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As we remember the past, it is urgent to strengthen the fight against anti-Gypsyism

“Even as we pay tribute to the victims of the Roma genocide perpetrated during the Second World War, there are alarming signs that anti-Gypsyism is still rife in Europe,” said the Parliamentary Assembly’s General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, Gabriela Heinrich (Germany, SOC), speaking on the eve of International Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day (2 August 2018).

“High-ranking politicians continue to make shocking, racist statements against Roma, local authorities carry out forced evictions of their settlements, and in some places a wave of violence has recently targeted Roma,” she added.

“There remains too little awareness of the genocide committed against Roma and Travellers in the middle of the last century. This creates a climate in which prejudice, discrimination and hate crime can all too easily flourish. Council of Europe member States must do much more to raise awareness of the history of Roma and Travellers and to promote mutual understanding and acceptance today. States must also take effective measures to protect the victims of racist attacks, prosecute and punish the perpetrators, and investigate possible political motives behind any attacks,” Ms Heinrich concluded.