CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS – Roma Youth Advocacy Seminar

CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS
Roma Youth Advocacy Seminar
Brussels, April 6 until 13, 2018 (including travel days)

Join us in Brussels to learn about European policy-making and civil society advocacy, and to raise young voices in front of the European Parliament, European Commission and other stakeholders to combat antigypsyism and to advance important issues for Roma communities. This six days lasting seminar is organized by ternYpe International Roma Youth Network, ERGO Network and the Documentation and Cultural Centre & Central Council of German Sinti and Roma. It will gather 40 young Roma and non-Roma activists in order to strengthen their capacity as young advocates and leaders to tackle antigypsyism. During the seminar, the group will run a youth campaign against antigypsyism targeting EU level actors, like Members of the European Parliament and European Commission. The advocacy seminar is part of the “EU Roma Week” around the 8 April – International Roma Day.

Our mission and vision

The organizers aim to empower young Roma to have a voice to become key agents of change, and to foster solidarity among young people! We have a strong vision to make a change in Europe. As young Roma and non-Roma we believe that we can build a European culture based on respect, dialogue, human rights and equal opportunities. We strongly follow our mission to create space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, self-organization and participation. “EU Roma Week” in the European Parliament Roma Week 2018 takes places from April 9-12, 2018 in the European Parliament in Brussels and Strasbourg to mark the occasion of the International Roma Day on 8 April 2018. Roma Week 2016-2017 resulted in the Slovak Presidency having two Council Conclusions on Roma with reference to the European Parliament’s 2015 resolution on antigypsyism and for the recognition of the Roma Genocide, as well as in a new Parliament report on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting anti-Gypsyism (of October 2017).

Objectives of “EU Roma Week”

EU Roma week 2018 is designed with the aim of bringing together Roma activists from the European Union to advocate for recognition and institutional responses against antigypsyism across Europe, as well as to engage in the discussions for a post2020 EU Framework for the National Roma Integration Strategies.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

The seminar aims to strengthen the capacity of the participants to understand the structures and working mechanisms of the EU institutions, as well as the current EU policies concerning Roma and against racism, and to develop advocacy strategies and campaigns raising-awareness about antigypsyism on European level.

The objectives of the activity are to:

  • Get to know the European Union institutions and to understand their working mechanisms, and policies towards Roma, in particular of the European Parliament and European Commission;
  • Build a dialogue and bring a Roma youth perspective to DG Justice (responsible for Roma policies in the European Commission), to DG EAC (Education and Culture, includes the youth sector in the European Commission), as well as to Members of the European Parliament in particular of ARDI(Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup);
  • Learn about the work of the EU umbrella organizations and contribute to their work;
  •  Raise awareness of the participants about antigypsyism, and the current anti-racism policies;
  • Raise awareness of the participants about the Brussels-based civil society structures and their strategies against antigypsyism and racism (in particular ERGO Network, ENAR (European Network against Racism) and the European Youth Forum);
  •  Develop a youth campaign against antigypsyism and on Roma youth perspectives during the “EU Roma Week” of the European Parliament;
  • Raise awareness of Members of the European Parliament, European Commission staff and Brussels based advocates about the recognition of the Roma Holocaust and of antigypsyism, which was acknowledged in April 2015 by a European Parliament resolution and in a report of the LIBE Committee in October 2017.

THEMATIC GROUPS

Participants are asked to indicate already in their application their preference for one working group. During the training-course the participants will work in small groups of 10 to 15 participants around this theme.

  • Participation: focus on political participation of Roma and of young women and men, participation in mainstream political parties, European Parliament elections 2019, state institutions as well as participation in mainstream civil society and youth structures, such as National Youth Councils, European Youth Forum;
  • Antigypsyism: focus on the policy debate on combating antigypsyism, bringing focus on antigypsyism within the EU Roma Framework, with a special focus on youth and women,
    impact of antigypsyism on youth and women, role of youth and women in combating antigypsyism, issue of hate speech in the public field;
  •  Advanced Advocacy: focus on the mid-term review of the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies, and advocacy for a post 2020 European Roma Framework, the Social Europe/European Pillar of Social Rights policy and the Multiannual Financial Framework post 2020.

 

Friday,

6 April

Arrival, joint dinner, welcome

 

Saturday,

7 April

Opening, sharing experiences

Training sessions: the European institutional framework, Roma-related policies

Sunday,

8 April

Training sessions  on advocacy and antigypsyism

Focus on the “Alliance against Antigypsyism”

International Roma Day events

Monday,

9 April

Work in thematic groups: Participation, Antigypsyism, Advanced Advocacy

Preparation of the Roma Week activities

Meeting with experienced EU advocates and activists

Meetings with external stakeholders in small thematic groups: European Commission, European civil society structures, International Organizations

Situation in Western Balkan and Turkey, EU Enlargement policies

Tuesday,

10 April

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament
Wednesday,

11 April

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament
Thursday,

12 April

Working Breakfast with various Members of the European Parliament;

The thematic working groups (Participation, Antigypsyism, Advocacy) participate and engage in various activities of the EU Roma Week in the European Parliament;

Evaluation of the event and of the Roma week, Closing dinner

Friday,

13 April

Departure

PROFILE OF THE PARTICIPANTS

  • Present will be Roma and non-Roma youth leaders, activists, multipliers, and volunteers who are active in Roma communities and experienced in working with Roma communities and/or Roma youth. We aim to create a balanced group of experience participants and participants who have NOT participated in the training previously, and who demonstrate a strong interest in advocacy and political participation.
    Participants must also:
  • be able and committed to act as young advocates and multipliers in youth work on the themes of anti-discrimination, combating racism and antigypsyism and promotion of human rights with young Roma, for the benefit of Roma communities and Roma youth;
  • be motivated to develop their competences in advocacy, anti-discrimination work, human rights education and youth work and to share their experiences with other participants;
  • be actively committed and involved in a Roma (youth) initiative, advocacy group or organization;
  • be aged between 18 – 35 years;
  • be committed to attend for the full duration of the course;
  • be able to work in English, or check with the coordination that translation can be provided through other participants or team members;
  • be resident in one of the following countries: Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia

DATES OF THE ACTIVITY

Arrival: April 6, 2018 (Friday)
Program days: April 7 until April 12, 2018
Departure: April 13, 2018 (Friday)

LOCATION

The seminar is organised in Brussels.
Accommodation is provided in Hotel Aviation, Square de l’Aviation 20, 1070 Bruxelles. The conference will take place in various venues. Information is provided with the Info Pack later.

TRAVEL

Participants should organize their travel (arrival and departure) for these dates AFTER the organizers have confirmed their participation. Earlier arrivals and late departures will be exceptions after discussion with the organizers.

COSTS

Reimbursement of travel costs:

The organisers of the seminar cover accommodation and food during the activity. The maximum of reimbursement of travel costs is € 200 (for French and German participants € 150); if costs are higher they have to be covered by participants or contact the organizers. The reimbursements of travel expenses (based on economical prices, Apex, student price, special price) will take place on the spot during the week in cash or by bank transfer after the activity. Participants should bring with them original invoices to prove the costs of travel as well the tickets.

APPLICATION AND SELECTION

How to apply? Register in the online application form:

https://goo.gl/forms/1oFCubAdEg1HO60H2

Application deadline: February 25, 2018 (end of day)

Selection procedure:

If you fit into the participants’ profile, you may submit an application until February 25 at midnight Central European Time. The preparatory team will select up the participants on the basis of the profile outlined above, ensuring also a balance between genders, geographical regions, different types of experiences and organizations. Within few days, we will inform the candidates whether their application has been accepted or rejected.

ANY QUESTIONS?

Contact person: Jozsef Rostas
e-mail: j.rostas@ergonetwork.org
ternype general contact: ternype@romayouth.com

Antigypsyism on the agenda at EU’s High-Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance

Antigypsyism on the agenda at EU’s High-Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance

The EU’s High-Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, bringing together representatives of EU Member States and civil society representatives, put special emphasis on discussing antigypsyism at their 4th High-Level Meeting taking place on 5 December 2017.

Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, expressed deep concerns regarding the widespread social acceptance of antigypsyism. As an example she brought the case of hate speech and death threats against Czech Roma singer Gypsy.cz, which was fined with only 4 Euros by a domestic court. Judicial cases such as this send a wrong message when it comes to combating antigypsyist hate speech.

MEP Soraya Post (S&D Group) emphasized the urgent need to remedy antigypsyism as the root cause of discrimination and hatred against Roma and called upon all governments and duty-bearers to take responsibility for their citizens. She warned: “Europe is at a crossroads again. Extremist parties are getting into the governments, xenophobic voices are getting more and more common and tolerated even by members of governments”.

Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova, Director of ERGO Network, presented the Reference Paper on Antigypsyism in her contribution and pointed out the importance to focus on mainstream society when combating antigypsyism: “It is essential to see that antigypsyism is not a ‘minority issue’. It is a phenomenon of our societies, which has its origin in how the social majority view and treat those whom they consider ‘gypsies’. To combat antigypsyism, our attention needs to shift to mainstream societies, while raising the voices of those who are dramatically affected by antigypsyism, but also usually silenced by it”.

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency presented findings of the second survey on discrimination and hatred targeting minorities throughout the EU. The survey shows that Roma and people of African descent face above-average levels of discrimination and hatred across Europe, which affects them in all areas of life and is greatest when looking for a job. Roma are more likely to be victims of hate motivated harassment and violence as well as ethnic discrimination than any other group, but three quarter of the respondents do not know any organisation offering support to victims and are unaware of relevant legislation protecting them. Due to a lack of trust, knowledge and resources, non-reporting of incidents of discrimination and hatred still remains a challenge. Reporting of hate-motivated harassment and discrimination to relevant services did not increase since 2008.

The survey results show the severity of discrimination and hatred against Roma in Europe. We urge the European Commission to assign the Fundamental Rights Agency to publish a study on antigypsyism in the EU and candidate countries and to provide a deeper analysis of the EU MIDIS II survey by looking at structural and institutional discriminatory practices and policies.

ERGO Network together with the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma and the European Network against Racism urge EU Member States to take targeted measures against antigypsyism. These should be included in the National Roma Integration Strategies and the National Action Plans against Racism. Disaggregated data on hate crimes against Roma and their property needs to be collected and antigypsyism must be recognised to allow national authorities to analyse trends of hate crimes affecting Roma and to develop effective responses to ensure recording, prosecution and adequate support to victims of racist violence and hate speech.

Find here the policy recommendations of the Alliance against Antigypsyism.

Download the recommendations as pdf.


     

Making the wheel roll

Making the wheel roll

The European Platform for Roma Inclusion,  convened by the European Commission, brings together national governments, the European institutions, international organisations and Roma civil society representatives. By creating a professional hub and meeting place for all, the goal is to strengthen co-operation and exchanges of relevant experience among all stakeholders on efficient Roma inclusion and integration policies and practices.

The European Roma Platform is a significant forum for reflection and apprehensive actions of the multi-stakeholder circle on social and economic integration the Roma population.

The 11th European Roma Platform took place on 27/28 November in Brussels and focused on the transition from education to employment. Szabolcs Schmidt, head of unit of non-discrimination and Roma coordination, delivered the opening remarks on behalf of the European Commission. The first panel provided evidence on the choice of this event`s topic. The latest numbers and percentages of the European Minorities and Discrimination Survey of the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency show that despite growing national employment levels, the changes in Roma employment levels are small, or negative. The rate of those Roma who are not in education has also risen in almost all Member States of the EU where a considerable Roma population lives.

Participants from all over Europe shared their concepts and findings from the national level through thematic workshops in the afternoon.

ERGO Network was actively involved in the preparation and running of the event. Not only did several member organisations participate in the platform, ERGO director Jamen Gabriela Hrabanova also facilitated the thematic workshop on employment.  ERGO furthermore launched a campaign to mobilize support for investing in employment opportunities for young Roma during the platform: `Investing in our future: What work(s) for young Roma?’ We brought the messages of young Roma themselves to the event, explored and developed at the ERGO Summer Academy by members of our network. 11 powerful testimonies of young Roma were furthermore portrayed on figurines exhibited around the venue of the event in order to raise awareness of the education and employment challenges of Roma in Europe.

The conclusions of the Platform might not be new to most, but they show the will of the EU institutions and civil society to make the wheel roll for Roma youth employment.  It was clearly highlighted that particularly mechanisms challenging school segregation are in high need and that challenging antigypsyism needs to be the basis for combating poverty and social exclusion.

ERGO Network will definitely keep the wheel rolling to support the implementation of more and better education and employment measures for young Roma.

European Semester 2018: Will EU Members States include Roma in their National Reform Programmes?

European Semester 2018: Will EU Members States include Roma in their National Reform Programmes?

On 22 November the European Commission launched the 2018 Autumn Package of the European Semester, the first step in the annual cycle of economic and social policy coordination between the EU Members States and the Commission.

Each year, the European Commission produces an analysis of each country’s situation in a number of policy areas, including social policies. These “country reports”, together with the National Reform Programmes (NRPs) drafted by national governments, lay the ground for the so-called Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs), which advise national governments on measures to take in their future policies. The country reports for 2018 will be released in February 2018.

Regularly the countries with large Roma populations (e.g. Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Czech Republic) receive the recommendation to speed up the implementation of their national Roma integration strategies and ensure that Roma are not left behind. So far, however, these recommendations were hardly taken into account.

In the Annual Growth Survey the European Commission sets out general policies and social priorities for the year ahead.  After a few years of focusing on macroeconomic reforms, for 2018 the survey finally highlights again the importance of social issues and brings up the importance of an integrated approach for the inclusion of vulnerable groups. This reflects the recently adopted European Pillar of Social Rights and gives hope that it will be taken seriously by the European Commission and Member States.

According to the Annual Growth Survey the top priorities for 2017-2018 relevant for Roma are:

  • Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
  • Promoting well-functioning labour markets and modern welfare systems
  • Job creation and fair working conditions
  • Social protection and inclusion to tackle inequality and poverty

ERGO Network hopes that the European Commission will continue to give priority to social issues in the next steps of the 2018 European Semester and will not overlook Roma in its country-specific recommendations as the most excluded minority in Europe. The implementation of the EU Roma Framework with its National Roma Integration Strategies should be supported by the European Semester.

ERGO Network urges the European Commission and the Members States that their response to social problems should not only be linked to employment, but also to the rise of antigypsyist attitudes that Roma are facing daily and that impediment their wellbeing in all spheres of their life.

More on the European Semester here.

Let actions follow words – Proclamation of European Pillar of Social Rights

Today, at the EU’s Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth in Gothenburg, the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council jointly proclaimed the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Social Pillar has been published on 26 April 2017 by the European Commission as a summary of existing EU social legislation. Its aim is to serve as a guide towards a more social Europe and ‘upward convergence’ of social policies in the EU Member States. The Pillar includes 20 principles under three chapters: Equal opportunities and access to the labour market; Fair working conditions; social protection and inclusion.

For Roma as the most marginalised ethnic minority in the EU, with 80% at risk of poverty, only 30% in paid work and only half attending pre-school education, the European Pillar of Social Rights could mean an important step forward – if EU Member States take their commitment for a more social Europe seriously.

ERGO Network strongly urges European leaders to make of the Social Pillar more than just a proclamation and prevent it from becoming an empty shell. After the important step today, it is now time to let actions follow words. The principles touch on issues such as protection against forced eviction, access to essential services, inclusive education and the right for children to protection from poverty – all issues that, if tackled properly, can mean a real advancement for the social inclusion of Roma in the EU.

Now is the time to put dedicated budgets in place to make a social Europe a reality – a Europe that pays particular attention to its most disadvantaged citizens and does everything it can to reduce inequalities.