European Parliament recognizes 2 August as the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day
April 15, 2015 marked a historical moment. The European Parliament voted with an overwhelming majority to finally adopt a resolution which recognizes “the historical fact of the genocide of Roma that took place during World War II” and concludes “that a European day should be dedicated to commemorating the victims of the genocide of the Roma during World War II.” Of huge importance is the fact that this resolution also “underlines the need to combat anti-Gypsyism at every level and by every means, and stresses that this phenomenon is an especially persistent, violent, recurrent and commonplace form of racism.”
ternYpe and its partners celebrate this achievement which represents long overdue, historical recognition to the victims of the Roma Genocide, to survivors and their families. This resolution is the result of the work of many Roma activists and organizations that for over 70 years now have been fighting for the fate of the Roma to be rightfully included into European history.
ternYpe International Roma Youth Network has been committed to advocate for this recognition for many years, mobilizing hundreds of Roma and non-Roma youth for this cause, developing co-operation with experts, historians, educational institutions and political stakeholders. To mark the occasion of the 70th anniversary of August 2 in 2014, ternYpe and its partners brought together in Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau over 1,000 young people, Roma and non-Roma from 25 countries, to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Roma Genocide and to mobilize against anti-Gypsyism that Roma continue to face across Europe. One of the main aims of the event was to advocate for the wider recognition of the Roma Genocide and for the official recognition of the 2 August as the Roma Genocide Remembrance Day. It took place under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, and for the second year under the Honorary Patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Martin Schulz.
ternYpe highly welcomes this resolution in which the European Parliament affirms that ‘‘2 August has been chosen by Roma organisations as the day to commemorate all Roma victims of this genocide’’ and that the recognition “would thus constitute an important symbolic step in the fight against anti-Gypsyism and contribute to general knowledge of Roma history in Europe.”
The MEPs express in the resolution their deep concern at the rise of anti-Gypsyism, as manifested through anti-Roma rhetoric and violent attacks against Roma in Europe, including murders. Roma MEP Damian Draghici, Romanian member of the S&D group, declared that legal means are not sufficient to counter trends and to counter discrimination. He states, “More needs to be done. Anti-Gypsyism, as Commissioner Jourová said […] is one of the most acute problems facing Europe today. It has for far too long been a widely-accepted policy at state stakeholders’ level, and this has to stop.” Roma MEP Soraya Post , a Swedish member of the S&D group, said the framework on Roma integration had been dominated by social policy and lacked an approach to racism against Roma people: "[This type of racism] exists in all member states and goes through all levels of society. Before dealing with anti-gypsyism, actions in other policy areas will not succeed to change the situation of the Roma in the EU.”
This acknowledgment of the anti-Gypsyism phenomena by the European Parliament should be followed by a long awaited commitment from all European institutions to fight against anti-Gypsyism and to end discrimination against Roma.
ternYpe also welcomes the adoption of another resolution on the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, as the European Parliament voted, by an overwhelming majority, to adopt a resolution to formally “join the commemoration of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide in a spirit of European, solidarity and justice”.
ternYpe International Roma Youth Network is a network of youth and youth associations that creates space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, participation and self-organization. ternYpe believes in the common efforts by creating trust, and mutual respect between Roma and non-Roma youth.
The text of the draft resolution is available at:
Debates on March 25, 2015 can be viewed (text and video) online at:
Video of the Voting of the resolution:
ternYpe International Roma Youth Network