Sweden hosts international conference on the genocide of the Roma and combating antigypsyism

On 20–21 October 2022, the Swedish Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) will host an international conference in Stockholm on the genocide of the Roma and combating antigypsyism.

Objectives of the conference include taking stock of existing research on the genocide of the Roma, identifying obstacles, gaps and needs, sharing IHRA knowledge and recommendations, stimulating cooperation and proactively working together for impact. The conference also aims to highlight developments in research on how the genocide of the Roma is linked to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma face today.

Focus points for discussion

Topics for discussion will include historical perspectives on antigypsyism and the experiences of the genocide of the Roma in the Nordic region, issues concerning testimonies and recognition, and how education can contribute to combating antigypsyism today. In addition, the conference will provide possibilities for researchers and Roma organisations to interact and discuss the themes of the conference, in line with the motto of the Swedish IHRA Presidency: Together for Impact – Promoting Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism and antigypsyism through cooperation and dialogue.

Academic and research institutions, IHRA experts, IHRA Member Countries, IHRA Permanent International Partners and Roma organisations and experts have been invited to the conference and will participate either in Stockholm or via Zoom.

Background to conference on the genocide of the Roma

Antigypsyism has existed for centuries. It was an essential element in the persecution and annihilation policies against Roma during the Second World War, and it remains a multifaceted phenomenon that has widespread social and political acceptance. This acceptance may be partly responsible for a lack of political and policy focus, research and funding. Nearly 80 years after the Second World War, historical questions about the genocide of the Roma remain unanswered. Public awareness and research is insufficient, and survivors have had few opportunities to share their stories and report their experiences and observations.

The IHRA has an important role in the advancement of education, remembrance and research on the Roma genocide. In line with this, the IHRA’s Committee on the Genocide of the Roma is entirely focused on the genocide of the Roma and, in the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration, Member Countries pledged to remember the genocide of the Roma and acknowledged with concern that the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today. The Declaration was followed by the adoption of a working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination in 2021.