Council of Europe officials marked Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday. August 2 was named international day of the Roma Holocaust in 1972. Over 3,000 Roma prisoners killed that night in Auschwitz in 1944 are commemorated on that day. About 500,000 Roma are estimated to have been killed in Nazi camps, 23,000 of them in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Secretary-General Marija Pejčinović Burić said in a statement that the anniversary should serve as a reminder to fight against present-day discrimination against the Roma, noting the spread of hate speech on social media as well as the intimidation that Roma citizens often have to face. She said the CoE regards the fight against discrimination as a priority, calling for Roma history to be included in school curriculums and for Roma art, music and traditions to be promoted in schools.
Harry Alex Rusz, Hungary’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe, said in a separate statement that the Memorial Day served as a way to highlight the horrors caused by racism, xenophobia and intolerance. The Hungarian presidency of the Council of Europe sees promoting social inclusion and improving the opportunities for Roma citizens as a priority, he said.