MEPs urge end to Roma discrimination and recognition of Roma Genocide Day
Parliament called for more efforts to end discrimination, hate crime and hate speech against Roma people and for 2 August to be recognised as Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, to commemorate the Roma genocide in World War II, in a resolution passed on Wednesday.
In the resolution MEPs express their "deep concern at the rise of anti-Gypsyism, as manifested inter alia through anti-Roma rhetoric and violent attacks against Roma in Europe".
Anti-Gypsyism is "incompatible with the norms and values of the European Union" and "constitutes a major obstacle to the successful social integration of Roma", they stress. They call on EU countries to effectively implement the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) in order to "prevent and eliminate discrimination against Roma, in particular in employment, education and access to housing."
Parliament recognises the historical fact of the genocide of Roma that was perpetrated during World War II as well as other forms of persecution such as deportation and internment and calls on the member states to do likewise. According to estimates, at least half a million Roma were exterminated by the Nazi and other regimes and their allies and in some countries more than 80% of the Roma population was killed.
On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, 2,897 Roma, mostly women, children and elderly people, were killed in the Gypsy camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. To commemorate this atrocity, 2 August should be recognised as "European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day" and dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide, MEPs say.
Roma people are Europe’s largest ethnic minority. Some 10 to 12 million are estimated to live in Europe, including around six million in the EU. International Roma Day was celebrated on 8 April.
- 10-12 million Romas live in Europe, around 6 million in the EU
- 2,897 Roma killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau on the night of 2-3 August 1944
- At least 500,000 Roma people exterminated during World War II
- In some countries, more than 80% of the Roma population was killed