International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

ERGO NETWORK

Seventy-three years ago, on 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the last survivors from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

On this day we honor the victims of Nazism, including Holocaust victims from the Jewish community, from the Roma and Sinti communities, from the communities of sexual minorities, and from all other groups who were targeted for special persecution by the Nazis and their collaborators.

Romani and Sinti people were targeted by the Nazis for genocide because of their ethnicity and were almost completely annihilated in some parts of Europe. This part of the history of the Holocaust and the Second World War is often forgotten.

We Roma and Sinti who have inherited the legacy of this history shall never forget it!!! Na bistren!!

It is high time, as we progress toward the middle of the 21st century, that all of Europe fully recognise the horrors of its past, namely, the more than six million European Jews and the hundreds of thousands of Roma and Sinti specifically targeted for genocide, with few survivors.

European societies today need to hear the stories of the heroes, including Romani heroes, who resisted the Nazis. We need to listen to Holocaust survivors tell the stories of all those who did not survive. We must listen not just to honor the past, but most importantly to resist the dehumanisation that poses a serious threat to the democratic order in many European countries, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

Europe is in danger today of failing its moral obligation to uphold the dignity of all human beings and to prevent a recurrence of the Nazi era, which began by exploiting the loopholes that exist in any system based on competition for the democratic vote. We must mobilize resistance and prevent neo-fascist and neo-Nazi political parties from accessing power in legislatures throughout the EU-28.

There should be no place for neo-fascists or neo-Nazis in European society, but today they are openly marching in the streets, organizing anti-Romani incitement, and openly brandishing their hatred of all who do not conform to their narrow vision of who counts as European. Europe needs a wake-up call about the danger posed by these anti-democratic forces.

All EU Member States must hold appropriate commemorations regarding the Holocaust, including events where the Romani victims are honored. All EU Member States must also properly monitor and prosecute present-day hate crime and hate speech and must report about such crimes targeting Romani people (or those perceived as Roma) to the citizens they serve.

The Roma and Sinti face a specific form of racism in European society, that of antigypsyism, which gives rise to a broad spectrum of discriminatory expressions and practices, including ones that are more covert than overt. Antigypsyism is not only about what is being said about Roma and to Roma, it is also about what is or is not being done to combat their dehumanisation.

All Europeans have a responsibility to recognize the full impact of the centuries-long problem of antigypsyism, as it is an integral part of why institutions continue to neglect their responsibility to specifically combat the dehumnisation of the European Roma by their non-Roma fellow citizens. By fighting antigypsyism, including within institutions, together we can secure a better place for Roma in Europe.

All Europeans have a duty to educate our peers and future generations to make sure that no specific groups are ever targeted for harm, whether by individuals or by powerful institutions. We also have a responsibility to all children in Europe to allow their dreams of a better future, predicated on a Europe that is just, peaceful and secure, to come true and to help them fulfil their dreams and their potential.

The second annual meeting of the Roma Forum network took place with prominent guests

The second annual meeting of the ROMA FORUM network took place with prominent guests

ERGO partner Nevo Parudimos organized the second meeting of ROMA FORUM network. The meeting took place on 4-5 December, 2017 at the Sports Cultural Complex Tei in Bucharest. The meeting was organized within the framework of the strategic partnership coordinated by ERGO.

The meeting was attended by Minister Delegate for European Affairs, president of the National Agency for Roma, , deputy of the Roma minority in Parliament.  Alongside them were representatives of Roma civil society in the country. The novelty of this meeting was that for the first time organizations of Christian Roma participated with a significant number of participants.

The topics addressed at the meeting were:

  • Romanian Presidency of the EU Council – Roma issues on the social agenda of the European Union;
  • Explore strategies to improve the situation of Roma people – the implementation thereof;
  • The analysis of the opportunities available for the Roma NGOS;
  • Presentation of the programs LEADER, Erasmus+ and Europe for Citizens;
  • The planning of future activities of ROMA FORUM;

The Roma FORUM network intends to provide space for debate and analysis of existing policies for Roma people. Roma FORUM is a network of Romani organization, Roma activists and researchers, who want to contribute to the improvement of public policies for Roma communities.

ERGO Network has a new website!

With this newsletter, we present you our new website – more structured, more colourful and with a lot more content than before. We will regularly update the website with news from our members and institutional developments, upload documents, inform about ERGO projects and campaigns and update ERGO’s membership list.

Browse through ERGO’s and our members policy papers and find institutional policy documents on the Resources page.

Find out which organisations belong to the network on the Membership page.

Read more about ERGO’s work in the fields of Monitoring, Networking, Campaigning and Empowering.

We hope that you like the new online portal of ERGO Network and will be a regular visitor.

ERGO Network has a new Director

ERGO Network has a new Director

As of 1st April 2017, ERGO Network has a new executive director who will lead its secretariat and advocacy work in Brussels. Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, former deputy director, has been appointed by ERGO’s board to tave over from our colleague and friend Ruus Dijksterhuis who said goodbye to ERGO after 14 years in its leadership.

Ruus Dijksterhuis has co-founded ERGO Network in 2003 and since then has been fundamental to its growing strength and outreach. She said good-bye to many members and close partners during the EU Roma Week 2017: “It is amazing to realise that ERGO has become a key player on European level thanks to the commitment of man people around. I believe we have built a unique organisation, being the only truly European Roma network. I am proud that many of the people from the first hour are still engaged to make the best out of our network.”

Ruus Dijksterhuis has been a great advocate for the participation of Roma as equal stakeholders in civic and political life and ERGO would not exist today without her hard work, passion and dedication for Roma rights.  We wish her all the best for the future.

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova is not new to ERGO Network; she has been its advocacy and policy coordinator and later deputy director since 2011. She is a strong human rights activist with extensive experience in protection, promotion and advocacy of Roma rights and is a Roma herself.

She started her career as a consultant for non-profit organisations in Czech Republic and then joined the Governmental Office as Director of the Roma Office for the Council of Roma Minority Affairs, where she coordinated strategic and conceptual work related to Roma integration. She was strongly involved in the Czech Presidency of the European Union when the 10 Common Basic Principles for Roma Inclusion were adopted, and organised the first meeting of the EU Roma Platform. She is furthermore a member of the Advisory Panel to the Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency and a board member of RomMedia Foundation in Budapest.

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova’s focus for the coming years will lie on strong capacity-building among Romani organisations in order to be more impactful in advocacy and to increase quality standards in accountability and transparency of (pro)Roma civil society. She aims to support the creation of coalitions and alliances to increase the voice of Roma in policy-making processes and to strengthen ERGO’s work to combat antigypsyism on all levels. Besides this, she states: “Within our network, my passion lies on creating a learning organisation that encourages sharing knowledge and experiences, creating ideas together and learning from each other. We will explore and build new potential especially among young Roma activists and strengthen our say in policy-making”.

For more information on ERGO Network, please follow us on www.ergonetwork.organd www.Romareact.org. The new director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova can be contacted at g.hrabanova@ergonetwork.org, +32 2 893 09 45.