Germany adopts the working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination

Today, Germany’s Federal Cabinet adopted the IHRA’s non‑binding working definition of antigypsyism/anti‑Roma discrimination, making Germany the first country to do so at the national level. The important decision is sure to encourage other countries and civil society organizations to follow suit. 

Experts in the IHRA’s Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, in consultation with civil society organizations, worked over several years to lead efforts to draft the working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination. The working definition was then adopted by the IHRA’s 34 Member Countries in an extraordinary Heads of Delegation meeting on 8 October 2020 under the German Presidency. This practical tool will help sensitize individuals, organizations, and governments alike to the existence of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination, empowering people to identify and counter this phenomenon.  

Efforts supported by Minister Heiko Maas 

In light of the significant step by the German Federal Cabinet, Foreign Minister Maas issued the following statement today: 

The genocide of the Sinti and Roma during the Nazi era has been neglected for far too long. Even today, there remains a lot to be done in terms of addressing this crime, which was also set into motion by Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, however, antigypsyism and discrimination against Sinti and Roma have been around for much longer and they persist to this very day in our societies. 

One of our goals during our Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance was to heighten awareness around the world of this phenomenon. With the working definition of antigypsyism/anti‑Roma discrimination, we have now created an instrument which will help us to recognize widespread antigypsy stereotypes and to do something to tackle hatred and hate speech against Sinti and Roma – both within institutions and through the civic courage of every individual who observes discrimination and antigypsyism. 

Today’s decision by the Federal Cabinet is intended to foster the widespread use of the definition both internationally and within Germany. Particularly in light of International Roma Day on 8 April, this sends an important message about the rights of Roma around the world.