Archivio Maggio 2007

Czech Rep/Slovakia, Amnesty says Romanies discriminated against

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Romanies in the Czech Republic and Slovakia were seriously discriminated against in access to education, health care, housing and work in 2006, the Amnesty International (AI) human rights organisation says in its annual report released today.

It says that Romanies and other endangered groups in the Czech Republic were also subject of police mistreatment and racist attacks. AI bases its information, among others, on a report by the Council of Europe human rights commissioner, according to which Romany children in the Czech Republic and Slovakia were unjustifiably placed in special schools for children with mental troubles.

AI, however, recalls last year’s European Human Rights Court’s verdict rejecting the complaint by 18 young Romanies from the Ostrava region, north Moravia, about their alleged discrimination in education. The court conceded that the complaint was based on certain serious arguments but it concluded that the rules for Czech children’s admission to special schools have no racial subtext.

Referring to U.N. documents, AI also says that almost 75 percent Slovak Romany households depend on support from the state, municipalities and charity organisations. AI also recalls the Czech government’s decision of May that criticises the Czech ombudsman’s recommendation in 2005 that a bill be passed to secure compensation for the women who had been sterilised without giving consent to it.

The AI report also mentions the Czech police attack on official Katerina Jacques, who has become a deputy for the Greens (SZ) in the meantime, when she protested against a May Day demonstration of neo-Nazis in Prague.

© Prague Daily Monitor

EU values at risk over treatment of migrants and Roma

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

In its 2007 human rights report, leading human rights organisation Amnesty International argues “the EU as a beacon ‘union of values’ looked increasingly ambivalent” over the past year, with the treatment of migrants, asylum seekers and its own Roma population highlighted as the key subjects of concern.

“The lack of long-term sustainable solutions and the discourse of fear that dominates political agendas have led to disturbing manifestations of racism and discrimination in Europe,” said the NGO. Its world-wide monitoring review – unveiled on Wednesday (23 May) – criticises most member states on a wide range of issues.

In the area of security, Amnesty repeats its previous complaints of the complicity of several EU governments ? mainly Germany, Italy, Sweden and the UK – with US intelligence agency CIA on renditions of terrorist suspects.

According to the report, the security forces of Germany, Turkey and the UK had taken advantage of the situation by interrogating individuals subject to rendition, while the British government “continued to undermine the universal ban on torture” by trying to deport the terror suspects to countries where they potentially faced ill-treatment.

“Almost as bad as allowing these acts to occur in Europe has been European governments’ failure to recognize them and to take measures to prevent such abuses from happening again,” said Dick Oosting, the Director of Amnesty’s EU office. “Europe betrays its values if it remains trapped in this denial. It has a leadership role to play but in order to set a credible example outside, it first needs to clean up its act at home,” he added.

Refugees and Roma people
Although the authors of the study suggest there is a general trend in the EU in violations against foreign nationals on member states’ territory, Greece, Italy, Malta and the UK are singled out for cases of unlawful detention of migrants or for having denied necessary guidance and legal support to new arrivals. These tendencies are reflected in European legislation becoming more unfavourable to asylum-seekers and migrants, with a new French law for example tying residence permits for migrants to pre-existing work contracts “putting migrants at risk of exploitation in the workplace,” according to the report. In terms of discrimination against own nationals, several member states continue to have problems ensuring the fair treatment of Roma people. The Roma communities remain “largely excluded from public life and unable to enjoy full access to rights such as housing, employment and health services,” Amnesty says. The NGO points out that in countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Roma children have not been integrated into the education system but rather segregated in special classes or schools, including schools with a reduced curriculum.

Intolerance on sexuality grounds – in some cases fostered by national authorities – has been reported in Poland and Latvia, with gay and lesbian organisations facing obstructions when trying to organize public events in reaction to “openly homophobic language used by some highly placed politicians.” Finally, the report also draws attention to the problems faced by thousands of people from ex-Yugoslavia currently living in Slovenia who had been unlawfully erased from the registers of permanent residents. It also looks at the Russian-speaking minority in Estonia, which has limited access to the labour market due to restrictive linguistic and minority rights. “Inability to solve these serious problems has in practice created thousands of ‘second class citizens’ in Europe,” the Amnesty report concluded.

© EUobserver

Romanian president in racism row after spat with journalist

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Romanian President Traian Basescu, fresh from a clear victory in a weekend referendum to decide on his possible impeachment, on Monday faced accusations of having made racist comments and theft of a mobile telephone following an altercation with a journalist.

Romania’s National Council against Discrimination said it was to summon Basescu to explain the incident, which has sparked protests by journalists’ unions and human rights groups.

The alleged incident occurred Saturday, the day of the referendum, as a journalist recorded footage of Basescu on her mobile phone as he was shopping with his wife in a Bucharest supermarket.

As the president was packing his purchases into his car, the reporter questioned him on what was the expected outcome of the vote. An angry Basescu responded “have you nothing better to do?”, snatched the journalist’s telephone and drove from the scene.

As he departed, the president is alleged to have commented to his wife on how aggressive the reporter was, describing the woman as a “stinking gypsy.”

The mobile telephone, which was still recording, is alleged to have captured his comment. Basescu’s security staff are believed to have neglected to delete the recording before the telephone was later returned to the journalist.

Basescu scored around 75 per cent backing in Saturday’s referendum, engineered by opposition and government parties over the president’s alleged interference in political affairs as part of his anti-corruption drive.


Roma people are more likely to be stopped by police officers, report by OSI

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Roma people are more likely to be stopped by police officers. This is one of the conclusions of a recent study written for OSI (Open society justice initiative).

?I can stop and search whoever I want? is a book realized in 2007 by Open Society Justice Initiative, which examines police stopping ethnic minorities in Bulgaria, Hungary and Spain.

This report was written by Joel Miller and based upon research conducted in three countries representing the situation of minorities in Europe. The scope of the study was to address ethnic profiling by police in Europe. Ethnic profiling means the use of ethnic, religious or racial stereotypes as a basis for decisions about who could be involved in criminal or terrorist activity.

This discrimination breaches fundamental human rights, but it has not been expressly outlawed by any European government; because of this, it is impossible to develop strategies that address police behavior with minority communities. In each country the researchers conducted interviews with 60 or more police officers and members of minority groups.

The results, for all, indicate that the police practice ethnic profiling. However, there is a lot of points which defies the situation in each selected country. In Bulgaria and Hungary, Roma are the largest of ethnic minority. They are at social and economic disadvantages and are overrepresented in the national criminal justice system.

In Spain, indeed, the Roma represent about 1.5 percent of the population. Few of them hold salaried or independent jobs, most of them holding part-time positions or informal labor. They have problem of discrimination in employment, housing, education, and other services.

National law of examined countries gives wide discretion in conducting stops and searches. To be Roma is a factor of suspicion. As a result, Roma (in all three countries) and migrants (in Spain) have often negative experiences during police stops with numerous examples of disrespectful and humiliating treatment.

Certainly, many Roma community members believe that the police engage in ethnic profiling. “I get stopped almost every day in the center by police. Sometimes twice a day”, said a Spanish interviewee. In Bulgaria and Hungary, patrol officers interviewed, said that the stops are more frequent when someone is an outsider to the town, or village (often a Roma). Roma origin can be a basis for a stop.

In Spain, officers rarely suggested that Roma identity was a direct reason for suspicion. Instead they said Roma were stopped because they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity. The experiences of stops there is evidence of ethnic profiling, which can be worse for ethnic minorities.

Police officers in Bulgaria and Hungary who described ethnic profiling referred primarily to Roma, while officers in Spain who described ethnic profiling referred primarily to immigrants rather than Roma. Police stops do not closely adhere to international good practice for reducing crime. The report, also, suggests a range of possible improvements to police stop procedures.

Important is an accord about legal standards prohibiting ethnic profiling, at international and regional levels. But each state must also supervise the stopping situation within their own territory by implementing systems for monitoring police activity, such as stops and identity checks. The scope is that patrol officers respect human rights during their work with Roma or migrants people.

© Dzeno Association

Categorie:Senza categoria Tag: , , , , , , ,

Czech Rep, nationalists disturb act marking Czech Romany wartime victims

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Five members of the far-right Czech National Party (NS) disturbed a commemorative event marking the victims of the wartime Nazi internment camp for Czech Romanies in Lety today. Nationalists got into a verbal clash with the organisers.

The police interfered and expelled the nationalists from the place. During a mass, the NS members displayed banners recollecting Czech policemen who guarded Romanies in the camp and died of typhoid then. The NS banners included slogans as “300,000 Czech victims of Nazism often without a single memorial,” “German labour facility – German responsibility,” and “Czech policemen – victims of typhoid epidemic in the labour camp.”

The nationalist argued they only wanted to remind of forgotten victims of Nazism. However, participants in the commemorative event, including junior ruling Greens deputy Ondrej Liska, said it was a provocation.

Cenek Ruzicka, chairman of the Committee for Compensation of Romany Holocaust (VPORH), organising today’s event, recalled that 326 prisoners, including 240 children, perished in the Lety camp. Part of them died of typhoid, some of hunger, he added.

The VPORH has been in the long run demanded that the pig farm in Lety, built on the premises of the wartime camp for Czech Romanies, be removed. Romany activists point out that it defames the victims’ memory. The EP also called on the Czech Republic to remove the pig farm.

Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (for Greens), who took part on today’s act of commemoration in Lety, pushed for the removal of the pig farm as well. “Since it is undignified to have a pig farm at the place where people were dying.

No other reason is needed,” Schwarzenberg told reporters. The Czech state negotiated with the AGPI company, owning the pig farm complex, in the past, most recently in 2005 under the Social Democrats (CSSD)-led government, but in vain. The current centre-right government originally also planned to purchase the farm.

Though the price was not officially releases, speculation emerged that it could amount to hundreds of millions of crowns. Minister in charge of minority agenda Dzamila Stehlikova (Greens) said previously that the government would not have finances for the purchase.

PM Mirek Topolanek (ODS) confirmed it a month ago. He said that a new memorial should be build next to the pig farm. However, the VPORH opposes the idea. According to historical documents, some 1,308 Romanies were deported to Lety during WW2, while 326 people perished there and more than 500 of its inmates ended up in the extermination camp in Oswiecim (Auschwitz).

© Prague Daily Monitor

Categorie:Senza categoria Tag: , , , , , ,

Minister: Czech Agency to lead ‘motivated’ romanies out of ghetto

29 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

The emerging Czech Agency for Romany Integration wants to focus on “motivated” Romany families, that is those whose children attend school, parents seek jobs, etc. and take them out of ghettoes, Minister for Ethnic Minorities Dzamila Sthelikova told today’s issue of daily Pravo.

“Don’t believe that all Romanies want to live on social benefits,” she said. The majority society cannot say “let them live there and don’t let us bother about them,” Stehlikova said. She said that shunning the ghetto issue solves nothing, and cited the example of France that “boasted of stately neighbourhoods on the edge of Paris.

The time bomb went off after decades, the minorities have not been integrated. Such situation does not threaten in the Czech Republic, yet it is a sort of warning,” Stehlikova said. She said that street workers and NGOs will deal with Romany families on an individual basis.

They will have to prevent their further social decline. They will see to it that they pay housing rents in time so that they do not run into debt. They will look to that children attend school and check how these people cooperate with the labour offices, Stehlikova said. All this should somehow be linked to the Romanies receiving social benefits, she added. Stehlikova said that integration will be no easy task and that it will take decades.

Stehlikova, who has lived in a strongly-Romany part of Chomutov, north Bohemia, for 18 years, said that she is sure “her” housing estate will not turn into a ghetto. Flowers have grown outside the house and no one dares to tear them, representatives of the majority society are not fleeing from the housing estate, which is good, she said. “Romany minorities inhabitants must not live isolated from the others,” Stehlikova told Pravo.

Stehlikova, a physician by training, said that she thinks that it is never pointless to help people, but the help must be effective. She said that the state policy has been a failure because it worked with one pattern and made it possible to abuse the social system.

Stehlikova said that problems at different places are different and that projects for particular municipalities will tailored through the agency. She said that no exact figures of Romanies living in the Czech Republic exist, but that a qualified estimate puts their total at 300,000 to 350,000. Stehlikova said that many Romanies do not claim their origin.

In Brno, for instance, about 17,000 Romanies live, but statistics speak about only 450 of them. Asked how she wants to motivate Romanies to seek jobs in regions where there are none even for “the whites,” Stehlikova said that retraining must be targeted. She said that even in regions with a high unemployment rate there are still vacancies that are filled by foreigners: Slovaks, Poles and others.

“Don’t let us try to turn Romanies into administrative workers or computer specialists,” Stehlikova said and added that retraining should be directed so that they could do jobs that are available.

© Prague Daily Monitor

Categorie:Senza categoria Tag: , , , , , ,

Wake up Europa, Italy is coming back to 1940

24 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

11 September 1940, Minister of Interior gives order to Prefects to intern all italian Roma and Sinti and to remove all european Roma. 18 May 2007 Minister of Interior gives order to Prefects to intern into ?special camps? some Roma and Sinti and to remove all Roma and Sinti in excess. Only in Rome Prefect Serra is ready to drive out of 10.000 people (source ?La Repubblica?, page 6, 19 May 2007).

Finally the unavoidable is happened. Minister Amato and deputy Minister Minniti sign pacts among Government and local authority to fight crime (source Interior Ministry).

Italian and european citizens, living in Italy and belonging to sinti and roma minorities, by today are officially criminals and Italy decides this ?Truth? during Prodi?s Government that was engaged to recognise to these populations the right of being linguistic and ethnic minorities.

Rome and Milan are just first cities to undersign pacts but as soon as possibile other cities will arrive changing Italy into the first western country where human rights are encroached by an official act. Special powers to police which would have ?free hands? to broke all costitunial rights in order to survey camps where roma and sinti will be enclosured.

In this tragedy there is also someone who increase the problem such as NGO national Opera Nomadi association who writes on ?Repubblica?: ?More over than 160 milion of Roma, Sinti, Travellers and Romanian Roma still present in Italy will be joint by over than 60 milion of other Romanian Roma in the next months. That wuold provoke a collapse in a yet dramatic situation and it will modify fragile balances which have been conquered after several hard years?.

Jounalist Claudia Fusani writes:? In Romany there is a bomb of 2.000 people ready to live to the West after the opening of european boards?.

In Milan this project wolud cost milions of Euro, only for the courrent year more than 132 Milions. For Rome noboy knows and infact Alemanno (National Alliance Party) disputes pacts and asks new laws to face:vagrancy, begging and squatting.

It is interesting the comment of Minister Amato, one of those who wrote this national shame:?The tragic mistake of Left Parties is to think that the problem of security is only for rich people who have somenthing to defend.This problem today is felt by those who have a little and therefore they defend themselves hardest becoming enemies of those who wuold be similar?. (source ?La Repubblica?, page 6, 19 May 2007).

Minister goes on and riches the paradoxe:?This is the wrong action one can commit and it will be the effect of disrupt society and to move away people each by each?. Therefore He thinks to built, according to Serra, four camps far away in the roman countryside where 5 milion person will be imprisoned under police control; the rest of roma population will be moved away and hounted all over the Country.

Of course the recent election defeat in Sicily has been difficult for the Left Parties and this is why now they are arranging this ?security packet? which neither a racist wuold never have dreamed of.

Passwords now are: everyboby ready to the next elections whising to defeat Right Parties and to come back our Country to 1940 (eve if a look on the new Frnch right Governement wuold be healty for our new borning democratic party).

An so we ask: Europe where are you?

Riferimenti: Svegliati Europa, l?Italia è tornata al 1940

Categorie:Senza categoria Tag: , , , ,

Forced eviction of more than 10,000 Roma Announced in Italy

24 Maggio 2007 Commenti chiusi

Honourable Excellencies, The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and osservAzione are writing today to request your urgent intervention in the wake of ?Pacts for Security? in Rome and Milan, signed by various authorities on 18 May 2007, which reportedly foresee the forced eviction of more than 10,000 Roma from their homes (1).

The Pacts were signed in the midst of racist media statements by the same authorities, apparently intended to fuel anti-Romani attitudes in Italy and secure broad support for the impending illegal actions.

The European Roma Rights Centre is a public interest law organisation that works to combat human rights abuse of Roma in Europe. osservAzione is a non governmental organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma and Sinti in Italy.

The Rome Pact was signed by the Prefect of Rome, the Mayor of Rome, the President of the Province of Rome and the President of the Region of Lazio, in the presence of the Minister of Interior (also a signatory).

According to the Rome Pact, commencing this week a joint commission of the regional government will be established which will have 3 months to identify locations for 4 ?villages of solidarity? on the periphery of Rome and another 9 months to build pre-fabricated container houses and prepare the areas for inhabitation by 4,000 Roma.

At the same time, a task force of 150 police officers (75 from the military and 75 from the state police) is being set up to ?rehabilitate the areas.?

The Milan Pact was signed by the Prefect of Milan and the Mayor of Milan, in the presence of Vice-Minister of Interior (also a signatory). The Milan Pact agrees to reduce criminality and to address the problem of unauthorised camps for Nomads.

Within 3 months of signing the Pact, the responsible authorities must ?define a strategy in which extraordinary power will be given to the Prefect to implement the strategic plan for solving the Roma emergency in Milan.? The Pact also foresees the ?intensification of controls? on the periphery (where many Roma live) to guarantee the security of Milan residents.

Media coverage surrounding the Pacts has been explicitly racist, the result of direct quotes from Italian authorities published by mainstream Italian newspapers, without any kind of editorial remark.

The most alarming article was published on 19 May 2007 by the Italian national newspaper La Repubblica, entitled: ?Prefect Serra: Those who live in the squatter settlements must go. Police to control order in the camps. And in the capital, order increases: ?Away with 10,000 unregistered Roma?.

The article was based on statements made by Mr Achille Serra, the Prefect of Rome, who announced the ?Pact for Security in Rome?. According to Mr Serra, ?ten thousand [Roma] who live in squatter settlements on the banks of the Tiber and the Aniene must go?, while only 4,000 places will be made available in the ?villages of solidarity?.

Many of the Roma concerned are reportedly from Romania. Mr Serra has reportedly been granted ?unlimited power? within all institutions and organisations relevant. Mr Serra made explicitly racist remarks about Roma, referring to them as Nomads and recalling a personal visit to existing camps. Mr Serra was quoted as having stated:

?[?] at ten? o?clock in the morning I saw children, dirty, playing with a ball. [?] The women were not around because they are at the metro stealing purses and the men were sleeping because perhaps they worked all night robbing apartments.?

Regarding the real purpose of the task force established in Rome, Mr Serra was quoted as having stated that the task force will begin systematically patrolling the existing camps, ?encouraging the Nomads to leave. If they return, the police officers will remove them again and this will continue until they understand that they must go somewhere else.?

According to La Repubblica, Mr Serra plans that by the time the ?villages of solidarity? are completed, 10,000 Roma will have been removed from the center of the city and the task force will shift their responsibilities to ?preventing the villages from becoming a centre of car theft, weapons, drugs, and prostitution.?

Honourable Excellencies, On 21 December 2005, the European Committee of Social Rights unanimously concluded that Italy had violated Article 31 of the Revised European Social Charter taken together with Article E, with respect to the insufficiency and inadequacy of camping sites for Roma in Italy, that the recurrent forced eviction of Roma by Italian authorities, and the lack of permanent dwellings made available for Roma. The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted this decision on 3 May 2006 in Resolution ResChS(2006)4.

In this light, the Pacts for Security signed in Rome and Milan are especially worrying and call into question the commitment of the Italian government to upholding the various international treaties it has ratified that guarantee respect for the right to housing and freedom against forced eviction, including the Revised European Social Charter and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

They also indicate a total disregard for the findings of the European Committee of Social Rights and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

The ERRC and osservAzione call on you to use the powers of your office to rescind the racist Pacts for Security and ensure respect for the housing rights of the Roma implicated, many of whom will apparently be made homeless.

We request that you comply with your international law obligations and adopt housing policies and programmes which avoid homelessness and the further segregation of Roma, and which provide real and adequate housing solutions for the Roma currently living in squatter settlements in Italy.

We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these matters with you further. We respectfully request to be informed of actions undertaken by your office in this regard.

Thank you very much for your attention to this most urgent matter.
Sincerely, Vera Egenberger (ERRC), Piero Colacicchi (osservAzione)

To Mr Giorgio Napolitano (President of the Republic of Italy), Mr Romano Prodi (President of the Council of Ministers), Mr Giuliano Amato (Italian Minister of Interior), Marco De Giorgi, General Director UNAR

(1) See ?Pact for Security in Rome? and ?Pact for Security in Milan?, appended to this letter. In their wording, both Pacts made clear that the actions sanctioned therein target individuals considered inherently alien to each city.

Categorie:Senza categoria Tag: , , , , , ,