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.


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.

Confronting antigypsyism is the responsibility of the mainstream society

Confronting antigypsyism is the responsibility of the mainstream society

On 6 September 2016, ERGO Network was present at a high level event hosted by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, co-organized with ODIHR, the Council of Europe and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. It brought together more than 130 participants, including members of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and of national parliaments, along with high-ranking governmental representatives, civil society representatives, and other relevant stakeholders in the fight against antigypsyism.

In order to put an end to the common practices of the antigypsyism, there is a strong need to mobilize the support of civil society. Civil society needs to monitor the hate speech, the discrimination and give grassroots organizations the tools to address and fight antigypsyism at the local level” said Gabriela Hrabanova the Deputy Director of ERGO Network. In support of those arguments, ERGO presented the reference paper of the Alliance Against Antigypsyism.

The conference underlined the common voice of the international community to address the continued discrimination caused by this specific form of racism against Roma and Sinti within the current challenging regional political context across Europe. All the speakers stressed the need to strengthen alliances among stakeholders, including the civil society, and to build a firm stand of political leaders against antigypsyism. “It is high time that political leaders, political groups and institutions at national and European levels take a strong stand against antigypsyism as the root cause of the social exclusion of Roma,” said Soraya Post, Swedish Member of the European Parliament and Co-President of the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI). She continued: “Until this specific form of racism is systematically addressed, the success of actions in other policy areas will be limited.”