Archivio Febbraio 2007

Czech Rep. to spend czk 8 million on anti-discrimination campaign

16 Febbraio 2007 Commenti chiusi

The Czech state will spend CZK 8 million this year as part of its ongoing campaign against discrimination. Campaign coordinator Czeslaw Walek says the programme will fight prejudice against foreigners and promote equal opportunities. In previous years the government annually CZK 4 million a year on its campaign against racism.

This year’s campaign will be part of the programme of the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. The Czech programme will have a regional campaign and two national campaigns, Walek said. The project will include seminars, research focused on handicapped people, and discussions in schools.

A ground document for multicultural education is to be drawn up with aims such as increasing tolerance towards Romany children. Six short films on the causes of discrimination are to be shot. The Czech Republic is reportedly to receive about EUR 249,000 from the EU for the campaign.

According to the European Parliament’s information office in the Czech Republic, the EU subsidy may climb to EUR 258,000. Almost 60 Czech projects applied for a subsidy. The Czech Republic submitted eight of them to the European Commission for assessment. Czech EU Commissioner Vladimir Spidla will launch the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All in the Czech Republic in late March or early April.

© Prague Daily Monitor

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Czech Rep., failed police offer of Roma integration

16 Febbraio 2007 Commenti chiusi

In the North-western town of Most in the Czech Republic, a recent 11 million crown EU-funded initatiative has failed to incorporate Roma into the police force. The goal behind the program was to train Roma to become uniformed police officers, increase the chance of finding jobs, and produce higher intergration within society for people who have difficutly in the labor market.

In Most seven Roma applied for the positions, however they recently failed to meet the requirements to be re-qulaifed at the educational institute Polis in Pribram in central Bohemia. This low applicant turn-out could be illustrated by the statement of many Roma as quoted in Pravo Daily: ?I wouldn?t do it. Our people would regard me as a renegade and officers would regrard me just as a Gypsy. I wouldn?t be white nor black. I will would rather be unemployed.?

Some of them couldn?t even read or write
Competence for admittance into the program was based on a clean criminal record and education commensurate with the job. Lubos Trojna from the Most municipal police says that ?some of them couldn?t even read or write in the Czech language.?

Although the police did not require a high school graduation for the Roma applicants as they do for the non-Roma, it did not take into consideration that Czech language levels would be lower due to primary school education and particularly due to the socio-linguistic background of Roma.

Mr Trojna?s statement highlights a social problem in the Czech Republic in regard to why this project failed on the education levels. A large number of Roma are sent to special schools, which are designed for cognitively disabled children, at a very young age.

The chance to continue from a special school to a high school is very difficult and extremely rare. Because of this education, many Roma do not have the opportunity to find qualified employment. Consequently, many Roma are excluded from social and economic mobility within Czech society. Resulting from social exclusion from Czech society, some Roma are only in contact with broken Czech of their Romany elders as well as non-schooled forms of colloquial spoken Czech.

The quality of the Czech language of Roma is not only dependent on the level of social involvement and interaction but also on the educational system. This education and linguistic background has not been discussed within the Czech media.

Successful co-operation
However, we must also look at the failure of these tests not as a problem of Roma but as an individual problem. In other towns in the Czech Republic, police forces have successfully integrated Roma into their ranks. Czech Television mentioned that in nearby Usti nad Labem, there are 10 Romany police officers.

The police department in Usti has praised the collaboration with Romany officers for their knowledge of Roma cultural and societal background. Last year, the municiplaity of Brno implemented the project of police assitantships which is a step in higher levels of Roma intergration modelled on the same program in Ostrava.

The assitantships differ from a uniformed officer in that assitansships act more as social fieldworkers who inform Roma to know their legal possibilities. Additionally, they help the police learn more about the Roma culture.

© Dzeno Association

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2 Febbraio 2007 Commenti chiusi

The ?Equality Summit? in Berlin on 30 and 31 January will be the ?kick off? for the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, in which an ENAR delegation will participate. The 2007 Year of Equal Opportunities for All is a chance to make real the promise of Europe?s anti-discrimination protection.

In recent years Europe has made substantial progress in developing anti-discrimination law, however law is worthless if the people who need it do not know about their rights. That is why initiatives such as the 2007 Year are crucial. This year provides all Europeans with 365 days in which they can take action in the fight against racism and discrimination.

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey on ?discrimination in the European Union?, Europeans identified racial discrimination as the most prevalent form of discrimination in Europe. Over two-thirds of Europeans believe that racial discrimination is widespread in their country.

However the survey also found that there is little awareness of anti-discrimination law and rights: 39% of respondents did not know that racial discrimination in hiring new employees is against the law. Over half of Europeans think that not enough is being done to fight discrimination.

Bashy Quraishy, Chair of the European Network against Racism (ENAR), stated that ?as anti-racist NGOs we are very conscious of the potential value of such initiatives, particularly when it comes to raising awareness of rights and obligations under the law?. He emphasised that ?while the themes of the Year – rights, representation, recognition, and respect – are important in focusing our energies and discussion, we must not forget the underlying challenge of combating prejudice?.

Pascale Charhon, Director of ENAR, took the opportunity of the kick-off event to remind participants that the challenge of equal opportunities and the fight against discrimination will never be realised without the active participation of NGOs. NGOs are a key source of support and advocacy for the victims of discrimination, as well as a source of information and a tool for generating change amongst the majority population.

She stated that ?ENAR hopes the Year will bring concrete outcomes and create momentum?, and called for ?high level political commitments from all EU governments to respond to the challenge of disseminating knowledge about rights and obligations, and to undertake consistent, structured, and well funded awareness-raising activities at all levels of society, in line with commitments made in the Racial Equality Directive?.

On the occasion of the kick off event in Berlin, ENAR launched a special edition of its newsletter ENARgy, dedicated to one of the themes of the Year – Representation. The newsletter is available at:

© European Network Against Racism

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Roma and Sinti minorities say holocaust effects remain in Europe

2 Febbraio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Associations of Roma and Sinti ethnic minorities in Europe said Monday they continue to suffer racial discrimination that led to an estimated 500,000 people of the two groups dying in the Holocaust during World War II. The associations asked UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a UN special representative who will defend and develop practical measures to protect the rights of Roma and Sinti currently living in Europe.

There are between 10 million to 12 million Roma and Sinti scattered in several European countries, from Poland to the Netherlands. Representatives of those ethnic minorities attended the second international day for the remembrance of Holocaust victims in the UN General Assembly in New York.

They said in a press conference that Roma and Sinti continue to be “victims of pogroms, racially motivated murders and other acts of violence.” “Often, such attacks emanate from the state security forces themselves,” said Romani Rose, one of the representatives. “Only rarely can the perpetrators expect consistent prosecution.” Rose belongs to the association of Roma and Sinti in Heidelberg, Germany.

Laila Weiss said Roma and Sinti in the Netherlands are “seriously” neglected in schools, suffer high unemployment rates and are not considered an ethnic minority. A statement by the Central Council of German Senti and Roma and the other national organizations said the ethnic minorities are marginalized and discriminated against in several European countries. “This is a scandal, which is unworthy of the European states, which are founded on the protection of human rights,” the statement said.

© Romano Vodi

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Romania, Roma ethnics to join into an american-like ‘parliament’

2 Febbraio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Self-proclaimed Roma king in Romania, Florin Cioaba, said Wednesday, January 24 that he will establish an ethnic Romas Parliament in Romania, after the American model. “It is time to take a stand, to stick together and to be united. We will establish the first Roma Parliament countrywide, which will be a test before running for the European Parliament, in mid-May,” Florin Cioaba said.

The new parliament will be called just like the Lower House of US’s Parliament. The Chamber of Romas Representatives in Romania, or CRRR, will be the first Parliament made up after exclusively ethnic criteria. Some 430 Roma representatives will be chosen through democratic vote. Each city will elect at least ten ethnic Romas and CRRR will have a president, a vice-president and a secretary general.

The new forum of ethnic Romas will gather all their 250 organizations. The Ethnic Romas Parliament will monitor the enforcement of the EU’s stipulations on this ethnic and will pass decisions which will be subsequently submitted for analysis to the Parliament and Government of Romania, and to the European forums. The first Romas’ general meeting to set up CRRR will be held on January 30, in Bucharest, Cioaba said.

© Romano Vodi

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