Agenda Item 3, Clustered Interactive Dialogue with
Special Rapporteur on Migrants, François Crépeau, and Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsák
Statement as Delivered by Valerie Ullrich
29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
June 15, 2015
The United States thanks Special Rapporteurs François Crépeau and Rita Izsák for their reports and remarks. We provided our remarks on the important issue of migrants’ rights yesterday in the interactive dialogue focused on that subject. We welcome the opportunity to discuss Romani issues at the United Nations. We believe this topic merits continued attention by this Council.
The Special Rapporteur’s report highlights discrimination and intolerance directed against Romani individuals. This remains a challenge to European society and the continent’s economic growth. It is critical to end discrimination against Romani individuals in access to education, employment, housing, and healthcare.
Combating discrimination and intolerance against Romani individuals are priority human rights issues for the United States. As Secretary Kerry stated earlier this year on the occasion of International Roma Day, the United States is committed “to the inclusion and equal treatment of all Roma people, wherever they call home.” To achieve this objective it is important to ensure that Romani individuals participate actively in the drafting process for policies designed to assist their communities. Supporting Romani civil society and the full political and civic participation of Roma is also crucial to their successful inclusion.
We appreciate the steps that many governments are taking to address issues affecting the human rights of Romani persons. We call on governments to speak out publicly and forcefully against anti-Roma violence, discrimination, and rhetoric and take action to combat these incidents. We will continue to work with Romani communities and activists, civil society, partner governments, and international organizations to end discriminatory practices and ensure all individuals enjoy their universal human rights.
The Special Rapporteur assesses in her report that the lack of recognition of Roma experiences in the Holocaust is a major obstacle to restoring dignity and respect for the human rights of Roma worldwide. We agree. Last year, Secretary Kerry commemorated the World War II killings of Roma as part of the Holocaust. He remembered the hundreds of thousands of Romani individuals who were murdered savagely and senselessly by the Nazis. How can the United Nations increase participation of Romani representatives in Holocaust remembrance initiatives to better educate the public about the particular suffering of Roma during World War II?