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July 9, 2020
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Civil society

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British educator, ashamed of his country's vote on remaining in EU, calls for referendum on exit terms

26.6.2016 10:13 Mark Penfold, an educator and founding member of the Roma Education Support Trust, has written the following letter in response to the results of the referendum on Brexit. News server republishes it here in full.  full story

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Germany: Untraditional theater production in Berlin plays with anti-migrant prejudice

21.6.2016 20:47 The Deutsches Theater in Berlin has prepared an interesting artistic performance that could be a big source of inspiration to us all. In response to last year's "special summer and fall", as the company calls the wave of immigrants and refugees who arrived in Germany last year, they have created a production called Wechselstube (Exchange Office).  full story

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European Roma and Travellers Forum expresses support for Czech NGOs seeking to fly the rainbow and Roma flags at Terezín

18.5.2016 16:47 The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) has sent Jan Munk, the director of the Terezín Memorial who also chairs the Commission for the Preparation of the Terezín Commemoration, a letter expressing its agreement with the 14 nonprofit organizations who asked that both the LGBT community's rainbow flag and the international Romani flag be flown during the commemorative ceremony at Terezín this year. Munk rejected the request at the beginning of May for the flags to be included alongside state flags during the 15 May event.
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Commentary: Standing with Mitko against racist violence in Bulgaria

30.4.2016 12:49 After a video surfaced on YouTube showing Mitko, a 17-year-old Romani youth from the Bulgarian village of Ovchepoltsi, being racially abused, beaten and kicked in the face for saying that he considered himself equal to his "nationalist" attacker, outrage turned quickly to solidarity. Within days, an online #RomaAreEqual campaign was launched by the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), and thousands across Europe affirmed that they "stand with Mitko" against racist violence and demanded an appropriate response from the Bulgarian authorities.  full story

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Inclusive education in Canada is a reality

5.12.2015 20:29 When Harland Sanders began selling fried chicken, he was no different from anyone else. What turned his efforts into the famous KFC restaurant was a few small details, among them the secret ingredients of his spice mix.  full story

European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH)

AEDH calls on African and European leaders to put human rights at the center of migration policies

10.11.2015 23:14 The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) issued the following press release today:  full story

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European Roma and Travellers Forum asks Pope to revise his rhetoric on Roma

6.11.2015 17:52 In a letter addressed to the Pope today, the President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) Mr Gheorghe Raducanu welcomes the Catholic Church's recent initiatives to combat discrimination against Roma, Sinti and Travellers, but regrets that some of the Pope's well-intentioned remarks are likely to instead promote the sentiments that promote such discrimination by the majority population. “Asking the audience to be good Christians 'avoiding all that is not worthy of this name: lies, frauds, swindles, altercation', is excellent advice to be addressed to all Christians but, in the context of an audience with Roma and Sinti, this advice seems to be addressed exclusively to them," the letter notes.  full story

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Marek Szilvási: Czech Government should stop gambling with the country's reputation - the fight for compensation for forced sterilization is not over

4.11.2015 19:15 I remember being with the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) just a couple of months when I was invited to Ostrava to an informal meeting with the Group of Women Harmed by Coercive Sterilization, an informal collective of harmed self-advocating Romani women. The meeting was organised by the local Life Together NGO in early April 2012 to celebrate the fact that after years of local activism, lawsuits and advocacy struggles, the Government’s Council for Human Rights had finally recommended the Government develop a compensation scheme for involuntarily sterilized women. A month earlier, the Group, Life Together and the ERRC had sent an official letter welcoming this government commitment. I took an early morning train and after a half-day journey from Budapest to Ostrava, I was warmly welcomed by the Life Together staff and the Romani women activists, whom until then I knew only through phone calls and email correspondence. After shedding my water-soaked coat I entered the second room and was introduced to Monika Šimúnková, the Czech Government’s Human Rights Commissioner, and Kateřina Valachová, now the current Minister of Education, who was at that time working for the Ombudsman. The atmosphere was relaxed, almost festive, and I soon succumbed to it and started expecting this controversy soon to be over.  full story

UK: Traveller people have to "prove" their ethnicity under new planning rules

28.10.2015 7:44 Dan Allen, a lecturer in Social Work at the University of Salford, reported for The Conversation last month that recent actions by the UK Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) might make the lives of Traveller communities worse. The department has introduced new planning rules that Allen says will adversely directly affect the health of these people.  full story

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Planned EU ban on Balkan aylum-seekers alarms Roma there

24.10.2015 8:47 Balkan Insight reported last month that Macedonian Roma associations have objected to EU plans to ban Balkan nationals from claiming asylum as part of its response to the refugee crisis. The groups say the plans are unfair to their own persecuted communities.  full story

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SocDems in EP may suspend Slovak ruling party for a second time over refugee crisis

18.10.2015 0:07 In a blog post for the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), Bernard Rorke, who teaches a course on "Roma Rights" at Central European University in Budapest discusses the recent proposal from the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) faction at the EP to suspend Slovakia's SMER party from the S&D Group. Rorke says Gianni Pitella, President of the S&D Group met with Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico to discuss his attitude about the Syrian refugee crisis on 9 October and was quoted as saying the PM's position had embarrassed the "whole Progressive family".  full story

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Canadian airline could be sued for not honoring tickets purchased by Romani passengers

14.10.2015 23:54 CBC News reports that a human rights group based in Hungary wants Canadian-based Air Transat and other airlines that have rejected Romani passengers travelling to Canada to refund their fares. The group says as many as 50 passengers have been prevented from boarding flights to Canada recently because they either actually were or appeared to be Romani and their fares have not been refunded.  full story

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Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: Opportunistic politicians evicting Roma for political gain

13.10.2015 20:39 On 9 October, Kaloyan Stanev of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee published an opinion piece through the Open Society Foundations about the evictions of Roma that have been ongoing there. He describes police giving families one hour to leave their dwellings before they are bulldozed.  full story

Flags in front of the European Commission building in Brussels (PHOTO: Sébastien Bertrand, Wikimedia Commons)

EU-funded online Roma resources project draws criticism from academics and activists

12.10.2015 16:42 Stefan Benedik of the History Department at the University of Graz in Austria has written a protest letter regarding the online promotional video for a project called "e-roma-resource" (e-RR) funded by the European Commission's Lifelong Learning Programme. The video has since been removed.  full story

Women from four Albanian cities meet to discuss their advocacy work as part of what would become the Roma and Egyptian Women Network. The group’s mission is to coordinate actions aimed at improving the socioeconomic and political situation of Roma and Egyptian women in Albania. (PHOTO:  Albi Veizi/Roma and Egyptian Women Network)

As evictions continue in Albania, Romani women reach out to local elected officials

7.10.2015 21:58 Activist Ola Tare in Albania has contacted the Roma Virtual Network to report the planned eviction of Roma families living in an informal encampment near a man-made lake in the capital, Tirana. The municipality reportedly announced the eviction on 2 October because of redevelopment plans and alleged that the families were "harm[ing]... the environment and their [own] health."  full story

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LIVE: OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting addresses Roma today and tomorrow, watch online

1.10.2015 2:49 At 10 AM CET today the second week of the OSCE's Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) comes to a close with two days devoted to Romani issues. The live webcast of the meeting is available at and will be archived there.  full story

European Association for the Defense of Human Rights (AEDH)

European Association for the Defence of Human Rights: Europe, quo vadis?

24.9.2015 19:19 Is there a migrant and/or refugee crisis? Or is there a European crisis? The European Association for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH) considers that this issue has implications for the future of the European Union, given the powerful consequences of member states’ decisions for the rights of migrants, whether they are fleeing war, repression, poverty or death. While thousands of human beings – men, women and children – have put their faith in Europe in order to survive and rebuild their lives, the governments of EU countries have responded with, at best, a limited form of generosity and, at worst, national preference, violence, xenophobia and racism. The Council of Ministers’ failure to understand that global instability cannot be solved with barriers or walls has led to meetings that reveal serious flaws in European integration. Despite claiming to uphold the rule of law, it has shown itself to be fearful, poisoned by suspicion and even hatred of outsiders. Some governments have spread the illusion of an illegal and organised invasion to justify the use of violence, with potentially fatal consequences.  full story

Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia

Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia: Hunger and fear are stronger than barbed-wire fences

23.9.2015 1:32 The following opinion piece by Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia, former Member of the European Parliament and current President of the Spanish Romani Union, was first distributed through the Roma Virtual Network on 17 September 2015 and is reprinted here with permission.
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Central European artists and politicians call for solidarity with migrants

18.9.2015 20:51 Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the Associated Press (AP) report that Czech film director Jiří Menzel and former Czech Prime Minister Petr Pithart are among hundreds of artists and politicians from Central Europe who have called on the citizens and representatives of their countries to demonstrate solidarity with asylum-seekers. The AFP reports that Central European citizens frequently are antagonistic and sometimes hostile towards migrants coming to Europe.  full story

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Bulgarian NGOs get injunction suspending demolition of Roma homes in Peshtera

17.9.2015 20:48 A Bulgarian coalition of Romani NGOs called the National Roma Coalition "Intellect" has issued a press release in response to the advice given to the Bulgarian Government by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 15 September. The ECtHR has advised that “without a definite commitment on its part to ensure the accommodation of the vulnerable members of the applicants’ families before the demolition of their homes, the Court will, in application of Rule 39 of its Rules, indicate to that Government not to proceed with this measure”.
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