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, Romea.cz 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.

 

Pledge to continue fight against antigypsyism

Pledge to continue fight against antigypsyism

In the framework of the EU Roma Week 2019, 61 Members of the European Parliament have pledged to continue their fight against antigypsyism and to take it to the next mandate of the Parliament after the elections in May.

We wholeheartedly thank our partners in the European Parliament for their work and fully support the pledge.

We encourage you – our friends in the EU Member States – to support it, too. 

How? Ask your candidates for the EP elections to sign the pledge and make their support visible by taking a photo with it. Post the photo on social media under the hashtag #StopAntigypsyism. Don’t forget to tag ERGO Network (twitter: ERGO_Network, fb: @ERGONetwork) so we can collect the signatories.

Download the Pledge.

P L E D G E

We, the undersigned, want to create a European society
in which Roma can access and enjoy their rights set in our Treaties,
in which Roma can fulfil their true potential.

We want a European society, in which dehumanisation of Roma is stopped,
a healthy European society free from racism, such as anti-Gypsyism.
A Europe that we can be proud of.

Therefore,
we, the undersigned, affirm that we will continue to work to achieve that:

– regarding the post-2020 EU legislative era –

1. the European Commission puts forward a proposal for a post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Roma Inclusion Strategies (EU Framework) with a wide set of priority areas, clear targets, measurable goals, timelines and indicators for monitoring;

2. the European Council supports the proposal of the European Commission and safeguards the preparation and implementation of the EU Framework in the EU Member States;

3. the governments of the EU Member States prepare their renewed National Roma Inclusion Strategies with the meaningful and timely involvement of Roma and pro-Roma organisations;

*****

– regarding the upcoming EP elections –

4. the parties of the EU Member States actively reach out to Roma, and empower them to run as candidates for the EU Parliamentary elections;

5. the parties of the EU Member States refrain from using anti-Roma hate speech during their campaigns and condemn hate speech and scapegoating;

6. the parties of the EU Member States stop the shameful tradition of buying votes;
7. the governments of the EU Member States guarantee that Roma can fully enjoy their political rights;
*****

– regarding the work of the new European Parliament –

8. the newly elected Members of the European Parliament keep the fight against anti-Gypsyism and all kinds of racism on the agenda, safeguard the continuation of the Antiracism and Diversity Intergroup and consider the creation of an Anti-Gypsyism Intergroup;

9. the newly elected Members of the European Parliament guarantee the continuation of the annual Roma week in the European Parliament;

*****

– regarding the rights of Roma –

10. the governments, the parties and the duty-bearers of the EU Member States safeguard that Roma can be equal citizens with equal rights, and that they can fulfil their true potential as EU citizens.

We, the undersigned, want the EU
to remain true to its democratic values, respect for human rights,
non-discrimination and the rule of law.

´There is only one RACE – the human race.
There is only one RELIGION – love,
There is only one WORLD – or none at all.`

S i g n a t o r i e s :

Soraya Post
Romeo Franz
Benedek Jávor
Damian Draghici
Peter Niedermüller
Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar
Dietmar Köster
Maria Arena
Tanja Fajon
Ana Gomes
Christine Revault d`Allonnes-Bonnefoy
Cornelia Ernst
Monika Vana
Cecilia Wikström
Karoline Graswander-Hainz
Barbara Lochbihler
Sylvie Guillaume
Georgi Pirinski
Ernest Urtasun
Julie Ward
Jose Inacio Faria
Terry Reintke
Estefania Torres Martinez
Csaba Sógor
Petri Sarvamaa
Sirpa Pietikäinen
Eleonora Forenza
Margrete Auken
Tania Gonzalez Penas
Norbert Neuser
Lynn Boylan
Miguel Urbán Crespo
Fredrick Federley
Igor Šoltes
Petra Kammerevert
Veronica Lope Fontagné
Esteban González Pons
Ana Miranda
Michal Boni
Theresa Griffin
Iratxe García-Perez
Martina Michels
Xabier Benito Ziluaga
Martina Anderson
Liadh Ní Riada
Lívia Járóka
Matt Carthy
Helmut Scholz
Tilly Metz
Julia Reda
Evelyne Gebhardt
Jens Geier
Angela Rosa Vallina de la Noval
Teresa Jimenez-Becerril Barrio
António Marinho e Pinto
Jozo Rados
Stelios Kouloglou
Jordi Solé
Bodil Valero
Brando Benifei
Josep-Maria Terricabras

Strong European Parliament call to address antigypsyism

Strong European Parliament call to address antigypsyism

Brussels, 13 February 2019 – The Alliance Against Antigypsyism welcomes the adoption of a European Parliament Resolution yesterday calling the EU and Member States to adopt strong Roma inclusion plans post-2020 and to step up the fight against antigypsyism – the specific form of racism towards Roma.

“This Resolution is a step forward in the recognition of antigypsyism as the root cause of social exclusion of Roma”, said Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network. “We now need both the European Commission and EU Member States to take that commitment forward when they develop future Roma inclusion plans to be implemented from 2020 onwards.”

The Resolution calls for a number of measures to improve the EU Roma Framework after 2020, including: a stronger focus on antigypsyism and a specific goal on non-discrimination; the involvement of Roma in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Roma inclusion strategies; ensuring that intersectional discrimination, gender mainstreaming and a child-centred approach are properly addressed; and the inclusion of a truth, recognition and reconciliation process.

When revising National Roma Integration Strategies, EU Member States should recognise antigypsyism as a form of racism and ensure appropriate sanctions, in line with national anti-discrimination and anti-racism legislative frameworks. Member States should also make sure that they allocate adequate national funding to measures for Roma inclusion and for combating antigypsyism, in addition to European funds.

In addition, although the Resolution acknowledges the importance of involving Roma in the design of the EU Framework, there is a need for a proper mechanism, including financial resources, to ensure that lip service is not paid to Roma participation.

“The European Parliament’s involvement with Roma issues was key to the adoption of the first EU Framework for Roma Integration Strategies in 2011”, said Michaël Privot, Director of the European Network Against Racism. “We welcome the European Parliament’s commitment to ensuring that the future European Commission continues the work done so far on Roma issues at EU and national level.”

For further information, contact:

ERGO Network: Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, Executive Director, g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.orgTel: +32(0)2 893 10 49

European Network Against Racism (ENAR): Georgina Siklossy, Senior Communication and Press Officer, georgina@enar-eu.org – Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 – Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531

Central Council of German Sinti and Roma: Jonathan Mack, Policy Officer, jonathan.mack@sintiundroma.deTel: +49 (0) 6221 981101

Notes to the editor:

  1. The ‘Alliance against Antigypsyism’ is a coalition of organisations across Europe that promote equality of rights for Roma and combat antigypsyism on institutional and societal level. The aim of the Alliance is to advance understanding of antigypsyism as a specific form of racism, and to strengthen the political will and institutional mechanisms in order to tackle antigypsyism in Europe. The Alliance is coordinated by the European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network, the European Network against Racism (ENAR) and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.
  2. The European Parliament Resolution on the need for a strengthened post-2020 Strategic EU Framework for National Inclusion Strategies and stepping up the fight against anti-Gypsyism is available here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B8-2019-0098&format=XML&language=EN

Hate speech by Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister

Picture credit: Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Once again, antigypsyist hate speech comes from the highest political level in Bulgaria. This time, Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov demonised Roma in strongest terms after two incidents of violence carried out by individuals of Roma origin.

While we condemn the violent acts against a police man and a service man, we need to make it clear that hate speech and collective punishment against a whole group of citizens is utterly wrong and unacceptable.

Hate speech against the Roma community has strongly increased in recent years and no state institution in the country raises the issue. Vice versa: all political parties use anti-Roma rhetoric – not only the far right nationalists, but also the big mainstream parties.  This comes together with purposeful propaganda of the political class against civil society organisations and corrupting of the democratic process among the Roma community. 

Liliya Makaveva, ERGO Network board member from Integro Association has translated the following article reporting on the hate speech of Krasimir Karakachanov in order to raise awareness of European civil society that there are no limits for the political class in Bulgaria to blame the Roma community in their chase of political power.

Original article in Bulgarian.

“Gypsies in Bulgaria have become extremely insolent and the tolerance of Bulgarian society has been exhausted”.

This was said by the Minister of Defense, Krassimir Karakachanov, in connection with the latest case of assault on a serviceman in the village of Voyvodinovo. The Minister visited the village, where he met the village mayor Dimitar Toskov, the Mayor of Maritza Municipality Dimitar Ivanov and the head of the Plovdiv Regional Police Directorate. The commander of the 68 Brigade Special Forces, Brigadier General Yavor Mateev, met Krassimir Karakachanov as well. The Minister revealed that before the meeting he visited the injured military at ‘St. Panteleimon’ Hospital. “He will be operated tomorrow. He has a scuffed cheek and a lot of bruising around his eyes. The attackers hit him mainly in the head. His condition is good, he has an average bodily injury and maybe he will be released from hospital in a few days. The Ministry of Defense will bear all the costs of the treatment”, said Karakachanov.

“A few days ago a policeman was beaten, and now a military officer and this cannot go on any longer. The truth is that a comprehensive program to solve the Gypsy question needs to be elaborated. People don’t have to tolerate part of the population that only has rights and does not want to understand that there are duties and must that they must comply with the law. The measures must be literally binding the social benefits with the education and labour. Bulgaria must stop taking into account Brussels officials and human rights defenders“, the military minister said, quoted by Radio Focus. “Illegal buildings are another problem. The ghettos are a Scots story. Kids beat in succession. That cannot go on any longer. The program has been prepared and it will be submitted for discussion to the Council of Ministers. There is no point in waiting and endure more”, Karakachanov continued.

How long will the state fund the promiscuous gypsy birth-rate? This population does not want to work, to study and, in practice, become a marginalized community that lives under its own laws. For a person who used to live for granted, the easiest job is to make children to receive benefits. They have no any stimulus to work, to improve”, said the Deputy Prime Minister.



Roma rights organisations respond to EU inclusion plans

Brussels, 6 December 2018: Today, a coalition of more than fifteen Romani and anti-racism civil society organisations from across Europe called for the Council of the European Union, and governments of European countries, to make a clear commitment to the new proposals for post-2020 Roma inclusion plans made by the European Commission in its communication to the European Parliament and Council yesterday.

Director of ERGO Network Ms Gabriela Hrabanova welcomed the new Communication: “The Commission and Parliament have clearly positioned themselves for a continued investment in Roma Inclusion after 2020. Now is the time for national governments to do the same, to strengthen their fight against antigypsyism and to update and improve their strategies in line with community needs by working alongside Romani civil society.”

The new communication from the Commission highlighted key elements to improve the EU Roma Framework including: the need for inclusion of Roma in mainstream policies, fighting antigypsyism, improving Roma participation, addressing the diversity amongst Roma, and better data collection, target indicators and reporting in integration strategies.

“Until now, Roma Inclusion plans in EU member states and accession countries have failed to include measures to fight antigypsyism, and have largely failed to significantly improve the situation for Roma across Europe” said Ðorđe Jovanović, President of the European Roma Rights Centre. “The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies after 2020 must serve to counter the effects of the specific structural racism which affects Romani populations throughout Europe.”

The organisations explicitly call for measures in European countries to recognize present and historical antigypsyism as a form of racism; counter and sanction manifestations of antigypsyism in public discourses, public services and institutions; empower civil society, and ensure that the necessary legal and institutional mechanisms are in place and implemented to prosecute hate crimes and hate speech. It is time for European governments to give priority to “reinforcing and distinguishing the focus on antigypsyism as a root cause of Roma exclusion” as concluded by the EU High Level Group on Combatting Racism, Xenophobia and Other Forms of Intolerance in their guidance paper on antigypsyism.

European institutions have to make sure that the next EU budget cycle (Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027), which is currently under negotiation, is connected to policy priorities of the EU Roma Framework including the fight against antigypsyism. In addition, partnership agreements with Member States and operational programs must explicitly name Roma as an investment priority. The next cycle of funding must ensure that funds are also available for specific measures to fight antigypsyism, and to allow the efficient operation of civil society organisations to hold governments accountable and to ensure fundamental rights of Romani citizens across Europe.

For more information, or to arrange an interview contact:

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova
Executive Director
ERGO Network
info@ergonetwork.org
+32(0)2 893 10 49

The coalition of organisations includes:

Alliance against Antigypsyism
Central Council of German Sinti & Roma
European Network against Racism
European Public Health Alliance
European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
European Roma Rights Centre
FAGiC Federación de Asociaciones Gitanas de Cataluña
Jaw Dikh Foundation
La Voix de Roms
Nakeramos
Nevo Parudimos
Roma Active Albania
Romanipe
Roma Education Fund
RROMA Regional Roma Educational Youth Association (Macedonia)

Notes for editors:

The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies was adopted by the European Commission in 2011. It requires member states make provision to address inequalities in their countries which Roma face in education, employment, healthcare, and housing.

Antigypsyism is the specific racism towards Roma, Sinti, Travellers and others who are stigmatized as ‘gypsies’ in the public imagination. The term is often used in a narrow sense to indicate anti-Roma attitudes or the expression of negative stereotypes in the public sphere or hate speech. However, antigypsyism gives rise to a much wider spectrum of discriminatory expressions and practices, including many implicit or hidden manifestations. More information is available in the reference paper on antigypsyism.