By Nat Hill, Co-Director of Research at Genocide Watch
A long-form report on the historical and present genocide against the Roma people in Europe.
The Roma, also known as the Romani people, Kale, Sinti, or Gitanos, are a diverse group of peoples whose ancestors originally migrated from the Indian Subcontinent. Although the Roma are more commonly known as Gypsies, many now consider this term many now consider a slur. There are an estimated 20 million Roma living across the world today, with the majority concentrated in Europe. The Roma people have their own unique set of languages, religious beliefs, culture, and economy.
Roma life, particularly in Western Europe, is often associated with a nomadic existence; Roma people move from place-to-place trading and performing. A significant source of Roma identity derives from the theRomanipen, or Romani Code; however, such an attachment to the code is not universal. While many "Gadje” (the Roma term for non-Roma) still view Roma as nomads, Romani settlements, villages, and communities have existed in Europe for hundreds of years and have left an indelible mark on European culture and history.
Roma still face systematic discrimination due to their ethnicity and lifestyle. Through this particular form of discrimination, known as"antigypsyism" or anti-Romani racism, the Roma face both official and non-official barriers to healthcare, education, housing, and cultural expression across Europe and other parts of the world. Hate crimes and acts of violence against Roma communities are commonplace. Right-wing and ultranationalist groups view the Roma as an existential threat to their nations and violently attack Roma or promote hate speech against the community. The following report will attempt to summarize the current and historic genocidal actions against the Romani community, as well as provide recommendations to better prevent violence against the Roma people.
The Roma’s perceived nomadic lifestyle, distinct culture, and dark complexion have subjected them to consistent discrimination and persecution in Europe. For centuries, European rulers have oppressed, enslaved, and expelled Roma communities. Nazi Germany and its allies systematically exterminated an estimated 500 thousand to 1.5 million Roma due to their “racial inferiority,” in what the Roma now call the Porajmos ( “The Devouring”).
Please find the full report below: