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Milena Santerini: ‘Learning from the past to build a better future with Roma’

“In 2016 Roma and Travellers in Europe are still discriminated against, stigmatised and targeted by hate speech, including from political leaders and other public figures,” said Milena Santerini (Italy, SOC), PACE’s General Rapporteur on combating against racism and intolerance, in a special message to mark International Roma Day (8 April 2016).

“Anti-Gypsyism and discrimination against Roma and Travellers are little known and their extent is underestimated by the general public. The history of Roma and Travellers, including tragic aspects such as the genocide perpetrated against them during the Second World War, is also insufficiently known,” she said. “The memory of these events must be preserved: when the past is misunderstood, even denied by some, it is very hard to build a better future.”

International Roma Day, celebrated around the world on 8 April, is an important opportunity for these issues to be aired, Ms Santerini pointed out. “It is by working together and by taking a holistic approach which covers all aspects of life – ranging from education to political participation and including access to housing, employment and healthcare – that the ideal of inclusion for Roma will become a reality.”