HROC Supports the Initiative to Include the 2nd of August into the List of Commemorative days as a Day Dedicated to the Remembrance of Roma Genocide SAMUDARIPEN

The Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (HROC) expressed their support for the initiative by Lithuanian Roma Community to include the 2nd of August into the list of commemorative days as a day dedicated to the remembrance of Roma Genocide SAMUDARIPEN.

The document, that was sent to the Speaker of the Seimas (Parliament) Viktoras Pranckietis, LR Human Rights Committee chairman Valerijus Simulik and all members of Seimas, reminds that this year is the 75th anniversary since Auschwitz was destroyed. During the night of 2nd of August, 1944 almost 3 000 Romany were killed. They had been the last Roma at the concentration camp. It is estimated that 20 000 Roma people were killed in Auschwitz in total.

This tragic date became symbolic, therefore the 2nd of August is commemorated as a day for Roma Genocide/Holocaust remembrance.

According to HROC, various international organisations such as the Council of Europe, European Parliament, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) officially recognise the genocide of Romany people.

In 2009 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe confirmed the recommendations for the member countries on how to fairly discuss Romany culture, history and Holocaust in educational programmes(CM/Rec(2009)4). The same recommendation was repeated in 2011, in the recommendation to fight racism and intolerance (ECRI) by European Commision (recommendation no.13 ‘Combating Anti-Gypsyism and Discrimination against Roma’). On the 15th of April, 2015 in commemoration of the International Roma day European Parliament passed a resolution ‘Anti-Gypsyism in Europe and EU Recognition of the Memorial Day of the Roma Genocide during World War II’, by which they officially accepted the factual historical genocide of Roma during World War II. The 14th point made in the resolution states that the 2nd of August is announced as the Roma Genocide Commemoration Day and encourages all of the member countries to mark this date and also honour it as Roma Holocaust Day.

According to the coalition, the community of Romany people have been living in Lithuania for several hundred years and have developed a strong Lithuanian identity. During World War II this community became victims of the cruel nazi regime – Roma genocide was implemented: Romany people were systematically persecuted due to race-based reasons, brutally killed, taken to concentration and labour camps. Most of Lithuanian Roma community suffered during these prosecutions, therefore suitable commemoration on Romany victims and remembrance on the national level is essential.