Remembering the victims of the Roma Holocaust on 2 August is a crucial moment every year. It plays a key role in the fight against racism and discrimination which targets them. I welcome the fact that more and more actors across Europe are involved in exposing the tragic chapters of Roma history by means of truth and reconciliation commissions and other such mechanisms. It is essential to continue exploring the past and disseminating information about it in society in order to foster reconciliation and trust.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted once again the heightened vulnerability of Roma to human rights violations. In a statement of 7 April 2020, I warned against the scapegoating of Roma, ethnic profiling and other discriminatory measures, and urged governments to ensure equal protection and care for Roma during the crisis.
At the same time, forced evictions, hate speech and police abuses targeting Roma have not stopped. It is therefore of the utmost importance to remember that the persistence of prejudices, racism and discrimination inexorably forms the bedrock for the repetition of serious human rights violations. The commemoration of 2 August reminds us of the imperative need to act relentlessly to combat anti-Gypsyism and uphold the human rights of Roma in all circumstances.