MINELRES: Romania: Newsletter Romani CRISS: May-August 2006

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Tue Sep 19 21:19:24 2006


Original sender: Cezara David <cezara@romanicriss.org>


Romani CRISS
Roma Center for Social Intervention and Studies

19, Buzesti Street, Sector 1
Bucharest - Romania
Tel: +4 021/ 231 41 44
Fax: +4 021/ 310 70 70
E-mail: office@romanicriss.org
Web: www.romanicriss.org 


NEWSLETTER
May - August 2006 

Contents:

News
- "Shadow report" on Roma minority in Romania to the 2006 Country Report
- Cases of human rights violation 
- The "Steps towards Tolerance" project has started. Did you know that
…."a fifth of population thinks that there should be shops or bars in
which Roma shouldn't be allowed to get in"? 

The Helsinki Commission and equal access to housing for Roma in Romania
Training course on human rights and anti-discrimination
Roma women and discrimination 
Organizational Management Guide
The Health Fair
20 June - World Refugee Day. Out of solidarity with the refugees…
The "Application of high school Roma graduates to university on
subsidised places 2006" brochure

Short news
- School segregation of Roma in Romania
- Justice administration 


News:

"Shadow report" - Overview of the Roma Situation in Romania

The Community Development Agency "Impreuna" and Romani CRISS have
submitted a Shadow report in regard to the Roma minority in Romania, to
the European Commission 2006 Country report. 

In regard to the human rights, the situation of Roma in Romania
continues to be alarming. In particular, the Police violence and abuse,
discrimination in the field of education and health constitute patterns
of discrimination faced by the Roma every day. Moreover, the Roma women
confront with multiple discrimination and are more vulnerable to abuse
and violence. The Romanian Government shouldn't just continue, but
intensify the implementation of its policies in view of ensuring the
respecting and exerting of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all
citizens after accession to the European Union.

Download the report at www.romanicriss.org, section news. 


"Steps towards Tolerance" project

Did you know that, according to the poll "Perceptions and attitudes
towards the phenomenon of discrimination", carried out by CURS, in
December 2005, for the National Council of Combating Discrimination, as
beneficiary, there is a great support for discriminatory attitudes
against Roma in Romania: 81% share the prejudice that "most of the Roma
infringe the law", 61% agree that "Roma are an embarrassment for
Romania", approximately half of the interviewed people think that "Roma
shouldn't be allowed to get married abroad because they make a shame of
us". A fifth of the population believes "there should be bars or shops
in which Roma shouldn't be allowed to get in. 

Starting from this poll, other reports and Romani CRISS experience, the
"Steps towards Tolerance" project, which started in August 2006, aims to
inform the population correctly in regard to the Roma minority and to
combat bias and stereotypes against Roma. The project is supported by a
grant from the Trust for Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe and
targets mainly the young people. It will include a TV spot, a
video-clip, public debates with mass media and students, but also other
methods of promoting the message of diversity and equal opportunities. 


Cases of human rights violations 

Romani CRISS has started a series of briefings regarding the situation
of Roma minority in Romania, in terms of human rights respecting. This
initiative aims to provide succinct information, shortly after the
documenting of a case. Such briefing regarding cases of forced evictions
and law enforcement officials' violence is available at
www.romanicriss.org, section news. For further details, please contact
Romani CRISS



Helsinki Commission to hold briefing on situation of Roma in Europe
Equal access to housing for Roma in Romania 

In June 2006, the Helsinki Commission held a briefing in regard to Roma
situation in Europe, in terms of human rights. The witnesses to testify
were Magda Matache, Director, Romani CRISS (Center for Social
Intervention and Studies) (Romania), Timea Junghaus -Arts and Culture
Network Program, Open Society Institute (Hungary), Tano Bechev - Program
Director, Regional Policy Development Centre (Bulgaria), Nicolae
Gheorghe, Senior Advisor, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human
Rights, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Mrs. Magda Matache informed the Commission about equal access to housing
for Roma in Romania.

>From Romani CRISS perspective, the most important problems of Roma in
Romania in terms of housing are:
- lack of property documents
- evictions
- patterns of discrimination or abuse

Romani CRISS protests against the policy of local public authorities to
evict and segregate Roma from the cities to the "margins of society".
This concern is expressed in the context of more similar cases and
situations documented at local level in several areas of the country.

As international human rights bodies (ECRI) also recommended to Romanian
authorities, it is necessary to take steps to ensure that members of the
Roma community have access to decent housing. On the other hand it is
extremely important to impose penalties on local government officials
who engage in discriminatory practices against Roma, amongst others, the
area of housing. 

To this end, also take into consideration the report on Romanian human
rights situation that the U.S. Department of State issued in 2006, but
also in 2005, as well as the statement of Senator Hillary Clinton, and
the strong support that we have from Open Society Institute until now.
We think that it is important, besides the need from the political elite
in Romania to stand up against racism and discrimination in Romania,
also the support from other institutions and other bodies at the
international level to support us to combat discrimination in Romania.


Training course on human rights and anti-discrimination 

>From 17 to 20 July 2006, in Constanta, Romani CRISS organised a training
course in the field of human rights and anti-discrimination, for the
Roma activists in Romania. The course is part of the "TRAILER -
Transnational Actions for the Development of Policies and/ or Legal
Responses to the Fight against Discrimination o Grounds of Racial or
Ethnical Origin, Religion of Beliefs, Disability, Age and Sexual
Orientation" project implemented by European Dialogue (UK), in
cooperation with Romani CRISS and financed by the European Commission.
The project aims to improve the implementation of anti-discrimination
legislation in Romania by building the capacity of Roma NGOs, Roma
activists and. 

The main topics of the course were: Concepts of human rights and
non-discrimination, Anti-discrimination legislation in Romania;
Mechanisms of combating discrimination; Documenting cases of human
rights violation.

The objective of the course was to increase the participants' level of
awareness and knowledge in all the fields mentioned above, as well as
for participants to pass on directly the information they received and
to apply it in practice, both in the Roma communities and the
organisations they work in. 

        
Roma women and discrimination 
The 35th Session of Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against
Women 

>From 15th May to 2nd June 2006, Romania presented the sixth periodic
report regarding the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination
of all Forms of Discrimination against Women at the 35th session of
Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Romania ratified the CEDAW Convention in 1982 and the Optional Protocol
in 2003. 

Previous to the presentation of the report by the Romanian Government
representatives, non-governmental organisations, and international
organisations had the opportunity to submit to the Committee alternative
reports to the Government's report, as well as a list of questions and
recommendations. Thus, the Romani CRISS organisation in Romania, the
European Roma Rights Center and the Open Society Institute in Budapest
have reported several violations of the Convention in what regards the
Roma women in Romania. 

The Committee's questions to the Romanian Delegation also reflected
aspects marked out by Romanian civil society representatives. 

Women belonging to the Roma minority face multiple discrimination,
particularly in fields of education, health, employment or participation
to public and political life. 

Violence against women - Romani CRISS have documented cases where the
Roma women have fallen victims of violent behavior by representatives of
local institutions, mainly the police and Special Forces, and in most of
the episodes concerned, no adequate remedies were provided to the
victims.

Access to health-care services - right to health - Although measures
have been taken by the State in relation to Roma women and access to
health (such as the health mediation system), Roma women still suffer
exclusion from public health-care services  due to inequitable
geographic distribution of health-care units and, most critical, due to
the discrimination on ethnic criteria. The most alarming one is
discrimination faced by Romani women in relation to the medical
personnel. Our organisation's reports and work in the field have shown
that there were strong concerns about the cases of Romani women
hospitalized in "special" rooms, especially in the case of maternities.

Accesul la employment of Roma women is still a problematic issue. The
UNDP recent study "Faces of Poverty, faces of Hope" shows that 35% of
Roma women aged 25-54 are unemployed, a percentage four times higher
than in the majority population. These differences are the result of low
level of education, lack or poor professional training, but also
discrimination of the employers. The 2005 OSI study underlines that 58%
of interviewed women answered that employers discriminated Roma women
based on ethnic criteria. 39% of the interviewed women didn't have any
income in 2004. Out of the employed women, 54% worked without any legal
contracts (black market), thus they didn't enjoy any benefits or labour
contracts. At national level different policies took shape in order to
increase Roma's employment level, including of Roma women's. But all
these policies and actions do not reach the Roma women in the
communities (exception of the health mediators) who are still
discriminated against when applying for a job and who still have less
opportunities than other women.  

During the meeting of the Romanian Government representatives with the
Committee, the Government representatives answered to all these
information stating that there were no cases of Roma women segregation
in maternities and that Police interventions in Roma communities were
legal.

We emphasise that Romania's report on the implementation of the
Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against
Women was not elaborated in consultation with the Romanian
non-governmental organisations, as the NGOs experience hasn't been
asked. 

The minutes of Romanian Government's session with the Committee on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women are available at: 
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/wom1564.doc.htm, as well as
concluding comments at:
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw35/cc/Romania_rev.pdf


Influencing school participation of Roma children 
Debate regarding the Memorandum on ensuring Roma children's access to
quality education 

The roundtable "Influencing the school participation of Roma children"
took place on 10-11 July 2006, at Herastrau Hotel, Bucharest. The event
was organised within project Need for Equality and Quality in Education,
financed by the Roma Education Fund, Budapest. The purpose of the
project is to develop the competencies of Roma children and youth in
view of ensuring quality education and of preserving the cultural
identity. The project is being implemented by Romani CRISS - Roma Center
for Social Intervention and Studies, in partnership with the Ministry of
Education and Research and "Amare Rromentza" Association.

The roundtable aimed to gather the participants in the project and to
discuss issues such as quality education, interculturality and
educational policies for Roma in Romania, including desegregation and
analysis of the draft Memorandum regarding Roma's access to quality
education.

The following topics were approached during the meeting: the results of
the information campaign regarding the subsidised places for Roma in
high schools, vocational schools and universities; the history and issue
of summer kindergarten for Roma children; Training of teachers who work
with Roma students; Increasing of the Roma children self-esteem and
asserting of the ethnical identity; and analysis and debate upon the
Memorandum on ensuring Roma children's access to quality education.

The main conclusions of the meeting were:
- The necessity for educational policies towards Roma to be supported,
financed and carried out mainly by the Ministry of Education and
Research and other specialised governmental structures and not to be
entirely on the non-governmental organisations' shoulders;
- The summer kindergartens for Roma children who are about to enrol in
the 1st grade, but have never attended pre-school do not represent a
purpose itself, but a solution in cases of emergency;  
- The intercultural education at all levels is essential and, in
education for Roma, the accent should be placed on the component of
knowing and ascertaining the Roma cultural identity and self-esteem;
- The school curricula in Romania should take more into consideration
the ethnic diversity of the population, including the promotion and
preservation of Roma cultural group's identity;
- For supporting the education and issue of Roma it is recommendable
that the Romanian Government allocate strategic budget lines, through
the Ministry of Education and Research and also through the National
Agency for Roma;
- School desegregation is not a purpose itself; this process should be
done in order to ensure Roma children's access to quality education and
the Ministry of Education and Research should issue and Order to
stipulate clear deadlines for desegregation;
- The courses for teachers who work with Roma students should continue
because the previous experience has shown that positive results could be
obtained and 75% of the teachers have developed a better understanding
of the working with Roma students.

The Memorandum on ensuring Roma children's access to quality education
is a document that needs to be analysed and discussed together with the
involved institutions and Roma NGOs. To this end, a working Group has
been established and the Memorandum is to be signed. 


Organisational Management Guide 

On 20.07.2006, Romani CRISS - Roma Center for Social Intervention and
Studies has launched the "Organisational Management Guide" within
project "Management capacity building for Roma NGOs". The project is
financed by the European Union, through the PHARE 2003 program.

The improvement of Roma NGOs' management capacity by training 20 Roma
young activists in the field of communication and public relations,
fundraising, organisational and project management, writing projects.
The event was attended by the 20 young Roma - the project beneficiaries
from 18 counties. The event was thought to be an exercise for the
project beneficiaries to apply what they had learned during the training
course.

The Organisational Management Guide is a working instrument for NGO
managers and community workers, thus it has a practical characteristic.
The Guide can be useful to all people who want to be better in their
work, to develop their skills and to change, both their image and their
organisations' image. The Guide aims especially to ad more
professionalism to the NGOs' relation with mass media, local
communities, the other NGOs and, implicitly, the general public. Through
this guide, the reader has the opportunity to work systematically, by
approaching the 4 domains covered by the Guide: Communication and Public
Relations, Fundraising, Writing project applications, Organisation and
project management.  

The guide is available at:
http://www.romanicriss.org/pdf/GHID_DE_MANAGEMENT_ORGANIZATIONAL.pdf 


Health Fair

>From 10 to11 June 2006, the Health Fair - A different type of dialogue
for health took place at Romexpo, Bucharest. The initiator of the fair
was the Foundation National Studies Center for Primary Care, a
non-governmental organisation formed of professionals in primary care
assistance, including family doctors who work throughout the country.
The event was part of the actions initiated by the World Health
Organisation, under the slogan "Working together for health".

The Health Fair initiated by the NSCPC tried to create a framework for a
meeting place and knowledge place for the people interested in the
subject: family doctors and non-governmental organisations. During the
two days of the fair, the organisations presented their fields of
activity, projects implemented so far and the working partners. 

Through this fair, Romani CRISS disseminated information about Roma and
health, through brochures, posters, books, but also established contacts
with the other organisations present, in view of possible joint
projects. 

Other organisations that participated in the Health Fair: "Wings"
Association, Anti-Drug National Agency, Alliance for Fighting against
Alcoholism and Drug addiction, Romanian Community Psychiatry
Association, "Doctors of the World" - Romania, ARAS, CRED Foundation,
"Alaturi de Voi" Foundation, "Youth for Youth" Foundation, MOBILMED
Foundation, Research and Training Center "JOHN SNOW" - Romania and
Eastern European Institute of Reproductive Health.


20th of June- World Refugee Day 
Out of Solidarity with the Refugees… 

With the occasion of the World Refugee Day, Romani CRISS - Roma Center
for Social Intervention and Studies and Monitoring Media Agency would
like to express solidarity with all the refugees and IDPs (internally
displaced persons), especially with the refugees from former Yugoslav
countries and to protest against the current situation of the refugees. 
        
At present, the situation of Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians from the
post-crisis states of South-Eastern Europe is far from being solved.
Although each country has its specificity (Serbia, Montenegro, Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and province
Kosovo), the refugees' problems are commune and multiple, including that
fact they are denied the refugee statute, the right to voluntary return;
they do not benefit of fundamental rights (right to education, to
health, etc), civil registration and, not least, they are subject of
constant discrimination. 

Despite the international organisations' efforts to solve the situation
of the refugees in the South-eastern Europe, the situation is still
precarious. To this end, we recommend the governments to take concrete
and immediate measures to solve the desperate conditions in which the
refugees live (sanitation, unemployment, legal statute).


The brochure "Application of high school Roma graduates to university on
subsidised places 2006"

Within project "Need for quality and equality in education", financed by
the Roma Education Fund - Budapest, Romani CRISS has launched this
brochure which contains information on application on subsidised places
for Roma to university centres in Bucharest, Brasov, Cluj-Napoca, Tg.
Mures and Timisoara.  

Please note that the first subsidised places for Roma at university
level were provided in university year 1992-1993, as affirmative measure
for Roma ethnicity in Romania. The affirmative actions are special
temporary measures by natural or legal entities in view of preventing or
compensating the disadvantages suffered by a person, group of community,
due to one or several acts of discrimination, or of facilitating their
effective participation in all fields of social life.
In order to apply on one of these places, it is necessary of written
recommendation signed by the president of a civic, cultural or political
Roma organisation, legally established. The Recommendation is free of
any charge. For more information, including on how to obtain this
recommendation, the brochure specifies the contact data of the
information and counselling centres in 10 counties and Bucharest. 

The brochure is available at: 
http://www.romanicriss.org/pdf/admiterea_facultati_2006.pdf 


Short news:

Letter on dimension of school segregation of Roma in Romania  
As per the Ministry of Education and Research's Notification no. 92323/
20.04.2004, MER asks the County School Inspectorates to send a briefing
regarding the dimension of segregation in every county, by filling in
the table in the Notification's annex, as well as the plan of measures
initiated to eradicate this phenomenon. Based on Law no. 544/2001
regarding free access to public interest information and based on Law
no.52/2003 regarding the decisional transparency in public
administration, Romani CRISS asks the Ministry of Education and Research
to make available: 

1. All annexes communicated to MER until 15.07.2006. 
2. All plans of measures communicated to MER until 15.07.2006 
3. Documents regarding the centralisation/ evaluation of these briefings
4. Copy of the "Access to education of underprivileged groups, with
focus on Roma" program initiated by MER, General Directorate for
Pre-university Education, with Phare funds
5. Narrative and financial reports regarding the evaluation of
implementation of the above mentioned program.   

Letter on justice administration

Romani CRISS has sent a letter to the Superior Council of Magistracy to
express the belief that it is opportune and necessary, in the same time,
the harmonisation of the Reform Strategy of judiciary system 2005-2007
with the current requirements at European level, respectively the
European Commission standards and ECRI's. To this end, Romani CRISS
considers that training and perfecting courses for magistrate should be
extended, in the field of international legislation and ECHR case law
and, specifically in the field of national legislation and case law on
non-discrimination. Hence, our organisation has proposed collaboration
to the Superior Council of Magistracy in view of implementing these
courses. 


Note:
For additional information regarding any of the newsletter topics,
please contact us:
Romani CRISS - Cezara David, public relations coordinator, email:
cezara@romanicriss.org.

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