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Roma Holocaust Memorial Day: “To build the future, we must remember the victims of the past”

Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

“On 2 August, we pay tribute to the victims of the Roma genocide perpetrated during the Second World War,” said the Parliamentary Assembly’s General Rapporteur on combating racism and intolerance, Momodou Malcolm Jallow (Sweden, UEL), speaking ahead of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day 2021. “Even today, far too many Europeans lack awareness of the discrimination and persecution committed against Roma and Travellers on our continent over centuries, and of the genocide committed against them during the Second World War.”

“This ignorance tragically creates fertile ground for the persistence of stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination and hate crimes, sometimes even committed by law enforcement officers. High-ranking politicians throughout Europe continue to stigmatise Roma and Travellers and make blatantly antigypsyist statements; local authorities fail to address persisting discrimination against Roma and Travellers in the field of housing, turning a blind eye to squalid living conditions or carrying out forced evictions of their settlements; and many politicians have targeted Roma and Travellers with antigypsyist rhetoric during the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of providing necessary support,” he observed.

“On the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, I urge the member States of the Council of Europe to intensify their efforts to tackle both the marginalisation faced by Roma and Travellers in real life, and their marginalisation in mainstream accounts of history and in history teaching. States should continue to support the implementation of the Council of Europe Strategic Action Plan for Roma and Traveller Inclusion (2020‑2025) as well as the work of the newly established Observatory on History Teaching in Europe,” he said. “Remembering and honouring those who died is a crucial part of building a united future.”