conflict to shore up the Assad regime.

Read more here
* Planned EU ban on Balkan asylum-seekers alarms Roma there
By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Balkan Insight reported last month that Macedonian Roma associations have objected to EU plans to ban Balkan nationals from claiming asylum as part of its response to the refugee crisis. The groups say the plans are unfair to their own persecuted communities. The Romani groups say the measures are not fair toward thousands of migrant Roma from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who are fleeing absolute marginalization in the Balkan countries. “The Roma have always been persecuted, and if anyone deserves asylum, they do,” Samka Ibraimovski, the head of Macedonia's Party for Complete Emancipation of Roma (PCER) said.
“My information says that some 30 000 people [from Macedonia] are applying for asylum in the EU," she said. The Romani nationality of many of those asylum-seekers is not being captured by the immigration process.

EU Commissioner on Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos said last month that he strongly supported plans to agree a list of "safe countries" from which people may not apply for asylum, and called for the speedy repatriation of asylum-seekers from the Western Balkans. “This [safe country] list will allow Member States to devote greater resources to protecting those in need and to return swiftly those applicants with no rightful claim to asylum,” Avramopoulos said.

Read more here
* Open Society Voices: What the “Roma Decade” Really Achieved
By Judit Szira, Roma Education Fund

Nine years ago, just after the start of the Decade of Roma Inclusion, Štefan Vavrek was a young university student supported by a Roma Education Fund (REF) scholarship. After completing his studies, he launched an after-school program for 250 Roma children and their parents in his hometown of Rimavská Sec in southeastern Slovakia, and established a volunteer network of Roma and non-Roma teachers called Ternipe.

The result? Grades improved, the dropout rate fell to zero, and the transition rate from primary to secondary school shot up to 95 percent. A thriving, dynamic community life emerged, and the after-school program has since won official EU recognition as a best practice for preventing students from leaving school early. Today, at the end of the Decade, Štefan is mayor of the town where 75 percent of the population is non-Roma.

Read more here
* Slovakia internationally criticized for forced sterilization, police impunity for brutality against Roma, position on refugee reception and segregated education
By ČTK, jal, ryz, voj, Denník N, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

26/10/2015 - The Slovak Spectator reports that the United Nations has sharply criticized reports of Slovak Police brutality against Romani residents. Repressive, systematic actions by police are occurring hand in hand with ineffective investigations of police misconduct.
The Slovak Government is also still denying that the systematic involuntary sterilization of Roma women has ever happened. Those are the findings of the most recent report on Slovakia from the United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) which has confirmed concerns raised by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and the Centre for Civil and Human Rights, a Slovak human rights NGO.
“We are obliged to report human rights violations to international bodies in order to convince the Slovak government to act,” ERRC Executive Director András Ujlaky said. “The UN has made it clear that the government should state at the highest political level that there will be no tolerance for excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, including against members of ethnic minorities."
Police accounts of the clash with Romani residents in the settlement of Zabijanec differ greatly from those of the residents themselves. Police alleged that seven officers were injured on 1 August when 200 Romani people attacked them in the settlement, which is located in the village of Rudňany in the Košice Region.

Read more here

ANNOUNCEMENTS and events

* Music4ROM, a very symbolic project Promoting Roma Integration Through Music - Final event 11 January 2016

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.

Here are a few accounts from our partners:
Spain: Music4ROM is a very symbolic project for us Roma! The European Commission has established a framework to develop Roma social inclusion in the four areas of: education, employment, housing and health. However, culture is another area that is of critical importance. “The Music4ROM project precisely falls within the sphere of culture. It aims to highlight the importance of Romani music in Europe. Music is probably the area in which the Roma have contributed the most to European societies; its recognition and visibility will help society rethink old stereotypes and prejudices while Romani people will also appreciate the value of our culture.”    (Pedro Casermeiro, Unión Romani)
Slovakia: Music workshops to enhance the richness of Romani culture “These workshops helped participants realize the uniqueness of their Romani origin, find a way of developing their distinctive talent and, despite their difficult life situation, benefit from and be proud of being born a Roma.”      (Lenka Orságová, ETP Slovakia)
Italy: Dance and music to learn the musicality of life “Constructing a music and dance project in such a way will result in fostering the development of socialization, the emotional world and creativity in a state of mutual cooperation and promote social development through the bodily experiences of the group.” (Giuseppe Parente, MUS-E Napoli)
Belgium: 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.

Press contact
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
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