World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Ensuring right to remembrance and dignity for Roma people

Ensuring the right to remembrance and dignity for the Roma people

Aug 1, 2014


For the Roma Holocaust 70th anniversary commemoration
Saturday 2 August 2014

GENEVA / NEW YORK (2 August 2014) – On the 70th anniversary of the Roma Holocaust –‘Porrajmos’ or ‘Pharrajimos’– two United Nations human rights experts urge all governments around the world to ensure the right to remembrance for the Roma people.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsák, and the Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, call for stronger measures and initiatives to keep the memory of the Roma Holocaust alive and enable survivors, Roma communities and others to mark it in a recognized and dignified manner.

“Many people globally have little or no knowledge that Roma were targeted by the Nazi regime. Under the Nazis, Roma were subjected to arbitrary internment, forced labor, and mass murder. German authorities murdered tens of thousands of Roma in the German-occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Serbia and thousands more in the death camps.

Else Schmidt was seven years old when taken in the summer of 1942 from her home in Hamburg. She remembers two men in military coats marching her to a warehouse on the docks where they left her among crowds of Gypsies already gathered there…
(A testimony from the book “Porrajmos” – Recollections of Roma Holocaust survivors)

On the night of 2 to 3 August 1944, all remaining 2,897 Roma men, women and children in the so called ‘Gypsy family camp’ in Auschwitz-Birkenau, were taken to gas chamber V and were murdered by the Nazis.

…Else had no idea why she had been brought there. In fact, she had no idea what a ‘Gypsy’ was...

Much remains to be done to establish the right and possibility for Roma to remember and commemorate with dignity. In several countries where evidence suggests that Roma fell victims to the Holocaust, governments should make 2 August an official day of remembrance for the victims of the Pharrajimos. All the world’s governments and the international community, including the United Nations, must make sure that they include reference to the suffering of Roma in their Holocaust education and commemoration events.

…Else’s parents drew a veil at home over her torment…

In order to allow appropriate commemoration, Roma graves and mass graves, including those that have not yet been marked, must be identified and preserved to enable survivors to remember and mourn in dignity.

…Humiliation at school worked more brutally: ‘I have very bad memories of school, because I still had my concentration camp number tattooed on my arm with just a plaster to hide it…

Violence against Roma is not only a matter of history but is a sad reality for many Roma communities today, also. We must realize that the hatred and the dehumanization of the victims of the Holocaust that characterised the Nazi era, still exist in the hearts and minds of some individuals in Europe today. These individuals are capable of committing violence against our fellow Roma citizens simply because of who they are.

…On the first day, the teachers, who were bad Nazis, forced me to stand up in class…

We must make sure that governments remain vigilant to this risk and take appropriate measures against signs of hatred and stigmatization. They must step up their action against hate speech and incitement to hatred before it is manifested in violence and atrocities. We call on all States to meet their responsibilities by implementing effective measures to protect their populations from discrimination and violence based on their identity.

…They said to me: You must stand here until you have told everyone what is under the plaster…

The growing presence of and support for extremist parties and ideologies, which often target Roma and other minority populations, including immigrants, is of increasing concern in Europe. It is in the interest of all European governments and democratic political parties to step up their efforts to establish necessary integration policies and platforms to ensure that all populations, including the Roma are considered and treated equally, can live in security and raise their children without fear.”

From that day, for eighteen years, Else spoke with no one about what had happened to her in Auschwitz and Ravensbruck aged 8 and 9.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news