The first international Sinti and Roma congress was held in London on 8 April 1971. Since that day, this largest minority in Europe has united under the word Roma, the anthem "Gelem, gelem", and its own flag. The Roma chose these in order to provide a clear alternative to the derogatory term gypsy. But still they continue to be subjected to hostility, marginalisation and racism.
"An end must finally be put to the stigmatisation and discrimination faced by the Sinti and Roma. Europe stands for diversity, tolerance and openness. As a values-based community, we have pledged to protect minorities. Sinti and Roma belong in the midst of our society, not on its margins!" These were the words of Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office.
Germany as a determined campaigner against antiziganism
Germany bears a special responsibility because of its past. We must all stand up for the Sinti and Roma whenever we witness antiziganism. Hatred and prejudice are still at the root of the depressing realities encountered by so many Sinti and Roma. I would like to see a Europe in which nobody need feel ashamed to say that they are Roma. They have earned a fair chance of a life in dignity of their own choosing.
Germany is a determined campaigner against antiziganism, anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, also in its present capacity as OSCE Chairmanship.