MINELRES: European Roma Information Office - E-news - 15 June 2006

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Wed Jul 5 20:35:22 2006

Original sender: Ivan Ivanov <Ivan.ivanov@erionet.org>

Helsinki Commission to Hold Briefing on Situation of Roma
Witnesses to Testify on Human Rights Situation of Europe's Largest
Ethnic Minority
Roma are Europe's largest ethnic minority - and also one of its most
marginalized.  Efforts to improve the situation of Roma are often
stunted by pervasive discrimination, opportunistic political
anti-Romism, and government neglect.  In spite of this, Roma are taking
control of their political destiny as never before - winning seats in
the European Parliament and winning cases before the European Court on
Human Rights. In order to address the challenges the Roma community
continues to confront, the Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing to
examine the current situation of Roma in Central Europe, with a focus on
human rights.  In particular, the briefing will address: the causes and
implications of the housing crisis facing Roma; the progress of efforts
to end segregated education in the region; and the impact on Roma of
rising populist 
and extremist movements. 
Commission Briefing on "The Human Rights Situation of Roma:  Europe's
Largest Ethnic Minority"
Friday, June 16, 2006
10:00 a.m.
226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
More on
Ambassadors to Visegrad-4 Countries discuss Roma issues
On June 3rd, Orhan Galjus, the head of USAID/RSCís Roma Integration
Program, Romani activist and media expert, led a discussion with the
U.S. Ambassadors to the Visegrad-4 (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary,
and Poland) and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European
Affairs Mark Pekala on regional Roma issues at the U.S. Ambassadorís
Residence in Bratislava. Some of the topics discussed included further
integration of the Roma in the workforce, the social and employment
opportunities presented by military service and training, the importance
of developing role models, and educational access and the end of
"special schools" in the region.
Galjus Orhan 
Xanthi Hosts First Conference of Greek Rom

Xanthi - The needs for the full integration of all Greek Rom in Greek
society was underlined during the 1st Conference of Greek Gypsies of
Eastern Macedonia and Thrace that began on 2 June, Friday morning, in
the city of Xanthi, in northern Greece, and was due to end late at night
on the same day.

The conference focuses on "The position of the Greek Rom in the
modern-day Greek and European structure", while the main demands of
Greek gypsies are "housing-employment-education." The opening of the
conference, that gathered a large number of gypsies, was also attended
by Minister of Macedonia and Thrace George Kalantzis and Deputy
Interior, Public Administration and Decentralisation Minister Athanasios
According to statistical data provided by the interior ministry, about
250,000 gypsies are living and working all over the country, while the
deputy interior minister pointed out that after the accession of Romania
and Bulgaria to the European Union the gypsies in the EU will total 11
Support to European networks involved in the fight against poverty and
social exclusion

Last year, the Commission called on European networks to submit
proposals with a view to obtaining a financial contribution to their
running costs. As a result of this last call, six networks were selected
for support, including the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN).
Nevertheless, the Commission has identified the need to increase the
capacity of the organisations in other fields than those covered by
these six networks, such as micro finance, over-indebtedness,
environmental sustainability and social inclusion, access to culture.
Consequently, this call aims at the presentation of proposals from
networks of NGOs, of public bodies, of service providers and users, etc.
particularly in the abovementioned areas.

The total budget made available under this call is around EUR 1 million.
It is likely that between three and five European networks will be
selected following this call and it is therefore envisaged that the
level of Community funding will be between EUR 200,000 and 300,000 per

Deadline for submitting proposals: 11 September 2006.

For more information, see:
'European Year of Equal Opportunities for all' gets green light for 2007

The Council and the Parliament have recently and officially designated
2007 as 'European Year of Equal Opportunities for All'. The year will
aim to make Europeans aware of their right not to be discriminated
against, to promote equal opportunities in areas from work to
healthcare, and to show how diversity makes the EU stronger. The year
will have four themes: rights, representation, recognition and respect,
with a total budget of EUR 15 million.

The year's budget will be spent on, inter alia, an EU-wide information
campaign, new Eurobarometer surveys on discrimination and attitudes
towards it, as well as hundreds of national initiatives such writing
competitions for schools on the theme of respect and tolerance or prizes
for companies with the most effective diversity training. There will
also be the first ever Equality Summit gathering together ministers,
equality bodies, civil society and social partners. Most activities will
be co-ordinated nationally to ensure that they take place as locally as
(Source: EC)

Further information about the Year can be found at:

See Decision No 771/2006/EC of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 17 May 2006 establishing 
the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) - towards a just
Ivan Ivanov, Executive Director, ERIO

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) is an international advocacy
organization which  promotes political and public discussion on Roma
issues by providing factual and in-dept information on a range of policy
issues to the European Union institutions, Roma civil organizations,
governmental authorities and intergovernmental bodies. The ERIO
cooperates with a network of a large number of organizations  and acts
to combat racial discrimination and social exclusion thorugh awarenes
raising, lobbying and policy development. 

Ave. Edouard Lacomble 17 
Brussels 1040 Belgium 
Tel: 0032(0)27333462

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