Tuesday, January 20, 2009
European Roma and Travellers Forum
Roma ignored at the UN Commemoration of International Day in the memory of the holocaust
Strasbourg, 16 January 2009: Today, in a letter addressed to United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon the European Roma and Travellers Forum expressed its indignation at the decision to exclude the Roma Holocaust from the commemoration ceremony.
Mr. Kawczynski, president of the European Roma and Travellers Forum said this decision did not honor the United Nations, which should be at the forefront in respecting the memory of persecuted populations.
“The Holocaust was the implementation of the Final Solution, Hitler’s genocide programme intended to eradicate the genetic contaminants in his plan to create a master race. Only Jews and Roma were subject to the Final Solution, and both peoples lost the same percentage of their total number. However, since the end of the war in 1945, nothing has been done to acknowledge the Romani survivors” said the ERTF president.
Mr Kawczynski reminded United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon of his statement at a Press Conference on 14 December, 2006 where he strongly maintained that “Denying historical facts, especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust, is just not acceptable. Nor is it acceptable to call for the elimination of any State or people. I would like to see this fundamental principle respected both in rhetoric and in practice by all the members of the international community ”
He added that the United Nations’ decision to exclude Roma from Holocaust remembrance therefore clearly contradicted his views and only perpetuated the marginalisation of the Roma people in the historical record. The Roma continue to face exclusion and discrimination at all levels.
Mr. Kawczynski asked the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon for a meeting to discuss the increasing discrimination and marginalisation of Roma in member states.
The European Roma and Travellers Forum (ERTF), which has a partnership agreement with the Council of Europe and a special status with this institution, is Europe’s largest and most inclusive Roma organisation. It brings together Europe’s main international Roma-NGOs and more than 1,500 national Roma organisations from most of the Council of Europe’s member states.
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