Wall Free Europe - November Event

23 October 2014

On 9th November we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall and of the Iron Curtain that separated west from east Europe. This day marks a new enlarged Europe based on fundamental EU values such as democracy, human rights and social inclusion. On this occasion, ERGO Network is organising a number of different events to draw public attention to today’s existing physical and mental walls against Roma:

- debate with journalists at the Press Club in Brussels on 4th November at 18:00, click here for the full program

- opening of the Photo Exhibition "Wall Free Europe" at the Esplanade of the European Parliament on 5th November at 15:00, click here for the full program

- Public Hearing on the "Wall Free Europe" at the European Parliament hosted by MEP Soraya Post (FI/S&D) on 6th November at 10:00, click here for the full program and here for the registration. The registration is open until the 1st of November. 

 

Local governments in Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Italy, France and other European countries, have been building walls to segregate Roma from their non-Roma neighbours. In Slovakia alone 14 walls have been built to physically exclude Roma. While 15 years ago there was a strong reaction to the wall in Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic, today we seem to take them for granted. In fact, many mayors have won votes by taking up requests from non-Roma citizens to build walls that prevent Roma to enter their streets. There are also invisible walls erected in © Akos Stillerpeople's minds and reinforced by segregating policies in education, housing, employment, health and freedom of movement. Roma are pushed to live in settlements, without infrastructures, excluded from public sevices, discriminated in the labour market. Roma children are placed in special schools, treated as second class pupils, and denied a safe future just because they are Roma. In the XXI centuries Roma people are evicted                                                                     © Akos Stiller  from their own houses and deported by the thousands. These walls, both pysical and mental, not only separete Roma from non-Roma citizens, these walls destroy Roma's identities, swipe away their existence. These walls are the expression of anti-Gypsyism, a specific form of discrimination that manifests itself in many different ways. 

Anti-Gypsyism is a litmus test for the European Institutions to strongly reaffirm fundamental rights and to respond to the current rise of xenophobia and extreme nationalism in Europe. Our initiatives will bring the “wall realities” to the European level and initiate a dialogue with all the different stakeholders involved in order to reclaim the fundamental values of the European Union. It also aims at raising awareness among the European Institutions about the existing walls and the living conditions of the people affected by them. 9th November 1989 marks a new enlarged Europe based on fundamenta EU values such as democracy, human rights and social inclusion. After 25 years, unfrotunately, many realities are often ignored and cast serious doubts over the commitment to fully embrace those values in several aspects of our societies. Is this the Europe that we want? 

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