European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day (August 2)

Consistent measures against antiziganism (Press Release)

On the occasion of the European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day (August 2), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands more consistent measures against antiziganism. The human rights organization is deeply concerned about the increase of hate crimes against Roma people all over the world, and thus demands better documentation and more efforts to actually prosecute acts of racist violence. "There has been a significant increase in discrimination against Roma people – especially in connection with the Corona pandemic. They are often treated as scapegoats in order to marginalize them even further," emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, in Göttingen on Friday.

Antiziganism not only manifests itself in physical assaults, but also in increasing racist slurs on social media. Internet providers and the authorities must take the problem more seriously and take effective measures to curb agitation against the Sinti and Roma. "Verbal denigration is often followed by physical violence," Delius warned.

The Covid-19 crisis and increasing right-wing extremism threaten to set back the decades of efforts to further recognition and respect towards the Sinti and Roma. "With regard to the approximately 500,000 victims of the genocide of the Sinti and Roma, it is an obligation to ensure that the survivors and their descendants will never again be excluded and persecuted. In the scope of the efforts to fight racism in Europe, the Sinti and Roma must not be forgotten – for they were, and still are, often the first victims of racist agitation," Delius added.

Racism against Sinti and Roma is not only a problem in Germany, but in the entire European Union and in the EU accession countries in the Western Balkans. In France, for example, many Roma were forcibly evicted from campsites this week. In Bulgaria, at least seven districts inhabited by Roma were sealed off from the rest of the city in March 2020, allegedly as a means to keep the coronavirus from spreading – and one of the Roma settlements was even sprayed with disinfectants from an airplane. In Slovakia, five districts inhabited by Roma were sealed off. "It is alarming how the Covid-19 crisis brings persisting prejudices against Sinti and Roma to light, manifest in everyday discrimination," Delius stated.