The Council of Europe’s human-rights commissioner has called on all of its member states to remember the hundreds of thousands of Roma lives lost during World War II, and to ensure that Roma history is kept alive.
Dunja Mijatović was speaking ahead of European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day today (2 August).
“Almost eight decades on, knowledge of the history and culture of Roma remains marginal among European societies,” she stated.
Around 500,000 European Roma are estimated to have been murdered in Nazi-occupied Europe, representing at least one quarter of their total population at that time.
The commissioner said that a lack of education about the past and present of Roma had led to a situation where they were still victims of hatred, violence, and pervasive discrimination.
“In several Council of Europe member states, many Roma still lack access to basic services, such as healthcare, adequate housing, and education,” Mijatović said.
She called on member states to design policies and adequately implement them to overcome anti-gypsyism, social exclusion, segregation, and marginalisation of Roma.
In a separate message, the European Commission called on EU member states to commit to an EU Roma Strategic Framework for equality, inclusion and participation.