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
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.”