Archivio Giugno 2007

EU, Commission acts to close gaps in race equality rules

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

The Commission has sent formal requests to 14 Member States to fully implement EU rules banning discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin (2000/43/CE). The countries concerned – Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and Slovakia – have two months to respond, failing which the Commission can take them to the European Court of Justice.

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Romania, politicians still use racist language against Roma

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

Romas Center for Social Intervention Romani CRISS, Press Monitoring Agency, or PMA and ERGO organization submitted Tuesday, June 9, a complaint to the National Council to Fight Discrimination, or CNCD, considering that Social Democrat deputy Vasile Dancu displayed a racist stance in saying his party ?should make a difference between gypsidom and social-democracy.?

Dancu?s statement ? in a conflict with one of his party colleague ? indirectly pertained to Marian Vanghelie, who despite of the fact he did not publicly assumed his origin, he is in fact ethnic Roma. Starting from this premise, the three organizations asked for “public apologizing, this time from the Social Democratic Party.

We ask Dancu to apologize as this kind of language is neither admissible nor tolerated and it is time that all of us become aware of that. We hope the ideologist of the Romanian PSD understands the doctrine he enforces refers to «equal opportunities between all country?s citizens», and discrimination is an unconceivable action in a social democracy,” Romani Criss said in a press statement.

Moreover, Romani Criss CEO Magda Matache said to the press the offence brought against the ethnic Romas through the statement of the PSD vice-president is similar to that of president Traian Basescu against a TV reporter. “A politician makes senseless reference against the ethnic Romas. We feel offended and we hope that PSD head Mircea Geoana takes a stand against Dancu?s statement. He should publicly apologize,” Magda Matache said.

© Divers

Situation of Czech, Slovak Romanies still wrong – Report

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

Romanies in Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia, are still being pushed to the edge of society, according to a study, worked out with support of the EU, the World Bank and billionaire George Soros, which was presented in Sofia today.

The study says that the countries would have to determine and fulfil binding goals to improve the integration of the Romany minority into society. Two years ago, eight Eastern and Central European countries, including the Czech Republic an Slovakia, launched “The Decade of Roma Inclusion” (2005-2015) international programme to improve the situation of Romanies.

The study says that trustworthy data on Romanies are still missing along with the assessment of the achieved goals in Romany integration. Philanthropist Soros called on the governments of the countries participating in the programme to better use resources in order to improve the living conditions of Romanies and create more opportunities for them.

Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovakia, where some 10 million Romanies live in total, according to estimates, pledged to pass new anti-discrimination laws and improve the access to education and health care for Romanies at the summit in Sofia two years ago.

However, in spite of that, thousands of Romanies are still living in very poor conditions in deprived settlements without electricity and running water, being segregated from the majority population. Romanies have worse access to health care and other social services and more difficulties to find jobs, the study says.

© Prague Daily Monitor

Finland, satirical tv programme sparks controversy among finnish Roma

27 Giugno 2007 Commenti chiusi

The Finnish Roma Forum has asked the Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) to suspend broadcasts of the summer comedy series Manne-TV. In an appeal sent to the YLE, the series, which aired its first programme on June 2nd, is denounced as demeaning to the Roma, or Gipsy population.

The organisation claims that it is racist, that it underscores prejudices, and that it could undermine the results of years of work to change attitudes. Other fears include a prospect of increased violence between the Roma community and other Finns, as well as an increase in ethnically based school bullying.

YLE Programme Director Harri Virtanen stands behind the show, most of whose producers and actors are Roma themselves. He says that Manne-TV will not be cancelled, and that it would continue to air on Saturday and Sunday evenings. “If the series really increases school bullying, for instance, I would naturally be very sorry, but it is not the purpose of the series”, Virtanen says.

“The target of the series is the population at large and its prejudices. If someone watching the series thinks ?is that how I think?’, or ?do I have attitudes like that?’, then we will be fairly close to the aim of the series”. Nevertheless, changes are planned in the content of Manne-TV.

In the future there will be a greater effort to specifically deal with prejudices of the majority population toward the Roma. “Finland is said to be a tolerant society, but this series has again raised the racism of the majority population. If the topic is this big, it is good that it has been raised, and is being debated”, Virtanen says.

The Roma Forum, which called for the cancellation of the show, is an umbrella organisation of Finnish Roma organisations, focusing on equal treatment under the law for the Roma population. According to the group’s vice president Mertsi Lindgren, Manne-TV contains overt incitement against a population group. The Roma Forum is actually considering the possibility of submitting a criminal complaint on the matter.

“First we need to meet with the Minority Affairs Ombudsman and to discuss it with [YLE Director-General] Mikael Jungner.” Minority Affairs Ombudsman Mikko Puumalainen has not yet studied the appeal of the Roma Forum. “I want to discuss the matter with representatives of the forum before I form an opinion on the matter”, Puumalainen says. Lindgren says that the Roma Forum took action on the basis of negative feedback from the Roma community.

“We have also heard from the majority population that the programme does not work”, Lindgren adds. Response received by YLE on the programme has been more negative than positive. “We get feedback from all programmes, but it dies not shake our decisions”, Harri Virtanen says.

© Helsingin Sanomat