Weekly news


ERIO news and activities

* ERIO - ERNE Conference Invitation 01 October 2014
The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) invites you to attend the final conference of our project ERNE “European Roma Integration good practice exchange and policy network”, which will be held on 1 October 2014 from 09:00-16:15 in the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), 74, rue de Trèves, Trèves building (room TRE 7701 - 7th floor), 1040 Brussels.
This will be a closing conference of a two-year project funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme KA1.
The ERNE project (www.erne-project.eu) is a contribution to the implementation of the National Roma Inclusion Strategies and aims to maximise chances of success for Roma integration.
The conference will be held in English.

The agenda will be available soon here : http://erionet.eu/event-011014
You can register by email or phone by giving your name, surname, title and the organisation you are working for. The deadline is 29.09.2014.
For registration or any other queries, please contact: office@erionet.eu or Tel: +32 2 733 3462
* ERIO’ meeting with a delegation from the Government of Vojvodina in Serbia
On the 22nd September, ERIO welcomed a delegation from the Roma Inclusion Office in the Government of Vojvodina, Serbia. The meeting had been requested by the delegation as part of a capacity building project of the Roma Inclusion Office. The delegation explained to ERIO the steps the office had taken to improve Roma inclusion. These included providing scholarships for Roma students, improving Roma access to employment and providing seminars on Roma integration for local coordinators in 13 municipalities. 
Ivan Ivanov, Executive Director of ERIO, discussed the current level of progress of Roma integration. The challenges surrounding access to European funding for authorities at the national level was highlighted as a particular concern. Further cooperation between The Roma Inclusion Office of the Government of Vojvodina and ERIO was encouraged for the future.

OTHER news

* Strategic Guidelines of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion
By European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion, Council of Europe

As a follow-up to the Meeting with representatives of the civil society, international organisations and academics' networks in Brussels last Wednesday 17 September, Mr Denis Huber, Head of the Division for Cooperation, Administration and External Relations at the Congress of local and regional authorities of the Council of Europe, would like to share with you the strategic guidelines of the European Alliance of Cities and Regions for Roma Inclusion.
The Congress, as a part of the Council of Europe, is focusing especially on the local level to implement higher standards of democracy and human rights for Roma. One of these efforts is the Alliance, which aims at helping communities to learn from each other mutually to fuel successful integration of Roma into mainstream society. The Alliance is a platform with 122 participants – cities and regions from 27 member states in all of Europe. These cities are especially committed to include Roma and all have considerable experience in doing so.
Attached, for your information, please find the strategic guidelines of the Alliance in French and English. These guidelines have recently been approved by the Bureau of the Congress.
For more information: Alliance homepage.

Download: Alliance Concept Paper EN 09-09-2014 / Alliance Concept Paper FR 09-09-2014
* Europol rescues 30 Romani children from traffickers in continent-wide raid

By ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

The Hague, 24.9.2014 - The European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, has intervened in 34 countries including the Czech Republic and arrested 1 027 people in the biggest raid against organized crime in its history. Under the leadership of Europol, the operation, called Archimedes, lasted nine days and focused primarily on drugs, fraud, human trafficking, tax evasion and theft.

Europol says it rescued 30 Romani children from the hands of traffickers during the maneuvers. The operation lasted from 15 September to 23 September and was directed from Europol's command in The Hague.

In collaboration with police agencies of EU Member States and others, including Australia and the USA, Europol succeeded in confiscating hundreds of kilograms of drugs and large sums of money in cash and other assets, as well as rescuing 30 Romani children from the hands of traffickers. The raid was conducted in more than 260 places.

Read more here

* Open letter by the European Civic Forum  to Jean-Claude JUNCKER regarding the designation of Mr. Tibor Navracsics as Commissioner for  Education, Youth, Culture and Citizenship
By the European Civic Forum 

Dear Mr. Juncker, Following the presentation of your College of Commissioners and the corresponding attribution of portfolios, you announced the nomination of Mr. Tibor Navracsics as Commissioner for Education, Youth, Culture and Citizenship. The signatories of this open letter, representing civil society networks and organisations that delivered the European Year of Citizens in 2013 and 2014, consider that this appointment is completely unacceptable.

Mr. Navracsics has been a key proponent of policies implemented by the Hungarian governments led by Mr. Orban that acted against the values of the European treaties and project and were criticised by the European Commission for decisions such as the constitutional reform process of 2013 and the reforms affecting media freedom in 2011. This is why, on the basis of the core democratic principles of the EU, we feel that his appointment would put under threat the relations between the European Commission and civil society organisations.

Read more here
* Roma evictions in Bucharest
On the 15th of September 2014, over 100 Roma women, men, and children were evicted from their homes on Vulturilor Street, in Bucharest. The buildings began to be demolished on the same day. The families were left in the street and all their possessions were picked up by the municipality to be “stored for safeguarding”, so that they shouldn’t clutter the street. The evictions were scheduled on the day that every student starts school in Romania, depriving the children from the joy of the first day of school! All school-age children attend school and have not missed a day since the eviction took place.

Romania's post-socialist background, and the repercussions which have continued up until current governance, continues to harm the very people the states pushed into vulnerable positions. In 2002, the houses on Vulturilor 50 were returned to the ones who owned them before the nationalization process.

Read more here
* Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association launched at Westminster
By Deník.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert

Most, 19.9.2014 - News server Deník.cz reports that the Most town hall has joined a local antigypsyist campaign underway there with a move that has rendered recent construction work unnecessary and increased tensions in a neighborhood where authorities had pledged to improve interpersonal relationships and living conditions. An EU-funded project to eliminate social exclusion is now supporting it, at least in this one case.

According to approved plans, benches were supposed to be installed on newly-constructed meridians in the town's Stovka pedestrian zone. The DEMOS project, which is supposed to improve civil coexistence in the zone with EU aid, has undergone an unexpected change that is causing embarrassment.

Benches will not be installed after all on Budovatelů Avenue. The town hall openly admits that it changed the project because of Romani residents.

Read more here
* Four Myths and Facts about Roma Refugees in Canada
By Alex Langer, McGill International Review

January 9, 2014 - The public discourse surrounding Roma refugees is one full of misconceptions about the Canadian refugee system and the status of Roma, both in their countries of origin and the European Union. Here are four frequently cited myths about the issue, all claimed by Jason Kenney directly in this video, and the actual facts:

Myth: While it is hard for Roma people in Europe, “the Refugee Convention is not there to protect people if they are having a tough time at home”. They do not reach the level of Convention refugees.

The experience of the Roma should definitely be grounds to be included under the 1951 Convention. The convention defines a refugee as someone:

 "…owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country… is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it"

Read more here


* High level conference on Roma inclusion on the ground - The ROMACT experience - 2-3 October 2014 - Brussels, Belgium
The European Commission - in cooperation with the Council of Europe - has convened a high level international conference in Brussels on 2 and 3 October 2014 to take stock of progress and lessons learned in integrating Roma at the local level with the support of the ROMACT programme.
This event will bring together more than 400 participants from more than 10 countries representing public authorities at EU, national and local level, international institutions and other stakeholders.

Read more here
* Civil Society Prize for Roma Integration
A nomination for the 2014 EESC CIVIL SOCIETY PRIZE under the theme "The integration of Roma" took place two months ago.
After a long selection process accompanied by intense debates, the jury has decided to award this year the following three organisations/individuals (in alphabetical order): ETP Slovakia – Centre for Sustainable Development, Slovakia; IQ Roma servis, NGO, independent civic association, Czech Republic; Reverend Archimandrite Athinagros Loukataris, Greece.
The final ranking will only be revealed during the Award Ceremony on 16 October 2014 that can be watched live via webstreaming on the website of the Prize: here
* Commission DG Enlargement Award for Roma Integration
The Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle has the pleasure of inviting you to the 2014 Award for Roma Integration Ceremony and the opening of the photo exhibition 'Don't look down on me' by Artan Korenica taking place on 1 October 2014 at 17:00 at the European Commission – Berlaymont Building, Rue de la Loi 200, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
The award ceremony will take place from 17:00 to 18:00 followed by the opening of the photo exhibition and a reception with live music by Antwerp Gypsy Ska Band. Please arrive at 16:30 to register.

Please RSVP to ELARG-Award-Roma@ec.europa.eu no later than 29 September 2014. You are welcome to share this event with colleagues as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
* National Gypsy, Roma & Traveller Symposium

Monday 20th October 2014, Pierhead, Cardiff Bay - 10.30am – 4.00pm

The Romani Cultural Arts Company is the leading Romani and Traveller community organisation in Wales, using the arts and culture as a vehicle for advocacy and empowerment amongst the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The RCAC seeks to build understanding and community cohesion between Gypsies and others, supporting individuals as “community champions” to become actors and agents of change, encouraging them to become active in making a difference for themselves.

The October 2014 “Great Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Debate” will bring together members of the Gypsy, Roma andTraveller community with politicians, policy makers and public servants to address the issues that have become so prevalent in the past few years. Why are Roma from Eastern Europe coming to the UK? Who are they and how are they related to Gypsies and Travellers? How can our schools, hospitals and housing services work with these communities? The invited panel of experts will address these questions and others, in an “any questions” panel and discussion with the audience.

For more information please contact: Isaac Blake at isaacblake@romaniarts.co.uk or on +44 (02920) 78 6439

Read more herehttp://romaniarts.co.uk/8749-great-gypsy-roma-traveller-debate/

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