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Archivio Novembre 2006

Brussels, training and advocacy session

16 Novembre 2006 Commenti chiusi


18 and 19 January 2007 an initiative of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter established under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Terry Davis. In cooperation with the European Platform of Social NGOs and the European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC).

This day-and-a-half training and advocacy session aims at providing the participants with a specialized knowledge of the mechanisms of the Council of Europe European Social Charter and of the most recent trends in the case-law of the European Committee of Social Rights. The training is addressed to international and national non-governmental organisations, employers? and workers? unions, lawyers advising these organisations or wishing to invoke the Charter more systematically before national authorities, and public servants. The programme includes both plenary sessions and smaller working groups, in order to ensure that all those attending receive the focused presentations they are most interested in.

The registration fee includes attendance of the training sessions, and the documentation package.

Programme, day 1

9.30 to 10.30 AM
Introduction (plenary) : Olivier De Schutter (UCL, ANESC)

Historical development of the ESC
The obligations of States under the ESC

10.30 to 12.30 AM
The Procedure of the ESC (plenary) : Gerard Quinn (former member, European Committee of Social Rights)

Reporting by States and the input of social partners and NGOs
Collective Complaints
Application of the ESC at the national level

12 .30 AM
Lunch

2.00 to 4.00 PM
Transversal issues (plenary) : Mark Bell (Leicester, ANESC)
The scope of application ratione personae of the ESC
The requirement of non-discrimination in the ESC

4.00 to 6.00 PM
Working group I (labour law issues) : ETUC representative with Gisilla Gori or Claire Dubois-Hamdi (Secretariat of the European Social Charter)
Freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, and the right to consultation within the undertaking

Working group II (other issues) : Ida Elisabeth Koch (Danish Institute for Human Rights, ANESC)
The rights of the child under the ESC

Programme, day 2

9.30 to 11.30 AM
Working group I (labour law issues) : ETUC representative with Gisilla Gori or Claire Dubois-Hamdi (Secretariat of the European Social Charter)
Health and safety at work and the right to vocational guidance and training

Working group II (other issues) : Padraig Kenna (National University of Ireland at Galway)
The right to protection against poverty and social exclusion and the right to housing

11.30 to 12.30 AM
Strategizing on the basis of the Charter (plenary)

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Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia

11 Novembre 2006 Commenti chiusi


The word Holocaust has come to describe the horrors of the planned extermination campaigns launched by Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II. These campaigns, as most people know, resulted in the murder of six million Jewish people of various European nationalities, about one third of the Jewish people of the world at the time. Many millions of others perished in concentration camps, in mass killings used as reprisals for partisan attacks, in policies of forced labor and food deprivation designed by the Nazis and their fellow fascists to work and starve “inferior races” to death.

But the history of the Holocaust during World War II in what was then “former Yugoslavia” is not at all well known. Had it been better known, liberal minded people might not have responded to the propaganda used to line up support for Croatian and Bosnian separatists during the Yugoslavian civil war of the 1990s, which has created a new “former Yugoslavia” whose map and whose “favored nations” resembles the map drawn by Hitler and Mussolini in 1941.

The Jasenovac Institute was founded by Barry Lituchy and others to educate people internationally about the Holocaust in Yugoslavia. I am proud to be a member of the Institute?s Board and an active supporter and contributor to its mission.

The Institute?s name derives from the Jasenovac complex of murder camps run by the Ustasha, a Croatian nationalist organization which the Nazis put into power over Croatia and Bosnia when they dismembered Yugoslavia in 1941. Jasenovac was the third largest extermination camp in Europe after Auschwitz and Treblinka and the only extermination camp not run by Hitler?s SS. In it hundreds of thousands of Serbians, mostly from Croatia and Bosnia, perished (an estimated 600,000-700,000) along with tens of thousands of Jewish and Roma people.

Based largely on a conference held at Kingsborough Community College in 1997, Jasenovac exposes the horrors inflicted on the people of Yugoslavia, scholarly debates about the complicity of Croatians, the Vatican, and others in perpetrating those horrors, and their effects on the postwar history of the region and the world. Barry Lituchy?s careful, lucid introduction explains both the complicated historical background, the debates among historians, and the testimonies of survivors that the work presents

Contributors to this book include many Yugoslav scholars, such as the distinguished Anton Miletic, director of former Yugoslavia? military archives. Non-Yugoslav participants included Eli Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations of the Justice Department, which sought to deport and extradite fascist war criminals from the U.S., Charles Allen, who pioneered in exposing the fascist criminals living in the “free world” from the 1960s on, and Christopher Simpson, author of the classic work, Blowback: America?s Recruitment of Nazis and its Disastrous Effects on Our Domestic and Foreign Policies.

The question of records, sources, and numbers of victims is debated by the historians from various perspectives. The book also discusses ability of certain Ustasha war criminals to escape punishment with the assistance of the Vatican and the U.S. government without embellishment. One example was former Secretary General of the UN and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, a former Wehrmacht officer whom Yugoslav investigators declared a war criminal in 1947, who covered up his past for decades. Among these war criminals was Andrija Artukovic, “Justice Minister” for the Ustasha regime who played a leading role in implementing its racist policies. Artukovic, whom Charles Allen connects with CIA activities in Latin America, actually lived for decades in California, avoiding extradition to Yugoslavia until the mid-1980s.

Part II of Jasenovac tells the survivors? stories, which are accounts of horror and courage. Yugoslav partisan forces led by the Yugoslav Communist Party fought German divisions and their Ustasha allies, made an important contribution to the war effort in Europe, and eventually liberated Yugoslavia to a considerable degree.

Even though Yugoslavia did not join the postwar Soviet alliance system, its attempts to capture and punish fascist war criminals, both Germans and their collaborators, were stymied by NATO bloc intelligence and police agencies who simply “rechristened” these elements anti-Communist “refugees” and “freedom fighters” from the “captive nations” of Europe.

Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia is enormously valuable both for students of the Holocaust and also general readers who want to understand how history is made and unmade. It is a work that helps us to face and understand modern history?s greatest horrors and hopefully through that understanding to act to prevent either their return or historical denial and amnesia that serves as a precondition for their return. For example, the historical amnesia about the Holocaust in Yugoslavia played a significant role in creating popular acceptance of U.S. and NATO bloc policies that dismembered Yugoslavia.

Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia:
Analyses and Survivor Testimonies
Edited by Barry Lituchy, New York, Jasenovac Research Institute, 2006
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Czech Republic, locals launch petition in support of mayor who evicted romanies

11 Novembre 2006 Commenti chiusi


The residents of Vsetin in the Zlinsky region have launched a petition in support of their mayor and senator Jiri Cunek (the Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) who recently decided to evict some local Romany rent-defaulters from their homes and give them replacement housing outside the town centre, Vsetin town hall spokeswoman Eva Stejskalova told CTK today.

The petition asks politicians to start dealing with the Romany issue in a constructive and efficient way. It has also called on the Council for Radio and Television Broadcasting to inspect the fairness of the published reports, Stejskalova said. The town hall constructed container-like flats outside the town, to which it moved some 230 Romanies from a dilapidated house from the town centre. Cunek was sharply criticised for the measure by human rights activists. The town hall also moved tens of Romany rent-defaulters outside the town.

The Romanies moved outside the Zlinsky region have filed a lawsuit against Cunek. Organisers of the petition say that both the private and public media describe the Romany issue in Vsetin unfairly, painting the picture of Cunek as the worst “rascal and racist.” “If anything, it was him who was able to resolve the long-lasting unbearable situation in Vsetin’s centre without throwing the rent-defaulters out in the streets, while his opponents, who are criticising him, are shouting cheap slogans about xenophobia and racism from their comfortable offices and desks,” the petition said.

Organiser Jan Oth said it was evident that the people did not know the meaning of the word. “In the opposite case, they would keep silent. If there is any racism, it is only committed against the ‘whites.’ The state robs us at any step through taxes so that it could provide livelihood to parasites,” Oth said. If anyone disagrees with the steps, pseudo-protectors of human rights and “blabbermouths” who know nothing about the problem foment big opposition.

They have never been to Vsetin, they have never heard its residents who have been exposed for decades to the co-existence with the unadapted people, Oth said. Not Cunek’s conduct, but lack of professionalism, buck-passing and ignorance of facts and views of the public are scandalous, the petition said. Two petitions are being held in Vsetin to the same effect. The first was launched by the staff of the clinic that is situated close to the house with Romany rent-defaulters in question, who were most afflicted by the latters’ disorderly conduct. The petition has been signed not only by the health staff, but also by patients.

© Prague Daily Monitor

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Czech Republic, medal for romany activist: positive discrimination or not

11 Novembre 2006 1 commento


Was it an act of positive discrimination when President Vaclav Klaus bestowed the Medal of Merit on Czech Romany Milan Horvat on October 28, or was it correct to award Horvat? the weekly Tyden asks in its latest issue. MEP Hynek Fajmon (Civic Democrats, ODS), former mayor of Lysa nad Labem, central Bohemia, says that his party colleague Horvat deserves the medal.

“I´ve know him for ten years. Cooperation between Romanies and the Lysa town hall is an example for other Czech towns and municipalities thanks to him,” Fajmon told Tyden. However, other Lysa inhabitants were reluctant to make any official statement for the weekly about Horvat´s decoration.

“Well, Horvat is a good chap, but I don´t want to comment on it…” one of them said. In Lysa, people make jokes that he received a Dance Shoe Order as he organiser an annual national Romany ball that the president´s wife, Livia, has repeatedly attended, Tyden says. But Horvat, 53, a widower a father of five, a member of the ODS of which Klaus is honorary chairman, is active in many other areas. He among others does business in construction and organises a Romany festival. Horvat founded a Romany association in Lysa and took part in a project of asylum housing for released prisoners. He has been a local representative and last week he was elected a town councillor, the weekly writes.

It says that Horvat may be considered a good example for the members of the country´s Romany community: a self-made man who offers jobs to Romanies and even educates them, allegedly persuading others to regularly send their children to school.

“He is a hard-working, honest and nice man who always handed in proper accounting of all subsidies he received,” Tana Hlavata from the Nadace Via foundation said. Horvat was recently awarded the Via Bona prize for significant philanthropists as he funds some of the activities of the Romany association in Lysa. But Hlavata said she believes Horvat should have not been awarded the medal as he has not done enough to deserve a state decoration.

“I know tens of people like him and it is rather an exaggerated gesture of appreciation,” she told Tyden. Historian Dusan Trestik shares her doubts. “State decorations should reflect merits concerning the state, not any excellent performance,” he said. Trestik, nevertheless, said he considers the choice of Horvat as candidate for a state decoration was rather good.

The weekly notes that Klaus decorated a man who leads a Romany community that is exceptional in the Czech Republic in one aspect: Lysa Romanies mostly take part in elections, they support the Civic Democrats, and admire the president. A Romany activist was also awarded in 2002 by former president Vaclav Havel who bestowed the Medal of Merit for the Czech Republic upon Karel Holomek, chairman of the Association of Romanies in Moravia. Holomek helped establish the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno.
© Prague Daily Monitor

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