ERTF concerned with the ethnic profiling of Roma in Sweden

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The President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), Mr Rudko Kawczynski in a letter addressed to the Minister for Justice of Sweden, Ms Beatrice Ask expressed his astonishment and disbelieves over the ethnic registration by the policy of Swedish citizens with Roma origin.

The practice of ethnic registration, revealed by the Dagens Nyheter on Monday 23, September violates domestic and international legislation. Moreover it reinforces prejudice and stereotypes and legitimises racism and racial discrimination against Roma among the general population.

"The ERTF fears that the absence of a strong reaction on this scandal will encourage other countries to continue with similar activities and apply discriminatory policy toward Roma", said the President of the ERTF in its letter.

ERTF and EGAM are joining forces to fight for the dignity of Roma people in Europe

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European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) and the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) are joining forces to fight for the dignity of Roma people in Europe.

Who can still ignore the racial discriminations striking Roma people everywhere in Europe? The list of discriminations, rejection and racist violence that they face, like a baleful litany, is ever-growing and could sink into despair.

In Romania, entire communities are rejected to secluded areas surrounded by walls, lacking water and electricity, like in Slovakia, where Roma women were sterilized. In Bulgaria, they are confined in urban ghettos. In the Czech Republic, they are targeted by an increasing number of neo-Nazi demonstrations. In Croatia, they get Molotov cocktails thrown at them. In Hungary, they are harassed and assaulted by the Jobbik paramilitary militia and therefore have to seek shelter abroad.

ERTF & IRWN jointly addressed the 4th International Roma Women's Conference

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Strasbourg 18 September 2013: The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) and the International Roma Women's Network (IRWN) jointly presented a Position Paper at the 4th International Roma Women's Conference "Acting Now for an Equal Future" which took place on 16 and 17th September 2013 in Helsinki, Finland. The conference was organised by the Finnish Government and the Council of Europe.

The Position paper was a result of the discussions from the working groups on Roma Women and Elderly established at the 2013 Plenary Assembly of the European Roma and Travellers Forum. The ERTF and IRWN were calling on Roma women to work together for the improvement of their status in society and for the welfare of the community.

ERTF expressed concerned over the police misconduct in the Romani settlements in Slovakia

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The President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), Mr Rudko Kawczynski, addressed a letter to the Minister of Interior of the Slovak Republic, Mr Robert Kaliňák in which he expressed his concerns over the alleged racially-motivated police misconduct in the Romani settlements of Moldava nad Bodvou and Drienovec.

It is reported that a conflict involving some settlement residents with a police patrol after a party on the night of June 16 sparked a repressive police action two days later. The raid resulted in injuries to over 30 individuals including children. The investigation and report of the Slovak Ombudsperson on that incident identified human rights violations committed by the police against the Roma inhabitants of the settlements.

Reaction to the biased article in "Valeurs actuelles"

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The magazine "Valeurs actuelles" (Current values) in its issue of August 22, 2013 carried on its cover page the statement "Roma overdose", indicating that the French were, according to an opinion survey and street interviews, fed up with them.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum has addressed a letter to the head of publication of the newspaper, Yves de Kerdrel, to warn him that biased articles, fallacious arguments and simplistic populism, "are likely to stir up an already latent xenophobia in certain categories of the population".

Roma movement lost another Roma Rights Activist, Florin Cioaba

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum is deeply saddened to hear about the sudden demise of the President of International Romani Union (IRU), Florin Cioabă on August 18, 2013.

Florin Cioabă was a dear friend, leader and activist with whom we worked for many years.

He generously worked for the Roma till the very last moment and was highly respected among the Roma leaders, activists and the International community.

With his demise the Roma movement lost another passionate and dedicated Human Rights Activist.

All ERTF members share the grief of the family of Florin Cioabă, to whom they offer their condolences.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

The death of one of our greatest Roma leaders Nicolae Gheorghe

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum has learnt with shock and dismay of the untimely death of one of our greatest Roma leaders Nicolae Gheorghe, on 8 August 2013.

Nicolae Gheorge was a dear friend and collaborator with whom we worked for many years. He selflessly worked for the Roma till the very last moment and shared with us his vast knowledge and extensive political experience.

His passing away is a significant loss not only to his country Romania but to the whole Roma nation in Europe, particularly given his moral stature, his vision and his leadership.

All ERTF members express their sincere condolences to the bereaved family of Nicolae Gheorghe

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

"In sorrow, we mourn those lost. In gratitude, we embrace those around us. In sympathy, we reach out to those who grieve."

ERTF , ENAR and ERGO united against escalation of violence against Roma

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Following a decade of dramatic escalation of aggressions and intimidation targeting Roma throughout Europe the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and the ERGO network, today have issued a "Call for Immediate (RE)Action – Stop the escalation of violence against the Roma".

This urgent call for help is addressed to all European states and to all international organisations whose mission is to ensure peaceful co-existence and to safeguard human rights.

ERTF, ENAR and ERGO have urged the Council of Europe, the European Commission and OSCE/ODIHR to:

Recognise anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of racism and reinforce existing efforts to design awareness-raising campaigns to debunk myths and prejudice about the Roma;