Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (8 October) on the adoption of a working definition of antigypsism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):
We must not stand idly by as Sinti and Roma face increasing marginalisation and discrimination. During our current Presidency of the IHRA, Germany has lobbied for adoption of a working definition of antigypsism, in order to focus international attention on this profound injustice and to create a practical instrument with which antigypsism can be identified. This week, the European Commission has presented a new EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation, in which the fight against antigypsism is firmly anchored as a cross-cutting component. Now that agreement has been reached on a definition, we can also step up the fight against antigypsism in the context of our Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
With 34 member countries, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) is the leading international institution for Holocaust education, remembrance and research. In March 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the IHRA, which rotates annually. Adoption of a non-legally binding working definition has been a core aim of Germany’s Presidency of the IHRA. It is intended to draw political attention to the issue and to provide an internationally recognised basis for the fight against antigypsism. IHRA member countries underscored at a Ministerial-level meeting in January 2020 that “the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today” and also committed to increase their efforts to address this issue.
The working definition is intended to more easily identify and take action against the phenomenon and its underlying patterns of behaviour. For this purpose, the working definition contains specific examples that illustrate everyday antigypsism as it occurs in social interaction. The IHRA already adopted a working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion in 2013, as well as a working definition of antisemitism in 2016. These working definitions have meanwhile been recognised by IHRA member countries, international organisations and civil society associations and are being applied in practice.