“THE FORGOTTEN VOICES” project
During the Second World War over half a million Roma were exterminated by the Nazis not because they werecriminals or a danger to society but because they were considered to be ethnically inferior and not fit to live.In view of the enormity of this crime, one is justified to ask why, after 70 years, no official recognition of thisgenocide has been forthcoming from our European states nor has this tragic event been recorded in our historybooks. And yet, it is this genocide which is at the roots of today’s anti-Gypsyism.Only the official recognition of this crime and a deep widespread knowledge of the genocide amongst the public willprovide us with an explanation of today’s situation and the means to combat it.
The ERTF will organise a two-day conference entitled “THE FORGOTTEN VOICES”.
Dedicated to the Roma victims of the Holocaust, the conference will aim at drawing a parallel between the past and the present situation andexplore how the causes of that tragedy are reflected in the discrimination, marginalization and persecution ofthe Roma today. Recognising the true nature of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination might help tocombat this phenomenon.
The main goal of this project is to bring together the main stakeholders from all over Europe to improve knowledge and understanding of the Roma Genocide and its relationship to current anti-Gypsyism. Only an understanding of this relationship will allow us to combat today’s anti-Gypsyism and avoid a repetition of the tragedies of the past.
This conference will also lead to the production of a document which will serve as a basis for advocating for therecognition of the Roma genocide and of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination at the European level.
- Examine how the causes of that tragedy are reflected in the discrimination, marginalization and persecution of the Roma today;
- Analyse the true nature of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination;
- Explore how the relationship between the genocide and today’s anti-Gypsyism can help us in combating this phenomenon.
Target groups should be high level multipliers in a position to influence events, bring change and modify mentalities (advocating change in the school curricula, sensitizing teachers to the issue of anti-Gypsyism, official recognition of the Roma genocide Remembrance Day, recognition of anti-Gypsyism as a specific form of discrimination).
The target groups will include:
• Political decision-makers (European, national, regional and local authorities, members of parliament);
• Civil servants ( teachers, policemen, etc);
• Civil society ( Roma organisations and mediators, anti-discrimination bodies, informal education organisations, religious leaders, journalists);
Participants: 60 circa, representing the various target groups. The Permanent Representatives of the Council of Europe member states, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional authorities, members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Roma (CAHROM) will be asked to assist in selecting the participants.
The project is supported by: Partida Romilor PRO-EUROPA (Romania), the Parliament of Romania, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Council of Europe.
Conclusions from the conference
List of Participants
Niels Muiznieks, Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights
Grattan Puxon, Roma activist, United Kingdom
Henry Scicluna, Special Adviser of the ERTF
Radio broadcasts of The Forgotten Voices Conference on Radio Belgrade 1, by Gordana Nesovic, Roma Redaction - Radio Belgrade 1