46th anniversary of the International Roma Day and anti-Gypsyism
- Welcome the resolution of 15th April 2015 on the International Roma Day – anti-Gypsyism in Europe and underlines the need for its effective implementation.
- Roma, with an estimated population of 10 to 12 million in Europe, are Europe’s largest ethnic minority.
- Anti-Gypsyism is an urgent issue given the profound exclusion and discrimination that Roma are experiencing throughout Europe and the current rise in hate speech, racist crimes and discrimination targeting Roma people, or those perceived as such. The issue should be connected to the broader anti-racism and non–discrimination fight with increasing Afrophobia, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, as well as other grounds of discrimination.
- The rise of different forms of racism is a direct violation of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, principles upon which the European Union is founded and which are common to the Member States.
- Any violence or hate speech based on ethnicity or any other difference should be effectively punished by law.
- Anti-Gypsyism is a special kind of racism that is directed towards Roma, is an ideology founded on racial superiority, a form of dehumanisation and institutional racism nurtured by historical discrimination.
- Anti-Gypsyism has existed for a long time and is a specific form of discrimination and racism based on people’s real or perceived belonging to the Roma community and should be equally addressed along with other issues.
- Anti-Gypsyism can be perpetrated by state and non-state actors.
- Anti-Gypsyism can be expressed in the form of policies that directly or indirectly discriminate Roma and deprive them from enjoying full their rights as citizens and human beings.
- Anti-Gypsyism can be expressed in the form of verbal and physical attacks, threats, harassment, property damage, graffiti or other hate speech, including on social media and more broadly on the internet.
- Anti-Gypsyism speeches are often openly expressed, including in the media and by some political parties.
- Expression of anti-Gypsyism on the internet especially on social media is on the rise.
- Roma people continues to be discriminated in fields such as education, employment, housing, health care and democratic participation. Examples such as forced evictions of Roma in Italy, France, Bulgaria and Hungary or the segregation of Roma in schools in Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- Many Roma in the EU still live in overwhelmingly poor conditions and face extreme levels of social exclusion and discrimination because of anti-Gypsyism.
- The intersectionality between anti-Gypsyism and gender discrimination needs to be taken into consideration.
- The common nature of anti-Gypsyism prejudice which contributes to social exclusion, discrimination, and sometimes even violence must be dealt with through information and education in formal and non-formal education systems. It should also be addressed through an effective implementation of EU- and national legislation that prohibits hate speech and violence and discrimination.
- Recall that an estimated 500,000 Roma were exterminated during World War II by the Nazi and other regimes and their allies with at least at least 23,000 Roma gassed to death in the Zigeunerlager (Gypsy camp) of Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II. In one night, from 2 to 3 August 1944, 2897 Roma, mostly women, children and elderly people, were killed at that camp.
Requests for action by European Institutions/Member States
- Need for concrete follow-up and actions.
- Other forms of racism shouldn’t be forgotten and should also be addressed. The Commission needs to appoint coordinators for other forms of racism apart from anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and the Commission needs to appoint a special representative against racism.
- Call on the European Commission to ensure an effective review of the implementation of National Strategies on Roma Inclusion and the Council recommendation which invited Member States to take effective policy measures against anti-Gypsyism and to ensure equal treatment of Roma and respect for their fundamental rights, including equal access to education, employment, healthcare and housing.
- Call for the Council to confirm that August 2nd to be established as the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day for the genocide of Roma during World War II and for Member States to provide the Roma people with restitution where appropriate for the atrocities committed against them by the Nazi and other regimes and their allies during World War II.
- Call for the development of relevant indicators to monitor anti-Gypsyism and racism in general and the strengthening of methods of reporting and recording of incidents.
- Calls for concrete targets on EU and the national level in the combat against anti-Gypsyism.
- Stress the important role that political leaders and media can play in combating anti-Gypsyism.
- Take measures ensuring that anti-Gypsyism hate speech from media and political leaders are strongly condemned.