Teaching about and Commemorating the Roma and Sinti Genocide: Practices within the OSCE Area

A new publication taking stock of official practices in OSCE participating States to remember and educate about the Roma and Sinti genocide was presented by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on 4 November 2015 in Debrecen, Hungary, at the plenary meeting of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

Participants learnt more about the publication, Teaching about and Commemorating the Roma and Sinti Genocide, and also discussed the key findings from ODIHR’s report on Holocaust Memorial Days: An overview of remembrance and education in the OSCE region, which was released on 27 January 2015.

“There is an increase in awareness and recognition of the Roma and Sinti genocide by both officials and civil society organizations,” said Mirjam Karoly, ODIHR’s Senior Adviser on Roma and Sinti Issues. “But this is not enough, more efforts in education are needed to allow for meaningful dialogue and reflection on the continuation of old prejudices and how they manifest in patterns of racism and discrimination today.”

The discussions also focused on the importance of promoting societal recognition of the Holocaust and the persecution and suffering of different victim groups.

Anne Giebel, ODIHR’s Advisor on Combating Anti-Semitism, said: “Holocaust denial and distortion are a cause of concern. In light of the contemporary manifestations of anti-Semitism, it is all the more crucial that participating States accurately and proactively raise awareness about the past, including on the occasion of Holocaust memorial days.”

The ODIHR representatives underlined that it is also very important to build coalitions among different communities and civil society groups to jointly advocate for the implementation of OSCE commitments in these areas.

ODIHR is a strategic partner to promote Holocaust Education and Remembrance and has permanent international partner status at IHRA, an intergovernmental body whose purpose is to strengthen political and social leaders’ support for Holocaust education, remembrance and research, both nationally and internationally. Of the 57 OSCE participating States, 29 are IHRA members.