SURVEY: 2014 EP CANDIDATES & ROMA

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During the European elections from 22nd to 25th May 2014 all European Union (EU) citizens had the chance to determine the composition of the European Parliament (EP) for the next five years. This is of great importance since the political majority that has been elected is the one that will shape the European legislation, which affects every European Union citizen.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) firmly believes that the European Parliament, representing all European citizens, should play a vital role in improving the situation of Roma. Therefore we decided to develop a questionnaire on Roma to find out to what extent Roma inclusion will feature on the EP political agenda in the next term.

ERTF REACTION OVER PHYSICAL ATTACK OF A YOUNG ROMA

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum was shocked to learn that a young Roma was sequestrated and savagely beaten up by a group of people accusing him of robbery in Seine Saint-Denis, France. The young Roma is in a coma and his life seriously in danger. Our organisation is concerned that racist speeches against the Roma, too often without reaction from the authorities and sometimes even supported, by some politicians, are now developing into physical aggression and murder.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum hopes that this case will be properly investigated and the culprits condemned. The ERTF also calls on all organisations and individuals to stand up against this spiral of anti-gypsyism before the situation degenerates any further. We would like to express our deep sympathies to the Roma teenager and his family, with the hope that he will promptly recover.

Physical attack of a young Roma

ERTF reacts on the recent evictions in Paris

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Following the recent order for systematic evictions of Roma issued by the police of the 6th arrondissement in Paris, Mr Rudko Kawczynski, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum(ERTF) send a letter to Ms Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris. By expressing his deep concerns over such orders he also said that this is one more act of violence against Roma and lack of political will to deal with this urgent social problem. Furthermore, such actions stigmatize an entire community and "justify" unlawful racial profiling. 

REVEAL THE HISTORY - HONOUR THE VICTIMS

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EXPRESS YOUR CREATIVITY DESIGN A STAMP

2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the genocide committed against Roma during the Second World War. The Roma nation commemorates this tragedy on August 2nd, the date on which over 3,000 Roma were exterminated in the evening of 2nd August 1944 in gas chamber V of "Zigeunerlager BIII" at Auschwitz – Birkenau. The genocide on Roma during the Second World War is by far the greatest tragedy in Roma history.

The official recognition of the genocide committed against Roma on a national and international level, is of crucial importance to fighting and eliminating the anti-Gypsyism that unfortunately is happening throughout all of Europe to this day.

Due to the significance of this topic and in the light of the 70th anniversary, the ERTF would like to mark August 2nd in a special way in 2014. We are therefore looking to issue a postal stamp, in order to spread awareness and to promote the importance of August 2nd.

OPEN LETTER to the organisers of the European Roma Summit

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Strasbourg, 3 April 2014

Dear Ms Reding,
Dear Mr Barroso,
Dear Mr Schulz,

The European Commission is celebrating with great pomp a European Roma Summit Meeting on 4th April in Brussels. This one-day meeting consisting largely of a series of speeches by non-Roma personalities raises serious concerns as to its purpose, content and participation.

We find it difficult to understand what is the purpose of the Summit and its added value to what has been achieved so far. The themes of the panels – making policies inclusive for all Roma at the local level, making EU funding reach the local and regional authorities to support Roma integration, and making Roma integration a local reality in enlargement countries – are issues which have been discussed ad nauseam in both national and international fora and been the subject of numerous recommendations and decisions of the European Commission and other international bodies. A series of speeches by Ministers and Deputy Ministers is not likely to create the commitment which is so sadly missing.

The ERTF and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities entered into cooperation agreement

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Strasbourg, 26 March 2014: On the occasion of the 26th Congress Session, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) entered into a cooperation agreement with the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.

On the occasion of the signature of the Agreement Mr Kawczynski stated: "To begin with, we have requested to strengthen our working relationship with the Congress because we felt that you can help in improving the living conditions of the Roma and ensure their full participation in society. Your positive response has convinced us of your willingness and commitment to bring about the desired changes for Roma."

International Women’s Day: the status of Romani women and girls in 2014

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On the occasion of the International Women's Day, Phenjalipe (1), the Informal Platform of Romani Women, the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) (2) and the Council of Europe under DOSTA! Campaign (3) are inviting you to participate in a meeting on the status of Romani women. The event will take place on 12 March 2014 in the Agora building in Room G06 from 9.30 am until 12.30 pm (see programme below).

The aims of the meeting are to raise awareness on the ongoing obstacles and challenges of Romani women in their daily lives, take stock of positive developments at policy and community level and to encourage Council of Europe action for the advancement of the status of Romani women and girls.

Czech Republic failing Roma under the European Social Charter

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Wednesday, 5 March 2014 Strasbourg, France – The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) announced today that it has filed a collective complaint against the Czech Republic with the European Committee of Social Rights, which is responsible for ensuring that States comply with the provisions of the European Social Charter.

The complaint is one of the first ever lodged before the Committee against the Czech Republic addressing discrimination against members of the Romani minority.

The ERTF alleges that Romani people disproportionately suffer from systematic violations of their rights to housing and education in the Czech Republic.