Can we put an end to the dehumanization of Roma in France?

The situation in France in relation to antigypsyism is dire, vulnerable members of the Roma community are being targeted in racial attacks. On March 16th a rumour first appeared on social media platforms causing a series of attacks to be carried out against members of the Roma community. Since the attacks started La Voix des Rroms and its partners have recorded 38 assaults: assault and battery in the street, death threats, shots near living quarters, arson, etc. The number of attacks peaked between March 25-26.

To mark the occasion of International Roma day, opens its
columns to the association La Voix des Rroms (the Voice of Roma). The
president of ERGO Network’s member organisation William Bila, is
outraged by the fate of Romani populations in French society.
Dehumanization at the hands of the media and politicians is contributing
to the normalization of antigypsyism: the evils are numerous but the
solutions are there.

You can read the full article here:                                                                                         By William Bila.

We also encourage everyone to take part in the social media campaign launched by La Viox des Rroms, it consists of taking a photo of yourself or others holding up a sign saying ‘#JESUISRROM SOLIDARITE AVEC NOS FRERES ET SŒURS DE FRANCE.’ and posting it on any social media platform. Remember to tag the organisation La Viox des Rroms.


ROMA INCLUDED: Can the SDGs contribute to combating antigypsyism?

Ahead of the 4th EU Roma Week, ERGO Network published a new discussion paper entitled   “ROMA INCLUDED: Can the Sustainable Development Goals contribute to combatting antigypsyism?”.

With this paper, ERGO Network intends to trigger the debate among Roma activists on how to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than three years after the proclamation of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the SDGs can provide opportunities for advancing the inclusion of Roma and for countering antigypsyism. Almost all of the 17 global goals are closely connected to the needs of Roma communities – from accessing clean drinking water and affordable energy to quality education and employment, from reducing inequalities to peace, justice and strong institutions.

In order to use the opportunities the 2030 Agenda can provide, the Roma rights movement needs to become familiar with the SDGs, identify strategic entry points for advocacy and develop guidelines for local action.

We thank José Manuel Fresno, Stefan Meyer y Cristina Herranz from Fresno Consulting who drafted the paper and genuinely supported our aims with their expertise.

Annual Members Meeting Tirana, December 8 –12 2018

The ERGO Network 2018 Annual Members Meeting took place on 10-11 December in Tirana to consult members on the update of programmes and initiatives and to enable exchange of experiences and information. In addition the participants discussed the future of ERGO Network and a possible formalization as an association.

During the 1st day we updated the members about current and future projects and initiatives of ERGO Network and discussed advocacy priorities of ERGO members.

The 2nd day opened with a breakfast with Marta Garcia Fidalgo,adviser for the coordination of Roma policy at DG NEAR. The breakfast was followed by a video meeting with Soraya Post MEP, the new co-chair of ERGO Network.

Furthermore ERGO member Andras Nun from Autonomia Foundation introduced one of the highlights that we developed in 2018: the transparency and accountability criteria and a board game that supports civil society organisations to implement them. 

Then, after reminding ourselves of the 10-years history of ERGO Network and reflecting on the challenges and successes of the organisation, ERGO members discussed the future of the network and a possible formalization as an association under Belgian law.

Moreover they had the opportunity to join working groups that will support ERGO’s work in 2019.

The 2018 Annual Member Meeting ended with a birthday party. The staff of Roma Active Albania prepared an amazing night for the 10 years celebration of ERGO Network. We would like to thank them not only for the party, but for all their help in the preparation and implementation of the Annual Member Meeting!

ERGO’s Network Party

Need for mapping of Local Roma Communities

Our Romanian member, Center of Resources for Social Inclusion CRIS in October organised two meetings in Ploiesti with the representatives of 10 Local Action Groups (LAG) from South-Muntenia and South-East Regions and of 2 newly established Urban Local Action Groups from Ploiesti and Campina, within the framework of the Annual Work Programme 2018 supported by the European Commission’s Program for Social Innovation and Employment.

The aim of the meetings was to strengthen the cooperation between Roma civil society from local level and LAGs in regards to accessing, implementing and monitoring of measures affecting Roma communities in the Local Development Strategies (LDS).

The handbook on Training for local stakeholders and Local Action Groups teams on CLLD and how to increase the access to funds available in the LEADER program for Roma developed by Nevo Parudimos, another member of ERGO from Romania, was presented to participants and it was considered to be useful for the implementation of the LDSs.

While improvements have been done since last year’s meetings with the LAGs, by having Roma communities from local level and especially the urban marginalized communities from Ploiesti and Campina included in the LDSs through specific measures, more needs to be done according to the representatives of LAGs.

For example, the Urban LAGs mentione had to refer to the official number of Roma in the two cities according to the late census in 2016 when they developed the strategy. As this number is obviously lower than the reality, the measures targeting Roma in the strategy could have been more than only one or maximum two as it is now.

Therefore one of the main conclusions of the meetings was the need for mapping of the local Roma communities to be recognized, assumed by each ministry, and to be taken into account in the future financial allocations, with Roma among the target groups.