Strasbourg court said Hungary failed to investigate a racist attack.

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The Strasbourg court has condemned Hungary in a first-instance ruling for failing to investigate into a racist attack. The applicant is a 23 year-old Roma who was attacked with his girlfriend in a night club in 2011 by a group a 3 people when a man identifying himself as a policeman intervened and later verbally abused the applicant (calling him a “dirty gypsy”).

Relying on Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) read in conjunction with Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Mr Balázs complained that the authorities failed to conduct an effective investigation into the racist attack against him, and in particular that they had not taken sufficient action to establish a possible racist motive for the assault.

The Court in its judgment agreed and stressed that “a vigorous investigation” is required into allegations of racist violence against Roma. The Hungarian authorities had failed to do so, making them liable for discrimination. The Court therefore held, by six votes to one, that there has been violation of Article 14 read in conjunction with Article 3 of the Convention.

15529/12 Balazs v. Hungary 20/10/2015.

Read more here.

ERTF participates at the 10th CAHROM meeting

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) will take part in the 10th meeting of the Ad hoc Committee of Experts for Roma Issues (CAHROM) organised by the Council of Europe on 27th - 30th of October 2015 un Bucharest, Romania.

The focus of the meeting will be on the situation of Roma in Europe and recent policy developments at national level in the fields of forced marriages and human trafficking, the role of local and regional authorities for Roma inclusion, thematic priorities for 2016/17, Roma youth and the recent developments at the international level.

ERTF will provide an update on the situation of the Roma in Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey, as well as the ERTF papers on the gender dimension within the National Roma Integration Strategies and the introduction to the latest developments regarding the “Forgotten voices “ and the “Participation of Roma women in politics” projects.

Evictions – pleasing the masses and getting re-elected

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The spate of evictions which we witnessed all over Europe during the summer season (see statement by ERTF of 3 September 2015: has not abated as winter sets in. The sufferings of women, children and sick people left out in the cold winter weather, the disruption of schooling and the resulting psychological trauma are no consideration for several mayors throughout Europe, whose main objective is to please the populace and get re-elected.

On 20 October, in the early hours of the morning the Turin police threw out the Roma inhabitants of a shanty town and demolished 12 of the barracks. 30 persons were left homeless in temperatures of 4 to 5 degrees centigrade. The demolition of this shanty town has been going on, little by little, for two years. 35 families – around a hundred individuals - are still living there but are threatened with the same fate in the next few days.Meanwhile 5 million euros intended for settling these Roma seem to have disappeared in the coffers of a number of associations responsible for managing their settlement.

ERTF Publish Fact Sheet on the Situation of Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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According to a survey conducted in 2007, there are 76 000 Roma in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), making them the largest of the 17 national minorities in the country. Yet, they are also the most disadvantaged group.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the only country in Europe where Roma populations are prohibited by law from holding any crucial high political office, including the office of presidency or being a representative in the House of Peoples.

Extreme poverty, marginalization, prejudice and discrimination is directed against them by society at large, as well as public authorities. Roma are indeed disadvantaged in all fields of life: education, employment, housing, health and access to public services.

Read more here.

France failing Roma children under European Social Charter because of incessant evictions

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The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF) has filed a complaint against France with the European Committee of Social Rights, responsible for ensuring the respect of the revised European Social Charter, which France ratified in 1999.

France has been found in violation by the European Committee of Social Rights four times since 2008 for its treatment of Roma people living on its territory. In 2011, the ERTF made a successful complaint before the European Committee of Social Rights which decided that forced evictions without offering alternative housing violate the European Social Charter.

The ERTF has launched a procedure to denounce once again the repeated evictions, the discriminating behaviour of the public authorities and administrations, the precarious conditions of living, especially regarding housing, and the school and transportation issues that Roma people face all across France.

"The life of Roma in Europe" Review

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The ERTF published a new edition of the "The life of Roma in Europe" review covering the period August-September, 2015. The document indicates a persistence of evictions in several countries and a general mistrust and dislike of the Roma population, which takes the form of hate speech, discrimination and aggression.

The information is compiled from websites and news items dealing with Roma issues and is not a full and comprehensive assessment of the situation

Read the results from the survey by cliking here.

First meeting of the Organisational within the Forgotten Voices project

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The ERTF will hold the first meeting with the members of the Organisational Committee of the Forgotten Voices project on Thursday, 17 and Friday, 18 September in Berlin.

The project aims at achieving recognition of the Roma Holocaust and anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination, developing an action plan on teaching of the Roma Holocaust in schools and among the public and on how to achieve official recognition of anti-Gypsyism and building a network of NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to advocate for the recognition of the Roma Holocaust and of anti-Gypsyism and to monitor and report on the improvement of the situation of the Roma.

Within the project framework there will also be a two-day conference entitled “The Forgotten Voices” which will examine how the causes of that tragedy are reflected in the discrimination, marginalization and persecution of the Roma today; analyse the true nature of anti-Gypsyism and explore how the relationship between the genocide and today’s anti-Gypsyism can help us in combating this phenomenon.

Fact sheet on the situation of Roma in Macedonia

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The ERTF published the Fact sheet on the situation of Roma in Macedonia.

Despite improvements, poverty is widespread among Roma in Macedonia. Roma are excluded from different aspects of social and economic life, including employment, housing and education. Most Roma continue to live in settlements isolated from the rest of society in conditions well below the minimum standard of living. Public utility facilities are inadequate or non-existent; there is a lack of access to a safe water supply in or near some settlements. Also, hate speech and racism towards Roma are common problems.

One of the main issues of Roma in Macedonia regards their relation with the police. One year ago, the revelation that the police had tortured two minors in front of their families confirmed the specific ill-treatment of Roma by law enforcement officials. Discrimination perpetrated by state agents against Roma is widespread in Macedonia: Roma undergo ethnic profiling, have their passport confiscated, and crimes against them are left unpunished.