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;

ERTF Commemorates the International Remembrance Day of the Pharrajimos

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Strasbourg, 2 August 2013: With a minute of silence being held at noon beside the Holocaust memorial stone in front of the Palais de l'Europe in Strasbourg, the ERTF remembered more than 3,000 Roma exterminated by the German Nazis during the night of 2-3 August 1944 in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

"The Pharrajimos is by far the biggest tragedy in our Roma history. It has traumatised us till this day. The genocide committed on Roma has determined how we apply ourselves in defense of universal human rights, our need for freedom, and our stance towards well-meant multicultural ideals in today's Europe. With the recent events in some of the Council of Europe Member States, it is shameful to see how little has changed for the Roma people in aalmost 69 years after the Pharrajimos.

The memory of the Holocaust must not be allowed to fade away. The suffering of millions should not be in vain. And yet humanity is confronted time and again with the evil of genocide. Is it possible to avoid that? The survivors teach us not to collaborate with those who espouse hatred, but actively resist it and oppose it" said Mr Kawczynski, President of the European Roma and Travellers Forum, in his key address to the representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, staff members of the Council of Europe and the citizens of Strasbourg

ERTF lodge a complaint against the editor of the lepoint.fr online newspaper

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Strasbourg, 29 July 2013: The opinion poll launched by the website Lepoint.fr as a result of the statement of the Deputy Mayor of the City of Cholet Gilles Bourdouleix, led the European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) to lodge a complaint against the editor of the online newspaper, Franz-Olivier Giesbert with the Public Prosecutor of Paris.

The opinion pool invited readers to agree or disagree with M. Bourloudeix’ statement, which referring to Travellers, began with “Hitler didn’t kill enough of them.”

The ERTF believes that the wording of the opinion pool is totally unacceptable. Moreover ERTF considers that these allegations constitute a public incitement to discrimination, hatred or racial violence and an incentive to the advocating for crimes against humanity as defined in the Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881.

ERTF strongly believes that such opinion polls goes completely against the republican values ​​of France and deserves to be appropriately sanctioned.

Robert Rustem: Le Point editor must resign after “offensive” opinion poll

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With breath-taking speed, Europe moves from one ugly episode to the next in its summer rampage against the Roma.

Just eight days ago, the European Roma and Travellers Forum wrote to Nice's Public Prosecutor to demand an official enquiry into anti-Republican and quite possibly defamatory comments uttered by the city's mayor and Jean Marie Le Pen against Roma.

Fast forward a week and it is the turn of the website Le Point.fr to thumb common decency in the eye.

Canvassing public opinion in the aftermath of a confrontation between the Deputy Mayor of the City of Cholet, Gilles Bourdouleix and some Roma and Travellers, the website asked readers to agree or disagree with the statement which, referring to Roma people, begins "Hitler didn't kill enough of them."

The July race to the bottom in this politico-media contest of who can be rudest to Roma now has its winner. Le Point has moved media mischief to a new low.

Any Hate speech must be sanctioned, says the President of ERTF in his letter to the Public Prosecutor of Angers

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Strasbourg, 23 July 2013: On 22 July, in an exchange with a group of Travellers, Gilles Bourdouleix, Deputy Mayor of the City of Cholet, made horrifying statements which referred to the ideology of Hitler and the atrocities carried by the Nazi regime against Roma nearly 70 years ago.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) strongly condemns any racist remarks and hate speech being used to gain electoral support and demands that the French legal authorities take action against Gilles Bourdouleix for his anti-Roma remarks. 

The European Roma and Travellers Forum protests at French politicians’ “hurtful, insensitive and outrageous” attacks

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Strasbourg, 17 July 2013 – On 14 July, Christian Estrosi, a UMP parliamentary representative for Alpes-Maritimes and Mayor of the City of Nice, made public racist statements targeting the Roma and Traveller community and threatened, among others, to install surveillance cameras in Roma and Traveller camps. A few days before, on 5 July, Jean-Marie Le Pen, former President of the National Front party had made similar "provocative" anti-Roma attacks.

The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) strongly condemns this stigmatising competition using hate speech to gain electoral support and demands from the French legal authorities to take action against Jean-Marie Le Pen and Christian Estrosi for their "provocative" anti-Roma attacks.