Racism and Anti-Roma Resentments in Central and Eastern Europe

Languages: Czech, English

Organization: RLF Berlin, RLSF Saxony, RLF Brussels

Kontakt: Anna Striethorst

Europe’s Roma discrimination

The treatment of Roma in today’s Europe is more than just an Anti-Roma feeling and it still translates into official policies that result in segregation of Roma from the rest of society, deepening and exacerbating their poverty and marginalization. In some areas discrimination becomes racist violence. Across Europe, Roma are often poor, socially excluded, and discriminated. Although some International obligations exist, they are often ignored. Even worse: So-called “Nomad Emergency” legislation that came into effect in 2008 has allowed local authorities in Rome, Milan and other cities to be heavy-handed in closing Roma settlements. Such operations continue, despite a November 2011 ruling by the Council of State (Italy's highest administrative court) that the emergency plan is unlawful.

Almost the same happens in Eastern Europe where forced evictions have other harsh ramifications. In Serbia’s capital Belgrade in April, city authorities forced more than 1000 Roma out of the downtown Belvil settlement without giving a reason. Thousands of Romani children in Slovakia remain in substandard education as a result of widespread discrimination and a school system that keeps failing them. In Hungary, the discriminatory attitudes of the far-right party Jobbik has on more than one occasion aggressively raised intimidation and violence against Roma communities. In August 2012 the police was accused of standing by while some 1,000 people violently attacked the homes of Roma families during a march organized by Jobbik. And finally in the Czech Republic, very little progress has been made to guarantee Romani children equal access to education, five years after the European Court of Human Rights found that the country discriminated against Roma by placing them in special schools without the necessary safeguards.

It is imperative for governments across Europe – at the local, national and EU levels – to set about changing public attitudes and policies that fuel the ongoing human rights violations against the Roma. EU member states have yet to follow through on promises made in Brussels earlier this year to improve the lives of Roma children, women and men – the EU Commission must weigh in and make things right. Responding to a call from the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement to reject the racism, discrimination and prejudice against the Romani people, protest marches expressing Roma Pride took place Oct. 7 in France, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Poland, Ukraine, England, Turkey, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. We need more of this kind of activities to make known what is happening in Europe and to actively combat any kind of antioziganism, racism and xenophobia. That is why the Brussels office of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung organized in Berlin, December 2011 a Conference on «Willkommen zu Hause? – Situation der Roma in der EU» (Welcome home-The situation of Roma in the EU).

This seminar intends to share information on the situation today by focusing on the situation in Eastern Europe. Secondly it wants to enforce networking activities in order to combat xenophobia and discrimination on a European grass root level.
Friday, 7 December 2012

12:00 - 14:00 ARRIVAL
16:00 - 18:00 Kumar Vishwanathan, NGO Vzjemné soužití: Nationalism and Racism in Czechia and Ostrawa
18:00 - 19:00 Dinner
19:00 - 21: 00 “Welcome home” - Film and Discussion

Saturday, 8 December 2012

10.00 - 12.00 Andreas Koob on: Nationalism and Xenophobia in Hungary
12:00 - 12:30 Coffee break
12.30 - 13:30 Pedro Aguilera Cortés on: Antiziganism in Europe
13:30 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 16:00 Anna Striethorst: The rise of Racism and Antiziganism as a European phenomenon
Workshops: Roma in Europe
Workshop A: Good practices to combat Antiziganism with Amaro Foro and Helena Balabánová (NGO Jekhetane)
Workshop B: Political strategies against Antiziganism with Vladan Jeremic (RLS Belgrad) and Dejan Markovic (Belgrad)
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 18:00 Marika Tandler, (EP Brussels): 'The European Right on the special case of Romania'
18:00 Excursion and Cultural Programme

Sunday 9 December 2012

09:00 - 11:00 Brunch and open space meeting: Feedback, results and ideas for further activities
12:00 - 13:00 DEPARTURE

In cooperation with:
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung
Ramona Hering
phone 004930 44310 417 / 0049 179 5262558
e-mail: hering@rosalux.de

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Sachsen
Stefanie Götze
phone: 0341 – 22540064
e-mail: goetze.rls-sachsen@t-online.de


>> Report on the seminar
>> Photos of the seminar
>> Introduction Anti-Roma Resentments in Europe today (German)
>> Presentation Roma in Europe (English)