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Roma Early Childhood Inclusion Overview Report

February 24, 2020

The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion (RECI) studies and reports aim to build a comprehensive and detailed picture of the extent of early childhood provision and services, available to Romani families. The studies have been carried out in five countries—Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia—and  endeavour to identify the major obstacles that Romani families face in accessing high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood care and education. More generally, the studies and reports deliver data and information about communities that are often ignored or misrepresented by official statistics, government policies, ministerial strategies and plans for spending.As previous studies carried out by Open Society Foundations have shown—No Data—No Progress, 2010—the lack of reliable data hampers any attempt to measure the impact of government or international NGO intervention. Planning services and allocating resources to Romani communities are the consequence of "guesswork" rather than knowledge and careful study. The Roma Early Childhood Inclusion reports present a distillation of the most recent and reliable data to be had, in these circumstances, drawn from the actual communities themselves, through interviews and focus groups. Government strategies, policies and action plans are all assessed in this context; what has been the effect of the initiatives aimed at improving the economic and social position for Romani families, in these countries?This Overview Report draws upon data from the five country studies, carried out by Romani and non-Romani researchers working together, to present what are the themes and topics of most relevance to families and young children in settlements and neighbourhoods across central, eastern and south-eastern Europe. A profound lack of equality of access and services, beset by numerous obstacles, characterizes the overall picture, for Roma. The numbers of Romani children that have access to good quality, early childhood education and care provision or who can participate in community and home-based learning programmes, remains minimal in comparison with the surrounding, majority populations.The desperate need for Romani children to be able to access, at least for two years, high-quality, socially inclusive, early childhood education and care services and benefit from effective home visiting and community-based early childhood development (ECD) programmes, is a particular theme throughout the report. This is a minimum requirement that the partner organizations (UNICEF, Open Society Foundation's Early Childhood Program and Roma Education Fund) advocate for at national and international levels, if progress is to be made in improving education outcomes for Romani children.The scale of the changes that need to be undertaken in order to provide equal opportunity for Romani children and families requires that national governments and international institutions (such as the Council of Europe, the European Commission and the European Union's Parliament) act, following the recommendations that these reports deliver.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Monitoring 2019

August 1, 2019

Presently, the culture of open discussion seems to be threatened in an increasing number of countries. In Central and Eastern Europe's (CEE's) democracies, recent political developments appear to jeopardize progresses made in the past. Against this background, this study aims at shedding light on the dynamics of CEE'scivil society and gives a brief overview of the status quo and recent developments that directly affect civil society. The study was conducted by the Competence Center for Nonprofit Organizations and Social Entrepreneurship at WU Vienna (Vienna University of Economics and Business), commissioned by and in collaboration with ERSTE foundation as well as with a group of country experts. The inclusion of expert assessments on civil society aims at giving a voice primarily to practitioners. Therefore, the study included an online survey in each participating country, addressing CSO representatives operating in various fields of activity.

When Law Doesn’t Rule: State Capture of the Judiciary, Prosecution, Police in Serbia

October 1, 2018

The study When the Law Doesn't Rule, by the Open Society European Policy Institute, Transparency Serbia, and the Centre of Investigative Journalism of Serbia, identifies seven ways in which political control is being exerted over the judiciary, prosecution, and police in Serbia, and how systemic weaknesses in the exercise of the rule of law are being exploited. These include limited accountability of judges and prosecutors for ineffectiveness; the appointment of public prosecutors and court presidents on political grounds; an inordinate amount of discretion allowed to law enforcement when making investigation and prosecution decisions; inappropriate and partial briefing of the media; the misuse and manipulation of statistics; direct political influence on law enforcement; and deliberately dysfunctional criminal investigations in politically sensitive cases.The report illustrates these seven administrative and systemic weaknesses through 12 case studies.

Civil Society in Central and Eastern Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

March 1, 2017

More than two decades have passed since nonprofit and third-sector researchers "discovered" Central and Eastern Europe as an area of scholarly interest. After the collapse of the communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Iron Curtain, scholars noted the emergence of new civil society actors and were curious to understand the role these actors would play in their societies. Since that time, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has experienced intensive periods of transformation, conflict and renewal. This study is guided by the intention to develop a better understanding of the current state of civil society in Central and Eastern Europe, the diverse pathways of its development, and its possible future trajectories.

Closed Borders: The impact of border closures on people on the move, with a focus on women and children in Serbia and Macedonia

November 24, 2016

In 2015 there was a huge increase in the number of migrants, including refugees, arriving in Greece and travelling along the Balkan route on their way to destination countries further north. According to UNHCR, more than one million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2015.This report looks at the protection concerns of people on the move, especially women and children, in Macedonia and Serbia following the closure of the Balkan route. It is based on research and information gathered by Oxfam and its partners: the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Atina in Serbia, and the Macedonian Young Lawyer Association and Open Gate/ La Strada in Macedonia. The report includes recommendations on how to protect and promote their safety, dignity and human rights. 

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015

June 7, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts.

Comparative Highlights of Foundation Laws: The Operating Environment for Foundations in Europe 2015 (Chinese Translation)

January 1, 2015

This publication aims to provide the reader with a comparative overview of the diverse legal and fiscal environments of foundations in 40 countries across wider Europe: the 28 EU Member States, plus Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Ukraine. It includes charts, draw on the basis of the updated online EFC (European Foundation Centre) Legal and Fiscal Country Profiles, which are available to download at www.efc.be. The EFC online profiles include more detailed country information and further explanation of the information presented in those charts. (Edition translated from English to Chinese)

The Operating Environment for Public-Benefit Foundations in the Western Balkans Region : A Project Supported by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund

November 1, 2014

That study explores the operating environment for public-benefit foundations in the Western Balkans region. Examining the legal and tax framework for foundations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, it draws on data provided by local foundation law experts in each of the countries surveyed and presents a comparative analysis.

Re/integration of Trafficked persons : Working with Trafficked Children and Youth

October 1, 2014

This paper was developed in the context of the Trafficking Victims Re/integration Programme (TVRP), which funds NGO's in several countries of Southeastern Europe. It is the fifth of a series that aim to shed light on good practices in the area of re/integration as well as on important lessons learned.This paper addresses the issue of the re/integration of trafficked children and youth, drawing on the first hand experiences of service providers in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.Children and youth have become an increasing portion of persons being trafficked from and within the Balkan region. Some are exploited sexually, others are exploited for different forms of labour, including begging and street selling. This paper discusses each of the different services and types of support needed to meet the specific re/integration needs of trafficked children and youth in the light of international standards. It also looks into challenges facing service providers such as the identification of trafficked children, prosecution of perpetrators due to gaps in the criminal code as well as forster care.

Nations in Transit 2014

June 12, 2014

This is the the 18th edition of Freedom House's comprehensive report on post-communist democratic governance -- highlights recent setbacks to democracy across Eurasia and the Balkans, as well as in Central Europe. Russia served as the model and inspiration for policies that have led to an uninterrupted retreat from free institutions throughout Eurasia and in 2013 brought a new and alarming level of repression. In Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, and several other countries, civil society responded with remarkable resistance to repressive governance. The year also featured improved elections and peaceful transfers of power in Kosovo, Albania, and Georgia.

Roma Health Rights in Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia: A Baseline for Legal Advocacy

June 1, 2013

The Roma, Europe's largest and most neglected minority, face discrimination and are pushed to the sidelines of society—harming their health. In some communities, Roma life expectancy is 10 years below average. Their infant mortality rate is unacceptably high, and preventive health care is almost inaccessible.Roma face systemic discrimination and exclusion in citizenship, education, employment, housing, and access to justice. Many cannot access health care at all. Others suffer abuses in health care, including the outright denial of medical services, the disclosure of medical information, breaches of privacy, and violations of the right to informed consent.At the same time, a range of international, regional, and domestic legal frameworks protect health rights, and there is increasing recognition of systemic violations experienced by Roma. Roma NGOs have undertaken legal advocacy to press for accountability in health care and access to health services.This report analyzes the current state of legal advocacy for Roma health rights in Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia. It seeks to establish a point of reference, and to develop an evaluation framework for the Open Society Foundations' support for legal empowerment, documentation and advocacy, media, and strategic litigation.

Human Rights in Patient Care: A Practitioner Guide - Serbia

May 1, 2013

Health systems can too often be places of punishment, coercion, and violations of basic rights—rather than places of treatment and care. In many cases, existing laws and tools that provide remedies are not adequately used to protect rights.This Practitioner Guide series presents practical how-to manuals for lawyers interested in taking cases around human rights in patient care. The manuals examine patient and provider rights and responsibilities, as well as procedures for protection through both the formal court system and alternative mechanisms in 10 countries.Each Practitioner Guide is country-specific, supplementing coverage of the international and regional framework with national standards and procedures in the following:ArmeniaGeorgiaKazakhstanKyrgyzstanMacedoniaMoldova (forthcoming)RomaniaRussia (forthcoming)SerbiaUkraineThis series is the first to systematically examine the application of constitutional, civil, and criminal laws; categorize them by right; and provide examples and practical tips. As such, the guides are useful for medical professionals, public health mangers, Ministries of Health and Justice personnel, patient advocacy groups, and patients themselves.Advancing Human Rights in Patient Care: The Law in Seven Transitional Countries is a compendium that supplements the practitioner guides. It provides the first comparative overview of legal norms, practice cannons, and procedures for addressing rights in health care in Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Russia, and Ukraine.A Legal Fellow in Human Rights in each country is undertaking the updating of each guide and building the field of human rights in patient care through trainings and the development of materials, networks, and jurisprudence. Fellows are recent law graduates based at a local organization with expertise and an interest in expanding work in law, human rights, and patient care. To learn more about the fellowships, please visit health-rights.