By Marek Szilvasi and Volodymyr Navrotskyy1
The ERRC’s recent monitoring mission in Ukraine confirms that getting access to clean water and sanitation remains dire for Roma. There is little official interest in making things better, and there is no doubt that the water situation is far worse for Roma than non-Roma. In pursuit of the fuller picture, the ERRC visited Roma sites (tabors) and met with public authorities, water distribution companies and civil society groups in the four cities of Chop, Uzhorod, Mukacheve, and Berehove, as well as some neighbouring villages.
All too often Hungary hits the headlines because of anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism. By way of a change here’s a good news story about grassroots Roma-Jewish cooperation.
“The world has learned nothing from the Holocaust” - says Sinto Holocaust Survivor Zoni Weisz, whose entire family was murdered by the Nazis. He often calls the Roma Holocaust a forgotten Holocaust because most people have never heard about it. This is why we’ve launched an online campaign related to the day of commemoration of the Roma Holocaust. We used original photos provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to illustrate the stories and less known facts.
It’s not news that evictions are one of the most common problem Roma face throughout Europe and at the ERRC we have been tackling this problem for a long time by means of research, advocacy and litigation. And the lessons learned from these many years of work are several; the main one is that in many instances evictions can be stopped, postponed, or re-negotiated, but it is very rare that they can be prevented from re-occurring, often in the same place with the same people.
After having worked 5 years at the ERRC as a lawyer, I cannot help but ask myself a question: why, despite all of our efforts, activities, projects, carried out by ourselves or jointly with other NGOs, authorities, activists, governments, is there still such little progress when it comes to eliminating the main problems faced by Roma in Europe today? Why is there such little progress in education, housing, and access to social services; in not being subjected to violence or hate speech, and in short just enjoying basic human rights the same way everyone does?