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Press release

Press release

Caritas Eparchial Oradea Association together with the Greek-Catholic Bishopry of Oradea, under the high patronage of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Romania,
Supported by Renovabis has organised, between February 18th - 20 th , 2015, at Forum Continental Hotel in Oradea, the international conference: Roma Migration: dilemmas and perspectives of the European Union. Let's develop together proposals for Roma and for countries on how to manage the migration.
Every day of the conference started at 7 a.m. with the celebration of the Holy Mass at St. George Church [of the Greek-Catholic Seminary]. The conference was opened by Father Olimpiu Todorean [President of Caritas Eparhial Oradea Association], by His Grace Virgil Bercea [Bishop of Oradea Greek-Catholic Eparchy], by His Grace Petru Gherghel [Bishop of Iasi Roman-Catholic Diocese] and by Monika Kleck [referent for Romania on behalf of Renovabis].
The participants at the conference were representatives of public institutions, NGO-s running activities adressed to Roma, Roma leaders – in total 55 persons from 7 countries.
It was a work conference organised on open space methods, where participants approached [what they considered to be] the most important issues related to the conference theme. The topics discussed were the following:
1. Church activities as basis for social activities.
2. Effective methods for working with Roma groups.
3. They are free! What cand we do for convincing them to be also responsible?
4. Education and integration on labour market for Roma groups.
5. Motivate Roma to remain in their community.
6. International cooperation.
7. Personal identity: threat, opportunity or both?
Working together: Roma and non-Roma.
8. Roma as victims of human traffiking.
9. What's to be done with the issue of "sent back" Roma from Western countries?
10. Life is a real joy. Abortion is a crime. Migration is the export of joy to the sad people from Europe.
11. How to decrease the number of abortions.
12. Roma citizens on the labour market [promote the talented].
13. The speech of hate.
14. Roma as intercultural mediators.
15. "I need nothing but to be loved".
16. What do we expect [as people who provide support] from them/what do they expect from us/the system?
17. Personal responsibility regarding the Roma migration.
Roma-Gipsy antinomy.
18. How can we fight/manage the majority's "fear of Roma".
19. Community centres and mass-media.
Following the discussions in the working groups, participants voted on the topics they agreed upon the action lines. Thus, the plannings made during the conference will not remain only on paper but will be put in practice, innitiated, proposed and assumed by participants in the 4 work groups for activities' planning.
Lines of activity:
1. Church activity as basis for social services
Activity positive steps:
a) develop cooperation betweeen churches
b) religious education should be extended among Roma communities
c) the Church should not only provide religious services but also run social activities together with people who are not members of the Church
d) to put in practice our religious beliefs so that they will reside in the social activities carried on
e) every person needs to feel integrated in the social activities and priests should involve the Christians more in these activities
f) the others' prejudices and mentalities regarding the Roma represent another problem. Political factors and church representatives should work together for eliminating these prejudices
g) examples of good deeds and affection cand be given by any church - for instance seeking for a shelter and food for Roma, with the help of priests and of the community
h) medical, educational and social services provided to Roma must be integrated in the services provided to the others (Roma should not be treated separately, as beneficiaries of these services].
2. International cooperation
* There should exist an interactive map in which every organisation or institution active in this field to be able to add information. No specific action method was developed so far.
* To be organised, on a permanent basis, cultural exchanges for a better mutual knowledge.
* One type of action can be the cooperation between organisations from the church area or of the civil society, without involving state agencies.
* Meetings can be organised, for a better mutual knowledge. Church institutions such as Caritas can be involved but also bishops from each country should participate, as high level decision making factors in the church area.
* Romania or Hungary could represent a starting point in such attempt, considering they already have their own Caritas networks. Therefore it is necessary to have a bilateral cooperation.
* another type of action can be the supervision of the activities connected to the life, work, education of Roma in different countries: visits, establish contacts, planning, running activities.
* A first step in this regard represents the creation of a platform in which plans of action can be introduced.
* It can be created an international network which to include church members but also representatives of the political area from Romania, Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Italy, Belgium, Spain.
* First step towards a network: produce a strategy!
* To be organised a series of activities for the target group: learning visits, sport events, experience exchanges.
* A workshop in Bruxelles can be organised in order to develop a future project. Workshops meetings can be organised in Bruxelles. To be invited representatives of the European Commission. First should start within the own network and further on this can be extended at international level.
* A project based on the addictions' issue could be started immediately.
* Representatives from Bruxelles can do all the arrangements and prepare the agenda.
* Betwen 19-21 April countries from the Danube area will participate at a meeting organised in Germany where they will discuss the Roma issue.
* Representatives from Bruxelles should discuss with those from European Parliament also at Strassbourg: there are spring and autumn sessions [February, March, October, November].
* The Erasmus exchange programme can be used for establishing noi contacts.
3. Education and integration on labour market for Roma
* Establish day centres where children to be provided support in the educational process and in the same time keep living with their parents. Work towards the education of adults.
* Continuous advocay on behalf of the Roma, underline the importance of education and of protecting their rights as humans, visit other schools and unioversities in country.
4. Roma citizens on labour market [develop the talents].
* Education in communities, organise training courses and establish protected work places.
* Organise courses where pupils receive scholarships.
* Organise activities in the field of educational and vocational guidance for Roma citizens respectively to be provided the opportunity to do some works which to be paid immediately.
* Promote those who have certain talents, e.g. those who have musical talent.
* Organise fairs for handmade products made by Roma.
* Changing mentalities by offering good examples – through our behaviour. Permanently promote positive examples provided by Roma.
* Create a network of civil society organizations which to run lobby activities respectively to support individuals and communities with limited resources.
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