European Commission commemorates Roma Holocaust Memorial Day
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European Commission commemorates Roma Holocaust Memorial Day

The European Parliament passed a resolution on 15 April 2015 to recognize 2 August as the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. On this day in 1944, around 3000 Roma women, children and elderly people were murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

They were among hundreds of thousands of victims of the Roma genocide, and they suffered together with others who were persecuted under the Nazi regime.

In a statement of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Věra Jourová on the occasion of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, the European Commission expresses its support to the European Parliament’s resolution.

“We hope that all Member States will recognize it soon,” the statement says and continues:

“The genocide committed against the Roma by the Nazis must never be forgotten. Still today, too few Europeans know about this tragic episode of our past. And as events are fading in people’s memory, we must be united in remembering those who fell victim to these heinous crimes.”

“As Europeans, we have a joint responsibility to ensure that the atrocities of the past are recognized and lessons are learnt. History can never be allowed to repeat itself. Tolerance and respect must be the basis of our societies today and in the future.”

The statement reminds us that the Roma, who have been part of our European societies for centuries, continue to face discrimination on the basis of their ethnic origin.

Last June the Commission published a Communication on the EU Framework for national Roma integration strategies. The 2013 Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures provides specific guidance to enhance and implement integration measures.

“The Commission is dedicated to improving Roma integration, drawing on a better understanding of our history,” declare the two Commissioners. “We continue to work with the European Parliament, Member States, local and regional authorities and civil society to improve the daily lives of Roma communities in Europe.”

The Brussels Times