Members of National Parliaments and of the European Parliament join forces to fight antigypsyism in Europe

Copyright : © European Union 2018 – Source : EP

       

 

PRESS RELEASE

Brussels, 19 October 2018

 Members of National Parliaments and of the European Parliament join forces to fight antigypsyism in Europe

Brussels, 18 October 2018 – For the first time, Members of National Parliaments were invited by the European Parliament to discuss the fundamental rights of Roma and fighting antigypsyism. The Alliance against Antigypsyism urged Members of National Parliaments from across the European Union and the Western Balkans to work on increasing political will in their countries to combat antigypsyism and contribute to building a racism-free society.

Soraya Post, Member of the European Parliament who initiated this meeting, expressed a strong appeal to participants: “One year ago the European Parliament adopted my report on the Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting antigypsyism that gives concrete recommendations and legislative demands for how we can fight antigypsyism. I hope that today’s inter-parliamentary committee meeting will support Member States to start taking their responsibilities seriously.”

Jelena Jovanovic, Policy and Research Coordinator of the ERGO Network, said: “The lack of explicit recognition of antigypsyism makes it impossible to develop specific indicators and to commit resources to fight the phenomenon. It also results in institutions’ inability to properly monitor acts of antigypsyism and evaluate the impact of relevant policies. The EU must put the fight against antigypsyism at the core of future Roma inclusion policies and include a meaningful gender perspective in policy-making and implementation.”

Romani Rose, chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, said: “Antigypsyism, like antisemitism, is aimed primarily at the Sinti and Roma or at the Jews, but in fact, they are an attack on democracy, on the rule of law and our common European values. Above all, therefore, antigypsyism in Europe must finally be banned, sanctioned and consistently fought. An important contribution will be the establishment of an ‘Independent Expert Commission on Antigypsyism’ in Germany following a resolution of the German Bundestag, which shall be established by the federal government in 2019.”

Establishing truth and reconciliation commissions at national and EU levels is indeed key to analyse the causes and manifestations of antigypsyism, as well as to develop appropriate strategies to combat it.

Michaël Privot, Director of the European Network Against Racism, said: “Members of national parliaments are key actors in making the fight against antigypsyism a reality for Roma and improving their lives. They can play a role in reinforcing social cohesion in the face of a worrying increase of xenophobic voices in Europe. We need to build unity across groups affected by racism and implement efficient national and local policies. National plans against racism can complement and reinforce strategies for Roma inclusion, ensuring that all forms of racism are recognised and given equal attention.”

For further information, contact:

ERGO Network: Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, Executive Director,

g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.org

Tel: +32(0)2 893 10 49

Central Council of German Sinti and Roma: Jonathan Mack, Policy Officer, jonathan.mack@sintiundroma.de

Tel: +49 (0) 6221 981101

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

Notes to the editor:

  • The report of the LIBE Committee “Fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism” of 25 October 2017 is available here.
  • The announcement and background documents of the Interparliamentary Committee meeting of the European Parliament LIBE Committee are available online.

‘Dikh he na bister’ presentation at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

 

‘Dikh he na bister’ presentation at Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

On the 5th of September, over 30 invited guests gathered at Pavee Point to hear the experiences of 10 young Irish Travellers and Roma who participated in the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative.

This is the first time an Irish delegation had attended the Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative, which involved a visit to Auschwitz and meeting Holocaust survivors. The trip also gave the participants the opportunity to meet other young Travellers and Roma, and work together in sessions on history, racism, and remembrance.

The participants described their visit to Auschwitz as difficult, and emotional. Bianca Paun, a participant from Kildare said: “When you’re walking there, where people took their last steps and try to feel what they feel – it’s very hard”.

During their time in Poland the participants also heard from two Roma survivors, including Raymond Gureme, who hadn’t spoken about his experience in Auschwitz for 70 years. On August 2nd, the Irish group attended a special Roma Genocide memorial, lighting candles and presenting roses to remember the victims.

The presentation in Pavee Point also involved a question and answer session, and audience members were eager to share their thoughts on the topic, and to ask participants about Auschwitz. Jason Sherlock, a participant from Galway, said that he found the rooms of shoes and glasses at the Auschwitz museum to be the most powerful exhibits. By sharing photos and stories, the group succeeded in raising awareness of the Roma Genocide in Ireland, and inspired the audience to stand up for the human rights of minority groups.

Diversity in the European Union – The case of Roma in Europe

On the occasion of the Austrian EU Presidency Romano Centro in co-operation with European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network and the House of the European Union in Vienna invites  you to a panel discussion  Diversity in the European Union – The case of Roma in Europe. The event takes place on Thursday, November 8th at 6.30 p.m.

Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe. As a result of century-old antigypsyism in mainstream society Roma women and men are disproportionately affected by racism and discrimination, poverty and social exclusion. In order to improve the living situation of Roma women and men and to provide equal opportunities and rights to all EU citizens, in 2011 the European Commission adopted the Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020 (EU Roma Framework) that obliges all EU Member States to develop and implement national strategies for Roma in the fields of education, employment, housing and health. Since then EU Member States have set national goals and committed financial resources to foster social inclusion and anti-discrimination of respective Roma populations.

At the same time, in recent years we witness a rise of populist and right wing groups and political parties in Europe – inside and outside the EU – and public discourse scapegoating migrants, refugees, faith com- munities and other minorities such as Roma. These groups are made responsible for social problems and become target of populist hate speech and hate crimes.

The recent violent attacks against Roma, for example the stabbing of a Roma man in Ukraine, the killing of a young Roma girl in Greece this June, the racist attack against a Roma man in Slovakia, or the anti-Roma rhetoric of the Italian Minister of Interior Salvini, who announced a census and deportation of Roma migrants, are only few examples of this t trend.

Two years before concluding the EU Roma Strategy in 2020 and in the middle of deliberations on the next EU programming period 2020-2027, we take the opportunity of the Austrian EU Presidency to look at the results so far and the challenges encountered, and to discuss how widespread antigypsyism obstructs the achievement of equal rights and opportunities for Roma in Europe.

Please register at office@romano-centro.org.

 

Click here to see the full invitation and speakers list.

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

2017 ERGO Network Annual Report

ERGO Network’s annual report for 2017 is now available. Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report and learn how ERGO Network and  its members introduced and pursued numerous initiatives to fight antigypsyism and to empower Roma in 2017. In addition the annual report 2017 presents the initiatives undertaken by ERGO to ensure networking between, and capacity building of member organisations. The report contains relevant information and graphs on the achievements and progress made to strengthen the Roma community. ERGO Network will definitely keep the wheel rolling to support the implementation of more and better measures for Roma.

Read the  2017 ERGO Annual Report

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.