International Roma Day
International Roma Day on April 8 celebrates the multifarious Romani cultures and their histories. Initiatives and associations also welcome it as an opportunity to call for action against the massive discrimination of Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Even after centuries of persecution and their systematic murder by the Nazis, Roma are still subject to an extreme degree of social ostracism today. In fact, over the past few years ostracism and violence against them have taken on a whole new dimension throughout Europe.
Roma – among them the Kalé, Manouches, Sinti and Travellers – are considered the most endangered group within the European population. They are denied access to social protection, health care, education, employment and adequate housing on a broad scale. They experience hostility, even to the point of hatred combined with violence, on a daily basis. Earlier today, on the occasion of International Roma Day 2017, International Tracing Service (ITS) director Floriane Hohenberg pointed out:
“Unfortunately, more than 70 years after the end of Nazi persecution, Roma people are still discriminated in the midst of our democratic societies. In some places, walls separate Romani communities from their neighbours; we witness that Roma are still disproportionately targeted by racially-motivated violence and that some politicians spread anti-Roma sentiment to win votes in a year with several important elections.
The International Tracing Service is the largest archive in the world documenting Nazi persecution, including the genocide of Roma people, and post-war care. The ITS’ research and educational programmes contribute to a culture of remembrance that will strengthen democratic values in our societies.”