ternYpe calls for Europe action to end Antigypsyism and Racism against Roma

The week of March 16th-24th 2013 was declared as the European Week Against Racism. ternYpe International Roma Youth Network points out that racism still leads to a daily infringement of the rights of Roma in terms of their structural discrimination, segregation and persecution. It therefore calls for a stronger individual and political support of anti-racist actions and movements within the European civil society. Members of the Roma community suffer from discrimination, stigmatization and exclusion all over Europe: they are regularly the target of racist hate speech and attacks, harassment from police forces and the denial of their fundamental citizens' rights. Discrimination against them is prevalent in all parts of life which is of great concern for Roma youth living in this reality.

During this week in March 2013, ternYpe brought together 50 Roma and non-Roma multipliers and youth activists from 15 countries in a partnership-building seminar in Bad Dürkheim/Heidelberg, Germany. It aimed for creating a platform where experiences, practices and methods concerning the fight against antigypsyism, against the violation of human rights and for the remembrance of the Roma Genocide can be shared and developed on a grassroots, national and international level.

The focus of the meeting was the preparation of the “Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative”. On the 2nd of August 1944, 2897 elderly people, women and children, the remaining Sinti and Roma of the so-called "gypsy camp" (“Zigeunerlager”) at Auschwitz-Birkenau, were murdered in the gas chambers. Knowledge and official recognition of the extermination of about 500.000 Roma during the Second World War is still very limited - especially among young Europeans including the Roma.

From July 30th until August 4th, 2013, about 300 young Roma and non-Roma from various countries and backgrounds will attend a commemoration ceremony on the memorial site of Auschwitz-Birkenau as well as in Krakow a conference, actions and workshops on the Roma Genocide and youth initiatives for activism and change. In this frame it will be shown that widely accepted racist attitudes led in the past from exclusion to genocide and provoke dreadful living conditions nowadays. Uncovering the mechanisms of racism and in particular of antigypsyism shall encourage the young people to take a more critical position and to strengthen their voice while advocating their rights and interests.

Addressing antigypsyism and stigmatization in the “Roma Genocide Remembrance Initiative” contributes to the ternYpe mission and strategy to create a space for young people to become active citizens through empowerment, mobilization, participation and self-organization. TernYpe believes in the common efforts by creating trust and mutual respect between Roma and non-Roma youth.

The European Week Against Racism shall remind us of the injustice and cruelties towards Roma in past and present times. Stigmatization, stereotypes and antigypsyism constitute the root causes of the social exclusion and marginalization of Roma. Now it is our responsibility to create a future where a certain ethnic belonging (or ascription!) is not confining anyone’s freedom anymore.

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