attenzione ai diritti e alla cultura di rom, sinti e kalè
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European Magazine number 5 – Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians
10/10/2011 – Very little has been said and written so far about EU policies visàvis the Roma community, including the Ashkali and Egyptian communities when Kosovo is concerned. This is not to say that the EU was not interested in these communities and issues related to their employment, culture, rights, integration and education, especially those living in EU member states. Notwithstanding the EU’s commitment, the way forward for these communities, which by no means represent a minority in Europe, was slow and even regressive at times. One can argue that over the last couple of years, the Roma issue, the way it is referred to in Europe has become subject to more robust policies by EU member states which should translate into encouraging improvements. This magazine provides sufficient information into these policies that ought to mark a positive turning point in the integration of these communities in modern-day Europe. The European Magazine, the way we conceived it at the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, brings different opinions by experts and activists in the field. For this edition, we have come across people who were very interested in sharing with us their expertise and rich experience in addressing Roma issues in Europe and issues related to RAE communities in Kosovo in particular. Over the last two decades, in the Balkans in particular, these ethnic groups have found themselves caught in foreign wars and were forced to move from one extreme situation to another. Most of them fled their homes, while few remained behind and faced the horrors of war. Those who were lucky and made it to Western Europe were not welcomed with open arms. With the exception of humanitarian assistance and temporary shelter, Western countries did not prove that they are willing and capable of tackling problems faced by these communities. In recent years, while a large number of people who experienced war are now consolidated in Balkans countries, Kosovo is witnessing the second exodus of RAE communities, but from an opposite direction. Namely, members of RAE communities are being forcefully repatriated by Western host countries back to Kosovo and are left to face the same grave problems they faced a decade ago. This Magazine brings different informational articles including critical thinking about these processes. We especially focus on options stemming from European policies, which will hopefully include Kosovo soon, and the results of readmission agreements that Kosovo authorities have signed with Western European countries, mainly EU member states. We have also addressed two processes that mark the current discourse and at the same time provide opportunities for successful integration: at the international level, the Roma Decade, and at the national level, the Strategy for the Integration of RAE Communities in Kosovo. I believe the magazine provides sufficient information that will bring the reader closer to these processes which are at focus of civil institutions and various donors. Government institutions too are now closer to these problems and are proving that they realize their significance: they have allocated budget funds for several activities stemming from the strategy and in support of the repatriation process. We strongly believe we are witnessing the first signs of increased awareness in Europe, Balkans and Kosovo, about the emergent need to provide Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities with a serious opportunity for a quicker and better integration in their respective societies.
11/10/2011 – Inter-ethnic tension on the rise in Eastern Europe: the UN expresses deep concern for the anti-roma demonstrations exploded in Bulgaria, Hungary and Czech Republic following the accident in September during which a Bulgarian citizen has been run over by a member of the most persecuted minority group of the region. The event bears out the ongoing tendency of accusing the entire community for criminal acts committed by individuals.
PM: Education is key to better social situation of Roma
Prague, 12/10/2011 – Full inclusion of Czech Romani children into education activities is a key point on the road towards an improvement of the social situation of the Roma in the country, Prime Minister Petr Necas told journalists after the cabinet Wednesday discussed a report on the state of the Romani population.
The Czech Republic has been criticised over a high portion of Romani children placed in special schools for pupils with slight mental disabilities.
Necas said the government wants to increase Romanies’ chances of getting a job and present positive examples of inclusion of the Roma into majority society.
“There are positive examples, too, and they need to be pointed to,” Necas said.
Necas said the cabinet dealt with the 2010 report on the Roma very thoroughly.
The government report states that a big part of the Roma live in social exclusion and children’s chances of a better life are small. It considers inclusive education of the Roma to be the best and economically most advantageous method of leading Romani families out of social exclusion and poverty.
According to the report, the first half of 2010 was promising in this field, but all positive changes were stopped by the end of the year, even in spite of strong calls by Czech experts and important international institutions.
The report says there was no progress in Romanies’ employment and that Romanies held only a marginal position in the labour market, citing the economic crisis and overall higher unemployment in the country among the causes.
The report deals with bad living and health conditions of Romanies.
It says Romanies live in cheap, low-quality housing facilities and that they are victims of discrimination and unfair practices by housing owners and real estate offices. Romanies often suffer from chronic diseases, they neglect prevention and have an unhealthy life style.
They are also often the target of segregation.
Social problems such as unemployment, housing uncertainty and a low educational level concentrate in socially underprivileged Romany localities as a result of municipalities’ directed policy or spontaneous migration, the report says.
Although the report only focuses on the events and phenomena of 2010, it discusses circumstances that may lead to tension between majority society and Romanies.
The Sluknov area, a rather poor and remote part of northern Bohemia near the borders with Germany and Poland, has been recently hit by unrest.
Repeated protests were held, with both locals and extremists participating, in reaction to cases of Romany violence and increased immigration of Romanies to the area. The government had to send a riot police unit to the area.