Joint Work for the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The EU Delegation / Office of the EU Special Representative in BiH, in cooperation with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized on January 31, 2018, Seminar on the Inclusion of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo.
More than 80 representatives of local authorities, non-governmental and international organizations participated in the 4th Seminar on Roma Integration in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has made some progress in the integration of Roma in the area of housing and registration of citizens, but much still needs to be done in employment, education and health care, said the Roma Affairs Adviser at the European Commission’s Directorate for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Marta Garcia Fidalgo.
Minister of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, Semih Borovac, emphasized that discrimination, prejudice and exclusion from social life continue to be the problems of Roma both in BiH and Europe, and that it warns of the importance of greater political engagement and commitment to the issue of inclusion of Roma in BiH and adequate separation money from the budget for the needs of this population.
Chairman of the Committee on Roma at the Council of Ministers of BiH, Mujo Fafulic, is grateful to international organizations and authorities in BiH (especially the line ministry) for money allocated for solving Roma problems, but also says that their problems are still not resolved.
Head of the EU Delegation to BiH and EU Special Representative to BiH Lars Gunnar Wigemark emphasized in Sarajevo that resolving the position of the Roma minority in BiH is certainly a matter of national interest, and it is also important in the context of joining the European Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries Western Balkans.
ANTIGYPSYISM IN AUSTRIA
We are happy to announce that our member from Austria Romano Centro published the third report on Antigypsyism in Austria that covers the period from November 2015 to October 2017.
Like the other two publications from 2013 and 2015, this report also follows a twofold objective: 1. Awareness of the wide public on the issue of antigypsyism. 2. Empower the people who are affected by antigypsyism to report the incidents and to defend themselves.
The report in hand is not a scientific study. Instead, it is a depiction of individual incidents that were reported to the Romano Centro and other counselling centres. The reports include statements about the frequency of antigypsyist incidents and cover different areas where most of these types of incidents take place.
The report incorporates Reference Paper on Antigypsyism published in 2016 by the The Alliance against Antigypsyism that describes key features and manifestations of the phenomenon.
Read here the report ANTIGYPSYISM in Austria
Strengthening Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations
ERGO members from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the ‘Visegrad countries’ Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic met in Brussels on 24-25 November to prepare a new ERGO project that will strengthen Roma civil society as independent and transparent watchdog organisations.
Being transparent and accountable are important prerequisites for the effectiveness of civil society organisations that are taken seriously by their institutional counterparts. It also shows public authorities that civil society take transparency and accountability very seriously and demand the same from the public sector.
With financial support from the International Visegrad Fund and the European Commission, ERGO Network member organizations therefore agreed on joining their efforts and put their thorough expertise together to set up a list of ‘transparency criteria’ and capacitate Roma civil society in their countries in implementing them.
During the meeting, all partners agreed that using transparency criteria would give them more legitimacy, better fundraising opportunities and more trust from both the grassroots level and institutions. They then drew up a list of criteria, divided into the chapters ‘governance’, ‘finance’ and ‘performance’. These include points such as giving access and distributing information about statutes and funding sources of CSOs, clear decision-making structures that divide responsibilities and ensure gender equality in CSOs, as well as the participation of target groups in the development of strategies and goals. The partners furthermore stressed the importance of open leadership and regular training within the organisation that contribute to a positive performance of the staff, as well as the need not to use ‘dirty money’ coming for example from illegal sources or from companies using child labour.
Transparency also demands a proper and clear communication strategy (both internal and external) that communicates the vision, mission and the long term goals of the organization. If applicable, diversification of funds also contributes to more independence of organisations.
In 2018, ERGO Network will organise a training for trainers on the transparency criteria in order to help their usage and dissemination in the participating countries as well as offer coaching visits to the partner organisations. You will be able to find regular updates on our website.
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 member Nevo Parudimos from Romania organised its first training on Community-Led Local Development for Local Action Groups and potential CLLD beneficiaries. The training was held in cooperation with the National Federation of Local Action Groups on 15/16 November 2017 in Tecuci, Romania.
The 40 participants, representing 10 LAGs from the South-East region of Romania, Roma NGOs and Roma from local communities, learned how CLLD can be used for the development and funding of projects targeting Roma communities. Parts of the programme were held for both LAGs and beneficiaries together in order to exchange ideas and create partnerships. During other parts the group split into two in order to focus on the specific needs of both groups.
The training was made possible thanks to the financial support of the European Commission’s EaSI programme through a Framework Partnership Agreement between ERGO Network and DG Employment.
If you would like to read more about ERGO’s work on the CLLD, visit our website.