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It’s time Canada recognizes Roma genocide

It’s time Canada recognizes  Roma genocide

August 02, 2016

Hon. Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister of Canada

On July 10 2016, the Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Justin Trudeau
visited Auschwitz Birkenau. Following his visit, Mr. Trudeau declared,

Today we bear witness to humanity's capacity for deliberate cruelty
and evil. May we ever remember this painful truth about ourselves and
may it strengthen our commitment to never again to allow such darkness
to prevail. We shall never forget.

Institute for Research of Genocide Canada with the The Canadian Romani
Alliance in solidarity with Romanipe wishes to take this opportunity
to bring attention to the often forgotten plight of the Roma during
the Holocaust. August 2nd, has been designated by the international
Roma community as the day to commemorate the Porrajmos or genocide of
Roma during the period of the Nazi occupation of Europe. August 2nd
has been chosen because it was on this date, in 1944, that the last
remaining 2,897 Roma and Sinti, including the elderly and children,
imprisoned in the so-called Zigeunerlager or “Gypsy Camp” were
murdered in the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The most recent
estimate indicates that at least half the Roma and Sinti European
population, some  500 000 Roma were murdered by the Nazis and their
collaborators during World War II.

Unfortunately, this Genocide of the Roma and Sinti is virtually
unknown to the general public. It does not appear in public education
curricula in Canadian schools and it is merely a footnote in accounts
of the history of the Third Reich. For the past 70 years, the
unfortunate history of the Roma Genocide has been ignored and
forgotten, a fact, which has allowed for discrimination against Roma
to continue. With the growing influence of Neo-Nazi movements taking
place throughout Europe, we have recently witnessed the very dangers
and consequence of forgetting the past. In current day Europe, growing
Anti-Gypsyism has led to the racially motivated killings of six Roma
including one child by far-right extremists. Such widespread hatred
and violence against Roma would not be allowed today, had the history
of the Roma Genocide been rightfully recognized and taught.

Only last year, on April 15 2015 the European Parliament finally
adopted a resolution, recognizing “the historical fact of the genocide
of Roma that took place during World War II. The resolution, which
declared that August 2, is a day which should be dedicated to
commemorating the victims of the Genocide of the Roma during World War
II, also underlined “the need to combat anti-Gypsyism at every level
and by every means, and stresses that this phenomenon is an especially
persistent, violent, recurrent and commonplace form of racism.”

Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada invites the Canadian
government to follow, via a formal recognition of the Roma Genocide
during World War II. This recognition would grant legal and moral
legitimacy to the demands for restitution for Roma to rightfully be
incorporated in the history of the Holocaust, including at all
official ceremonies, commemorations and events honouring victims of
the World War II.

Because the 2nd of August has been proposed as the memorial day of the
Roma Genocide, chosen by Romani organizations The Institute for
Research of Genocide, Canada  asks the Canadian government to
recognise August 2nd as the official day of commemoration of the mass
murder of the Roma and Sinti during the Second World War. This
recognition will begin the process of education and further assist the
collective healing process of this tragedy that befell the Roma and
Sinti population at the hands of Hitler and his collaborators.

Professor Emir Ramic
Chairman of the Institute for Research of Genocide, Canada