ERGO Network condemns murder of three Roma sisters in arson attack

ERGO Network condemns murder of three Roma sisters in arson attack

ERGO Network condemns in the strongest possible terms the murder of three Roma sisters aged four, eight and 20, who died in a fire after a Molotov cocktail was thrown at their camper van on the outskirts of Rome, Italy early Wednesday morning.  Such attack is as a heinous crime that is calling for an unbiased police investigation, and we’ll not rest until the perpetrators are brought to justice regardless their origin.

We would like to express deep condolences to the family and surviving children.

We appeal to the media and politicians to keep sensitivity in their coverage and in political responses to make sure they don’t fuel already existing antigypsyism in the society.

We repeat our call to the Italian municipal authorities, the Italian government and the European Commission to ensure that Roma families in Italy have a chance for equal citizenship and being offered decent housing conditions and facilities where their children grow up in a secure environment and can invest in a better future.

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ERGO Networks joins the open letter of Graziano Halilovic that you can find attached.

Joint statement: International Holocaust Remembrance Day: EU must tackle contemporary Antisemitism and Antigypsyism

Joint statement: International Holocaust Remembrance Day: EU must tackle contemporary Antisemitism and Antigypsyism

Brussels, 27 January 2017 – Today on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, anti-racism organisations across Europe urge European governments to make Antisemitism, Antigypsyism and all forms of racism a priority, in a context of increasing hate speech and security threats against minorities.

The International Holocaust Day is a vital opportunity to remember the tragic events of the Holocaust and to reaffirm our commitment to ensure that such injustices are never to reoccur. We must take the opportunity to commemorate those who were subject to mass extermination during the Holocaust – including Jewish people, Roma, homosexuals and people with disabilities – and also those otherwise persecuted under the Nazi regime, such as people of African descent. Only by remembering can we hope to ensure the equality and safety for Jewish communities in Europe alongside all other ethnic and religious communities. We must never forget that around 6 million Jews and at least 500 000 Roma were exterminated during the Holocaust, based on notions of racial inferiority.

There is, however, a very real risk that these lessons are being forgotten. Last week, Bjoern Hoecke of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which promotes a xenophobic and racist agenda, criticised Berlin’s Holocaust memorial and questioned the need to dwell on the Holocaust as an aspect of German history. This is just one of many instances in previous months in which the growing tide of Europe’s political right wing have attempted to rally against minorities.

Since the Holocaust, harmful stereotypes and myths about Jewish people have persisted in Europe and these are increasingly materialising into deadly attacks, physical violence, hate speech (especially online), attacks against property, and the desecration of places of worship and cemeteries. Some European Jews feel forced to hide the fact that they are Jewish or have a Jewish background.

In Germany, official police statistics recorded some 1,300 antisemitic crimes nationwide in 2015. The Community Security Trust recorded 557 antisemitic incidents across the United Kingdom in the first six months of 2016, an 11% increase compared to the same period in 2015. 40% of 1,200 Jews surveyed in France said they avoided wearing symbols that identified them as Jews for fear of antisemitic attacks. In Poland, a study conducted by the Center for Research on Prejudice at the University of Warsaw finds a significant increase in negative attitudes toward Jews from 2014 to 2016.

Similarly, widespread Antigypsyism has persisted across Europe, and is deeply rooted in social and cultural attitudes and institutional practice. 80% of European Roma continue to live at risk of poverty.

In the current polarising context, we need to build strong coalitions and solidarity between communities and show a united front against hatred. We must actively work against insidious stereotypes, structural racism and expose groups and politicians that exploit them to pit communities against one another. In fighting for the rights and freedoms of Europe’s minorities, we must not forget the injustices that have taken place and be vigilant against similar acts of racism and hate.

EU institutions and Member States must take steps to prevent acts of hatred without stigmatising any community. This includes ensuring that States monitor, investigate and sanction hate crime and incitement to violence; developing detailed strategies to address specific forms of racism, including Antisemitism and Antigypsyism; and supporting cross-community initiatives by civil society.

For further information, contact:
Georgina Siklossy, ENAR Senior Communication and Press Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 229 35 70 – Mobile: +32 (0)473 490 531 – E-mail: georgina@enar-eu.org – Web: 
www.enar-eu.org

Signatories:
European Network Against Racism (ENAR)
Association of African students in Europe (AASE)
Austrian Muslim Initiative
Black Activists Rising Against Cuts (BARAC UK)
Collectif Contre l’Islamophobie en Belgique (CCIB)
Community Security Trust (CST)
Central Council of German Sinti and Roma
CEJI – A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe
European Roma Grassroots Organisation (ERGO Network)
European Roma Information Office (ERIO)
European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
Federation of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations (FEMYSO)
Open Republic Association against Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia – Otwarta Rzeczpospolita
Pan African Movement for Justice
Phiren Amenca

Joint statement: International Holocaust Remembrance Day: EU must tackle contemporary Antisemitism and Antigypsyism

WILL THE NEW ANTIGYPSYISM AGENDA SAVE THE LOST CAUSE OF ROMA INCLUSION?

WILL THE NEW ANTIGYPSYISM AGENDA SAVE THE LOST CAUSE OF ROMA INCLUSION?

Damian Draghici, Romanian Member of the European Parliament in the Socialists and Democrats Group gathered some of the most outstanding antigypsyism experts at the European Parliament on the occasion of the Human Rights Day on 7 December 2016.

Damian, a Roma musician from Romania who has been a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in Brussels since 2014, invited participants from all over Europe to discuss the “lost cause of antigypsyism”.

Each attendee demonstrated a substantial experience of Roma rights activism. They have now been gathered by Damian Draghici MEP to contemplate about changes to make to save the lost cause of Roma integration.

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, Deputy Director of ERGO Network delivered a speech in which she pointed out the deficiencies of the Roma Inclusion agenda. Gabriela shared the shocking reality of 600 Roma people, including 200 Roma children, who were evicted in the outskirts of Paris while the meeting was going on in Brussels. She also elaborated briefly on the reference paper on antigypsyism drafted by ERGO Network’s antigypsyism experts.

Jamen also added that saying the word ‘Gypsy’ has no moral stigma to it, therefore abusers would come from all ages and genders across all layers of society.

Participants acknowledged that antigypsyism is a specific form of racism towards Roma and Sinti who get stigmatized as Gypsies in the public imagination. Soraya Post, Roma MEP from Sweden highlighted that the term antigypsyism should always be applied when communicating about Roma inclusion instead of discrimination.

The audience was astonished to hear the results of the campaigns run in Romania to tackle antigypsyism in football. Valeriue Nicolae, new special representative of the secretary general at the Council of Europe also shared that he is building an international alliance to export results of the football campaigns run in Romania. He also elaborated on the involvement of Damian Draghici as musician primarily and not just as MEP to inspire Roma youth in Romania. Valeriu thanked Damian for the life making changes he achieved in the life of children through his contribution.

Peter Niedermuller, Hungarian MEP from the Socialists and Democrats Group emphasized that we need to tackle antigypgyism in the national and international authorities as well as antigypgyism is present everywhere.

Andrej Ivanov, statistics expert working as PhD Head of Sector on Rom and Migrant Integration at the Fundamental Rights Agency presented the EU-MIDIS report from FRA.  As a reflection to the report he mentioned that there are several tools and resources already available for Roma however the information hardly reaches them and they rarely end up accessing opportunities.

Irina Spataru and Laszlo Jakab represented the Roma youth at the event and they both encountered of a rather harsh reality from Roma youth all over Europe. 

Which steps towards European policies against antigypsyism

Which steps towards European policies against antigypsyism

The aim of the seminar, organised by Open Society European Institute on 15 November 2016, was to explore how successful policy initiatives around education and reconciliation can be systematized and disseminated throughout Europe by fighting antigypsyism.

The event gathered representatives of governments, European institutions and Roma civil society to discuss in which direction policies designed for Roma are going and how they foresee to combat the negative rhetoric against Roma.

The Deputy Director of ERGO Network, Gabriela Hrabanova, highlighted the importance of the civil society’s role in monitoring hate speech and discrimination by having the tools to address and fight antigypsyism at the local level.  She stressed the importance of independent watchdogs organizations in Europe, which, when it comes to Roma discrimination, are missing. In support of those arguments, ERGO Network presented the reference paper against Antigypsyism of the Alliance Against Antigypsyism, written in cooperation with experts and endorsed by over 100 NGOs across Europe.

Find out more about the key aspects and dimension of antigypsism – a specific form of racism towards Roma at www.antigypsyim.eu.

The concluding remarks were done by Ethel Brooks – Associate Professor at Rutgers University, who stated “What do governments say about Anti-Gypsyism? What has been done? A lot has been said but now it is time for implementation”, “The time has come to deliver not just to talk”. Another remark made in the conclusions is that there is a need to strengthen the alliances among stakeholders and civil society and to start implementing the existing policies and legislation on human rights and hate speech and build a firm stand of political leaders against Anti-Gypsyism.

RED CARD TO ANTIGYPSIYSM

Our member RAVS from Slovakia presented their “Red Card to Antigypsyism” campaign at the Balvafest festival in Kokava and Rimavicou on 27 August 2016.

The event gathered over 1500 people. Roma together with non-Roma guests were enjoying the performances of stars such as Jan Bendig, Imperio and bands from Spain and Serbia.Peter Kudrá from the NGO Roma Podskalky briefly explained what the red cards mean to guests arriving at the entrance of the complex. The red cards statements were written in Slovak language and in Romani language.

For more information about the work of our member and the campaign click here.