JOINT STATEMENT “End the war against Ukraine!”

JOINT STATEMENT “End the war against Ukraine!” #StandWithUkraine

Please follow the link here or below to sign this letter. Also, please help it to reach more people by sharing it with your networks and on your social media.

Date: 1st of March 2022

Roma individuals, civil society organisations, and allies from across the globe; we condemn the war against Ukraine and call on the Russian Federation to cease the attacks and acts of violence against Ukraine.

This war is not only a threat to European security and peace, it is a violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws under treaties ratified by the Russian Federation. This act of violence has already led to far too many deaths on both sides and continues to force hundreds of thousands of citizens to seek refuge in neighbouring countries while many others are stuck in conflict zones where missiles, bombs, and gunfire are a daily occurrence.

As signatories, we call in solidarity for peace and diplomatic relations to return.

From the Second World War to the Balkan Wars of the late 1990s, history has shown us that in times of war or conflict, the plight of Roma as well as other minorities is continuously ignored. Ethnic minorities are often rendered invisible and further victimised instead of being provided equal protection. Amid bomb and missile assaults upon Ukrainian cities, let us not yet again forget that among the stranded families (who are increasingly living without supplies, electricity, or medical equipment) are Roma, people of African descent, stateless people, migrants, women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care. Let us not forget that amongst those joining the resistance to fight for the freedom and security of Ukraine, and all its residents, are those same people.

As we have already witnessed in countries around the world, people of all nationalities are standing in solidarity with the civilians affected by war once again in Europe. Let us collectively fight for peace, justice and integrity by continuing to be united in taking a stand against the horrors of war and violence.

As signatories, we call on:

  • Relevant authorities to ensure that the 400,000 Roma and other vulnerable and marginalised individuals, including women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care, detainees, stateless people (among them 35,000 stateless Roma), migrants, including the estimated 15,000 students from African and Asian countries living in Ukraine are granted equal protection and safety when seeking refuge inside and outside of the country.
  • Governments, world leaders, international, regional and European institutions and organisations to provide equal access to humanitarian aid for Roma, and other marginalised or vulnerable individuals (including ethnic, religious, sexual, and racialised minorities, women, elderly, sick people, differently-abled human beings, children, including those in state care, detainees, stateless and those without identity documents).  
  • Governments, world leaders, international, regional and European institutions and organisations to monitor human rights violations and violence experienced by Roma and other minorities and vulnerable and marginalised individuals and communities; and to investigate the reported allegations of discrimination against minority groups by the Ukrainian and/or EU authorities when seeking protection and asylum at the borders.
  • Media editors, journalists, and politicians to not monetise the war against Ukraine to promote inflammatory, racist portrayals of marginalised groups, including Roma. Such stories only further stigmatise and victimise minorities and promote the risk of additional violence against these groups.
  • United Nations bodies – High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Development Programme, UNICEF and other UN secretariat units – to work closely with Roma civil society organisations and take measures to ensure that Roma refugees and other minorities face no discrimination; and to provide monitoring and practical knowledge and assistance for the respect of human rights at the national level to prevent any human rights violations. 

We in civil society will continue to collect information on the situation of Roma in and out of Ukraine, including evidence of allegations of discrimination or other human rights violations and to keep relevant European, international institutions and treaty bodies informed.

Please consider joining us by signing this letter. To do so follow this link.

Additionally, advocacy letters were sent by ERGO Network to the European Union and United Nations. See more information here.

Signatures:

Members and former Members of European Parliament:

Romeo Franz, Member of the European Parliament
Monika Vana, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Pierrette Herzberger-Fofana, Member of the European Parliament
Terry Reintke, Member of the European Parliament
Soraya Post, Sweden, former Member of the European Parliament

International organisations:

European Roma Grassroots Organisations (ERGO) Network
European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)
Phiren Amenca International Network
Global Forum of Communities Discriminated on Work and Descent (GFoD)
European Public Health Alliance, Belgium
ternYpe International Roma Youth Network
Dikh He Na Bister (Look and don’t Forget) – Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative
CEU Roma Students and Alumni Association
International Roma Women Network Phenjalipe
Dikhlo Collective

National Organisations:

Minority Rights Group International, Hungary
Minority Rights Group International, United Kingdom
Central Council for German Sinti and Roma, Germany
Roma Active Albania, Albania
Art Foundation Jaw Dikh, Poland
Amaro Drom e.V., Germany
ROMEA, Czech Republic
ARA ART, Czech Republic
ARA ART SK, Slovakia
RomanoNet, Czech Republic
KaskoSan Roma Charity, United Kingdom
Roma Support Group, United Kingdom
Life Together, Czech Republic
E-Romnja Association, Romania
Regional Roma Educational Youth Association, North Macedonia
Amare Phrala – Our Brothers, Romania
Center for Education and Human Rights, Romania
Federation of Roma Associations in Catalonia – FAGiC, Spain
Magasin DIKKO, Sweden
Roma emancipation, Sweden
KHarkiv national cultural society Romen, Ukraine
Network for exposed EU-citizen, Sweden
Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Group, UK
Amnesty International, Sweden
The Chorus of Woman Foundation, Poland
l’association choregraphique, France
Integro Association, Bulgaria
Romedia Foundation, Hungary
National Network of Health Mediators, Bulgaria
Advancing Together, Kosovo
Roma women and girls Network in Moldova ‘Moldsolidaritate’, Moldova
Roma Lawyers Association Macedonia, North Macedonia
International Falcon Movement- Socialist Educational International, Belgium
Association for Roma Women Development “Latcho Dive” Skopje, North Macedonia
Fundacja Puk Puk, Poland
Traveller Movement, UK
Pakiv Romania
Pavee Point Traveller & Roma Centre, Ireland
Romanó Kher, Spain
Fundatia CRCR, Romania
Forum Roma of Serbia
Community Renewal Trust Roma Team, Scotland
Fundación Secretariado Gitano, Spain
Culture Goes Europe e.V, Germany
Christian Roma Support, Netherlands
YUROM Centar, Serbia
Union Romaní española, Spain
Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, Bulgaria
Drive2survive, UK
The University of the West of Scotland
Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, Kosovo
Romano Lav (Roma Voice), UK
Roma Youth Organization Walk with us – Phiren Amenxa, Montenegro
Friends, Families and Travellers, UK
Advisory Council Education of Romany and Travellers, UK
Spring Pictures, UK
NGO “Association of Roma women “Voice of Romni”, Ukraine
Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden
Policy Center for Roma and Minorities, Romania
Fläming Kitchen, Info Zentrum der Winkel, Germany
individual, Hungary
Rromano Kham, Albania
Roma resource center, Croatia
Association for integrative inclusion Of Roma Otaharin, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Network of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian women organizations of Kosovo, Kosovo
Roma European Union JEKHIPE, Belgium
Roma Active Albania, Albania
NGO,,VISION 02″, Istog, Kosovë
Institute of Romani Culture in Albania, Albania
Women Space, Serbia
Youth Voice Network of Organizations, Albania
International Roma Women Fund “Chiricli”, Ukraine
AMSK/Brasil, Brasil
Luton Roma Trust, United Kingdom
Roma Women Fund “Chiricli”, Ukraine
Grandmothers without borders, Czech republic
Romedia Foundation, Hungary
Center for Roma Initiatives, Montenegro
Balkan Youth Activism, Albania
Activist, Albania
Plataforma Gitana de Acción Política Politirrom, España
Useful to Albanian Women, Albania
Irish Community Care, England
Juventas, Montenegro
CF “Winds of Changes”, Ukraine
Committe on National Minorities, Albania
European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture ERIAC, Berlin
Foundation Opre Roma for Community Empowerment, Bulgaria
Association LARGO, Bulgaria
Standing Conference of the Roma Associations of the Citizens – League of Roma, Serbia
Roma solidarity foundation, Bulgaria
Kulturno prosvetna organiziaciya na ciganite, Bulgaria Shumen
Former National Decade of Roma Inclusion Coordinator, Bulgaria
Sun for everyone, Bulgaria
RROMANE SIKLOVNE, Spain
The Health of Roma Foundation, Bulgaria
Associatina of Citizens Educational Centre of Roma, Serbia
Sdr. MAICHIN CENTAR ALTERNATIVA, Bulgaria
RAKO, Bulgaria
Roma Indian Diaspora, United Kingdom
Child Rights Centre Albania, Albania
RO -MAG, SHUMEN
ROMACT Bulgaria, Bulgaria
СНЦ “МАГ-Ботевград”
House of Lords, UK Parliament, UK
ESMA-Carrefour des Cultures, Belgique
minority rights activist, Slovenia/Belgium
Indiwidual, Indiwidual
Equal Opportunities Initiative Association, Bulgaria
Kerry Travellers’ Health Community Development Project, Ireland
Unite, Labour Party, UK
Voice of Roma in Albania, Albania
Roma Women and Youth Association “LULUDI”, Republic of North Macedonia
European Roma and Travellers Forum, France/Finland
French and Romanian Rromni, lawyer, author and activist, France
Associació Gitana de Joventut igualtat i Pogrés , Spain
INACH, Netherlands
Roma Women Platforme “ROMNI”, Moldova
Agency Drom Dromendar, Bulgaria
European Network on Statelessness (ENS), United Kingdom
Ververipen, Spain
Stowarzyszenie Romów w Polsce , Polska
National Roma Lawyers Network-Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Asociatia Nevo Parudimos, Romania
RYMEcast – Sinti & Roma Podcast, Germany
Article 12 in Scotland, United Kingdom
Czech Women´s Lobby, Czech Republic
Lumos Foundation, International organisation
Terne bersha, Ukraine
Symnakyno petalo, Ukraine
Ideea Rom Association Nottingham, United Kingdom
SODI e.V., Deutschland
Europia, UK
British Association of Social Workers, Cymru, United Kingdom
Lacho drom, Ukraine
GRTSWA, UK
Roma Support Group, UK
European playwork association, Germany
Govanhill Women’s Forum, UK
Glasgow to Ukraine, UK
Coop. Romano Drom Onlus, Italia
British Association of Social Workers (BASW), UK
Fondacioni “Harriet Martineau”, Tirana
Sdruzhenie Integro – Senovo, Bulgaria
Welsh kale, Canada
Gypsy Roma Traveller Social Work Association, UK
Schola Fidentiae – Škola s(ebe)vědomí, z.s., Czech Republic
Community Renewal Trust Roma Team, Scotland, Scotland
Youth of European Nationalities / Jugend Europäischer Volksgruppen, Germany
Asociación Intercultural Nakeramos (Ternype-Spain), Spain
Gypsies Travellers Wales, UK
Travellers Against Racism, United Kingdom
Birmingham City University, UK
Youth for Social Changes, Albania
Правозащитный ромский центр Одеса, Ukraine
Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, Belgium
Odesa Romano kongreso, Ukraine
African Rainbow Family, United Kingdom
Biljajivka Romano sango le Odesake chakreste, Ukraine
Manchester Migrant Solidarity, United Kingdom
“Vatra” Psycho-Social Centre, Albania
Voice of Roma, United States of America
фондация “Бъдеще”, Ukraine
Пронет Медия, Bulgaria
Amrita OBK Assocition, Hungary
Samphire Charity, United Kingdom
Centre of Resources for Social Inclusion Cris, Romania
EUROPIA, United Kingdom
Connecting Roma C.I.C, United Kingdom
CHURCHES NETWORK FOR GYPSIES, TRAVELLERS AND ROMA – CNGTR, United Kingdom
Ben Hoare Bell LLP, United Kingdom
St James Centre, United Kingdom
Samphire Charity, United Kingdom
Amrita OBK Assocition, Hungary
NGO Slovo 21, Czech Republic
BASW Cymru, United Kingdom
Roma Center for Intercultural Dialog, Germany
CESPYD. Center of Community Research and Action, Spain
Roma Networks, Croatia
Prozor, Ukraine

Individuals and non-legal entities:

Margareta Matache, Roma scholar and activist, Romania
Marius Taba, United Kingdom
Jarmila Balážová, journalist, Czech Republic
RomLink initiative
Sri Kumar Vishwanathan, member of Czech Human Rights Commission
Elżbieta Mirga-Wójtowicz, Poland
Natalia Duminica, Moldova
Brandon Eby, Canada
Xhenson Çela, Albania
Mustafa Jakupov, North Macedonia
Norina Elvira Herki, Romania
Ramiza Sakip, North Macedonia
Igor Kostic, Serbia
Claudiu Stanescu, Italy
Simona Barbu, Romania
Tomas Scuka, Czechia
Frans Brinkman, Romania
Michał Dąbrowski, Poland
Nicolae Radita, Moldova
Anna Kaczmarzyk, Spain
Kamen Atanasov, Bulgaria
Angela Kocze, Hungary
Ognyan Isaev, Bulgaria
Katarzyna Dybzynska, Spain
Irina Faion, Bulgaria
Maria Metodieva, Bulgaria
Gultenur Mystafa Syuleyman
Greta Tünkler, Germany
Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Republic/USA
Nadja Greku, Serbia
Sarah Werner Boada, Austria
Atanas Zahariev, Austria
Radost Zaharieva, Belgium
Bożena Świerczek Flores, Poland
Juha Airola, Finland
Ileana Rotaru, Romania
Genoveva Sotirova, Bulgaria
Irina Spataru, Belgium
Ana Rozanova, Belgium
Jussi Valanki, Finland
Natalia Makowska, Poland
Margaret Beissinger, USA
Nina-Ursula Dreschke, Germany
Maritha Marques, Portugal
Lamia Missaoui, France
Magdalena Mira, Germany
Mattey Mitchell, UK
Sue Mutter, UK
Magda Hirschberger, Germany
Tamara Kovačević, Slovenia
Norman Biddlecombe, UK
Javier Sáez, Spain
Julija Marosek, Slovenia
Korab Jaha, Kosovo
Bernadett Varga, Belgium
Brisilda Taco, Albania
Maria Dumitru, United Kingdom
Sorina Sein, Italia
Miriam Kuse, Germany
Ana Oprisan, France
Adriatik Hasantari, Albania
Bernard Rorke, Hungary
Roma advocacy and research centre, Slovakia
Gabi Muntean, Ireland
Pedro Aguilera Cortés, Spain
Tica Muntean, Ireland
Shqipe Breznica, Kosovo
Diyan Dankov, Bulgaria
Annabel Carballo-Mes, Spain
Dawn Taylor, UK
Kata Nemeth, Hungary
Erion Xhaibra, Albania
Dritan Ziu, Albania
Wendy Charlton, UK
Valeri Lekov, Bulgaria
Ejona Mema, Albania
Alexandra Raykova, Bulgaria
Victoria Petrova, Bulgaria
Valeri Lekov, Bulgaria
Zsuzsanna Kovacs, Hungary
Galina Topalova, Bulgaria
Arman Heljic, PhD student in Gender Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Lalo Kamenov, Bulgaria
Iliya Rusev, Bulgaria
Zina Tenekedzhieva, Bulgaria
Bagryan Maksimov, Bulgaria
Kalinka Vassileva, Bulgaria
Rusev Angel, Belgium
Ipek Mehmed, Bulgaria
Ramiza Sakip, Republic of North Macedonia
Iliana Tsankova, Bulgaria
Rositsa Hristova Milkova, Bulgaria
Fanya Gadularova, Bulgaria
Yulka Savkova Hristova, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
Irina Ilieva, Bulgaria
Ivan Miglenov, Bulgaria
Rachel Lloyd, USA
Byulen Mladenov, Bulgaria
Daniela Mihaylova, Bulgaria
Jasmina Tobbeche, Belgium
John Hockley QPM, United Kingdom
Jeman Hasan , Партньорство в действие
Radostin Yanev, United Kingdom
Ines Djemail, Republic of North Macedonia
Radka Yaneva, United Kingdom
Radostin Yanev, United Kingdom
Vergil Hasan Ibryam, Bulgaria
Andrea Ignacz, Hungary
Friedrich-Wilhelm Hoeper, Germany
Andrii Kosko, Ukraine
Nikita Lupolenko, Ukraine
Max Stukanov, Thailand Phuket
David Benak, Czech republic
Gilda-Nancy Horvath, Austria
Iliana Tsankova, Bulgaria
Martina Horváthová, Czech Republic
Milena Ivova Ilieva, Bulgaria
Paula Mittrowann, Germany
Maryana Borisova, Bulgaria
Carmen Baltzar, Finland
Roma Zimenko, Ukraine
Nonna Zolotareva, Ukraine
Ioana Țîștea, Finland
Voloshin Kamila, Ukraine
Voloshin Sergey, Ukraine
Voloshin Nelya, Ukraine
Khmeleva Oksana, Ukraine
Khmeleva Lida, Ukraine
Sinitsa Olga, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Petro, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Roman, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Ivan, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Margarita, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Marta, Ukraine
Cherepovskaya Tatiana, Ukraine
Cherepovsky Ruslan, Ukraine
Rada Voloshyna, United States
Cherepovskaya Zarina, Ukraine
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Marie Horváthová , Czech Republic
Dragica Felja, United Kingdom
Rose Marie Maughan, Ireland
Dean Rheims, United Kingdom
Tobias Belli, United Kingdom
Phil Martin, United Kingdom
Christine Black, United Kingdom
Nicole Healing, United Kingdom
Olga Fuseini, United Kingdom
Paul Sayers, United Kingdom
Mr Jordan Lee James, United Kingdom
Adrian Leahy, United Kingdom
Grace Elbers, United States
Ruth Sullivan, United Kingdom
Jane Elisabeth King, United Kingdom
Hannah Johnston, United Kingdom
Violeta Naydenova, Bulgaria
Martin Gallagher, United Kingdom
Laura Cashman, United Kingdom
Alexandra Bahor, United Kingdom
Nidhi Trehan, United States
Ioanida Costache, Bucharest, Romania
Assia Kayoueche, United Kingdom
Professor Margaret Greenfields, United Kingdom
Samantha Heeson, United Kingdom
Jeannie Caton-Etherton, United Kingdom
Sephe Leslie Stewart, United Kingdom
Laurentiu Iapornicu, Romania
Chris Kidd, United Kingdom
Nathan Vishwanathan, Czech Republic
Ennèa Bála, United States
Ventsislav Savkov, Belgium
Stanislava Yassmin Vilcekova, United Kingdom
Lilyana Hristova, Belgium
Seher Erdzhan Kemal, Belgium
Miglena Asenova, Belgium
Lucy Lee, United Kingdom
Mária Zemanová, Slovakia
Cath Larkins, United Kingdom
Esther Stubbs, United Kingdom
Elizabeta Chase, Romania
Jo Cooper, United Kingdom
Merlina Koseni, Albania
Mimoza IKONOMI, Albania
Andrea Gilbert, United Kingdom
Andrea Gilbert, United Kingdom
John Blackchurch, USA
Orlin Orlinov, Bulgaria
Bagir Kwiek, Sweden
Judith Klenter, Belgium
Anjali Jeter, United Kingdom
David Williams, USA
Niamh O’Sullivan, Ireland
Rosa Cisneros, United Kingdom
Alexander Mušnka, Slovakia
Loizos Symeou, Cyprus
Maria Roth, Romania
Julia Szalai, Hungary
Max Matter, Switzerland
Mark Turner, Ireland
Sam Beck, Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Cornell University, USA
Meira Goldberg, United States
Carolina Leinwand, USA
Bonnie Jensen, Grønland
Amanda Parker, USA
Maria Manuela Mendes, Portugal
Isabelle Mas, Canada
Dr. med. Ricarda Kauert, Germany
Hristo Kyuchukov, Germany
Clara Chinoy, Spain
Lucy Hetherington, United Kingdom
Marius Tudor, Romania
Maria Alfredo Lopes Moreira, Portugal
José Luis castañeda Martínez, Columbia
Sophia Yamaguchi, Germany
Tina Magazzini, Italy
Alicia Fernández Gómez, Spain
Liliana José Alves Moreira, Portugal
Ana Rozanova, Belgium
Lucy Hetherington, United Kingdom
Russell Brown, USA
Christin Müller, Germany
Siegward Elsas, Switzerland
Ann Ostendorf, USA

Open Letter calling for meaningful debate on and written responses to European Citizens’ Panel recommendations

Open Letter calling for meaningful debate on and written responses to European Citizens’ Panel recommendations

Dear members of the Executive Board,

The Conference on the Future of Europe (hereafter: the Conference) is at a crossroads: either it will turn into an ugly interinstitutional battle happening largely behind closed doors, feeding cynicism about EU and the oft-declared ‘Europe of citizens’, or it will fully embrace the potential of meaningful and publicly accountable engagement with Europe’s citizens and residents. In order to increase our chances of the Conference going down the second road, we call on you to ensure that the recommendations coming out of the European Citizens’ Panels are all seriously and publicly debated and responded to in writing by the Conference Plenary and its Working Groups.

While the process of European Citizens’ Panels designed and implemented for the purpose of the Conference is very far from perfect, and while their output is not and should not be the exclusive input for the work of the Conference Plenary[1], the way this output is dealt with will be a crucial indicator for the success of the Conference[2]. If you invite 800 citizens from all across Europe to dedicate more than three weekends of their time to come up with recommendations for the future of the European Union, the least you owe them and the wider European public is a public debate followed by a clear, reasoned and detailed answer on each of their specific recommendations.

An important task of the Conference Plenary is to debate the recommendations coming out of the European Citizens’ Panels[3]. However, in order to ensure that this debate is meaningful and accountable, connected to the outcomes of the Citizens’ Panels, it should be followed by the adoption of a resolution in which the Conference Plenary responds concretely and in detail to each of the recommendations. In the absence of such a document, many citizens are likely to feel misled, as they will not see how their recommendations had a serious chance of being heard and making a difference. Even if the Conference Plenary disagrees with certain recommendations, it is of crucial importance to communicate and justify such opposition explicitly, publicly and in writing.

The Working Groups are the appropriate place to debate recommendations in detail and to prepare the final position of the Conference Plenary on citizens’ recommendations. In order to fulfil this role, Working Groups should be given the adequate resources and working structures, and their meetings should be live-streamed[4].

Considering the powers the EU institutions invested in you as Executive Board, as defined by the Joint Declaration, we count on you to adjust the Conference’s Rules of Procedure and the Working Groups Terms of Reference to accommodate our urgent requests for meaningful, publicly accessible Working Group and Conference Plenary debate on, and clear, detailed and reasoned written responses to, the European Citizens’ Panel recommendations.

We are looking forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

List of civil society organisations co-signing this letter:

Alliance4Europe
Allianz für WERTEorientierte Demokratie (AllWeDo)
Alpe Adria Green
Another Europe
Asociación Musulmana por los Derechos Humanos
Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)
Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law
Citizens for Europe
Citizens Take Over Europe
CIVICO Europa
Civil Society Development Foundation, Romania
Civil Society Europe
Culture Action Europe
Danubiana Network
Debating Europe
Democracy International
ENAR – European Network Against Racism
Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice
ERGO network
ETUC – European Trade Union Confederation
Eumans – citizens for democracy and sustainability
Europe for Scotland
European Alternatives
European Center for Not-for-profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
European Civic Forum
European Democracy Lab
European Environmental Bureau
European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
European House
European Movement Italy
European Network on Religion & Belief
Fix The Status Quo
Fórum dos Cidadãos
Friends of the European Republic
Gong
Greek Forum of Migrants
IGO – Interessenvertretung Gemeinnütziger Organisationen
ILGA-Europe
INITIATIVE FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION
Institute of Public Affairs
Ligue de l’enseignement
Mehr Demokratie e.V.
Music Theatre International
National Network for Civil Society Germany (BBE)
OGA Ireland – Open Government Association Ireland
Politics for Tomorrow / nextlearning e. V.
Pulse of Europe
Regional Roma Educational Youth Association – RROMA
Social Platform
Society for Sustainable Living/STUŽ
SOLIDAR
Stand Up for Europe
Take a Break from Brexit
TGEU
The ECI Campaign
The Good Lobby
The Wheel
Unconditional Basic Income Europe
Understanding Europe

This letter is sent to Executive Board members on Thursday, 20 January 2022, with a total of 58 co-signatories. If your organisation still wants to support this letter and remain updated, including about possible future actions, please fill out this form.

Footnotes:
[1] In this context, we want to mention and recognise the work done by the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe in bringing civil society actors together and developing common proposals for the Conference Plenary to debate and consider.
[2] We note that our call for written replies to recommendations from the European Citizens’ Panels does not preclude the Conference Plenary additionally developing written responses to recommendations from National Citizens’ Panels, from the Civil Society Convention on the Future of Europe and/or from other sources, as collected on the Digital Platform.
[3] See articles 5 and 17 of the Rules of Procedure of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
[4] Up until now, only one Working Group meeting was ever live-streamed, the ‘EU in the world’ Working Group meeting taking place on 17 December at 11:00 CET (find the recording here).

Socio-economic inclusion and the fight against antigypsyism should complement each other

 

Socio-economic inclusion and the fight against antigypsyism should complement each other

Open letter to
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi
Western Balkan Heads of Economies and Governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzgovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Turkey
Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Majlinda Bregu
Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

German Federal Foreign Office

As (pro-)Roma civil society organisations active in the Western Balkans and Turkey, we would like to draw your attention to the serious shortcomings of the Conclusions of the Second Ministerial Meeting on Roma Integration of the Ministers of the Western Balkans responsible for Roma integration on 28 June 2021. The Conclusions unfortunately do not make any reference to the fight against antigypsyism or at least to the fight against discrimination, despite respective obligations of the „Neighbourhood and Enlargement Countries”.

In June 2019, the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans signed the “Declaration of Western Balkans Partners on Roma Integration within the EU Enlargement Process”, the so-called Poznan Declaration. In this Declaration they reiterate their “commitment for integration of Roma in their societies and pledge to step up their efforts as part of the European Union enlargement process and regional cooperation.”

The Prime Ministers pledged to strengthen their government structures to protect against discrimination and to establish specific sub-divisions for non-discrimination of Roma within formal non-discrimination bodies to process complaints by Roma, provide legal support to alleged victims and identify discrimination schemes, including institutional and hidden discrimination.

Further, they pledged to envisage a stronger role of the Western Balkans partners in the European Union’s post 2020 policy on Roma integration by ensuring their participation o in the process in an observer status at minimum.

In September 2020, the European Parliament adopted the Report on the Implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies: combating negative attitudes towards people with Romani background in Europe, requesting inter alia a legislative proposal for the equality, inclusion and participation of Romani people and combating antigypsyism.

In October 2020, the European Union adopted the new “EU Roma Strategic Framework for Equality, Inclusion and Participation”, which is equally relevant for the countries in the Western Balkans. The new EU Framework identifies as a key priority the fight against antigypsyism as the root cause of social exclusion and racial or ethnic discrimination.

In March 2021, the Commission reaffirmed the importance of this new Framework when endorsing the EU Council Recommendations on Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation. The recommendations also refer to the responsibilities of the bodies for the promotion of equal treatment (‘equality bodies’) and assign them an important role in the fight against antigypsyism.

Following all these political declarations and recommendations, the fight against antigypsyism – the specific racism towards Roma – as the root cause of social exclusion and discrimination should have been in the focus of governments’ commitment in the Western Balkans.

However, neither the Conclusions of the Ministerial Meeting on Roma Integration on 27 October 2020 nor the Conclusions of the Second Ministerial Meeting on Roma Integration on 28 June 2021 make any reference to the fight against antigypsyism or at least to the fight against discrimination.

Instead, they focus on employment measures, completion of the geographic mapping exercise of Roma settlements, registration and the inclusion of Roma in the EU Green Deal. These are all very relevant issues that should be urgently addressed, but they all fall short of addressing the root cause of the exclusion of Roma.

This approach is not only in contradiction to the commitments of the Poznan Declaration and the new EU Roma Framework, it will also negatively affect the effectiveness of any other measure.

It is common knowledge that measures in the socio-economic sphere will have a limited impact if antigypsyism is not tackled. Experience demonstrates that without fighting racism among potential employers and colleagues, for example, active labour market measures are less effective, since racism among employers and colleagues is one of the major obstacles for the employment of Roma.

According to the Balkan Barometer, 25% of the interviewed persons are uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable working with a Romani person. 30% are uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable buying a product from a Romani person (or produced by a Romani person). This data should make it clear that it is indispensable to fight antigypsyism.

Active labour market measures, including the need to formalise work, are indispensable. They should, however, not only be implemented in the private sector, but also in the public sector, not least since all governments have legal obligations to promote employment of Roma in the public sector – what they have so far failed to adhere to.

The Poznan Declaration stipulates to “increase the employment rate of Roma in the public sector to the rate proportional of the number of Roma in the overall population and to increase the employment rate among Roma to at least 25 per cent”. However, none of the conclusions of the Ministerial Meetings refer to this pledge.

Looking at more general attitudes of the majority populations towards Roma, things are even worse: 68% of respondents feel uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with marrying a Romani person or if their child would marry a Romani person. 33% are uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable inviting a Romani person to their house and 26% are uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable if their children attend school together with Romani children.

Against this background, it is difficult to understand why governments in the Western Balkans do not take the fight against antigypsyism serious and step up their efforts, and why European Union institutions and individual Member States are reluctant to encourage the governments in the Western Balkans to finally start fighting racism.
As long as this approach will not change, the current efforts in employment, housing, registration, etc. remain mere lip services, since they omit to fight the root cause for the social exclusion and discrimination of Roma in the Western Balkans.
Equality Bodies and Ombudspersons could play a crucial role in fighting antigypsyism, and with further intensifying the cooperation with Romani civil society they could achieve an impact in society and politics.

We therefore call upon the governments in the Western Balkans, the institutions of the European Union as well as individual Member States of the European Union to increase their efforts in the fight against antigypsyism in the Western Balkans by:

  • Conducting public awareness campaigns on fighting antigypsyism;
  • Establishing close cooperation with the Romani civil society in fighting antigypsyism;
  • Conducting regular trainings on fighting antigypsyism for several target groups, involving Roma as trainers;
  • Contributing to creating new policy and legal frameworks for fighting antigypsyism;
  • Ensuring the participation of Roma in Equality Bodies and Ombudsperson Institutions;
  • Including a specific chapter on the situation of Roma or on antigypsyism in the regular reports to the Parliaments.

Signatories:
Roma Active Albania, Otaharin (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Voice of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians (Kosovo), Advancing Together (Kosovo), Phiren Amenca (Montenegro), RROMA (North Macedonia), Forum Roma Serbia (Serbia), Zero Discrimination Association (Turkey), Central Council of German Sinti and Roma (Germany), ERGO Network (Belgium)

DG JUST widens dialogue with civil society

DG JUST widens dialogue with Roma civil society and anti-racism civil society organisations

In its intention to ensure a greater transparency and inclusion of wider Roma and pro-Roma civil society organisations at national level in implementing the EU Roma Roma Framework on  equality, inclusion and participation, the European Commission launched a call for expression of interest to NGOs in supporting the work at European Union level and their readiness to participate in consultation processes. All CSOs who expressed their interest will be informed regularly about important policy developments. Moreover, according to the experience and knowledge of the organisations, based on the information provided in the expression of interest, the Commission services will determine the list of CSOs and/or alliances of CSOs who will be invited to contribute to consultation processes, in particular on the monitoring of the implementation of the Roma policies at EU level. All expressions of interest by the 22 June 2021 will be carefully reviewed based on outreach capacity, work topics, expertise, size and type of CSO as well as the following criteria:

  •  independent status and legal registration in the EU, featuring a democratic decision-making mechanism as well as a mission and values aligned with those of the European Commission;
  •  proven expertise of at least 3 years in one or more of the following: policy, research, advocacy work concerning Roma equality, inclusion and participation, as well as legitimacy of the CSO’s representations (community ties, accountability to beneficiaries and/or members);
  •   respect for pluralism of opinion, tolerance and personal integrity of the representatives is mandatory;
  •   good working knowledge of English as this is the working language of CSO consultation meetings; and
  •   demonstrated ability to engage in constructive dialogue with other governmental and/or non-governmental organizations is highly valued.

In addition, the applicants have to be registered in the EU Transparency registry, proving their legal constitution, including proof of grant of legal personality, evidence of internal rules procedure, audited financial statement for the last 2 years or any other official document demonstrating the annual income; annual activity reports for the last 2 years or any other published reports or research as evidence of Roma-relevant work; and CV(s) of the CSO representative(s).

For the above mentioned call more information can be found  here.

A similar call has been launched for anti-racism civil society organisations or the implementation of the EU Anti-racism action plan with a small difference in that there is no minimum limit on the years of proven expertise in the case of antiracism CSOs and that in their case they should have worked on at least one or more of the following: policy, research, advocacy work concerning racial and ethnic equality and anti-racism; and in at least one or more of the following thematic areas: racial justice, equality, reparations and decolonisation, anti-migrant racism.

More information about the anti-racism CSO call can be found here.

Different than in the case of Roma organisations, antiracism CSOs fear that this mechanism could restrict access of more radical NGOs, including pro-Muslim associations which have been banned or accused of inciting to hatred, for being vocal against Islamophobia, particularly in France, under the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron. With a growing victimization of human rights defenders and NGOs, EU institutions should ensure depolitization of antiracism civil society work and build further trust and cooperation with antiracism NGOs.

For more information about ERGO Network’s work on anti racism contact Isabela Mihalache , Senior Policy Adviser in the ERGO Network Brussels team.

Conference on the Future of Europe: call to include marginalised communities

Open letter to Executive Board: civil society organisations call for Conference to include marginalised communities

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a citizen-led series of debates and discussions that will enable people from across Europe to share their ideas and help shape our common future that was opened on 19th June. However, marginalised communities are hardly considered in the conference. ERGO Network alongside many other organisations signed an open letter prepared by Citizens Takeover Europe calling to include marginalised communities

The inaugural meeting of the Plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe took place on 19 June, but the Conference risks excluding marginalised communities, undermining the whole exercise.With several civil society organisations and networks, we have drafted an open letter to the Conference Executive Board, calling upon them to address our concerns:

Dear Co-Chairs and Members of the Executive Board,

The inaugural plenary of the Conference on the Future of Europe is taking place on Saturday, 19th of June. According to the Joint Declaration, the Conference aims “to give citizens a say on what matters to them,” and to take action in response. However, we fear that the Conference will lead to the further marginalisation of citizens and residents that are already sidelined given the process and plans that have been made until now.

The Conference has so far not made adequate provisions to include marginalised and underrepresented communities. The European Citizens’ Panels are the main innovation of the Conference, and a key instrument to reach underrepresented people. Unfortunately, no quotas have been set to ensure the representation of underrepresented groups such as racialised people, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities, etc. Additionally, EU residents without EU passports and non-binary people seem to be categorically excluded from the panels. Furthermore, the Conference Plenary – the main decision-making body – does not seem to foresee adequate representation of these groups either.

It is no secret that political institutions, and the European Union in particular, have failed at times to include marginalised communities in their work. For this reason, many people from marginalised communities do not feel represented by the very institutions that are meant to serve them. Instead, they perceive them as contributing to their oppression.

It is in our common interest that this Conference becomes a success, but it can only become a success if all of Europe’s citizens and residents are provided access, included and treated as equal partners in this dialogue. If the EU fails to involve the most marginalised in our society, it will not only fail these communities but it will also fail to gather crucial knowledge about fundamental societal challenges, and the appropriate measures needed to build stronger, inclusive and cohesive societies.

We urge you to meet with us in the coming period to consider the concerns expressed in this letter, and to consult with organisations representing and working with marginalised communities such as some of the co-signatories of this letter. 

Moreover, we call on you to develop a strategy of inclusion in relation to the Conference to ensure that marginalised communities are adequately represented and involved in the Conference, and to do so in consultation with civil society actors. We are at your disposal to support this process.

Together we win, divided we fall. We will only make this Conference succeed if it includes all citizens and residents.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Provisional list of civil society organisations co-signing the letter:

  • #DiasporaVote!
  • A Buon Diritto Onlus
  • Alliance4Europe
  • Allwedo e.V.
  • Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)
  • BIL:Armenia
  • Citizens Take Over Europe
  • Civil Society Europe
  • Culture Action Europe (CAE)
  • ECOLISE
  • EFF – European Future Forum
  • Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice
  • Eurochild
  • Europe for Scotland
  • European Alternatives
  • European Anti-Poverty Organisation
  • European Association for the Education of Adults
  • European Center for Not-for-profit Law Stichting (ECNL)
  • European Citizen Action Service (ECAS)
  • European Civic Forum
  • European Environmental Bureau
  • European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless
  • European Forum of Muslim Women
  • European House
  • European Movement Italy
  • European Network Against Racism
  • European Network on Religion and Belief (ENORB)
  • European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA)
  • European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network
  • European Youth Parliament
  • Extinction Rebellion Czech Republic
  • Generation Climate Europe (GCE)
  • Gong
  • Greek Forum of Migrants
  • Green liberty
  • IGLYO
  • Institute of Public Affairs
  • Junge Islam Konferenz
  • KISA – Equality, Support, Antiracism
  • Mundo en Movimiento
  • Music Theatre International
  • Oxfam
  • PICUM – Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants
  • Regional Roma Educational Youth Assocation-RROMA
  • School of Political Hope
  • Schwarzkopf Stiftung
  • SDG Watch Europe
  • Society for Sustainable Living/STUŽ
  • SOLIDAR
  • Stand Up For Europe
  • Tereza Čejková
  • The ECI Campaign
  • The European Council of doctoral candidates and junior researchers (Eurodoc)
  • The Good Lobby
  • Understanding Europe
  • Young European Federalists (JEF)

Civil society organisations can co-sign this letter by filling out the following form. The deadline is Friday, 18th of June, 18:00 CEST. The letter will be sent to the members of the Executive Board on Saturday morning, 19th of June. 

 

ERGO logo

Rue d’Edimbourg 26

1050 Brussels, Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)2 8931049

info@ergonetwork.org

EU flag_low resolution

This website has received financial support from the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.”

Copyright © Stichting ERGO Network 2017 . Contact us | News | Privacy Policy

Developed by Sanka Chandima Abayawardena ! SCACS Consultants and Services

Participation – ERGO Network

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close