Minimum Standards for Minorities in the EU

On Monday 3 September 2018, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) held a mini-hearing on minimum standards for minorities in the EU. The respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities is one of the EU’s founding principles and the effective protection of minorities across the EU needs to be strengthened.

ERGO Network Executive Director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova was one of the experts invited to the hearing to give input to the Committee’s report on the topic.  She pointed out that Roma and other minorities enrich the diverse cultural heritage of the EU; the protection of their rights, however, is currently not ensured. EU Member States have different definitions for minorities and apply different standards for their protection. There is a need for a common understanding and definitions, but also for ensuring the protection of minorities especially against discrimination and any forms of racism.

The Roma Civil Monitor, a project issuing civil society shadow reports on National Roma Integration Strategies in 27 EU member states, shows that even where Roma are recognised as minority, respect of their rights is still lacking or the minority status is only granted for ‘autochthonous’ Roma and not those of migratory background.

ERGO Network believes that the lives of minorities in every country are fragile; the policy frameworks on minorities are depending on political will and societal climate.  For Roma the situation is even more difficult, as there is no home country standing behind them to support the growth of their cultural heritage and language or to ensure the full recognition and protection of their rights. The European Union is the safeguard that brings hope to many.

Minimum standards for minorities should ensure rights to both ethnic and national minorities. They should also pay attention to intersectionality, especially when it comes to discrimination of LGBTI and people with disabilities.

During the hearing, Gabriela Hrabanova furthermore expressed the importance of addressing antigypsyism as core problem for the exclusion of Roma. “Antigypsyism is not explicitly recognized in the relevant policy and legislative documents and antigypsyist crimes are often not seen as such by the responsible institutions”, says Hrabanova. As stated in the European Parliament Resolution on fighting Anti-Gypsyism from 2015 and in the LIBE Committee Report on Anti-gypsyism from 2017 the situation of Roma is worsening and there is a need for urgent action to ensure the remedy of the centuries’ long discrimination and marginalization.

Member states should take both proactive and reactive measures to safeguard equal access of members of minority groups to services, goods, information, etc. and to provide mandatory trainings to duty-bearers.

But importantly, there will be no achievement without real and systemic consultations of minority groups at local, regional and national level to prepare, run, monitor and evaluate both minority specific and mainstream programmes in order to ensure their inclusiveness and non-discrimination.

Will the EU include Roma in the so-called ‘Union that protects, empowers and defends’?

Will the EU include Roma in the so-called ‘Union that protects, empowers and defends’?

The European Commission entitled its proposal for the next Multi-Annual Financial Framework ‘A budget for a Union that protects, empowers and defends’, but will it really defend all its citizens? While we remember the victims of the Roma Holocaust on 2nd of August, racist crimes against Roma still continue in Europe today.

Approximately 12 Million Roma are European citizens, and according to the Fundamental Rights Agency, 80% of them are at risk of poverty. One in three Roma are victims of harassment and 20% of non-Roma would not like to have a Roma colleague.

Antigypsyism, a specific form of racism against people who are perceived as Gypsies, is today the most widespread and socially accepted form of racism and is the basis of the social exclusion and poverty of Roma people.

In 2011 the EU adopted a Framework in order to improve Roma inclusion, but its mid-term review in 2017 showed a very little progress and highlighted the importance of focusing on antigypsyism in the next EU Roma Framework. It confirmed that ‘fighting antigypsyism and stereotypes by targeting majority society is a pre-condition for generating political will and for the success of any Roma inclusion intervention.’

Also in 2017 the European Parliament adopted a report on the “Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism”, highlighting the persistent antigypsyism in politics and societies across Europe, despite the efforts undertaken under the EU Roma Framework and the legislative framework against discrimination, hate speech and hate crime.

Is there an end to the Genocide of Roma in Europe?

However, while we commemorate the Roma Holocaust on 2nd of August, today’s reality proves that extreme efforts are still needed to combat antigypsyism across the EU. More than 70 years after the end of World War II, antigypsyism finds its expression in a series of hate crimes. These crimes are hardly followed up, their racist character is often ignored and they meet little outrage by the majority society.

The following are only the most widely reported crimes of the last few months – we can believe that they are not the only ones:

  • A 13-year old Roma girl in Amfissa, Central Greece was shot by a local businessman on June 4, 2018. The man drove by the Roma camp and fired with a shotgun at the inhabitants, killing the young girl.
  • In July 2018 in the outskirts of Rome a 14-month old Roma baby girl was shot in the back while being in her mother’s arm. The man who shot her with an air rifle from his balcony claims it was an accident as he was cleaning his gun.
  • In July 2018 a 21-year old Romani man was beaten up by skinheads in a pub in Žilina, Slovakia. The skinheads were screaming “We will kill you, Gypsy scum”. According to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), a policewoman who came with the ambulance said: “The town center is not for Gypsies, but for whites.”
  • In July 2018 In Greece, a Roma man was shot in the face by his non-Roma neighbor who claims the reason was an argument about leaves flying into his garden. (source: http://www.newspallinis.gr/2018/07/blog-post_83.html?m=1)
  • Just outside the EU’s borders, in Ukraine, 23-year old David Popp was murdered in his sleep in the frame of several anti-Roma pogroms by neo-Nazi gangs .

At the same time, Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior of Italy, asked for a census of Roma and regretted that he could not just kick them all out of the country; but even this, or hate speech in the European Parliament, regular evictions of Roma from their homes or the demand for segregation of Roma children in school by non-Roma parents do not cause any bigger concern by decision-makers and citizens in the EU.  These cases of extreme racist violence, however, should lead the EU institutions to take real action.

Will next EU Programming Period include more than a lip service to combatting antigypsyism?

The next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework is currently negotiated. It is now time to dedicate sufficient resources to combatting antigypsyism through a strong EU Roma Framework that has the fight against antigypsyism at its core. Addressing the social policy areas of employment, education, housing and health is crucial for their social inclusion, but will not be enough to end Roma exclusion when hate crimes remain completely unchallenged.

With the Race Equality Directive, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Articles 2 (rights of minorities) and 10 (combatting discrimination) of the Treaty of the European Union, a strong legal basis exists for the EU to combat antigypsyism. The next MFF is the chance for EU policy-makers to give more substance to these commitments and to do everything in their power to make sure that Roma will not have to face a new genocide.

Roma inclusion in the SDGs: Call for experts

ERGO Network is contracting an external consultant to prepare a report on the Sustainable Development Goals as a tool for Roma inclusion

 

Download the complete call for an external consultant.

Roma in the Sustainable Development Goals

Since the universal acceptation of the Agenda 2030 in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. All UN Member States are asked to work towards fulfilling the SDGs until 2030. They are thus an important advocacy tool for civil society in order to push their governments and international institutions towards ending poverty and hunger, protecting the planet and fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

ERGO Network intends to include the SDGs in its work with Roma and pro – Roma grassroots organisations across Europe.

Role of the consultant

We are searching for an external consultant who will prepare a report on the role of the Sustainable Development Goals in the field of Roma inclusion and combatting antigypsyism. Specifically, the consultant is expected to prepare a report of approximately 20 pages in English including the points given in the attached call.

Profile

  • Proven knowledge about Roma and sustainability issues, specifically the Agenda 2030
  • Experience working with civil society organisations in the fields of advocacy and capacity-building
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Proven research and analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently

Contract and budget

The independent evaluator will be subcontracted to fulfil part of the work programme in the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment. The expert has no rights vis-à-vis the European Commission.

The expert shall be paid for the execution of the activities and services a fee of 3,000 EUR, all taxes and VAT included.

Timing

The deadline for the first draft of the report is 1 November. A final version should be finished, after feedback from the ERGO Secretariat, by 15th December.

Application procedure

Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Sample writing (at least 2 pieces)

We will select the expert according to the principle “Value for money”. Please send your application to info@ergonetwork.org, by August 20th 2018, 23:59 CET.

For further questions, please contact Christine Sudbrock (c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org, +32 2 893 10 49)

 

 

Call for consultant for external evaluation

Call for external consultant

Download the Call for external consultant.

We are searching for an external consultant to assess the achievements and lessons learned of the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment (2018-2021) entitled ‘Roma Included in Social Europe’.

The expert will be contracted for the evaluation of the first year of the work programme – 2018 – but we foresee a longer-term cooperation for the whole duration of the Framework Partnership Agreement for annual evaluations in order to improve our work through the consultant’s feedback and recommendations. This longer-term cooperation is subject to receiving the annual operating grant of DG EMPL and the success of the cooperation in the first year.

Specifically, the evaluator is expected to:

  • Conduct interviews with ERGO members participating in the implementation of the FPA as well as with ERGO staff in order to assess how well the objectives of year 1 have been achieved and how well the management structure of the work programme functions.
  • Conduct one evaluation visit to Hungary in order to interview organisations participating in the FPA.
  • Draft a report describing lessons learnt and providing recommendations for improvement for the next three years of the FPA.

Profile:

  • Excellent knowledge of evaluation methodology and experience with programme evaluations
  • Expertise on Roma issues and policies on European Union and member state level
  • Experience working with civil society organisations in the fields of advocacy, capacity-building and network building
  • Excellent writing skills and ability to concisely summarise evaluation results for different audiences
  • Excellent research and analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • Additional language skills desirable

Conditions

The evaluation will be conducted from September to December 2018, with the final report expected for the end of December 2018.

Times for the evaluation visit and interviews will be agreed together with ERGO staff and partner organisations.

Contract and budget: The independent evaluator will be subcontracted to fulfil part of the work programme in the Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment. The expert has no rights vis-à-vis the European Commission.

The expert shall be paid for the execution of the activities and services a fee of maximum 5,000 EUR, all taxes and VAT included. The expert is expected to pay her or his own travel and accommodation to Hungary (2 days) and Brussels (2 days).

Application procedure

Interested and qualified candidates should submit the following documents:

  • CV, highlighting past similar assignments
  • Motivation letter, including proposed methodology

We will select the expert according to the principle “Value for money”. Please send your application to info@ergonetwork.org by August 20th 2018, 23:59 CET.

A detailed project summary can be provided upon request.

For further questions, please contact Christine Sudbrock:  (c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org)

Call for applications: Study Session on Antigypsyism

Study Session: Knowledge is Power – Strengthening the voices of young people against antigypsyism

7-13 October 2018 – Budapest, Hungary

Are you an anti-racist and human rights activist? Are you a youth worker or a youth leader combatting antigypsyism with young people? Then you should apply to take part in our study session ‘Knowledge is Power: Strengthening the voices of young people against antigypsyism.

When?            7-13 October 2018 (including arrival and departure)
Where?          European Youth Centre, Budapest
Who?              18-30 year olds from Council of Europe member states
Deadline        Sunday 26 August, 23:59 (CET)

The study session is organised by TernYpe International Roma Youth Network and ERGO Network in the framework of the Alliance against Antigypsyism together with the European Youth Centre Budapest of the Council of Europe.

The study session will advance a common understanding of the roots, mechanisms, manifestations and implications of antigypsyism among youth activists so that they can actively contribute to combating it.

The participants will contribute to producing a ‘youth-friendly’, easy-to-read version of the Reference Paper on Antigypsyism that the Alliance against Antigypsyism has developed in 2016.

The study session will introduce participants to the concept of antigypsyism, discuss its manifestations and give the space to develop activities, case studies, counter-strategies and visuals that will foster the understanding of antigypsyism.

Objectives

  • To advance a common understanding of the roots, mechanisms, manifestations and implications of antigypsyism
  • To contribute to the development of a ‘youth-friendly’ version of the reference paper on antigypsyism for better use in youth work, human rights education and advocacy
  • To share approaches of combatting antigypsyism and other forms of racism
  • To experience, develop and test activities that introduce the concept of antigypsyism to empower young people to articulate and fight antigypsyism
  • To further the work of the Alliance against Antigypsyism through education, advocacy, communication and networking activities

Profile of participants

We aim to invite a diverse group of Roma and non-Roma participants from a variety of organisations that are active in their respective (youth) organisations with experience and commitment to combat antigypsyism. We aim to have a wide international outreach and diversity, as well as multiple experiences of activists (grassroots, European, non-formal education, youth participation, advocacy, from general anti-racist and minority organizations).We aim to have a gender-balanced group.

Participants must:

  • be able and committed to act as multipliers in youth work and activism on the theme of combating antigypsyism and other forms of racism.
  • Have some experience in nonformal education and knowledge on antigypsyism or other forms of racism.
  • be motivated to develop their competences in human rights education and to share their experiences with other participants.
  • be motivated to contribute to developing the youth-friendly version of the Reference Paper on Antigypsyism and corresponding tools during the study session.
  • Come with an open-minded and sensitive attitude towards discussing antigypsyism and share related experiences.
  • be aged 18 – 30.
  • be committed to attend for the full duration of the course.
  • be able to work in English.
  • be resident in a member state of the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe.

We welcome applications from all candidates who fulfil the specific profile of activities, irrespective of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial ethnic or social origin, religion belief or sexual orientation.

Costs

The following costs will be reimbursed by the Council of Europe Youth Department:

  • Travel from and to your place of residence
  • Accommodation and meals
  •  Visa costs

There is a participation fee of 50 € per person, which will be deducted from the participant’s travel  reimbursement.

If you are interested to participate, please apply through our online form by 26 August 2018.

Download the call for participants

Questions? Contact Christine Sudbrock from ERGO Network: c.sudbrock@ergonetwork.org or +32 2 893 10 49