NEWS - Archive June 2015

Headlines 26 June, 2015

Kyrgyz Anti-Gay Propaganda Law Moves Forward

Human rights advocates say the Kyrgyz version has harsher punishments than the Russian law it was based on

26/6/2015- Kyrgyzstan’s parliament voted Wednesday 90 to 2 in favor of a proposed bill that would punish “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” with jail terms. The bill has now passed two of three mandatory readings before it can be sent to President Almazbek Atambayev for signature into law. The third reading is expected in the fall before parliamentary elections scheduled for October. Along with the ‘foreign agents’ law that passed its first reading earlier this month, the so-called ‘anti-gay propaganda’ law is seen by human rights organizations as a serious step backwards for a country long praised as a beacon of civil society in the region.

The Kyrgyz law was first proposed in March 2014, and resembles a Russian law, passed in 2013 that bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors” and imposes heavy fines on individuals who do. The Kyrgyz version, the Human Rights Campaign warns, “mandates even harsher punishments, including jail time, for expressing sentiments that could ‘create a positive attitude to unconventional sexual orientation.’” In addition, social pressure on members of the LGBT community have been on the rise–in May anti-gay nationalists crashed a gathering held to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia, while a report from Human Rights Watch last year chronicled the torture of gay men by police in Kyrgyzstan.

In October, the proposed law passed its first reading 79 to 7. While opposition in parliament has shrunk, there remains some opposition to it in the country. In March, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz service reported that the Minister of Justice, Jyldyz Mambetalieva, said both the ‘foreign agents’ law and the ‘anti-gay propaganda’ law violated human rights. Kyrgyzstan, with the most vibrant civil society in the region, has local LGBT advocacy groups that are pushing back against the law. Incidentally, these are the same organizations targeted by the foreign agents’ law which would increase reporting burdens on NGOs & civil society organizations that have foreign sources of funding.

In February when the second reading was originally scheduled, Labrys, a Bishkek-based group, seemed, in part, resigned to the law passing and focused on pressing for a veto by the president: Although the chances that the Parliament will strike down the draft law in its second and third hearings are very slim, there is hope that the President of the Kyrgyz Republic, who is the guarantor of the Kyrgyz Constitution, will use his power of veto to stop the draft law. reported that one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Kurmanbek Dyikanbaev, said that “we defend traditional values ​​of the family. This unit of society is the guarantee of protection of our laws and international conventions. We must honor our customs and traditions, which are alien to non-traditional relationships.” In late May, Kazakhstan’s Constitutional Court quietly rejected a bill that would have banned “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” on grounds that it included vague language. Most observers tied this move to Kazakhstan’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The International Olympic Committee adopted a new agenda early this year which, among other things, reworded one of the “Fundamental Principles of Olympism” to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination clause.

According to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association same-sex relations have been legal in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan since 1998–though none allow same-sex unions, marriages, or adoptions. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan criminalize sexual relations between men, but do not mention women, and allow prison sentences up to two, and three, years respectively for “homosexual acts.”
The Diplomat Magazine

Macedonia Gays Charge Govt With Homophobia

As part of Gay Pride Week in Skopje, Macedonia, gay activists are protesting in front of the government headquarters, accusing officials of ignoring homophobic violence

26/6/2015- Macedonian gay rights activists on Thursday laid a funeral wreath in front of the government headquarters to symbolically "bury" the embattled government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Slavco Dimitrov, one of the activists, told the protest meeting that the government routinely turned a blind eye to anti-gay violence. "Two years ago, when we started Pride Week... some 40 masked people attacked us in the presence of the police. Since then, the government has not taken a single step to apprehend the culprits," he said. "The education system also remains a source of homophobia, conservative and patriarchal values," Dimitrov added. Activists announced a similar protest with the same message on Friday in front of the State Prosecutor's office. Pride Week in Skopje will also include awareness-raising and educational workshops as well as a lesbian picnic in Skopje City Park and a free HIV testing.

The third Pride Week in the Macedonian capital takes place against a backdrop of unresolved attacks on LGBT people. At least ten such attacks, attributed to homopho-bia, remain unsolved. Last October, hooded hooligans tried to wreck the second birthday party of the LGBT community centre in Skopje, vandalizing the Damar cafe in the Old Bazaar area, where the event took place. A woman was injured when hooligans threw a bottle at her head. In June 2013, a group of hooligans virtually demo-lished the LGBT centre in Skopje, following the city's first Skopje Gay Pride Week. Video footage showed a group of violent youngsters committing the crime, but the police never found the culprits. Gay rights activists insist that the sluggish response on the part of the authorities creates an impression that violence seen as legitimate.

The crimes concerned “a group of people that could easily be traced if the police had the will to do so”, Dragana Drndarevska, from Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities, an NGO, told BIRN. The authorities insist that they remain engaged in solving the attacks. “We are available to check any new information that would help us solve this case,” police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski told BIRN, asked about the 2013 attack on the LGBT centre. The ruling VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski is not seen as gay-friendly, however. An annual report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, Rainbow Europe Index, has for years ranked Macedonia among the worst countries in the Balkans when it comes to legal protection for gays.

Local and international rights groups complain of frequent hostile remarks by ministers and officials. They also note that Macedonia’s anti-discrimination law, adopted in 2010, does not offer protection against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights also says the authorities either ignore or conceal crimes inspired by ethnic, religious or gender-related hatred.
Balkan Insight


Italy: Sardinia's poor give all to refugees

Italy's wealthy north may have tired of asylum seekers, but in one of the poorest regions of Sardinia locals are giving everything to clothe and feed refugee families.

26/6/2015- Standing amid piles of shoes, t-shirts, pyjamas and baby bibs, Susanna Steri describes how she had to ask the inhabitants of Carbonia to stop bringing dona-tions for the 90-odd men, women and children from Sierra Leone and Nigeria. "We only had a few hours notice to prepare," Steri told AFP, describing the weekend of May 30, after distress calls madefrom 22 boats in the Mediterranean led to the rescue of 4,200 migrants, and the discovery of 17 bodies. Steri was told that of the 900 people being brought to the island, the ENAP centre -- once used to teach youngsters traditional trades -- would be receiving 90 in need of emergency housing, inclu-ding a four month-old baby. Just a few kilometres inland from golden beaches where tourists dock their yachts to paddle in crystal waters, the unemployed rolled their sleeves up. "It's difficult to describe what happened, the real difficulty was finding place for all the volunteers, not the migrants," she said, as another local couple arrived bearing boxes full of biscuits, baby food, fruit and milk. The collapse of the area's coal mining industry, followed in 2012 by the closure of the Alcoa aluminium smelter, has driven youth unemployment in the Carbonia-Iglesias province in south-west Sardinia to a towering 73.9 percent.

Doing the impossible
But while Lombardy, Veneto and Liguria in the country's wealthy north refuse to take in any more migrants -- with rich Val d'Aosta accepting just 62 - locals here are buying the refugees cigarettes and phone cards out of their own pockets. The centre expects to receive 35 euros ($39) a day per migrant from the state, including two euros for pocket money, but pensioner Giulio Cadeddu, ex-financial policeman turned volunteer, says red tape means they won't see a cent for months. "We're trying to do the impossible, how could we not for such sweet creatures?" he says looking at a grinning Fatima, who celebrated her first birthday here, and whose colourful balloons still adorn the dining room.

Nearby, seven-year old twins from Sierra Leone wolf down pasta and chips and chatter excitedly as translators tell them plans are underway for volunteers to put on a summer party in the garden, complete with inflatable games and a clown. The town's 30,000 inhabitants know the challenges of starting life somewhere new: Carbonia was built by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini in 1938 to house coal miners, and many of its residents hail from Puglia, Sicily and Veneto. The asylum seekers are being absorbed into the local poor, Steri has a deal with priest Don Amilcare, who prepares 200 meals for the local needy. If either group has leftover bread, fish or other foodstuffs, they are shared out. A washing room in the centre is crammed with bottles of donated shampoos, shower gels, soaps, toothpaste tubes andnappies.

By God's grace
But despite their efforts, many of the refugees are unhappy, believing they would be better off on the mainland in big cities where they could look for work. "The people here are the most wonderful I have ever met in my life," said 32-year old Rosalin from Nigeria, who fled Maiduguri for Libya when jihadist group Boko Harem bombed her shop, and paid a trafficker for a place with her family on a dinghy headed for Italy. "My husband died during the crossing. I am pregnant and it is by the grace of God that we are here. But I need a transfer to a place that is more developed," she said, as her brothers-in-law spent another day doing nothing.

Lamin Johnny, a 35-year old from Sierra Leone who is married to one of Rosalin's sisters, said he had "looked for work since we arrived, but nothing". Of the 90 migrants originally brought to the centre, only 48 remain, and the others are believed to have headed off in search of places with better prospects -- no mean feat in Italy, a country struggling to shake off a profound recession. It is a situation with which the unemployed factory workers from the Alcoaplant sympathise, though even they have pitched in with caring for their new neighbours. "And why wouldn't they? It's only the rich who are afraid of losing, the poor have nothing to fear," Steri said.
The Local - Italy


Italian mayor calls migrant crisis 'genocide'

Failing to provide asylum seekers with safe passage to the EU while hundreds die at sea is tantamount to genocide, a mayor on the frontline of the crisis warned on Thursday.

25/6/2015- "We're living a genocide, and in a few years we Europeans risk being found responsible," Palermo's mayor Leoluca Orlando said in reference to the 1,800 or so people who have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean by boat this year. Orlando said Europe should make it easier for asylum seekers to apply for refugee status outside the EU, after which they could enter the bloc legally rather than having to place their fate in the hands of people traffickers. "If Syrians, coming from a country at war, have the immediate right to refugee status, why stop them taking a plane ticket from Istanbul to Paris, for example, and oblige them to go via Libya and the Mediterranean sea?" he asked. Orlando, whose city in the north west of Sicily has had to deal with a fair number of the over 60,000 people who have arrived in Italy so far this year, said many of the tales migrants have to tell were hair-raising. "The stories told by survivors who make it to Sicily resemble the accounts told by survivors of Dachau and Auschwitz (concentration camps)," he said.

Orlando was in Rome for a meeting between Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the country's regional heads on the question of giving shelter to migrants, after areas of the rich north in particular said they refused to take in any more migrants. Renzi called for "ethical and reasonable" solutions to the problem, saying refugees must be cared for and economic migrants quickly expelled -- without explaining how the country would speed up its identification processes. The talks were slammed as a waste of time by the president of the Lombardy region, Roberto Maroni, who told his Northern League anti-immigration party that "the chaos continues". His counterpart in the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, called on his prefects "not to answer the phone anymore when the government rings."
The Local - Italy


Switzerland: Anti-immigration party remains most popular

The right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) remains the most popular political party in Switzerland, according to the latest polling figures released this week ahead of next autumn’s national elections.

25/6/2015- The SVP has the backing of 26.1 percent of the people, according to the results released on Wednesday of a survey conducted by the gfs.bern institute. That’s down slightly from 26.2 percent in March but still well ahead of the Socialist party (19.3 percent, down from 19.6 percent), the second most popular party in the country. The centre-right Liberals, meanwhile, showed the greatest growth in support at 17.1 percent (up from 16.3 percent), with their credentials backed by a belief that they are best placed to manage the Swiss economy. Backing for the Liberals is two percentage points ahead of the support it received in the 2011 national elec-tions. 
Support for other centrist and left-wing parties dropped, with Christian Democrats at 11.5 percent (down from 11.8 percent), the Greens at 7.4 percent (down from 7.5 percent) and the Green Liberals at 4.8 percent (down from 5.6 percent). The Conservative Democratic Party (BDP) fell to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent, with media reports suggesting that federal cabinet minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, a member of the party, faces a challenge getting re-elected.

The BDP was initially formed by disgruntled SVP members from the cantons of Graubünden and Bern. Widmer-Schlumpf joined the fledgling party after being expelled from the SVP when she accepted an election to the federal cabinet in 2007 that was not supported by the SVP. She subsequently went on to serve as president in 2012.
The Swiss People’s Party, with its nationalist policies and support for immigration restrictions, remains popular at a time when the issue of immigration and asylum seekers is the biggest concern of voters, according to another survey by gfs.bern. The survey results, released by state broadcaster SSR on Wednesday night, showed the issue is the top concern of 34 percent of Swiss. This ranks well ahead of relations with the European Union (10 percent) and the environment (five percent). The SVP is identified as the party with the best competence to deal with asylum seekers and immigration. “We identified this problem before the others and the citizens know it,” Claude-Alain Voiblet, SVP vice-president told the Tribune de Genève newspaper. The SVP spearheaded a popular initiative, approved in a national vote in February 2014, to cap immigration from the European Union.

The Local - Switzerland


Hungary sounds the alarm about new front in EU's migrant crisis

26/6/2015- It's a long way from the beaches of Greece and Italy where shipwrecked migrants drag themselves ashore, but in the fields of Hungary a migration crisis is playing out that in its scale is no less dramatic than the scenes in the Mediterranean. In the first six months of this year, the number of migrants crossing into the European Union via Hungary's border with Serbia reached at least 61,000, overtaking even the number arriving in Italy. In recognition of the new front in Europe's migrant crisis, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban - a man regularly greeted as "dictator" by the European Commission chief - was allowed this week to opt out of an EU deal on taking in migrants. "People hate Viktor Orban on human rights. But on this, he has a good point," said one EU official close to talks on migration among EU heads of government that dragged into the early hours of Friday. The summit also committed to organizing a major conference to look at migration in the western Balkans. "This does not involve people on boats or on beaches and so it gets less media attention," said a senior EU official closely involved in the negotiations. "But it is a serious problem."

Still, critics of Orban at home say that while the crisis is real, with a third of the EU's new asylum seekers registering in Hungary this year, he has played it up to appeal to anti-immigrant sentiment among his supporters and to try to rescue his dwindling popularity. Orban has ordered the construction of a fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border to keep illegal migrants out, he has threatened to pull out of EU rules on accepting asylum seekers, and his government has put up billboards warning migrants they have to fit in with Hungarian culture. EU rules theoretically can allow asylum seekers to be sent back to the country where they first entered the bloc, although so far only small numbers have been transferred under this rule. Orban's chief of staff on Thursday said other EU states were preparing to transfer 200,000 migrants to Hungary by the end of this year, but the government has not spelled how this could happen under any existing or planned program.

This week's EU deal involves resettling 60,000 migrants across the entire bloc and explicitly exempts Hungary from taking them. Another program allows migrants to be sent back to the first EU state they set foot in, but the numbers sent back to Hungary under that scheme have been in the hundreds. Marta Pardavi, co-chair of Hungary's Helsinki Committee, a human rights group that works with migrants, said Orban's focus was not on finding a practical solution to Europe's migrant crisis but going it alone by taking drastic measures, and on appealing to disaffected voters. "We do see that the messages the government and Mr Orban are voicing are resonating with the public," she said. "Xenophobia is certainly on the rise."

Overflowing Camp
The town of Bicske, a 40 minute drive west of Budapest, is temporary home for some of Hungary's migrants. On the outskirts of the town, next to a large Tesco supermarket, is a camp for asylum seekers. On the roadside nearby is a large billboard with a message, in Hungarian: "If you come to Hungary you must respect our laws." People coming out of the camp on Thursday said it was full to over-flowing. They said people were sleeping in tents and in the camp's sports hall. One man said he had to share a room with 11 other people. Another man, a 20-year-old called Muslim, said he had come to Europe to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan. Some local residents view the new arrivals with suspicion. "They should just go home," said Andras, who was shopping at a Tesco supermarket. "We're not rich here either." Migration officials say most of those arriving in Hungary make the sea crossing to Greece, then travel overland into Macedonia, then Serbia, and across into Hungary along the border where Orban plans to build a fence.

According to Frontex, the agency responsible for guarding the EU's external borders, the numbers recorded crossing the Serbia-Hungary border in May this year were up 880 percent on the same period last year. Hungarian officials say they are overwhelmed. "We cannot give them blankets and beds. We have even run out of tents," said Lajos Kosa, vice president of Hungary's governing Fidesz party. He denied the government was seeking political gain. "We are driven by the country's interests," he said.

Moving On
The vast majority of migrants who enter Hungary don't stay. Instead, they head as soon as possible to the border with Austria and on to destinations further north. At the end of last year, Hungary had 8,551 resident refugees or asylum seekers, or 0.18 percent of its population, according to the United Nations. By contrast, the number for Sweden, a favored destination for migrants, was 226,158, or 2.3 percent of the population. Arpad Szep, a director at the Hungarian government's immigration office, said of the 60,000 applications for asylum this year, more than 50,000 cases were dropped because the applicants had disappeared. "A significant number of them don't arrive at the reception centers, so we assume that they leave the country within 24 hours of submitting the asylum application," he said. For most of the migrants who pass the time by trudging to the Tesco store from their camp in Bicske, the town was just a stopping-off point. Adeel Mushtaq, a 26-year-old Pakistani, said most of his fellow camp residents were preparing to head on to Germany, Italy, or Austria. Another man, who gave his name as Hakaan, said he wants to catch a train to Italy. "Here it's not good," he said.


USA: Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists Since 9/11

24/6/2015- In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants. But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.

The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church last week, with an avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case. But it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred, hostility to government and theories such as those of the “sovereign citizen” movement, which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians. Non-Muslim extremists have carried out 19 such attacks since Sept. 11, according to the latest count, compiled by David Sterman, a New America program associate, and overseen by Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert. By comparison, seven lethal attacks by Islamic militants have taken place in the same period.

If such numbers are new to the public, they are familiar to police officers. A survey to be published this week asked 382 police and sheriff’s departments nationwide to rank the three biggest threats from violent extremism in their jurisdiction. About 74 percent listed antigovernment violence, while 39 percent listed “Al Qaeda-inspired” violence, according to the researchers, Charles Kurzman of the University of North Carolina and David Schanzer of Duke University. “Law enforcement agencies around the country have told us the threat from Muslim extremists is not as great as the threat from right-wing extremists,” said Dr. Kurzman, whose study is to be published by the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Police Executive Research Forum.

John G. Horgan, who studies terrorism at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, said the mismatch between public perceptions and actual cases had become steadily more obvious to scholars. “There’s an acceptance now of the idea that the threat from jihadi terrorism in the United States has been overblown,” Dr. Horgan said. “And there’s a belief that the threat of right-wing, antigovernment violence has been underestimated.” Counting terrorism cases is a subjective enterprise, relying on shifting definitions and judgment calls. If terrorism is defined as ideological violence, for instance, should an attacker who has merely ranted about religion, politics or race be considered a terrorist? A man in Chapel Hill, N.C., who was charged with fatally shooting three young Muslim neighbors had posted angry critiques of religion, but he also had a history of outbursts over parking issues. (New America does not include this attack in its count.)

Likewise, what about mass killings in which no ideological motive is evident, such as those at a Colorado movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school in 2012? The criteria used by New America and most other research groups exclude such attacks, which have cost more lives than those clearly tied to ideology. Some killings by non-Muslims that most experts would categorize as terrorism have drawn only fleeting news media coverage, never jelling in the public memory. But to revisit some of the episodes is to wonder why. In 2012, a neo-Nazi named Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and opened fire, killing six people and seriously wounding three others. Mr. Page, who died at the scene, was a member of a white supremacist group called the Northern Hammerskins.

In another case, in June 2014, Jerad and Amanda Miller, a married couple with radical antigovernment views, entered a Las Vegas pizza restaurant and fatally shot two police officers who were eating lunch. On the bodies, they left a swastika, a flag inscribed with the slogan “Don’t tread on me” and a note saying, “This is the start of the revolution.” Then they killed a third person in a nearby Walmart. And, as in the case of jihadist plots, there have been sobering close calls. In November 2014 in Austin, Tex., a man named Larry McQuilliams fired more than 100 rounds at government buildings that included the Police Headquarters and the Mexican Consulate. Remarkably, his shooting spree hit no one, and he was killed by an officer before he could try to detonate propane cylinders he drove to the scene.

Some Muslim advocates complain that when the perpetrator of an attack is not Muslim, news media commentators quickly focus on the question of mental illness. “With non-Muslims, the media bends over backward to identify some psychological traits that may have pushed them over the edge,” said Abdul Cader Asmal, a retired physician and a longtime spokesman for Muslims in Boston. “Whereas if it’s a Muslim, the assumption is that they must have done it because of their religion.” On several occasions since President Obama took office, efforts by government agencies to conduct research on right-wing extremism have run into resistance from Republicans, who suspected an attempt to smear conservatives. A 2009 report by the Department of Homeland Security, which warned that an ailing economy and the election of the first black president might prompt a violent reaction from white supremacists, was withdrawn in the face of conservative criticism. Its main author, Daryl Johnson, later accused the department of “gutting” its staffing for such research.

William Braniff, the executive director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, said the outsize fear of jihadist violence reflected memories of Sept. 11, the daunting scale of sectarian conflict overseas and wariness of a strain of Islam that seems alien to many Americans. “We understand white supremacists,” he said. “We don’t really feel like we understand Al Qaeda, which seems too complex and foreign to grasp.” The contentious question of biased perceptions of terrorist threats dates back at least two decades, to the truck bombing that tore apart the federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995. Some early news media speculation about the attack assumed that it had been carried out by Muslim militants. The arrest of Timothy J. McVeigh, an antigovernment extremist, quickly put an end to such theories.

The bombing, which killed 168 people, including 19 children, remains the second-deadliest terrorist attack in American history, though its toll was dwarfed by the roughly 3,000 killed on Sept 11. “If there’s one lesson we seem to have forgotten 20 years after Oklahoma City, it’s that extremist violence comes in all shapes and sizes,” said Dr. Horgan, the University of Massachusetts scholar. “And very often, it comes from someplace you’re least suspecting.”
The New York Times


Germany: Anti-refugee marchers hurl insults and bottles

One person was injured in fighting after demonstrators gathered outside a former hotel in Saxony for the third night in a row to demonstrate against its use as refugee accommodation.

25/6/2015- Police said that 160 people gathered in Freital, on the outskirts of Dresden, to reject the presence of refugees in their town. A new group of around 50 asylum seekers had to enter the hotel while confronted with the signs and shouted slogans of people who didn't want them there. Spiegel reported that the demonstrators were chanting “Criminal foreigners – out, out, out!”. Justice Minister Heiko Maas weighed in on Thursday morning to say that "calls for violence against refugees are completely unacceptable". "The refugees who come to us have lost everything in their homeland" and are looking for help and sanctuary, Maas added. Opposite the anti-refugee marchers, around 80 mostly left-wing demonstrators gathered, saying they were on the scene to prevent any attacks against the refugees.

The two sides were kept apart by around 100 police officers. But the tension got out of hand in the late evening, when the anti-refugee demonstrators threw bottles at the left-wingers, injuring one man slightly. Police said they had not immediately identified who threw the bottles. "It's important to me to say clearly that a call for violence against refugees is in no way acceptable," Migration Commissioner Aydan Özoguz told the Berliner Zeitung on Thursday. "This stirs completely awful memories." Saxony's own immigration chief Geert Mackenroth said that “some of the expressions of the ringleaders contain calls to violence, at least between the lines". Freital has in the past been a stronghold of the Pegida anti-Islam movement. Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann was one of the people to call for a demonstration against the refugee accommodation.
The Local - Germany


Portugal: First national Gypsy Roma survey released

24/6/2015- Portuguese Roma have little formal education, marry young, mainly work in fairs, many are unemployed and get basic social security benefits, a new study has shown.
First national Gypsy Roma survey released The data is in the first nation study of the community ordered by the High Commissioner of Migrations, which interviewed almost 1,600 Gypsies throughout Portugal last year. The study coordinator told Lusa there were basically three large groups. One group is composed of youths under 34 with different levels of schooling, many of them have never worked and many live with their families. A second group is 45 or older “living in very deficient conditions with greater vulnerability”. The last group os made up of people of an active age with families or in a stable situation, with ages of between 24 and 35 many of them have four years of school. This group has a larger number of workers, mainly people who travel from fair to fair on employees. “They are more open and have non-Roma friends, their networks are less closed” On the other hand, Roma schooling “is generally very short”, particularly for girls”, they get married very young (between 13 and 15) and many are evangelists. The National Gypsy People Day is 24 June.
The Portugal News


More Germans worried about Islamophobia than anti-Semitism, new poll finds

According to the European Jewish Association, just one in four Germans say that more needs to be done to eradicate anti-Semitism.

24/6/2015- A new survey conducted by the European Jewish Association claims that just one in four Germans believe the European Union should do more to eradicate anti-Semitism. The results of the survey, which were released by the EJA on Wednesday, also indicate that more Germans are worried about the rise of anti-Muslim animus than hostility toward Jews. Nearly four in 10 Germans believe that the authorities are doing an adequate job of combating anti-Semitism on the Continent, while 15 percent said that the government should be doing less. Rabbi Menachem Margolin, director of the EJA, said the results of the survey are a disconcerting sign that Germans have failed to adequately internalize the lessons of the Holocaust. “The German public is simply unaware of the rising tide of attacks motivated by anti-Semitism,” Margolin said. The poll asked Germans to list the top 10 challenges facing the European continent. Of the 10, anti-Semitism was ranked ninth, while more than twice the number of respondents said that Islamophobia was a more urgent matter. Over half of Germans polled (53%) said that the most pressing issue facing the EU was immigration; 44% said the environment was the biggest challenge; and terrorism was the third-most urgent problem.
The Jerusalem Post


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