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ERIO news and activities

* European Roma Information Office (ERIO) high level Conference with Local authorities, November 27 in Brussels
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend a conference with European local authorities which will be held on 27th November at the European Economic and Social Committee, room TRE 7701 (7th floor), 74 rue de Treves, 1040 Brussels from 09:30-17:00.
Roma in Europe continue to face constant discrimination. Segregation in education, poor housing, violence and forced evictions are some of the types of discrimination they face in their daily lives. As a way to improve the integration of the 10-12 million Roma across Europe, in 2011 the European Commission adopted an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. Following this Framework, member states committed themselves to ensure equality and improving the socio-economic situation of Roma by delivering their National Roma Integration Strategies (NRIS). In December 2013, the Council recommendation on effective Roma integration measures was adopted. This contains a number of provisions which emphasise the necessity of Roma integration at the local level. It is clear that the challenge now falls upon national governments to involve local authorities in the implementation of the NRIS.
Against this backdrop, this European level conference will gather together representatives of local authorities from across Europe. It aims to provide a platform for discussion and exchange of information between the different local authorities in Europe concerning the NRIS and the implementation of the Racial Equality Directive (RED). Secondly, to facilitate the exchange of successful practices and identify the challenges faced by local/regional authorities in the NRIS and RED implementation and any potential solutions to overcome them.

The conference will be in English.

You can register by email or phone by giving your name, surname, title and the organisation you are working for.
The deadline for registrations is 24th November 2014.
For registration or any other queries, please contact: office@erionet.eu or Tel: +32 (2) 733 3462

OTHER news

* Twenty four Roma Families risk for Eviction in Serbia
By Amnesty International

Twenty-four Roma households at the Belvil settlement in Belgrade are due for resettlement at the end of November. If human rights requirements, including genuine consultation and providing full information are not followed, their removal for resettlement could result in a forced eviction.

The families are amongst 50 Roma households due for resettlement from the informal settlement at Belvil, in advance of construction work funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB). The resettlement of the first 24 families was originally scheduled to take place in September; it was then delayed until the end of October, and was then again delayed to the end of November. The families will be resettled into social housing units in Orlovsko naselje, in the eastern part of Belgrade. The remaining families are due to be resettled in 2015.

Read more here
* Czech Government Roma Commission discusses amendments that could adversely affect Roma

By bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

On Thursday 23 October the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission on Roma Community Affairs met in the main building of the Government of the Czech Republic; its agenda included approving the Commission's statutes, inclusive education, Romani integration strategy in relation to EU funds, and the issue of financing the Regional Coordinators for Romani affairs. The meeting closed with civil society member Martina Horváthová presenting research undertaken by the Slovo 21 organization into the position of Romani women in the Czech Republic.  

"The most important points of the program were the approval of the Agency for Social Inclusion's Oversight Committee, which will convene in November, and recommendations on the Government's proposal to abolish the Framework Education Program for Primary Education for the Lightly Mentally Disabled," Commission vice-chair David Beňák told news server Romea.cz. Financing of Regional Coordinators was also discussed.  

"It is absolutely necessary that financing for [the Coordinators'] work no longer be distributed through non-investment state subsidies, because that means the Regional Coordinators are forced to annually reapply for the subsidy," said Cyril Koky, the Romani Affairs Coordinator for the Central Bohemian Region. "We are trying to make sure this change in the financing of the Coordindators does not become an unbearable burden on the regional administration, that it will still work," Beňák said.

Read more here
* Roma complain of Czech school segregation
By Rob Cameron, BBC News, Prague

28.10.2014 - The Czech Republic is breaching EU anti-discrimination law by sending a disproportionately high number of Roma children to special schools for children with learning difficulties, the European Commission says.
 The Commission has initiated what it calls "infringement proceedings" against the country for failing to improve the situation, seven years after a landmark European Court of Human Rights ruling.

"Those two years in special school completely ruined my life," says Julek Mika, down a crackly phone line from the industrial city of Ostrava. "People say - 'it was just two years', but I can tell you they completely ruined my life."

Read more here
* Czech Government tells UN that law to compensate forced sterilization will be ready in one year
By ČTK, fk, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Czech Government is planning to submit a law to compensate the victims of illegal sterilizations by the end of 2015. It expects to have the outlines of the legislation ready by the end of this year.
The cabinet's statement was part of its response to complaints from the UN Human Rights Committee, which oversees implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Czech Government ministers are planning to discuss the text today.

The Committee criticizes the Czech Republic for discriminating against Romani people, for sending disproportionate numbers of Romani children to be educated as mentally disabled, for permitting the raising of pigs on the site of a former concentration camp at Lety by Písek, and for the use of cage beds in psychiatric treatment facilities. "The compensation law presumes there will be comprehensive compensation of the victims of illegal sterilizations and that their claims will be satisfied by the state. The victims will no longer have to bring civil lawsuits against the health care facilities where illegal sterilizations were performed," the Government writes in its response to the UN.

Read more here
* Measures concerning Roma evaluated  in Slovakia
By TASR (The Slovak Spectator)

24.10.2014 - The Milan Šimečka Foundation evaluated measures taken by the Government that concern Roma in Slovakia. On the scale of 1-5, where 1 is the best result, the Foundation rated the Cabinet with an average grade of 3.54 compared to 3.62 it received in 2013 in its Roma in Public Policies study, TASR reported on October 23.

“Government measures were evaluated in the form of a survey by 41 respondents from the ranks of experts, public officials and activists both Roma and non-Roma,” said Michal Valach of the Foundation. Among measures that received the best ranking were the new Atlas of Roma Communities (averaged grade of 2.08) and the restoration of the programme Healthy Communities (2.16).

Read more here
* French Government to Amend Legislation to Ban Undesirables From France
By Donna Rachel Edmunds

The French government is drawing up plans to ban any immigrant whose "personal behaviour" is deemed to pose a threat to "security or public order". French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has made it clear that he wants to keep certain ‘undesirables’, such as Roma gypsies and east European gangsters out of his country. But critics point out that it would threaten the EU’s freedom of speech, which this weekend the outgoing President of the Commission, José-Manuel Barroso said was non-negotiable.

The vaguely worded proposed amendment to current legislation reads that “any national of an EU member-state or any member of the family of such an individual” who is likely to cause trouble should “be banned from entering French territory if their presence would constitute a real, current and sufficiently serious threat,” the Daily Mail has reported. The legislation aims at protecting the “fundamental interest of society, in terms of public order or security” against “personal behaviour” of the undesirable migrants.

Read more here
* Is French new anti-terror law is just anti-Roma ?
By Ben McPartland

23.10.2014 - Human Rights campaigners and immigrants' support groups have sounded the alarm about the small print in France’s new anti-terrorism bill, which they say will allow Paris to stop the freedom of movement of EU nationals, specifically members of the Roma community.
The bill is currently being rushed through the parliamentary process to give France new powers to combat a perceived increase in the threat from terrorism. But an article was added to the bill in the Senate this week is greatly concerning human rights groups and immigrants' support organisations in the country. The clause would give France the power to refuse entry to “undesirable” nationals of EU states and their families if they posed a threat to public order or safety.

In full it reads: “Any national of an EU member-state ... or any member of the family of an individual will be banned from entering the French territory if their presence causes a serious threat to a fundamental interest of society, in terms of public order or security, because of their personal behaviour.”

Read more here
* Hungarian mayor wants to replace Roma slum with football stadium
By New Europe

Hundreds of Roma (Gypsy) families in the Hungarian city Miskolc fear they will be evicted and banished in the name of urban development. Local authorities have said they want to proceed with a slum demolition drive in order to pave the way for a football stadium and parking lot.
About 1,000 Roma live in homes built as workers’ settlements more than 50 years ago, reports The Budapest Times. According to Miskolc’s new mayor, Ákos Kriza, the stadium is important for the city’s urban development. “Both for reasons of public safety and health the existence of slums cannot be tolerated any more,” he said in an interview with the online magazine Index.

Read more here
* Nine out of 10 Gypsy and Traveller children have suffered racial abuse
By Emily Dugan, The Independent

Discrimination against travellers is the last bastion of ‘acceptable’ racism in Britain, claims report
Discrimination against gypsies and travellers is the last bastion of "acceptable" racism in Britain, according to research published today. Nine out of 10 gypsy, traveller or Roma children in the UK have suffered racial abuse, a study from the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups and Anglia Ruskin University shows. Two thirds of children from itinerant groups have also been bullied or physically attacked and many are too scared to go to school, researchers say.

The report is the first comprehensive review of what life is like for those communities across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Dr Pauline Lane, Reader in the Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education at Anglia Ruskin University, said: “In order to improve the lives of people from gypsy, traveller and Roma communities, there is an urgent need for the UK to address discrimination against these communities. At the moment, it is the last bastion of ‘acceptable’ racism and that needs to stop.”

Read more here
* Italy: One bus for Roma, one for everyone else - is apartheid on the way?
By By ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The British newspaper The Telegraph and the online news service The Local report that the mayor of the town of Borgaro is accused of wanting to introduce apartheid in Italy after proposing the introduction of one bus line only for Romani people and another for everyone else. "Two lines. One for us, one for them," Mayor Claudio Gambino (Democratic Party) suggested at a meeting on Thursday with residents of the town, garnering enormous applause.

According to the controversial proposal, two bus lines would be run on a route with many Romani passengers where pickpocketing is reported as occurring frequently. "I will meet with the Police Commissioner, it seems to be the only solution," the mayor said.

Residents of the 13 000-strong town located north of Turin have long complained of Romani people harassing and pickpocketing them on bus line 69, which has been nicknamed "the gypsy bus". The line runs on a bypass around Turin and stops near the airport at a place where approximately 1500 Romani people live in a single location.

Read more here
* Roma community in Kosovo socially and economically excluded
By Fitim Selimi

Mitrovica, a ethnically divided city in northern Kosovo who used to have the highest RAE population in former Yugoslavia. The town is also often quoted as one of the gravest public health disaster in modern Europe

After the Kosovo-war ended in 1999 most of the RAE community found themselves in the northern part of the city, in refugee camps in a hazardous environment. The majority of the Roma spend their life under horrible and inhuman conditions for more then 10 years. Some of them in toxically contaminated areas without any medical support. In 2005 a resettlement-project was started to rebuild the Roma Mahala in Mitrovica.

Read more here


* Music Masterclass and Concert Music4Rom in Paris - 25 October 2014
Music Masterclass earmarked at 16 young Romani and non-Romani musicians trained by renowned musicians and singers organized by Sons Croisés and coordinated by Jorge Chaminé, within the framework of Music4ROM : a European project promoting intercultural dialogue through music.

Masterclass and final concert at “A la Cité Universitaire Internationale de Paris (CIUP)” – Collège d’Espagne  –Salle Bunuel  
7 Boulevard Jourdan – 75014 Paris / RER B et T3a Cité Universitaire

Open to the general public subject to availability
MASTER CLASSES – from Monday 20 to Friday 24 October, 10am to 1pm and 3-6pm
CONCERT - Saturday 25 October, 7.30pm

Carlo DUMONT (Italy), Aurica MUSTATEA (Romania), David BENKO (Slovaquia), Paco SUAREZ (Spain),
Roberto DE BRASOV (France), Ludovit KOVAC (France), Jorge CHAMINE (France).
From Italy
Pietro GIORDANO, violin
Rocco ROGGIA, violin
Gennaro SPINELLI, violin
Matteo BISBANO MEMMO, piano
From Slovaquia
Nikola SOLTESOVA, singer
Anita BALAZOVA, singer
Jakub KRAJNAK, guitar
Jakub HAFFNER, piano
From Romania
Rodica-­Elena TUDOR, singer
Daniel-­Mihai RADU, trombon
Mihaela‐Roxana SAVA, singer
From Spain
Oscar José SORIANO LLOPART, guitar
Alvaro Mur RODRIGUEZ, piano
Pedro Manuel NAVARRO GRIMALDI, cajon
Elise PETIT : french, english, spanish – Roberto DE BRASOV : romanian and roman
Jorge CHAMINE : italian, english, spanish – Ludovit KOVAC : slovak
Emilie Le BOUFFO - coordinator – 0033 6 48 04 27 78 – musicforrom@yahoo.fr
Jorge CHAMINE – director
Collège d’Espagne reception – 0033 1 40 78 32 00
*City of Gotenburg, Sweden European Office seminar on Roma inclusion, European Parliament – November 12 in Brussels
* Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015 International Workshop “Inclusive Education without Discrimination”, November 17-18 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
* NET-KARD Project “Cooperation and Networking between Key Actors against Discrimination of Roma”, November 20 in Madrid
* Roma side event at the "4th Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion", European Commission, November 20 in Brussels
* European Commission DG Justice meeting for interactive and participatory discussion on Roma issues with civil society organizations, November 21 in Brussels
* Roma Festival, November 22-23 in Stockholm
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