Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO Recommendations to the Greek EU Presidency
Greece takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, completing the term of the trio Ireland-Lithuania-Greece. The Greek Presidency takes place at a time where the EU is facing a worrying rise in racism, xenophobia, right-wing extremist and fascist parties within a context of an economic crisis. Some important progress has been made towards Roma inclusion with the adoption of the Council Recommendation proposed by the European Commission. Although, Roma still face discrimination and their rights are systematically violated. ERIO, as an advocate for the rights of the Roma, contributed to the Presidency’s work by proposing some recommendations aiming to improve the Roma situation across Europe
Read the full recommendations here.
* ERIO at the Kick-off Meeting of Music4Rom
ERIO participated at the Kick-off Meeting of the Music4ROM is a project. Music4ROM is a project financed by the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme to build intercultural bridges and educate children in European citizenship through music This two-year project is a partnership of eight partners of which ERIO is part of, covering seven European countries: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, UK, Italy, France and Spain.

OTHER news

* Roma are EU citizens too, Romanian President says
By Valentina Pop

Berlin - Romanian President Traian Basescu on Friday (31 January) strongly defended freedom of movement within the EU, saying Roma have the same rights as other EU citizens and should not be misused for populist campaigns. Seven years after Romania joined the EU, Basescu said that his country is still not "fully integrated" as it is waiting to be accepted in the border-free Schengen area and, sometime in 2018-2019, in the eurozone.

"But I am happy from 1 January we are now fully integrated on the EU labour market," the President told journalists in Berlin, in reference to the lifting of labour market restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. Basescu criticised the campaign against so-called social tourism in Germany, led by the Bavarian Conservatives (the CSU), whose slogan for the EU elections is "who cheats is kicked out."

Read more here

* German authorities reject award-winning Bosnian Romani man's asylum request
By ČTK, voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Nazif Mujić, a Romani man from Bosnia, was the star of last year's Berlinale film festival, winning the Silver Bear for Best Actor for his performance in the docudrama "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker". As of the end of last month, he and his family were living in a residential hotel for refugees on the outskirts of Berlin and waiting to learn whether they would have to leave Germany against their will.

The German authorities have requested Mujić's asylum request and he is only able to remain in the country until 25 February. Berlinale organizers are now doing their best, at the last minute, to prevent his deportation.

Read more here
* Hungary makes historic apology for its role in the Holocaust
By ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Hungary has apologized for the first time ever for the role the country played in the Holocaust. News agency MTI reported today that the apology was made last Thursday by the Hungarian Ambassador to the UN, Csaba Körösi. “Until today at this forum, no one has ever expressed, on behalf of the Hungarian state, its responsibility for its role in the Holocaust,” MTI quoted Ambassador Körösi as saying. The ambassador went on to say he would be making two separate statements of Hungarian responsibility that Thursday. 

The ambassador made the apology during an event held at the UN on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Holocaust in Hungary, whose victims were Jewish and Romani people. He then repeated it at the opening of an exhibition called “Remembrance of the Holocaust in Hungary” which was put together by various organizations with the participation of the Hungarian mission to the UN.

Read more here

* Serbia: Agreement on support for Roma inclusion signed
By InSerbia Team

BELGRADE – An agreement between local governments in Serbia and the project Technical Support for Roma Inclusion, which is worth EUR 4.8 million, was signed on Tuesday, formally obligating 20 municipalities to support the Serbian government strategy for improving the position of the Roma.
Head of the Serbian government office for human rights Suzana Paunovic opened a meeting in Belgrade by saying the Serbia had made significant progress in the implementation of the Roma inclusion strategy since its adoption in 2009. According to Paunovic, 20,679 Roma have been entered into civil registries since 2009, and the plan is to register all those who are currently “legally invisible” by the end of 2015.

Read more here
* Greek neo-Nazi party to run even if banned
By ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Athens, Greece - The Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn will find a way to participate in local elections and elections to the European Parliament even if harsh measures are adopted against it. Party spokesperson Ilias Kasidiaris issued the party's official statement on the issue this past Saturday.

Reuters reports that if the Greek authorities make it impossible for Golden Dawn to participate in the May elections, it could be replaced by a new party with the name "National Dawn". "We are participating in these elections one way or the other," Kasidiaris, who is an MP, told a gathering of roughly 3 000 supporters in the center of Athens who were commemorating the anniversary of a 1996 dispute about islands in the Aegean Sea that brought Greece and Turkey to the brink of war.

Read more here
* Czech MP visits convict doing time for racially motivated murder
By ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert /ROMEA

Czech MP Tomio Okamura, chair of the "Dawn of Direct Democracy" (Úsvit přímé demokracie) movement and its vice-chair, Jaroslav Novák, visited Vlastimil Pechanec today in prison in Pardubice. Pechanec was convicted of perpetrating the racially-motivated murder of Ota Absolon, a Romani man, in 2001 in Svitavy.

Novák and Okamura are endeavoring to reopen Pechanec's trial, which they claim was manipulated. Novák told the Czech News Agency that one reason they visited Pechanec was to get to know him personally and to learn more details about his case.

Read more here
* Derby Telegraph: How we are helping different cultures come together in Derby
Community leaders have revealed a series of measures they are taking to help encourage good relations between the various communities and cultures in parts of Derby.
Youth clubs, integration projects and advice on recycling and clearing up are all being offered to the Roma community as they look integrate in Normanton, Arboretum and Pear Tree. Derby City Council, the police, the Multi-Faith Centre and social services are working together on translation services for Roma people. More than 500 Roma and Eastern European youngsters are regularly attending a club that meets every Tuesday at Pear Tree Baptist Church.

Read more here
* Slovakia: Romani victims of police harassment testify
By František Kostlán, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

A Slovak court has just completed a two-day hearing into the case of police officers who harassed Romani boys in 2009. Four of the children and several of their parents have testified to date.

News server Korzár.sk reports that 10 residents of Košice have sued the police in the case from 2009. On Wednesday and Thursday at the Košice II District Court, 10 active and former police officers faced charges of abusing their powers as public officials. The case concerns harassment that took place at the Košice-Jih police station in March 2009. An investigation was begun after a DVD recording was published that showed police officers forcing six boys, who were suspected of having robbed a pensioner, to beat one another, kiss one another, and strip.

Read more here


* ERIO workshop “Remembering the Roma and Sinti Holocaust: challenges and opportunities at national level”

ERIO is organising a workshop on 26 February. The aim of this workshop is to discuss the challenges faced at national level when it comes to raising awareness and recognition of the Roma and Sinti Holocaust and finding possible solutions to overcome them taking into consideration the national context. The workshop will result in concrete recommendations to send to national governments, media, schools, museums, etc.
This workshop is part of a one-year project funded by the European Commission under the Europe for Citizens Programme: MemoROM “Keeping the Memory Alive: the Roma and Sinti Holocaust”.

Read more here

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