BERLIN, 08.10.2020 – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) today announces the adoption of an internationally accepted non-legally binding working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination*, emphasising the importance of remembering the genocide of Roma, and acknowledging that the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities experience today.
As anti-Roma sentiment has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, IHRA Member Countries recognise that urgent action is crucial. Therefore, this definition, adopted by consensus by all of the IHRA’s 34 Member Countries, is the first ever IHRA decision taken outside its biannual Plenary meetings. All IHRA decisions represent a shared understanding on key issues. This non-legally binding working definition will guide the IHRA in its work in advancing education, remembrance and research on the genocide of Roma. It also serves as an educational tool that will raise awareness and enhance understanding of the continued discrimination Roma face every day.
Member Countries consulted with Roma communities during the drafting and negotiation process, resulting in many suggested amendments which were incorporated into the final agreed definition.
The IHRA’s adoption of this working definition is well timed, as in January this year, ministers and high-ranking government representatives from 35 countries gathered in Brussels to adopt the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration to ensure the world remembers the Holocaust and works to contribute to a world without genocide. The working definition is an important contribution to the implementation of Article 4 of the Ministerial Declaration, in which Member Countries pledged to “remember the genocide of the Roma. We acknowledge with concern that the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today."
The adoption of a working definition on antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination has always been a priority of the German Presidency of IHRA, who assumed the leadership role in March 2020.
Ambassador Michaela Küchler, the IHRA President said: “All IHRA Member Countries are concerned that incidents of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination are on the rise. The current coronavirus pandemic has only fanned the flames of anti-Roma sentiment. Against this backdrop, the need to adopt a working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination has never been more urgent. I am delighted that we have taken collective action today to confront this evil. Our working definition will provide us with an important tool to address the rising tide of anti-Roma sentiment and safeguard the historical record of the crimes committed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators”
*Canada and the United States use the term anti-Roma racism, but the definition allows Member Countries to use the preferred term in their national context.